This week in eCommerce big news from one of the retail categories that has lagged behind when it comes to solidifying an online presence; luxury retail. It was announced this week that luxury handbag maker Coach plans to acquire luxury shoemaker Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC from Sycamore Partners, in a massive deal for two brands that have both seen growing eCommerce success. Amazon’s recent string of job-postings for a some-what vague, but not so secretive, new platform they’re developing stirs rumours that they’re cornering the market on the rise of the at home inventor-entrepreneur. Square Cash, the app that lets users transfer money between phones integrated Apple’s Touch ID technology, finally allowing users to authorize transfers with their individual fingerprints. Customer expectations have changed with the rise of omnichannel retailing, but retailers are struggling to keep-up with the challenges presented by services like in-store pick-up. For all the details from this week’s newsmakers read-on below:
Slowly but surely the luxury retail category, and its biggest players, have started to focus in on web sales. In an announcement made this week, the world’s largest handbag maker, Coach, plans to buy a rapidly growing luxury footwear maker, Stuart Weiztman; who both have made significant investments in their eCommerce operations recently. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Coach’s acquisition of Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC from Sycamore Partners could be worth as much as $574 million. It’s estimated that Coach sold an estimated $401.5 million via its web site in 2013, while Stuart Weitzman hired eBay Inc. veteran Monica Schwartz fill the new role of chief global digital and eCommerce officer and are now seeing 25% of their offering sold online. The acquisition of Stuart Weitzman will hopefully bolster Coach’s offering, while ensuring both brands see growing success selling online.
The eCommerce giant is making some slightly secretive moves lately. In a string of job postings seen online it appears Amazon is looking to fulfill roles for, “the world’s best end-to-end platform for startups”. In a job posting for a Senior Manager of Product Management, Amazon is shopping for personnel to lead a venture where the customer will be startup entrepreneurs. Amazon already caters to entrepreneurs with both a 3-D printing online store and a wearable-technology online store, this platform appears to be the next step in a plan to corner this market. Amazon’s response to all the buzz? – “[Amazon does not] comment on rumours and speculation.”
Apple has long been making use of its Touch ID technology, for uses such as unlocking your phone’s screen and authenticating payment apps. Now Square Cash, the app that lets users transfer money between mobile devices – and more notably in a deal with application Snapchat allows its users to transfer money in-app – has added the ability to authenticate money transfers using Touch ID. This feature is available to later versions of the iPhone, and will be completely free of charge. Many hope that we’ll see a mass adoption of mobile payment solutions, revolutionizing the way consumers pay, however in comparison to actual cash these new technologies still have a lot of catching-up to do.
Retailers Struggle to Handle the Demands of Omnichannel
Customer want convenience and retailers are more than happy to adapt to oblige, but in-store pick-up is presenting a challenge for omnichannel retailers. In short offering the ability for customers to pick up their online orders in-store is an operational and logistical nightmare for retailers. While customers these days have high expectations, retailer also have made some pretty aggressive promises. For example, of a survey group of 3000 US shoppers more than half say they expect their orders to be ready for in-store pick-up in two hours or less; to that expectation, Best Buy made the bold promise that online orders would be ready for pick-up within 20 minutes. The offer of in-store pick-up isn’t simple for retailer, as it requires them to have real-time inventory data, sufficient staff, and designated areas to pass off the orders to the customer. Despite the headache that in-store pick-up is causing retailers, they’ll have to adapt to changing consumer demands!