Since Pokémon Go’s surge in popularity in the US following the app’s launch this month, many retailers are now looking to seize marketing opportunities while the app is still trending, reports Reuters.

The app looks like it may be set to challenge young internet companies that specialize in increasing foot traffic for small businesses, and may play a role in major brand marketing.

The game, which requires players to walk around real-life neighborhoods to hunt for virtual Pokémon characters on their smartphones, has more than 65 million users in the US after launching in the first week.

The game is already playing a part in boosting foot traffic for restaurants, coffee shops and small retailers.

A pizza bar in Long Island City in New York claims that its sales jumped 75% over the weekend, by activating a lure model feature that attracts virtual Pokémon characters to the store.

The store manager only paid $10 to have a dozen Pokémon characters placed at the location.

This level of instant effect could become a potential threat for companies like Living Social Inc. and Foursquare, and other companies which have revolutionized online marketing for smaller businesses.

People born in the 1980s and 90s  grew up with Pokémon. It’s approachable and reassuring and that’s why it’s gone from zero to millions of users in just a few days.

The app has a chance to disrupt others as there has not been a geo-location social platform that can lure in so many people at once. With Pokémon Go, it is bypassing a lot of the digital marketing channels that brick and mortar shops have been relying on for the past few years.

Pokémon Go users are spending more time in virtual reality than on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, according to SimilarWeb.

The thing with overnight hype is that it can eventually fizzle out. Retailers should capitalize the Pokémon Go trend before it becomes a phase that nostalgic adults claim they played for a month or so.

A version of this appeared in Reuters on July 13. Read the full version here.

In the world of luxury clothing brands, there are two that stand out: Burberry and Hermès. Both brands enjoy a longstanding history within the fashion world, but they differ greatly in ecommerce offerings, according to econsultancy.

Burberry is a brand that gets it right. The brand offers a digital experience that perfectly aligns with its design; creating a sleek and modern feel to the website. The bold visuals are integrated with interactive elements that easily captures the attention of an online browser. Here’s what Burberry did right and how Hermès can improve:

1. Compelling visual design

Burberry succeeds at creating innovative product pages that sets it apart from competitors. Product images are shot on a consistent backdrop, with elements of the products in clear view. This function makes it possible to see small details without zooming in.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermes

Burberry offers detailed product info without the clutter. Source: econsultancy

One unique feature that Burberry manages to utilize is the use of larger image tiles, which elevates the visual experience. supplementary product details are sectioned off so consumers can quickly find the information they are looking for.

Burberry also reduces the footprint of any product recommendation display and aligns it off center to not distract from the main product while still offering the option.

2. Consistent brand experience offline and online

Burberry manages to provide consumers with a platform that tells an engaging, interactive story about the brand. They infuse content and commerce to create an online experience similar to visiting a physical store.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermès

The ‘acoustic’ section adds an element of personalization and offers an engaging visual story. Source: econsultancy

The website has an ‘acoustic’ section where up and coming musicians perform in natural environments while dressed in Burberry clothing, without any feelings of ‘hard sell’.

3. Easy-to-navigate website 

Brands often feature an extensive product line-up, so categorizing each product can be challenging. This can make it difficult for consumers to navigate through the website without a good UX design.

Burberry succeeds at providing online shoppers with a simplified site. The search bar on the left hand side of the site is very easy to navigate and organizes products by category/collection.

Hermès, however, provides a slightly different online experience.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermes

The homepage instantly calls for a divide between store and commerce experience. Source: econsultancy

Hermès makes a stark divide between online and offline, forcing shoppers to pick instead of allowing them to soak in the entire brand experience.

4. Creativity is balanced with functionality

Hermès is a brand that goes far in differentiating their sites from competition, but it ends up being confusing. The homepage looks more like an art gallery than a brand store, with its hand drawn images and lack of product description.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermes

The product page lacks commerce functions. Source: econsultancy

5. Robust product pages

There is a lack of information in Hermès’ product pages. Product descriptions consist of a few words such as ” Printed Beach Towel”. Images are presented on sketches and not on models, which doesn’t translate well for commerce.

