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Online Retailers Taking Pre-Orders For New iPad
Apple is taking pre-orders for the new iPad today and it’s set to hit stores March 16. The new iPad features an improved display, 5-megapixel rear camera and a speedier network and processor. [Source: Engadget]
Ditch Those Heavy Catalogs In Favor Of Your iPad
Apple has added a new Catalogs category to the App Store. The move could create a new avenue for consumers to discover products and for retailers to present their inventory. A study last year found that record numbers of consumers are already shifting their shopping from PCs to mobile devices, as mobile sales as a percentage of total online shopping sales continue to increase. [Source: PCWorld]
Will You Put Your Purchases On Autopilot?
Subscription commerce is the latest fad, stretching across product categories from dog food to roses. “I’ve come to appreciate that subscription models are, in so many ways, the holy grail of business,” PetFlow Co-Founder Alex Zhardanovsky said. [Source: NY Times]
Target Aims To Boost Sales With Better Performing Site
Target Corp. suffered numerous crashes last fall after launching a redesigned site. After “hundreds of fixes,” the site is more stable and has helped the retailer boost sales. [Source: Internet Retailer]
Amazon To Collect Sales Tax In Virginia
Customers of Amazon.com in Virginia will begin paying sales tax as early as 2013 under an agreement reached with the state and the retailer. [Internet Retailer]
Dollar Shave Club Plans To Slice Pricing For Razors
Replacement razor blades are one of those items that often frustrate consumers with a prickly price tag. A start-up called Dollar Shave Club plans to be the low-cost, online alternative. The company also plans a strong rapport with customers. “Brands of the future need to talk directly to our customers so we can know what they like and how to better serve them” Chief Executive Michael Dubin said. [Source: Pando Daily]
EBay told its sellers this week in its 2012 Spring Seller Update that a higher level of service increased active buyers to more than 100 million. What’s more is that customer service has proved to be a big enough bump for eBay’s business that they have introduced policies designed to reward eBay sellers that provide great service.
The move is clearly an effort to find better position with customers accustomed to the kind of service they get from Amazon.com and other top online retailers.
“Savvy online merchants understand that consumer expectations are evolving, and they are adapting to the world class services needed to compete,” eBay says in an overview of its 2012 Spring Seller Update.
The update provides policies for eBay sellers that will begin to take effect this spring and summer, including fee incentives to offer fast shipping and a minimum 14-day return policy, free product pictures, new protections against questionable feedback from buyers and the availability of Top-Rated Seller status to sellers with minimum annual sales of $1,000, down from $3,000.
The news comes on the heels of the National Retail Federation and auditing and advisory firm KPMG reporting that customer service strategies will be a top priority in 2012 for many companies.
Strong Retail Sales Are Sign of Improving Economy
“Americans stepped up their spending in February, boosting sales at many stores and offering the latest sign that shoppers are feeling more confident in the economy.” [Source: Associated Press]
Ikea Apologizes For Service Failure On Apple Devices
“Ikea has been forced to issue an apology to irate customers after orders made using Apple devices failed to process without any notification.” [Source: Marketer]
One Year Post-Pivot, Fab.com Is On Track To $100M In Revenue In 2012
Proving how quickly ecommerce is growing, Fab.com has ballooned to more than 2.5 million members, up from 1.5 million at the end of last year. The company says they’re on track for $100 million in revenue. [TechCrunch]
Virtual Fitting Rooms Could Change Online Shopping
British retailer Tesco has launched a Facebook-based virtual fitting room, which has been created to help customers find the perfect size and fit when they shop for the brand’s clothes online. [Source: Daily Mail]
Who Decides What Gets Sold In The Bookstore?
