We have the ability to instantly access information anywhere, anytime, so it’s no wonder that we’re challenged to demonstrate patience waiting for anything these days. Whether it be waiting for a website to load on a mobile phone, the delivery of a shipment we ordered online, or for spring to finally arrive for us in the Northeast, impatience is a definite theme. Here are a few news articles this past week that touch on this theme.

 

Zulily Nips Business Model in the Bud

The Wall Street Journal – March 23, 2015

Plagued by long shipping times, Web retailer Zulily Inc. is trying something new: Stocking inventory before selling it. That may sound like an obvious approach, but it isn’t the one Seattle-based Zulily took as it grew rapidly from an ecommerce startup five years ago into a public company with more than $1 billion in annual sales and a large following of female shoppers.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/zulily-nips-business-model-in-the-bud-1427165209? 

My Thoughts: We live in an age of instant gratification. When we have a thought, we post it on social media. When we need directions, we ask Google. When we want to purchase an item online, we expect it to be delivered within 24-48 hours – thanks Amazon Prime. As we’ve seen with recent headlines, however, when instant gratification goes wrong, there can be hell to pay. This is particularly true when it comes to retailers. As a father of four young daughters, we have done our fair amount of shopping on Zulily and I can attest that waiting four weeks for delivery (this is not an exaggeration) is maddening and my wife and I vowed not to buy from them again. Though backend logistics is not as sexy as responsive web design, mobile payments or beacons, the fulfillment process is a key element when it comes to customer satisfaction and loyalty. With so many other retailers moving to same-day delivery and click and collect in store, it’s important to examine order management and inventory technology to guarantee you come out on top with your customers.

 

Amazon Urges Faster FAA Approval of Drones

USA Today – March 24, 2015

An Amazon executive told a Senate panel Tuesday that The Federal Aviation Administration is so slow to approve drone permits that the aircraft will become obsolete while waiting.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/03/24/amazon-drones-faa-senate-hearing/70376382/

My Thoughts: While Amazon is pushing the FAA hard for approval on drone delivery, is this even something that the industry is ready for? In October 2014, we polled over 300 US shoppers and according to the data, only 14% of people are even interested in drone delivery at this time. With an array of delivery options already available from various retailers, I am not sure this is really an option consumers and retailers should be preparing for. At the end of the day, Amazon likes to talk about drones because it helps to keep them in the news.

 

How do you feel about same-day delivery options from various retailers?
I’m fine with 2-day shipping 37.6% (+5.7 / -5.4)
I’m intrigued 29.9% (+5.6 / -5.1)
I believe it will never happen 18.1% (+5.0 / -4.1)
I want it now! Give me drones! 14.4% (+4.2 / -3.4)

*Methodology: General Population filtered to 18-24 year-olds, 25-34 year-olds, 35-44 year-olds in the United States on the Google Consumer Surveys publisher network, Oct. 9 – Oct. 13. Sample size of 350.  Margin of error varies per  question (ranging from 2-5).

 

Why CMOs Must Take Mobile More Seriously

CIO – March 20, 2015

Most CMOs treat mobile devices as just another digital channel for interacting with customers, but they’d be wrong to do so. The average smartphone-wielding consumer whips out their phone more than a hundred times every day to perform all sorts of tasks, such as checking email and Facebook, texting, tweeting and surfing.

http://www.cio.com/article/2900120/cmo-role/why-cmos-must-take-mobile-more-seriously.html

My Thoughts: As mobile becomes increasingly more important in today’s digital age, it makes sense for CMOs to take advantage of these ‘mobile moments.’ Shoppers continue to reach for their smartphones at an increasing rate and are moving between various devices as part of their shopping journey. According to our recent Shopping Index, phones accounted for 33% of all total digital commerce traffic and 16% of all orders in Q4 2014. Globally, the device shift is dramatic, as smartphones increased their share of orders by 61% and of traffic by 40%. CMOs should continue to invest in mobile as it continues to drive new opportunities and improve the overall customer experience.

 

Think This Spring Will Be The Same As Last Year? Think Again.

STORES – March 20, 2015

Spring has arrived! That means shoppers are flocking into stores to load up on gardening products, shorts, sandals, grilling supplies and other seasonal merchandise. The winter doldrums are over and sales of full-priced spring items are ramping up rapidly!

https://nrf.com/news/think-this-spring-will-be-the-same-last-year-think-again

My Thoughts: I’m sure there are more than a few of us who are tired of talking about the bad weather in the Northeast. I almost don’t believe warm weather will ever get here and have a hard time thinking about buying spring/summer clothing. Although spring is technically here, weather plays a key factor in consumer behavior around seasonal purchases. Retailers should think about using geotargeting to get relevant messages regarding the spring arrivals to the right audiences. A little humor and personalization can go a long way with buyers.

 

Easter Spending to Increase This year: NRF

Retail Dive – March 24, 2015

Dive Brief:

  • Some 80% of American consumers are planning to spend on average $140.62 on candy and celebrations for Easter, a bit more than $137.46 last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • Total Easter spending could reach $16.4 billion, including purchases of clothing, decorations, candy, food, gifts, and flowers, according to the group’s Easter Spending Survey by Prosper Insights and Analytics.
  • The survey asked questions to consumers planning to celebrate the holiday and found that mobile is in play this year: 21.4 % of smartphone-wielding shoppers who also celebrate Easter will use them to research products and/or compare prices, and 13.5 % will use them to buy. About a quarter (24.9%) will research products and/or prices on tablets and 16.6% will buy on tablets.

https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/consumers-the-hunt-candy-new-spring-apparel-this-easter

My Thoughts: There are a number of factors that could contribute to an increase in projected Easter sales, including a stabilizing economy and the hope of warmer weather and the start of the spring shopping season. According to these findings from NRF, mobile will have a huge play with consumers for Easter this year – with over 21% of shoppers saying that they’ll planning to use smartphones to shop for the holiday. We’ll be taking a look at Easter shopping data and consumer shopping habits and look forward to seeing the trends this holiday season.