Direct-to-Customer Commerce

Icon

Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

The Impact of Omni-channel on Retail

The Wall Street Journal published a story this week about Macy’s, which focuses mostly only the perceived impact that an omni-channel strategy is having on their business, going forward.  It’s worth reading here. (subscription required)

What struck me in this story is the twist on the concept of localization.

Most of my conversations with ecommerce folks, in which “localization” comes up, the subject is a reference to localizing a web site to a country.  And, of course, the resulting need for translation, alternate payment processing methods, separating inventory, separating marketing campaigns.  All to be expected.

What Macy’s professes to recognizing is that a store in Fairfax, Virginia (where I live) may demand a different inventory and different marketing than a store in Dallas, Texas.

Now, we’ve all recognized those type of differences — up to a point.

But with the tools available to us now, we can buy uniquely for each store, vary marketing by micro-segment, and attempt to match available inventory (and by extension our merchandising & buying tactics) to these clearly identifiable segments.

But where is the balance … can we focus one segments that are so small, we cannot manage to them profitably? And if that’s true, then what is the smallest segment we should isolate to maximize profitability?

A whole new form of optimization!

 

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, multichannel commerce, Opinion, , , , , , , , , ,

How to use Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

This headline is taken from a post you can find here.

The younger your customer base, the more important it is that you pursue this strategy.  Granted, it’s not exclusively relevant to younger customers.

In additional to the Social Media, you should also add SMS capability to your customer service arsenal (if I can use that term).  I’m sure you’ve noticed how many younger people use the phone less for talking than for texting.

That’s a trend you should not fight … instead, go with it.

While I don’t think you can avoid using social media for customer service — over the long term — I’d also push people towards texting, if you can.  After all, texting is at least private, by default.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, , , , ,

Dept of Commerce stats on Electronic & Mail Order Sales for 2012

The Dept of Commerce has released it’s final report on Retail Sales for 2012.  Below is a graph of the monthly report for Total Retail Sales (the blue line against the left axis) and Electronic & Mail Order Sales (the green bars against the right axis).

Total Retail sales grew 3.7 percent, over 2011, and totaled just short of 4.9 trillions dollars.  Electronic & Mail Order Sales grew 13.2 percent, over 2011, and totaled 324.4 billion dollars.  Electronic & Mail Order Sales represent 7.4 percent of Total Retail Sales.

I don’t want to over analyze what all of this means.  But it is clear that Electronic & Mail Order Sales (what I call Direct Commerce) is growing faster than Retail Sales over all.  And the growth curves changed noticeably, at the beginning of the last recession (late 2008)

Retail Sales by Month

 

Filed under: Direct Commerce, News, , , , ,

Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Will Shake Up Retail

The title of this post is the headline of an article posted at Ecommerce Times on Jan 17, 2013.  Here’s a link.

The article points out the very convenient solution Amazon can provide in some high-density markets for customers who are willing to pay for the convenience of not having to actually go to a store themselves for something they need today.

The author then proceeds to describe some of the warehouse systems, which Amazon uses to facilitate their same-day delivery service, including a reference to Kiva Systems.  Kiva Systems provides robots for use in the Pick & Pack process of direct-to-customer fulfillment centers.  It’s a great systems … I met with the founder when he was looking for both initial funding and early clients (back in 2003 or so).

But we need to keep this “same day delivery” thing in some context.

According to data from the Department of Commerce, under the category of Retail Sales, Mail Order and Ecommerce Sales still amounts to only seven percent of total retail sales … yes, 7%.

Now, that’s still a significant number.  And for some retailers, it may even account for a major percentage of their annual profit.

Please take note that in most direct commerce research, “free shipping” remains among the most effective promotions.

But given that same day delivery will only appeal to the more affluent, for whom delivery cost is not as significant as convenience, and given that all direct commerce accounts for only 7% of total retail sales … it’s somewhat of a stretch to say that same day delivery will “shake up” retail.

A bit too much hyperbole, for me

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Opinion, , , , , , , ,

Pages

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 27 other followers

2016 ElectionsNovember 8th, 2016
Get ready!
February 2013
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728