Author Seth Godin says Apple has refused to sell his new book because of multiple links to Amazon in the bibliography. Godin writes, “I think that Amazon and Apple and B&N need to take a deep breath and make a decision on principle: what’s inside the book shouldn’t be of concern to a bookstore with a substantial choke on the marketplace.” [Source: Paid Content]
Tello Attempts To Make Customer Service Communication Better
Tello has built a customer feedback service with an online tool that lets businesses respond directly to the customers who rated their employees. A manager at a restaurant can reach out to a disgruntled customer to ask for another chance. Among other uses, a retailer can inform a customer that the pair of shoes they wanted are now in stock. [Source: Reuters]
Not Happy With Service, Customers Are Leaving Big Banks
“New fees and poor customer service have sparked an exodus among big bank customers, many of whom switched to smaller institutions last year.” [Source: CNNMoney]
PayPal Store Checkout Arriving In Home Depot Stores
The payment provider you’ve been using for years for online transactions is making its way to offline stores. Home Depot plans to offer PayPal at all of its nearly 2,000 stores in the U.S. [Source: VentureBeat]
Overstock.com Bolsters Product Reviews With O.info
“Overstock.com Inc. has added to its stable of brands and web domains O.info, a site that highlights consumer-generated product reviews. The site also provides information on product details and shipping policies, along with links to make a purchase on Overstock.com.” [Source: Internet Retailer]
Zappos Announces Four-Year Return Policy For Leap Year
“Online apparel shop Zappos.com will celebrate Leap Year by extending its existing 365-day return policy by another three years. Anyone making a purchase on Feb. 29 will enjoy a whopping four-year return window, the retailer announced Monday.” [Source: Business Insider]
Content Meets Commerce With Du Jour
“Niche Media, publisher of high-end regional magazines including Gotham, Hamptons and Ocean Drive, is launching yet another luxury lifestyle title, this time in partnership with Gilt Groupe and Hudson News.” Digital versions of the publication, called Du Jour, will allow consumers to click to purchase the goods and services displayed on editorial pages. [Source: Mashable]
Online-Retail Spending at $200 Billion Annually and Growing
“Americans spent more than $200 billion on online shopping in 2011 and are expected to shell out $327 billion on Internet stores by 2016.” [Source: Wall Street Journal]
Facebook Is Back At The Discount Game
Facebook Inc., which tested a Groupon-like Deals offering last year, is back at the discount game. The social network is running a small test that enables merchants to offer free discounts to customers on their page. [Source: Internet Retailer]
Amazon Backs Away from Discounts for Moms
For years, Amazon has offered moms a year’s free Amazon Prime membership and hefty discounts on diapers and other essentials. Starting January 24, though, Amazon Moms won’t have it quite so good. [Source: Time]
Riot Breaks Out Over Nike Shoe Release
This is a good argument for shopping online. “Foot Locker on Friday suspended shoe sales and special events planned for the release of Nike’s debut NBA All-Star sneaker at various stores in Florida and at least three other states after a riot broke out among hundreds of people at an Orlando mall.” [Source: USA Today]
Using Social Media To Choose Your Seatmate
This month, the Dutch airline KLM began testing a program it calls Meet and Seat, allowing ticket-holders to upload details from their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and use the data to choose seatmates. [Source: New York Times]
Ever Want To Buy What You See On Pinterest? Here’s A Fancy Idea
Fancy enables users to organize images from around the web into “lists” and allows transactions directly on its site. [Source: Mashable]
Michael Jordan Slams Chinese Retailer
“Basketball star Michael Jordan has cried foul against a sportswear chain here, saying it is improperly using the Chinese version of his name. Qiaodan Sports Co. has profited by illegally using his name on its marketing materials and products since the 1980s, Mr. Jordan said in a prepared statement.” [Wall Street Journal]
FindTheBest Wants To Personalize Comparison Shopping
FindTheBest aims to help people compare different products and services so that they can quickly figure out which is the best one. A new tool from the company draws data from the user, attempting to personalize the shopping experience. [Source: TechCrunch]
Brands Give Facebook F-Commerce An F
People are not proving ready to actually buy goods and services in Facebook – at least not at the scale retailers are used to seeing through traditional e-commerce. And suddenly, many question the role Facebook actually plays in the monetization strategy of any business. [Source: PandoDaily]
Panera, Others Are Planning More Pay-What-You-Can Cafes
Here’s a customer service tactic: let the customer pay what they want. The menus at Panera Cares Cafe don’t list prices, only suggested donations, and rather than handing money to a clerk, customers drop their coins and bills into donation bins at the counter. [Source: USA Today]