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Survey: Most e-commerce companies expect better holiday sales

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

Dallas — A survey released Tuesday by Chase Paymentech, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., found that online companies are expecting the 2012 holiday shopping season to be better than last year.

According to the Chase Paymentech eHoliday Shopping Monitor, 59% of e-commerce companies surveyed expect better sales volume this season than in 2011, while almost half (47%) expect it to be better than pre-recession levels in 2007.

This survey arrives ahead of the Chase Holiday Pulse, which, for the seventh year, will present actual aggregated daily payment processing activity for 50 U.S. online retailers.

“E-commerce payment activity provides a unique window into the country’s economic health during the busiest shopping season of the year,” said Mike Duffy, president of Chase Paymentech.  

Nearly half (45%) of the companies surveyed expect to see an increase in their e-commerce sales over last year, and 53% expect their e-commerce holiday sales to remain similar to last year. On average, these companies expect more than half (51%) of their holiday sales to come from e-commerce. While the e-commerce cash register rings, mobile commerce is expected to account for only 6% of holiday sales.

However, nearly half (45%) do not believe average ticket prices will change from last year and only 39%) expect average ticket prices to be higher.

Despite the expectations for a strong shopping season, the e-commerce companies surveyed expect that they will face some marketing challenges over the coming months. More than half (52%) indicated “reaching new customers” would be “significantly challenging,” followed by “offering competitive pricing” (25%) and “reaching return customers” (23%).

Of those who plan to use digital promotions, companies said Facebook (86%) and Twitter (70%) are the social media sites they plan to use most to reach customers.

The vast majority (65%) surveyed believe the 2012 shopping season will have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Overall, 80% say the U.S. economy will either remain the same or improve over the next 12 months, compared with only 20% expecting conditions to get worse.

 

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Supermarket industry vets Richard Juliano, Austin Noll join Park City Group board

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City Group, a provider of consumer goods supply chain technology, has tapped food industry insiders Austin Noll Jr. and Richard Juliano to serve on its board. Peter Brennan, who has served on the board since 2009, has announced his retirement from the board for personal reasons. All moves are effective immediately.

The group represents all areas of the retail grocery, convenience, foodservice and discount channels, as well as trading partners and industry groups.

“The addition of Rich and Austin creates a powerhouse board of directors, extending our already impressive reach into retailers, distributors and manufacturers throughout the industry. Through these relationships, we now have access to most of the key executives at leading food and supermarket companies across the country and will use these connections to expand our footprint in the sector,” stated Randall Fields, chairman and CEO of Park City Group.

Juliano currently is engaged with the Radian Group, based in Minneapolis, and operates his own consulting firm. He began his career with Giant Eagle Super Markets, becoming the SVP and general manger of the GM/HBC division and then SVP merchandising and marketing of the Phar-Mor division. Juliano then served as EVP at Thrifty Payless Drug and VP marketing and merchandising at Genuardis Family Markets in Philadelphia. Most recently, he was a senior executive at Supervalu, joining the company as EVP supply chain services for the central region and then moving to the corporate retail group as VP of GM/HBC, and ultimately group VP center store merchandising.

Noll is the owner of Austin Noll & Associates, a trade relations and industry affairs consultancy based in New Jersey. Noll started his career with General Foods, spending 22 years in sales related positions. He then became VP trade relations for the grocery division of Borden and was promoted to VP industry and trade relations, before moving to Nabisco as SVP industry and trade relations.

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Former Walgreens exec Catherine Lindner named NEW board chair

BY Antoinette Alexander

DALLAS — The Network of Executive Women has elected Catherine Lindner, former VP retail marketing for Walgreens, to serve as board chair.

Lindner was elected at the network’s annual members meeting at the NEW Leadership Summit on Oct. 22 in Dallas. More than 1,000 industry executives attended the event.

Annie Zipfel, division VP customer marketing for retailer REI, was elected board vice chair. Zipfel most recently served as the network’s chair of marketing and communications.

"Catherine Lindner’s experience as a senior leader in one of the most successful retail companies and previous roles working with the industry’s largest consumer products companies will help take NEW to the next level," said NEW president and CEO Joan Toth. "Her passion and enthusiasm for developing women leaders and keen dedication to our mission to recruit, retain and advance women in the consumer products and retail industry is absolute."

As VP retail marketing for Walgreens, Lindner was responsible for marketing strategy, planning and execution for the $22 billion retail business. Lindner joined Walgreens in 1999 as category manager for the hair care category and served in roles of increasing responsibility. Lindner led Walgreens’ participation in the Retail Commission on Shopper Marketing. The commission of 28 retailers, manufacturers and agency partners developed a process for shopper marketing engagement designed to streamline the development of programs between retailers and manufacturers. Before joining Walgreens, Lindner spent 11 years at Information Resources. She held several positions in marketing mix modeling, client services and category management consulting, including VP tactical sales consulting, managing a team responsible for creating fact-based category plans for both manufacturers and retailers. Lindner helped found NEW Chicago.

At REI, Zipfel is responsible for customer insights, marketing planning, acquisition and retention initiatives, across all channels. Prior to this, Zipfel served as VP owned brands for Target. She has spent her entire career in consumer products brand management and retail, including roles at General Mills.

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