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Walmart, Target report strong online Thanksgiving sales

Big box retailers Walmart and Target reported strong online sales from Thanksgiving and early Black Friday. Target said by 9 a.m. Friday “online sales had already exceeded total sales from the same day last year.”

Walmart said on Friday that its online Thanksgiving sales were record breaking, and second only to its Cyber Monday sales in 2013.

“Throughout the day, we welcomed more than 22 million customers to our stores — that’s more than the number of people who visit Disneyland in an entire year — and our associates served them with pride. During our big events, our cashiers had nearly every register open. And once again, we delivered safer, exciting events for our customers,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart SVP of merchandising, in a statement.

The National Retail Federation said that overall shopper traffic was down 5.2% from last year from Thanksgiving through the weekend.

Cyber Monday sales expected to dip

NRF said that 126.9 million consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday, down from 131.5 million last year, according to a survey conducted this weekend by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

With good deals extending past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers may not have urgency to buy right away. Target, for instance, is continuing its deep holiday discounts for a week and waiving shipping fees through Dec. 20.

“For today’s shopper, every day is ‘Cyber Monday,’ and consumers want and expect great deals, especially online, throughout the entire holiday season — and they know retailers will deliver,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay, in a statement.

“Retailers will still offer unique deals exclusive to Cyber Monday, but consumers also know shopping on Cyber Monday won’t be their last chance to find low prices and exclusive promotions.”


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According to the Shop.org eHoliday survey, 97.6% of online retailers are offering special Cyber Monday promotions. More than 19% of shoppers will use their mobile devices to shop Cyber Monday, and almost 85% will use their desktop computers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that brick-and-mortar stores have been cutting prices to compete with online retailers like Amazon.

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Online shopping barriers slowly dissolve

It’s no surprise that my fellow IdeaXchanger and industry visionary Bill Bishop already eloquently weighed in on the potential growth of online shopping transforming the grocery business in much the same way we have seen it impact other areas of retail.

As we know, there are multiple barriers associated with shopping and getting grocery products delivered to the home. Slowly, we are seeing each one of these potentially be removed and this could open the floodgates to a new wave of online growth.

A few recent news articles caught my attention that are demonstrations of such trends:

Waitrose, the terrific UK grocer, has debuted a device called Hiku that will enable users to scan barcodes at home, with shopping baskets for online delivery being automatically created. This is a product of their Innovation lab, which is also a great idea. Of course, Amazon has a similar concept called Dash that enables the same. Easily helping customers with list development and subscription services to replenish frequently purchased goods are examples of removing barriers on the customer end of creating their lists.

Instacart continues to aggressively expand in the U.S. They just added an excellent grocer in the Chicago area, Sunset Foods, to their roster of clients which includes retailers such as Whole Foods, Kroger and Costco in selected cities. Instacart is trying to solve the problem of “the last mile,” getting groceries to the customers’ homes. Through the crowdsourcing of drivers, Instacart is attempting to bring down the cost ($ 3.99) and time (promises of one-hour delivery at times) to address the very expensive process of home delivery.

Walmart is piloting a dedicated pickup service near their headquarters that allows customers to drive through and never leave their car. We have talked about the explosion of similar services at the big hypermarket chains in France.

AmazonFresh announced their expansion into the Northeast, offering annual fee-based home delivery that is linked to their Prime service.

• Our Korean client, Emart, is aggressively rolling out home delivery, building smaller dedicated depots to help automate the picking process.

While all of these ideas have their challenges in implementation, it is fairly clear that the efforts to make on-line grocery shopping mainstream is continuing to gain momentum.

What are your on-line plans? Even if you prefer to wait out the experimentation, it won’t be long until some of these ideas become mainstream.

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Ready or not, here comes online grocery

Leading department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s expect most of their growth in the next few years to come from online shopping, not from their traditional stores. The same is true for home improvement operators like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do food retailers understand they face a similar future? I think many underestimate the impact that online food and grocery sales will have on their business.

Look at what grocery shoppers are doing

Brick Meets Click research sees a significant increase in online grocery shopping in the next 10 years.Recently updated Brick Meets Click consumer research found that 1 in 10 grocery shoppers had bought at least some grocery items online in the previous 30 days. This translates to about 4% of today’s total grocery spending. If current trends, activity and investment continue, we forecast that online shopping will account for between 11% and 17% of grocery spending in most U.S. markets within 10 years.

Today, online grocery growth is driven by highly focused online food retailers like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods and Artizone, who are doing a good job of serving the needs of particularly well-defined market niches. It will grow even faster when the big operators start expanding their online programs – when Walmart rolls out “click and collect” to more than 4,000 stores, Amazon Fresh moves into new markets, or Google rapidly expands their Shopping Express service to grocery retailers.

How will you respond?

Some don’t believe this major disruptor is going to affect their grocery market, but I do. So I’m asking, “What are you doing to get ready for the inevitable?”

For more information, you can download BMC’s online grocery forecast paper from our site.

Supermarket News

Ready or not, here comes online grocery

Leading department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s expect most of their growth in the next few years to come from online shopping, not from their traditional stores. The same is true for home improvement operators like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do food retailers understand they face a similar future? I think many underestimate the impact that online food and grocery sales will have on their business.

Look at what grocery shoppers are doing

Brick Meets Click research sees a significant increase in online grocery shopping in the next 10 years.Recently updated Brick Meets Click consumer research found that 1 in 10 grocery shoppers had bought at least some grocery items online in the previous 30 days. This translates to about 4% of today’s total grocery spending. If current trends, activity and investment continue, we forecast that online shopping will account for between 11% and 17% of grocery spending in most U.S. markets within 10 years.

Today, online grocery growth is driven by highly focused online food retailers like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods and Artizone, who are doing a good job of serving the needs of particularly well-defined market niches. It will grow even faster when the big operators start expanding their online programs – when Walmart rolls out “click and collect” to more than 4,000 stores, Amazon Fresh moves into new markets, or Google rapidly expands their Shopping Express service to grocery retailers.

How will you respond?

Some don’t believe this major disruptor is going to affect their grocery market, but I do. So I’m asking, “What are you doing to get ready for the inevitable?”

For more information, you can download BMC’s online grocery forecast paper from our site.

Supermarket News

Online retailer uses unexpected marketing tactic

Relay Foods may be an online retailer, but its main marketing campaign isn’t a digital one.

“Incredibly, we spend the vast majority of our marketing dollars on a team of about 40 people that go door to door and evangelize Relay — so the most offline marketing campaign that you can have, just like the sales people from the 50s,” said co-founder and president Arnie Katz during an Expo East workshop in Baltimore on Thursday.

“We found that works the best. There’s something about our brand that is very nostalgic.”

Danielle Gould, Food + Tech Connect; Aihui Ong, Love With Food; Chad Arnold, Door-to-Door Organics; Arnie Katz, Relay Foods.Katz went as far to say that customers are looking for the “milkman” experience with his company.

While a man attending the panel commented that this is an odd pairing — an e-commerce company with in-person customer recruitment — the more I think about it, the more the model doesn’t seem that strange.

Relay Foods is a premium retailer after all, one that has local, organic and specialty products. The same customers that are attracted to these types of foods also like to feel connected to the companies they buy from. What better way to connect with them than face to face?

In fact, the importance of personal connections came up again when a woman from the audience complimented panelist Chad Arnold, president and CEO of e-commerce retailer Door-to-Door Organics.

The woman said that she loves how friendly the customer service people are on the phone when she calls about an order.

Retailers of all types — brick-and-mortar included — should take note of the way these small online retailers are combining convenience with a personal, friendly touch.

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