“Will Americans get started earlier or later this year on their Christmas shopping?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

“Will Americans get started earlier or later this year on their Christmas shopping?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

A Salesforce survey reported by Practical Ecommerce found that 37 percent of consumers anticipate starting to shop for the holidays early this year. According to that article, customers may shift their Christmas spending from the big seasonal shopping holidays (like Black Friday and Cyber Monday) back into October or earlier to avoid spending a lot of money all at once.  On the other hand, Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, anticipates customers shopping later this holiday season than they have been in the previous years of the pandemic. After an earnings report, Ms. Barry told reporters on a call that, whereas over the past two years customers shopped early due to concerns about stockouts, this year would be more like pre-pandemic holiday seasons with shopping throughout November and December, Bloomberg reported. Best Buy plans to maintain its promotional discounts through those months, as the chain anticipates a more value-conscious customer this Christmas due to inflation. Last year surveys from RetailMeNot and AlixPartners both found U.S. consumers planning to shop earlier in the season for holiday gifts. The July 2021 RetailMeNot survey found that 19 percent of shoppers said they planned to begin their holiday shopping in August or earlier, 30 percent said they would shop earlier than in 2020 and 66 percent said they wanted to get their holiday shopping done as early as possible.  Walmart’s 2022 Top Toy List Is Here With the Hottest Toys This Holiday Season – Walmart press releaseBeneath Walmart’s Top Toy List, a Retail Price, Inventory and Payment War Is Brewing – PYMNTSInflation May Lead to Early Christmas Shopping – Practical Ecommerce Best Buy Has Good News for Inflation-Wary Shoppers: Holiday Deals Are...
“Transactional reward programs are easy, but do they build customer loyalty?” by Tara Kirkpatrick via Retail Wire

“Transactional reward programs are easy, but do they build customer loyalty?” by Tara Kirkpatrick via Retail Wire

Another day, another retail loyalty program launch. Bath & Body Works earlier this week debuted its “new” rewards program, which was soft-launched in July after it began testing in March. Bath & Body Works joins a slew of retailers and brands, including Lowe’s, Walmart and General Mills, that are doubling down on rewards to encourage customer loyalty in the face of rising prices. Is it a sustainable route to routine spending? Navigate to bathandbodyworks.com and a splash screen incentivizes downloading the app to access the rewards program. “PERK ALERT: ALL NEW REWARDS MEMBERS GET $10 OFF A $30 PURCHASE! (Offer and details will be in your Wallet within 72 hours of joining),” it reads. App downloads jumped 147 percent in the first two days of launch, according to our findings, but it will take a couple of months before engagement can be observed. On its face, Bath & Body Works rewards look similar to Sephora Beauty Insider rewards: both programs enable customers to earn points with every dollar spent. Sephora notably, however, does not focus its program on “transactional loyalty” or “doing whatever it takes to make the next sale, which usually hinges on a discount,” as the retailer’s VP of loyalty, Allegra Stanley told Forbes in 2020. Sephora did not join the bandwagon of rewards program updates this year; instead, it launched another digital experience to encourage loyalty, “auto-replenish,” or subscription refills of products. In July, it went further, partnering with Klarna to offer buy now, pay later for auto-replenish subscriptions. Arguably both subscriptions and rewards programs are oversaturated and require delicate design to drive value for both the consumer and the business itself....
“Will the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ model overcome economic and regulatory challenges?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“Will the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ model overcome economic and regulatory challenges?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) services, such as Affirm, Afterpay, Clearpay and Klarna, saw explosive adoption as e-commerce upshifted into a higher gear during the pandemic, but are now facing questions over their sustainability against a tide of rising interest rates, inflation and regulatory threats. The services let shoppers defer payments to a later date or break up purchases into interest-free installments. Rising interest rates narrow already-thin margins for BNPL providers. Their profitability is dependent on their own borrowing rates being much lower than the fees charged to merchants for their service. Soaring inflation and concerns about a possible recession are making consumers more apprehensive about purchasing the big ticket items best suited for extended payments. Finally, the fast growth of the largely-unregulated BNPL space has been drawing more scrutiny from state and federal authorities over concerns that consumers are not aware of the large late fees that can accumulate. Regardless, many consumers discovered the benefits of BNPL’s flexible payment options and avoiding the financial commitments involved with credit cards, even on lower ticket items. Experian’s “Global Insights Report,” based on a survey of 6,000 consumers globally in March, found that 18 percent had used BNPL in the past six months. Fifty-seven percent said they believe BNPL could replace their credit card and 71 percent perceive BNPL as secure. In the U.S, 80 percent of respondents use BNPL to avoid credit card debt. GlobalData’s report, “Buy Now Pay Later – Thematic Research,” which came out in late May, found BNPL expanding from $33 billion in 2019 to $120 billion in 2021, driven by greater adoption by merchants including Amazon and Shopify. GlobalData predicts BNPL sales will increase nearly five-fold to...
“Will Yeezy find it easy to operate stores?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

