Welcome to our new E-Commerce Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the e-commerce industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
WAL-MART’S STRATEGY: Wal-Mart’s retail and online strategy is changing rapidly. With nearly 11,000 Wal-Mart owned stores worldwide, the world’s largest retailer appears keen on dominating areas of the retail market that are difficult for e-commerce companies to penetrate, such as groceries and trade-in programs. A piece in Time Magazine yesterday highlighted how Wal-Mart is stepping up its efforts in several offline areas, including convenience stores, discount “dollar” stores, price-matching on groceries, and a used video game trade-in programs.
Wal-Mart recently launched online tool, “Savings Catcher,” which allows consumers to compare Wal-Mart’s prices on groceries with those of competing local supermarkets. Only 20% of Americans purchased groceries online in 2013, meaning Wal-Mart’s competition in this space is mainly bricks-and-mortars. Wal-Mart also launched a trade-in program for customers to exchange old video games for store credit, a direct threat to GameStop and Best Buy.
These initiatives are important to Wal-Mart because so much of its business is still offline. While it continues to invest in e-commerce, the retailer is also clearly seeking to shore up its advantages in physical retail. (Time)
WAL-MART’S LOW INCOME CUSTOMER BASE: In its newly released annual report, Wal-Mart cited changes to taxpayer-funded social assistance programs in the U.S. as a potential risk factor to its overall business. Wal-Mart’s discounted merchandise appeals to low-income consumers, so it’s no surprise that the world’s largest retailer benefits when social assistance programs such as food stamps are well-funded. However, Wal-Mart has never acknowledged this risk factor in an official statement before. (International Business Times)
AMAZON LAUNCHES MERCHANT ADS FOR MOBILE: Amazon is making it easier for merchants to advertise to shoppers on mobile devices. The e-commerce giant is now including merchant ads in search results on mobile devices. The sponsored search results are intended to give merchants more visibility and to stand out from competitors who are also selling products on Amazon. Nearly one-third of visitors to Amazon websites are mobile-only, so the new ad type is expected to drive more impressions and clicks for Amazon’s advertisers. (eCommerce Bytes)
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WENDY’S ROLLS OUT MOBILE PAYMENTS: All of Wendy’s U.S. locations now accept mobile payments. The fast food chain said it wants to understand how Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other types of technology can enhance its restaurant experience. (Mobile Commerce Daily)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re not expecting 50 per cent of our business to convert over to mobile pay in the next month. We think that this will grow slowly like credit cards grew slowly, but we know that in order to be a player in the space, you have to provide the technology people are wanting, and this is the sort of technology people are asking us for.” — Brandon Rhoten, vice president of digital at Wendy’s.
BRIGHTTAG HIRES JOE STANHOPE: Digital marketing firm BrightTag has hired market research vet Joe Stanhope to be its new senior vice president of marketing. BrightTag helps retailers collect and analyse cross-channel customer data. Its clients include Gap, Macy’s, Sephora, Banana Republic, 1-800-Flowers.com, and other top retailers. Stanhope is a former principal research analyst at Forrester where he covered cross-channel marketing. (Internet Retailer)
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