It could be said that this approach may resonate with the Hermès’ loyal customers, but will fail to engage the brand with new customers in an increasingly competitive digital commerce landscape. However, another way to look at this is to recognize that Hermès is an exclusive high-end luxury brand that promotes the ‘waiting list’ culture or in-store browsing experience. The brand expects its customers to understand its vision, which is why it fails to adopt traditional ‘boring’ product pages or craft an interactive story on the homepage.

A version of this appeared in econsultancy on July 6. Read the full version here.

Amazon To Add Six Fulfillment Centers Across India

Inside Amazon India’s fulfillment center. Source: Industrytap.com

US ecommerce giant Amazon, has announced that it will be building six new fulfillment centers across India reports The Economic Times.

The additional six facilities will be built to accommodate the upcoming festive season sales, which will likely cause a surge in orders. The six centers will be scattered across Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai, adding onto the company’s existing ten centers in cities such as Nadu, Delhi and Punjab.

They will enable and boost capacity of SMEs in terms of expanding their customer base on a bigger scale. Smaller businesses will have access to Amazon’s infrastructure and deliver their goods to the company’s fulfillment center without having to worry about product packing and shipping. Outsourcing their products to Amazon fulfillment centers will therefore save inventory costs while they pay the company for storage space and fulfilled orders.

With the addition of the new fulfillment centers, Amazon’s operational FCs will have a storage close to 2.5 million square feet.

Amazon has recently overtaken its local ecommerce competitors in web traffic, whilst making significant investments in the country (around $5 billion) and owning 15% of the market share, as reported by Forbes. The company has also bought a stake in local player Snapdeal, which accounts for more than 70% of marketshare with Flipkart.

Amazon’s strategy of leveraging an upcoming festive season sale should prove to be successful as ecommerce sales tend to increase during festive seasons across the world, whether Ramadan in the Middle East or Black Fridays in North America.

The company’s commitment to opening 16 fulfillment centers in India highlights the demand for outsource fulfillment amongst smaller businesses who may be reluctant to invest in their own logistics and supply chain facilities.

A version of this article appeared in The Economic Times on July 7. Read the full version here.

Amazon's Prime Day

Source : tomsguide.com

Amazon’s inaugural Prime Day, the company’s global discount shopping event for members only, triggered an avalanche of e-retailing activity that benefited the entire ecommerce industry and created the fourth-busiest online shopping day of the year from a traffic perspective.

SimilarWeb’s news report ‘America’s Online Shopping Frenzy’ shows that Amazon’s web traffic jumped 44.9% on last year’s Prime Day from the previous day’s figure, but that was only the third-largest traffic increase recorded that day among the 25 e-retailers in the study. Wal-Mart, which ran a competing promotion during last year’s Prime Day event, recorded at 61.9% traffic boost that day and Macy’s was close behind with a 58.4% traffic spike.

The data also revealed that these top 25 online retailers in the US recorded 179 million visits between desktop and mobile devices during last year’s Prime Day, a huge increase from their daily averages. Here’s how that compares to what the traffic these web merchants received on the other major online shopping days:

Black Friday (Nov. 27): 274 million visits

Cyber Monday (Nov. 30): 261 million visits

Thanksgiving (Nov. 26): 243 million visits

Prime Day (July 15): 179 million visits

In Southeast Asia, marketplaces such as Lazada could be considered as online competitors of e-retailers but the report reveals that a surge of traffic on a marketplace for a special sale day such as Lazada’s Online Revolution, triggers an avalanche of ecommerce activity for the rest of the online industry.

Amazon is stepping up its promotion for its second Prime Day promotion this year July 12, other retailers have reason to hope for its success as well.

A version of this appeared in Internet Retailer on July 6. Read the full article here.