What’s Happening in Retail: May’s Biggest Stories

At Ketner Group, we are not ashamed to admit that we get a bit geeky when it comes to new retail stories and technology implementations. It seems like every week there are retailers that have made the move to make mobile or omni-channel technologies part of their business operations, feature stories on retail movers and shakers or ground-breaking research on what consumers want and expect from their favorite retailers and brands.

Here is a quick look at recent and notable retail stories from the past month:

RIS News – “The Five Most Powerful Women in Retail“
Recently reported in RIS News, women increasingly hold the top positions across the retail industry and are influencing society like never before. Forbes’ annual look at the most powerful women in the world is chock full of politicians, philanthropists, media personalities, technologists, and five retailers. The five retailers named to the coveted list were:

  • #64 Rosalind Brewer, CEO, Sam’s Club, Walmart Stores
  • #75 Miuciia Prada, owner, fashion designer, Prada
  • #76 Carol Meyrowitz, CEO, TJX
  • #79 Tory Burch, CEO, Tory Burch
  • #93 Sara Blakely, founder, Spanx

Retail Touchopoints – “EBay Urges Users To Change Passwords Following Database Hack”
Retail Touchpoints recently reported that E-Commerce giant eBay has confirmed that one of its databases was compromised by a cyberattack between late February and early March 2014. As a result, the company is asking users to change their account passwords as a precaution. he company said there is no evidence of unauthorized access to financial or credit card information, which is stored separately in encrypted formats, according to an announcement on the company blog. There has been no indication of increased fraudulent activity on the eBay site.

Internet Retailer – “China Officially Passes the U.S. in E-Commerce”
According to Internet Retailer and reports from China’s Ministry of Commerce, online retail sales in China totaled $296.57 billion in 2013, 13% more than U.S. e-retail sales of $262.51 billion. Official estimates of 2013 online retail sales, Chinese consumers now buy more online than do their U.S. counterparts.

Online retail sales in China in 2013 totaled 1.85 trillion yuan ($296.57 billion) in 2013, representing 41.2% growth from 2012—triple the growth rate of overall retail sales in China, according to the Ministry of Commerce. China’s online shopping total is 13.0% more than 2013 U.S. e-retail sales of $262.51 billion, which grew 16.9% in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Retail Customer Experience – “Target Forms New Digital Advisory Council”
Recently reported in Retail Customer Experience, Target Corp. announced it has formed a Digital Advisory Council. According to the company, the panel of technology industry leaders will help guide Target’s omnichannel strategies and push Target to innovate faster, and discover new ways to leverage technology to enhance the guest experience, both online and in stores. The council includes experts with varied tech backgrounds, and is comprised of:

  • Ajay Agarwal, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures;
  • Amy Chang, CEO/co-founder of Accompani; formerly led Google Analytics;
  • Roger Liew, CTO of Orbitz Worldwide; and
  • Sam Yagan, CEO of the Match Group and CEO/founder of OkCupid.

Mobile Marketing Magazine – Forrester Predicts $114bn of US Mobile Purchases During 2014
According to a recent Forrester report and reported in Mobile Marketing magazine, Purchases made on smartphones and tablets in the US will hit $114bn (£68bn) in 2014, according to a report from Forrester. Despite the lower number of regular tablet users than smartphone owners in the US – currently around 100m and 200m respectively – Forrester expects two-thirds of this revenue, $76bn, to come from tablets due to their larger screens and form factors better suited for shopping. It’s worth noting that mobile users making purchases on their devices are still in the minority – 38 per cent of smartphone owners and 31 per cent of tablet owners in 2014. However, those figures are expected to rise to 55 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively, pushing total mCommerce revenues in the US to $293bn.

Stay tuned next week for updates on the top news stories from the upcoming IRCE show. The Ketner Group team will be in Chicago for the annual event! If you are there, give us a shout @ [email protected].