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The Pandemic's Effect on Gift Giving: Is Your E-Commerce Business Ready?
October 23, 2020
For all the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our online shopping behavior in 2020, add to the list: holiday gift giving. As e-commerce retailers, we should prepare for a surge in online gift purchases and also an increase in gifts delivered directly to the recipient. Here are ten ideas that e-tailers can use to rethink the gift-giving experience this holiday season.
Rural America Is the Next E-Commerce Frontier
October 21, 2020
E-commerce is not yet every rural community's Holy Grail for shopping. Many local rural retailers are strangers to e-commerce, and the home delivery routine for rural customers is often very different from the opportunities enjoyed by suburban and city consumers. If stores in rural America want to keep customers happy and healthy, transitioning to e-commerce is key.
The Strive to Survive a COVID-19 Holiday Shopping Season
October 19, 2020
The upcoming holiday season is looking much different than anyone would have suspected this time last year. Forget about the customary long lines to buy gifts for loved ones and friends this year -- if you can even find a store that is open. All of these changes make it critical for marketers to adapt in an effort to recover lost sales and attract new customers.
The 2020 Holiday Shopping Season Will Set Long-Term Precedents
October 6, 2020
The restrictions forcing people to work and shop from the confines of their homes accelerated an already advancing e-commerce market that was years in development. As a result, the pandemic has created a case study for e-commerce and retail of the 21st century. Moving forward, this holiday shopping season will likely witness one of the next major shifts toward a different future in retail.
New Service Relays Customer Texts to In-Store Phone Lines
September 29, 2020
Curbside pickup has become a necessary option to offer customers since the onslaught of COVID-19. In fact, some shoppers will not consider doing business with a retailer or restaurant that does not offer curbside service. The TextMeAnywhere solution helps make the associated logistics to service curbside easier to execute for small businesses.
The Ease and Risk of Buy Now Pay Later Plans
September 22, 2020
Buy now pay later, or "BNPL" services are growing in popularity during the pandemic as they enable consumers to pay for purchases over a short time with no interest and a small starting payment. However, money experts urge caution. Similar to credit cards, BNPL services can negatively impact credit scores and land people in debt or collections if not used properly.
How to Protect Mobile Apps Against Sneaker Bots
September 16, 2020
Automated purchasing bots, also known as "sneaker bots," "click bots," "Instacart bots" and other names, are ruining the online shopping and gig economy experience for both consumers and workers. These bots can cause considerable damage to a mobile business' reputation and bottom line. There are a number of measures that e-tailers should take a to protect their mobile apps from sneaker bots.
A Unique Moment in Time for E-Commerce
September 14, 2020
E-commerce is experiencing rapid growth with no sign of slowing down. Retailers and brands are finding that the new normal in retail and e-tail marketing is much like trying to hit a moving target. They have to take a refined aim and build in some lead time. This marketing strategy requires businesses to adjust their digital infrastructure and tactics. Otherwise, they will miss the target as consumers prepare for their holiday marketing and ad campaigns.
How to Tailor an Optimal Q4 Retail Strategy
September 10, 2020
This year, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic, many consumer markets are faced with the fear of steep declines of in-person shopping, thus leading to a potential downtick in sales. This may seem daunting, but it should also serve as ample inspiration to develop a Q4 retail strategy well in advance. Here are a few of the top strategies to adopt as we look ahead to this year's holiday shopping season.
Tech's Role in the Future of Restaurants
September 9, 2020
While changes in the restaurant industry have been in response to what is hoped to be a temporary crisis, it's likely that dining establishments will never again operate exactly as they did before coronavirus. Along with altering their physical designs to accommodate the demands of the pandemic, eateries must also turn to new models for order taking, making deliveries, and payment processing.
Consumers Buying In to Digital Wallets
September 4, 2020
The recent rise in digital wallet adoption shows a marked contrast with slow growth in digital wallet use in the U.S. prior to the pandemic. As more consumers become comfortable using digital wallets -- and possibly begin to prefer them -- it's not a stretch to conclude that many will embrace these shopping habits permanently, causing acceptance rates to continue to grow.
Holiday Shopping Forecast: Less Spending, More Empathy
August 24, 2020
The 2020 holiday shopping forecast and consumer spending patterns well into next year will be marked by a pullback in spending, an increase in consumer expectations for brand behavior, and a focus on supporting small businesses. Marketers are advised to focus on brand values and trustworthiness to combat the continuing challenges retailers face in courting consumers across all generations.
Summer Stats Show a Frenzy of Sales and a Flurry of Fraud
August 21, 2020
Despite the struggles the pandemic imposes on the economy, consumer activity gives both retailers and e-tailers hope for continued growth as the recovery persists. Though fraud continues to escalate as criminals take advantage of card-not-present payment methods, including buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS), or click-and-collect.
Retailers to Consumers: Let's Get 'Phygital'
August 20, 2020
The pandemic has exposed one fundamental, seemingly contradictory reality: people like to shop online, but they also crave in-person experiences. This era has also made clear that there's an answer to this conundrum: to provide shopping experiences that combine both physical and digital elements. Also known as "phygital" experiences, these strive to give customers the best of both the online and in-person worlds.
Amazon Eyeing Mall Anchor Stores as Fulfillment Centers
August 19, 2020
Amazon is huddling with the largest mall owner in the United States to turn anchor stores into fulfillment centers, and possibly retail outlets. The deal with Simons Property Group would give Amazon access to space formerly occupied by Sears and J.C. Penney, both of which have filed for bankruptcy.
