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Tablets driving online revenue for retailers, survey finds

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — With the digital age in full swing, many retailers have reported that their online sales are being boosted by orders made via a tablet, according to the 2012 "State of Retailing Online" survey from Shop.org and Forrester Research.

According to the survey, 49% of retailers said their average order value via a tablet now is higher than traditional Web sales, while nearly 3-in-10 (28%) retailers said they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website. When it came to actual sales retailers are reporting, the survey found tablet and smartphone sales as a percent of retailers’ total Web sales in 2011 were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively.

Despite these notable increases, 8-in-10 retailers said search and email are the top two drivers of a company’s Web traffic from either a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, retailers surveyed report that, on average, 20% of emails opened in a given campaign are opened on a mobile device. What’s more, when it comes to mobile marketing tools, the majority of retailers (75%) said that they have turned to QR codes and other barcode scanning options to serve as part of advertising and mobile marketing efforts within their stores.

Although many retailers have stepped up their game in the digital space, the survey found retailers still are adjusting to the sea of change that mobile is having on consumer shopping behavior, which, in turn, has influenced retailers’ marketing initiatives. In terms of marketing, retailers said that, on average, 3.9% of their total interactive marketing budgets this year are dedicated to mobile advertising, suggesting a strategy of testing and measuring consumer response.

"Retailers must continue to look for unique ways to elevate their brand in such a competitive market. Tablets and mobile devices offer the perfect answer, with opportunities to create specialized apps, drive Web sales and create an engaging and convenient shopping experience," Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell said. "Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers. With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns."

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Sam’s Club invests big in small business

BY Gail Hoffer

WASHINGTON — Sam’s Club has pledged more than $2 million in donations to nonprofits supporting small business growth. The announcement was made by Sam’s Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer.

"At Sam’s Club our small business owners are our partners, and we want to put our money where our mission is — which is to be agents for and support our members and the small business community," said Brewer, addressing guests at the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year awards luncheon at the Shoreham Hotel. "I realize that I have an incredible opportunity to lead Sam’s Club and to be an advocate for our small business owners in America. You are the heart and soul of our economy, and no one takes more risks and works harder every single day than those of you who are out there following your dreams and running your own businesses."

The luncheon was part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit, an annual event that draws small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to discuss common legislative and management concerns. More than 800 small business owners are attending the summit. Sam’s Club is a diamond sponsor of the event.

The organizations receiving funds are:

  • Accion in the U.S.: $520,674;

  • Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED): $349,545;

  • Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence: $750,000;

  • National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders: $250,000; and

  • Step Up for Small Business Challenge: $200,000.

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Walmart tops list of most valuable retail brands

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — Walmart topped the list of retailers on the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, according to a study commissioned by WPP Group and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor.

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study identifies and ranks the world’s most valuable 100 brands by their dollar value, an analysis based on financial data combined with consumer measures of brand equity.

Walmart earned its top spot (No. 17 out of all global brands) by rebalancing its portfolio between online and physical activity and offering mobile customers with no credit the opportunity to order goods direct from their phones and pay when they are picked up in store.

This strategy has helped Walmart move up one place in the retail ranking knocking Amazon from the top position despite a brand value decrease of 8%. Walmart’s brand is worth $34.4 billion, while Amazon’s brand declined by 9% and is now worth $34 billion.

Meanwhile, Target ranked No. 6 out of all retail brands, and No. 76 out of all brands, with a value of $10.5 million.

"Walmart was boosted by international expansion- including into Africa, one of the world’s fastest growing regions, through its acquisition of Massmart," said Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ director at Millward Brown. "The appeal of retail remains strong with traditional online only brands such as Amazon, now retail outlets, while Apple has rolled out its retail network well beyond a few flagship stores. Tesco has now slowed the pace of physical expansion and renewed its focus in the United Kingdom on customer service, recently announcing that it would be employing another 8,000 frontline staff.

Click here to access the full report.

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