News that caught our eye this month
It's All Golden
While Black Friday used to steal the holiday shopping show, the entire fourth quarter is now the golden child for retailers. The Golden Quarter’s holiday shopping days are now peaking as early as November 7 and whether it’s Singles Day, Cyber Monday or limited-time weekend deals and holiday sales, every retailer is trying to get in on the action. The late timing of Thanksgiving this year means there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018. That has retailers like Target, Amazon, Dell, Costco and Walmart amping up Black Friday efforts early with preview sales and early Black Friday deals.
It‘s not too late to review and revise your online holiday shopping strategy. SMITH’s team of eager elves is at the ready to offer up strategy suggestions and actionable tips to help you make the most of the 2019 shopping season.
Want a refresher on what Cyber Monday looked like last year? Read our 2018 rundown. Cyber Monday Breaks Records in 2018
Read more on Star Tribune
Going Mobile: WhatsApp Bypasses Web With New Catalog Feature
WhatsApp Business’ new Catalogs feature serves up a mobile storefront without the need for any web page at all. Catalog functionality allows WhatsApp Business users (there are already 5 million of them) to upload photos of the products they are selling through the app, fill in product details, and add a product or service code if desired. Catalog items can then be sent to customers in a WhatsApp chat message. This solution is hitting a particularly sweet spot in emerging markets, where new users are skipping computers and starting their online experience with a smartphone.
If your digital strategy doesn’t yet include messaging app functionality, you’re missing out on a potentially huge revenue stream. Chat with one of our SMITH commerce experts about how to pivot.
Read more on TechCrunch
Kohl’s Pulls Out All The Stops For A Christmas Miracle Of Its Own
Hopeful of turning around plummeting stock prices, Kohl’s is getting creative to turn things around for the store this holiday season. From a holiday NYC holiday pop up shop where customers can snap a virtual runway selfie with fashion designer, Vera Wang, to Snapchat tactics like AR window shopping, it’s all about enticing customers to buy no matter how they choose to shop.
Read more on AdAge
Today’s Mallrats Choose Food Over Fashion
With more and more consumers turning to online retailers for their clothing, the reasons they are spending time at shopping malls are changing. According to USB, in the last year the percentage of people who reported going to the mall to eat rose from 4% to 7%. As the mall shifts to become more of a hangout zone than a shopping space, watch for fresh takes on food hall concepts and new leisure activity options. New Jersey’s new American Dream Mall, for example, will be home to theme parks, a ski slope, miniature golf and an ice rink.
The social draws of real-world shopping seem to be particularly appealing to Gen Z’s. The under-22 set are less likely than both millennials and Gen X to shop online. In addition to seeing shopping as a form of entertainment, NDP Group thinks this group’s call to the mall may also be inspired by the fact that they lack credit cards and shopping funds.
Read more on CNBC
Let’s Gets Physical: Amazon Staffs Up For First Grocery Store
Amazon is making a play for a bigger chunk of the grocery market with the 2020 opening of its first grocery store. While news is limited, job postings are being advertised for its first store location in Woodland Hills, California. Unlike Amazon’s Go convenience stores, which are cashierless, the store will offer a conventional checkout line. Amazon’s strategy to expand its physical footprint is wise given that, according to research firm Brick Meets Click, online grocery shoppers prefer in-store pickup options to home delivery by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. With other stores reportedly on tap for Chicago and Philadelphia, this is sure to drive further disruption in the industry. Read more about our thoughts at SMITH on Digital Transformation in the Grocery Aisle.
Read More on Fortune