Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 11/27/12: Walmart Evolution to E-Commerce; Top Online Shopping Sites


“Online sales jump on Cyber Monday, eBay shines” by Alistair Barr at Reuters.  “Online sales were up 25.6 percent as of 3:00 pm EST on Monday, compared with the same period a year ago, according to International Business Machines Corp which tracks transaction data from 500 U.S. retail websites. In 2011, Cyber Monday year-over-year growth was 15 percent by 3:00 pm, IBM said.  Strong online sales growth on Thanksgiving Day and “Black Friday” sparked concern that shoppers were just buying earlier, threatening revenue later in the season.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/26/net-us-usa-retail-cybermonday-idUSBRE8AM0TL20121126

“Starboard Adds Nardelli and Ex-Staples Exec for Office Depot Fight” in the Wall Street Journal.  “Bob Nardelli, the former chief of companies such as Home Depot and Chrysler, and Joseph Vassalluzzo, a former vice chairman of Staples Inc., are teaming up with Starboard to provide counsel and insight into how Office Depot can improve its operations and strategy, according to the amended 13D filing.”  https://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2012/11/27/starboard-adds-nardelli-and-ex-staples-exec-for-office-depot-fight/

“Walmart’s Evolution From Big Box Giant To E-Commerce Innovator” by Farhad Manjoo in Fast Company.  “Jeremy King was ignoring the largest retailer in the world. For a month, he’d been getting calls from a Walmart recruiter. King was used to being wooed, since he was well known in Silicon Valley as an engineer who built key parts of eBay’s infrastructure. The calls kept coming. Finally, he picked up the phone and let Walmart know exactly what it would take to get him to interview. “I was like, ‘Why don’t you get the CEO on the phone–let him talk to me and then maybe I’ll come in?'” recalls King, who didn’t even know who the CEO of Walmart was. “I was being cocky. The CEO of the world’s largest retailer wasn’t going to meet with me just so I’d do an interview.  The next thing King knew, Walmart arranged for him to join a videoconference with CEO Mike Duke. “It was the strangest thing,” King says. “Mike’s office in Bentonville is the original one that Sam Walton had, complete with 1970s wood paneling. I was looking at this video, thinking, Where is this place?”  https://www.fastcompany.com/3002948/walmarts-evolution-big-box-giant-e-commerce-innovator 

“The bricks-and-mortar albatross” by James Saft in Reuters.  “But underlying the term Black Friday is a business model reality, which, once examined, poses real problems, especially given the impact of the Internet. Physical stores are not simply a combination of assets, labor and merchandise, they are systems, ones with a lot of sunk costs.  Why after all do stores even stay open during slack periods if in fact they only are truly profitable during the holiday rush and other peak periods?   They do so because there are huge upfront costs to setting up a physical retail outlet and once you’ve made those investments in people, facilities and everything else, the economics dictate that you sweat those assets, work them as hard as possible in order to gain as much revenue as you can to recoup fixed costs.”  https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/27/us-column-markets-saft-idUSBRE8AQ06F20121127

“So where will people shop today that isn’t Amazon?” by Shara Tibken at CNET (includes chart ranking top online retailers).  “What it has found is that Amazon, of course, dominates Internet retail. About 14 percent of all Internet users interact with Amazon’s site every day, nearly double eBay in the No. 2 position at 8.8 percent. Deepfield included Amazon’s flagship site and its other smaller Web properties, like MyHabit, in the count.  Zappos and Quidsi, also owned by Amazon, are large enough to be broken out separately. Both fall in the top five in Deepfield’s ranking.  The ranking gets more interesting further down the list with names like Shopify and Shopzilla popping up. Shopify, which ranks third with 5.4 percent share, is an e-commerce hosting site that provides a complete Web storefront offering for more.”  https://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57554048-93/so-where-will-people-shop-today-that-isnt-amazon/  

“Amazon and Pinterest Add Business Pages” by Paul Chaney at Practical Ecommerce.  “Amazon has quietly launched what it refers to as Amazon Marketing Services, which is a suite of self-service tools that merchants can use to promote their products.  The suite contains three components: Amazon Pages, Amazon Posts, and Amazon Analytics.”  https://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/3819-Amazon-and-Pinterest-Add-Business-Pages

Small Business Saturday Spending Exceeded Expectations According to Research from NFIB and American Express.   “According to the second installment of the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday jumped to 67 percent from 34 percent just two weeks ago. Of those aware, nearly half (47%) shopped on Small Business Saturday.  The increased awareness translated into higher spending. Those U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent a total of $5.5 billion with independent merchants. Pre-holiday surveys estimated that U.S. consumers would spend $5.3 billion.”  https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20121126006330&div=-1245645151     

Dollar General Launches Mobile Applications with Cyber Monday Deals.  “Many of our shoppers use mobile phones for shopping and to make purchasing decisions,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s executive vice president, division president and chief merchandising officer. “We’re making shopping at Dollar General simpler for our customers by making ads and information available at the touch of a button on their mobile phone.”

The new app allows customers to:

  • Find stores with a store locator.
  • View ads, create shopping lists and share via email or text message.
  • Save money with mobile coupons.
  • Use free Quick Response (QR) scanner to access upcoming sales and unlock additional savings.
  • Connect with Dollar General through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter

“In Two Months, Walgreens Gets 28 Million Loyalty Members” by Patricia Odell from Penton Business Media.  “Eight of the top 10 U.S. retailers have loyalty programs, some for more than a decade like Kroger, and others with just a year under their belt like Lowe’s.  The number of U.S. loyalty program memberships has skyrocketed over the last decade from 97 million in 2000 to 2.09 billion in 2010.  Walgreens debuts Balance Rewards long after many competitors have established loyalty programs, but Holyk sees that as a benefit.  “We thought there was a great opportunity for our late mover advantage and that would really come through in how we designed the program, how we’re able to leverage technology, the data and insights, and really put together a best in class program,” he said.   https://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2012-11-26&val=755184&cat=hcare 

“Canada’s organic food certification system ‘little more than an extortion racket,’ report says” by Adrian Humphrey’s at The National Post.  “The organic certification industry’s “dirty little secret,” they write, is that “organic crops and livestock are not tested in Canada before they are certified, thus making organic certification essentially meaningless.  The organics industry rejects that notion and defends the integrity of its members and the system.”  https://news.nationalpost.com/2012/11/24/canadas-organic-food-certification-system-little-more-than-an-extortion-racket-report-says/