Carriers like FedEx and UPS have been warning for months to expect holiday shipping delays. But now, they are taking more drastic steps by imposing some limits on the number of packages it will pick up per day from companies. The package pickup limits are being imposed on major retailers like Nike and Macy's, down to startups like aperitif brand Haus. Retail executives told Modern Retail that while they expected some delays, they felt like carriers haven't given them enough notice, and are leaving them out to dry during their busiest time of year.
Alcohol delivery platforms continue to acquire customers, especially as millions of Americans face a second wave of pandemic lockdowns. This Thanksgiving was no different. Aside from its standard sales boost, this year Drizly's white glove service saw record consumer interest.
Right now, retailers are focused on getting items to customers in time for the holidays. But come January, they'll have a new headache to contend with: processing all of the items that ultimately get returned. Some research has shown that items bought online are more likely to be returned than those bought in store, with online apparel having some of the highest return rates. Given that people are expected to do more of their holiday shopping online this year in lieu of visiting a store, retailers are also bracing for the likely scenario that people will want to make more returns this year than ever before. To prepare, they are trying to give customers as many ways as possible to make returns.
The often dreaded office holiday party is on hold this year, and many employers are looking for alternatives to celebrate remotely and reward workers. Virtual gifting, like e-commerce, is on the rise to meet this demand. Startup Loop & Tie and 1800-Flowers.com's new SmartGift portal, aimed at business customers, are trying to capitalize on the growing phenomenon.
In order to prevent Amazon from clawing away more of their business, shipping carriers are trying to forge deeper partnerships with other platforms that work closely with retailers and e-commerce companies. That's evidenced by FedEx's latest acquisition, announced last week. The logistics carrier is acquiring ShopRunner, a marketplace that offers its members free two-day shipping and returns on products from more than 100 retailers.
Cyber week is becoming Cyber November, according to B-to-B vendors that power e-commerce merchants. This holiday season, companies that build SMBs' online stores, which include Shopify, BigCommerce and Adobe's Magento, are all seeing record sales among merchants. Here's how e-commerce platforms fared over this holiday shopping weekend blitz.
As Facebook is seeking to become more of a commerce platform, it's also increasingly interested in acquiring services to assist the e-commerce and retail companies it is trying to court. That's evidenced by Facebook's latest acquisition, announced on Monday. The social media giant announced its intent to acquire Kustomer, a customer service platform that counts Birkenstock and Glossier among its customers.
As shoppers become more dependent on e-commerce, a growing number are beginning to look online even for Christmas trees. A small handful of DTC-style brands, like Walddie, have cropped up to offer delivery-focused tree sales. Even big players like Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s are stepping into the market, selling Christmas trees not just in their physical stores but also online. Digital Christmas tree are on the rise -- but ultimately, the Christmas tree business might show the limits of online ordering despite this banner year for e-commerce.
Dutch grocery chain Ahold Delhaize has more than 1,900 stores in the U.S., under its various banners Food Lion, Stop and Shop and Giant Food. But the future of its grocery delivery business currently lies in the New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. That's evidenced by the news last week that Ahold Delhaize is acquiring a majority stake in FreshDirect, an online-only grocery delivery chain which launched in 1999. Ahold Delhaize's goal: to get as many hooks in the profitable East Coast grocery delivery market as possible.
As more Americans order their prescriptions online, pharmacies are seeking to grab a bigger slice of the digital health and wellness space overall. On Thursday, Walgreens Boots Alliance announced a rebrand of its app and loyalty program. The app will include new features like the ability to chat with a pharmacist 24/7, schedule vaccination appointments, and get real-time local health information, like flu alerts. The news comes a day after Amazon announced that it was finally launching a long-rumored prescription delivery service.
Now, if a player falls in love with a rug they’ve added to their virtual apartment, they can buy a real-life version from Design Home directly. Tthe iOS game is essentially doubling as a furniture store. That’s a significant escalation not just for the budding relationship between retailers and video games -- it also suggests that video games might themselves become the retailers of the future.
Online Black Friday sales are proving to be more difficult to administer than usual. With the lack of physical store openings and the fierce e-commerce competition among DTC brands and traditional retailers, brands like Deciem are looking to creative approaches to draw in shoppers this season.
Retailers across all sectors are having to rethink how they approach the holidays, and grocers are no exception. The challenge they face is two-fold: grocers preparing for an uptick in demand for grocery delivery, as coronavirus cases rise in the U.S. And, they're anticipating that certain items like baking supplies and smaller turkeys will be in demand, as people spend more time at home and have holiday gatherings. But what remains to be seen is whether or not grocers will experience the same rush of shoppers as they did in the spring.
This week, during Alibaba's Singles Day, livestreaming is expected to play a huge role in China's biggest shopping event. But in the U.S., livestream shopping has yet to become mainstream. According to Coresight Research, livestream shopping generated an estimated $63 billion in sales in China in 2019, compared to less than $1 billion in the U.S. While Amazon, YouTube Instagram have all sought to replicate Alibaba's livestream success, none have come close to making livestream shopping a mainstream activity in the U.S.
As more food and beverage sales move online, e-commerce is becoming a bigger part of food startups' strategy. Take Siete Family Foods, which makes grain-free versions of Mexican-American staples, like tortillas and chips. The six-year-old company is now using its website to test out new products before selling them in physical stores. Through a new section of its site called Small Batch, Siete Family Foods plans to launch ten new products within the next year, selling anywhere from roughly 100 to 1,000 units of each. The goal is to gather data on what types of Siete's most loyal customers are most interested in, and use that data to pitch retailers on carrying that product in stores.
At the Modern Retail Virtual Forum, we’ll bring together senior retail marketers to discuss the challenges they’re facing and the solutions they’re seeking in the era of smarter retail.Book Passes