In-Store Commerce Kicked to the Curb
August 13, 2020
Curbside service is one of the more popular strategies that businesses and consumers now use to navigate the 'new normal'. Ideally, it's a contactless, convenient experience for all involved. For curbside pickup to be successful, however, it needs to be as quick and easy as possible for consumers -- and a large part of that ease of use requires adequate business planning and management.
Automated CX Strategies to Revitalize Customer Relations
August 11, 2020
If the ongoing struggles amid the pandemic have taught retailers anything, it is the need to automate their customer service experience. Customer experience automation is making the difference between hanging on until closing down and ensuring more returning customers.
Google's E-Commerce Push to Fill the 'Messy Middle'
July 31, 2020
Google's domination of the online ad market appears to have stalled since Amazon last year became the third-largest digital ad platform in the U.S. behind the Google-Facebook duopoly. This may have driven Google to accelerate its push into e-commerce, focusing on what it calls the "messy middle" -- the space in the customer journey between what triggers the purchase and the actual purchase itself.
Digital Sales Boom Puts Spotlight on Fraud Control Systems
July 30, 2020
The move by retailers to online and mobile selling to survive the pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in digital fraud activity. The "2020 True Cost of Fraud Study: E-commerce/Retail Edition" by LexisNexis Risk Solutions found this to be partly because some fraud control systems are outdated, and partly because of increased transaction volume.
New E-Commerce Partnership Gives U.S. Merchants Access to LATAM
July 16, 2020
ShipStation on Wednesday announced a partnership with Mercado Libre, which is known as the "Amazon of Latin America" and has operations in 18 countries throughout the region. Mercado Libre is the fourth largest marketplace in the world in terms of visits per month, and the largest in Latin America. Its top markets are Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.
Digital Fraud Flourishing During Pandemic: Report
July 9, 2020
If you conducted e-commerce transactions since the pandemic struck, you have probably been the target, or even a victim, of online fraud. A report from Sift titled "Q2 2020 Digital Trust & Safety Index" details a 109 percent increase in content abuse and growth of the fraud economy from January through May 2020.
Uber Eats Postmates for $2.6B, Bolsters Ground Game
July 7, 2020
Uber is looking to food delivery for rescue from falling revenues caused by people staying at home because of the pandemic. Gross bookings for Uber Rides have decreased by three percent year over year, the company noted in its Q1 2020 financial report. On July 6, Uber announced that it's acquiring on-demand food delivery service PostMates for $2.65 billion. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2021.
Prime Day Uncertainty a Dilemma for Amazon Sellers
July 2, 2020
One of the e-tail world's most pressing questions is: When will Amazon have its Prime Day sale this year? Perhaps a better question is: Will Prime Day happen at all? Amazon so far is not telling. If Prime Day 2020 takes place in the fall, the biggest deal days of the e-commerce industry could happen within several weeks of each other.
E-Commerce Dominates 'New Normal' Retail
June 30, 2020
Shoppers are starting to come back to their favorite brick and mortar storefronts as the pandemic restrictions allow consumers to exit from lockdown. But the impact of COVID-19 has etched some far-reaching changes in the retail industry that will not set back the strides online shopping has gained since March. That is a conclusion clearly visible in research published last week by TrustRadius.
Google Aims to Secure Voice Purchases Through Match Feature
May 28, 2020
Google has undertaken a pilot program for Voice Match. A limited number of users can use the tool with Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and smart displays to make in-app digital purchases on Google Play, or to make purchases from restaurants that enable food ordering through Google. "Many folks used to Google Assistant will take advantage of this convenience," said tech analyst Ray Wang.
Merchants: Adopting New Payment Technologies Is Easier Than You Think
May 11, 2020
Consumers increasingly demand seamless ways to purchase wherever they go, and they want their transactions to be quick, safe and, importantly, secure. The fact is, merchants must embrace new methods quickly or risk being left behind. Over the last decade, payment options have evolved in response to developments in technology and changing customer purchasing habits.
New Shopify App Offers Local SMBs a Bridge to E-Commerce
April 30, 2020
Shopify has unveiled an app that lets users discover local businesses, receive relevant product recommendations from their favorite brands, check out effortlessly, and track all their online orders. It can gather and track orders automatically, but it also works without auto-tracking. Consumers can get a customized feed with deals, trending items and recommendations from their favorite stores.
Merchants Now Can List Products on Google Shopping for Free
April 22, 2020
Merchants soon will be able to sell products on Google Shopping at no charge. Previously, they had to pay per click, but the cost was not fixed. There was no minimum, but they had to set a maximum for ad spend and Google would stop displaying their ads once the maximum was reached. Starting next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings.
Coronavirus Threat Sparks Revolt at Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart
April 2, 2020
Amazon has promised to check temperatures and provide surgical masks for workers at its fulfillment centers and Whole Foods grocery stores starting next week. Instacart workers have not received similar promises. The news came in the midst of brewing turmoil among employees. Some full-time and contract workers at Whole Foods, Amazon and Instacart walked out or called in sick on Monday and Tuesday.
Report: E-Commerce Account Takeovers, Shipping Fraud on the Rise
March 25, 2020
E-commerce account takeovers increased 347 percent and shipping fraud jumped 391 percent from 2018 to 2019, a fraud and identity solutions company reported. Fraudsters are gaining access to accounts using credential stuffing, romance scams, social engineering, phishing or hacking. The three-digit rise in account takeovers is connected to the rash of data breaches over the last decade.
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How will the pandemic influence your holiday shopping habits this year?
I will shop online exclusively, for my own safety and to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
I will do some shopping online, and some in-person because I want to support merchants in my area.
I will shop online definitely, and I will consider local retailers -- but only if they provide curbside service.
I will only shop in-person because the risks associated with e-commerce outweigh my chance of catching COVID-19.
I will not do any holiday shopping this year due to circumstances related to the pandemic.