Amazon’s self-created “Christmas in July” sales holiday is coming. The retail juggernaut launches its fifth annual “Amazon Prime Day” at 12 a.m. PDT July 15, which runs until 11:59 p.m. PDT July 16. Amazon boasts that this 48-hour sale bonanza will offer Amazon Prime customers a variety of deals on products—from tech items such as Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Alexa, smartwatches and headphones, to kitchen appliances and bedding.
But that doesn’t mean that its competitors such as eBay, Target, Walmart, Kohls and Bed, Bath & Beyond are taking this sitting down. These rival retail giants are firing back with deals of their own.
Continue reading “Amazon’s ‘Christmas in July’ Forces the Retail World to Respond”
Few industries operate in a stranger legal and political environment than marijuana. While 33 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized pot for recreational and/or medical use, the federal government still considers it an illicit, controlled substance. In short, pot is simultaneously legal and illegal in these states, depending on the governmental perspective.
The situation has partially handcuffed a nascent industry that otherwise is thriving and shows even greater potential. Legal cannabis sales in the U.S. are expected to top $13 billion this year – $3 billion more than 2018. Look for sales to spike to almost $26 billion in 2025. Continue reading “States Blaze Trail for Marijuana Reform”
The future is bright for legal marijuana, one of the fastest growing industries in North America. Look for the trade to build on a groundbreaking 2018 with rampant growth in the coming years.
Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C. have legalized pot for medical purposes. And in December, Michigan became the 10th state to also allow recreational use by adults. More states will follow suit this year and beyond. Continue reading “Cannabis Industry Has Big but Uncertain Potential”
“Anonymous personalization,” or the ability to offer online shoppers personalized promotions while letting them remain anonymous to the seller, is the Holy Grail of online retailers, according to Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner of RSR Research. Retailers like personalization because it can win new customers and make their marketing more cost-effective. Plus many shoppers do not like having to go to multiple locations and would welcome having items of interest to them all in one place online. Apparel shoppers, especially, want to see in one place ensembles that reflect their preferences, size and style. Retailers would love to provide all this, if customers would be willing to share their personal information.
Some customers are willing to share their data: The online clothier Stitch Fix has two million clients who have taken a 15-minute personal profile survey. Other online apparel sellers following the same model are Wantable and Indochino. Continue reading “Can Online Shoppers Ever Get Both Personalization and Privacy?”
The retail industry as we know it is facing an upheaval of its traditional business practices. As online shopping and consumer tech grow in popularity and usability, traditional retail is rapidly losing business to e-commerce giants and “deep value” retailers that keep costs down.
The result? Big-name retailers closing stores and getting stuck with more square footage than they know what to do with. It’s adversely affected the economy too, forcing some chains to file for bankruptcy and lay off thousands of employees. Payless ShoeSource, hhgregg and American Apparel, to name a few, are no more, while Macy’s, JCPenney, and Kmart are shuttering stores.
So, what’s a retailer to do? Continue reading “How Retailers Can Cope With Fierce Online Competition”
Sale signs will be as prolific as tinsel and mistletoe this holiday shopping season. Marketers have already begun peppering storefronts and e-mails with markdowns — 50% off, 40% off, 25% off, buy-one-get-one-half-price — joyful music to price-conscious consumers’ ears.
Many merchants have trapped themselves in a cycle of promotions, fueling consumers’ reluctance to pay full price. Inventory levels are evening out, but years of near-constant discounting and a lack of exciting new product lines have pushed shoppers to hold off on purchases longer, until sellers slash prices.
Continue reading “’Tis the season for holiday discounts”
2016 is on track to be another banner year for the auto industry. But dealers won’t ring up quite as many sales this year as they did in 2015, which set an all-time record. And 2017 figures to see another small sales pull-back as demand for new cars and trucks levels off.
The Rebound Winds Down
The U.S. auto industry has come a long way from the dark days of the Great Recession. In 2009, drivers bought only 10.4 million new vehicles, down by roughly a third from what had been considered normal prior to the recession. But that sharp decline set the stage for an epic comeback. Beginning in 2010, the industry consistently notched annual sales gains of 10% or so. Many consumers who had wanted or needed a new car during the economic downturn put off buying one, which resulted in a marked aging of the country’s car fleet. The recovery from the recession released a surge in new car buying by folks rushing to replace their old rides.
Continue reading “Booming Autos Sales to Downshift”
The collapse of one of the world’s largest ocean carriers has marooned more than half a million cargo containers in international waters. As much as $14 billion worth of cargo is stuck in limbo awaiting the fate of bankrupt Hanjin Shipping, with dozens of vessels anchored offshore filled with toys, shoes, computers, couches, dishwashers, etc. Port operators and cargo handlers refuse to unload the ships until they are paid.
Hanjin’s global creditors have impounded at least eight vessels, and about 80 are still at sea until captains are assured ships and cargo won’t be seized. It isn’t clear whether Hanjin’s parent company will be able to secure the $90 million it pledged to ease the carrier’s financial woes, or whether that will be enough to dent Hanjin’s $5.5-billion debt. The company has resorted to selling off ships from its 149-vessel fleet, after signs that the South Korean government won’t bail out its largest ocean carrier.
Continue reading “Billions’ Worth of Merchandise Stranded at Sea”
4% growth in ’16, compared with 4.8% in ’15 (excluding gas)
Feeling more confident about the economy, the job market and their own financial stability, shoppers dialed up spending in June. The third consecutive month of gains marks a strong end to the second quarter of 2016, though challenges remain as retailers grapple with changing industry trends—more online shopping, free shipping demands, etc. Continue reading “Consumers Rev Up Spending”