“Will Yeezy find it easy to operate stores?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

Sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts may soon have a new brick-and-mortar store to visit. YZYSPLY, the sneaker and apparel company of sometimes-controversial rapper, producer and fashion entrepreneur Kanye West, has filed a trademark hinting that a physical storefront for the brand could be on the way. The trademark provides the foundation to let the brand expand from “online ordering services” and “online retail ordering services” to brick-and-mortar “retail stores” and “retail store services,” according to Hypebeast. In addition to sneakers, the filing mentions the availability of clothing and accessories, such as lingerie, t-shirts and hats. Mr. West’s branded Yeezy shoes and clothing are produced via partnerships with Adidas AG and Gap Inc., and in 2021 the brand was worth between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. His exclusive, collector-oriented sneaker line is known in particular for its limited-release drops. The sneakers are so sought after that purchasing most releases requires winning a raffle, according to Sneaker News. Physical sneaker retail has undergone a big shakeup over the past few years, as top brand Nike began withdrawing from some of its biggest wholesale relationships and significantly throttling back what is available through others. Nike has stated that its move away from wholesale is intended to pare down its “undifferentiated” retail partners as it simultaneously focuses on selling via its direct-to-consumer channels. The brand has long had a footprint of standalone Nike stores through which it sells its products. It also orchestrates drops and other exclusive selling events through its popular Nike SNKRS app. Nike’s change in plans earlier this year left Foot Locker, a major sneakerhead destination and Nike co-opetitor, looking for other partnerships to...
“Do mental illness and retail entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“Do mental illness and retail entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Andy Dunn selfie from June, 2018 – Source: Twitter/@dunn In his book, “Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind,” Bonobos co-founder and former CEO Andy Dunn opens up about his bipolar disorder diagnosis, exploring the inherent challenges as well as how it fueled his entrepreneurial spirit. On the positive side, Mr. Dunn writes in the book that his “controlled hypomania” helped him work long days and generate “kinetic positive energy” to inspire his staff, recruits and innovation. He writes, “Everything is clicking, everything is making sense, life has purpose. Colors seem brighter; gratitude flows. This is the zone where creativity and productivity flourish.” Mr. Dunn hit a low point about a year before Bonobos’ 2017 sale to Walmart when he spent a week in a psychiatric ward and faced assault charges for hitting his future wife and kicking her mother. The book brings up the fate of Tony Hsieh, who died a few months after stepping down as Zappos’ CEO from injuries in a house fire following a drug spiral. Mr. Dunn told CNBC, “He was a hero to me. And then, obviously, he had been privately suffering. I think that’s a part of the typical entrepreneur archetype, someone who’s got that — a brilliant, charismatic spirit. And it’s expected, right? You got to show up with that every day, and that’s inhuman to expect out of anyone.” A UC Berkeley study found that 72 percent of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to 48 percent of non-entrepreneurs. Of the entrepreneurs they studied, 30 percent had a history of depression, 29 percent had ADHD, 12 percent had...
“Surf Cams Might Be Secretly Ruining Your Session” by Ella Boyd via The Inertia

“Surf Cams Might Be Secretly Ruining Your Session” by Ella Boyd via The Inertia

Yes, you can see yourself surf. But do you want to see yourself surf? Photo: Screenshot//Surf Cam Rewind Why do we surf? Is it to escape reality and enjoy a connection with nature? Is it to challenge your personal limits, try new tricks, and progress as a surfer? Is it to “get away from it all?” With surf cams, and especially with the rewind function, all but one of those options are ruled out, leaving room for only hyper fixation on performance and an unnecessary obsession with personal appearance. In California, at least, surfing and filming are so heavily intertwined (Bruce Brown recorded The Endless Summer over three decades ago!) that one almost expects to spot at least one or two people pointing handycams in their general direction from the water. And this is fun, most of the time.  Walking down to the water through little groups of people basking in the sun, holding up vintage camcorders and squinting to find their surfer in the lineup is not only endearing, but nostalgic for a time where the only way to capture a moment was to grab your friend and give them a camera. Or, if you’re good enough, to be recorded for a surf film.  Being from Maine, I’ve not only accepted but even come to appreciate filming as another part of California surf culture. What I have not accepted, however, is the obsession with cam rewinds. In my experience, cams drain surfing from everything that makes it enjoyable. Back home, surfing was truly an escape. There was a cam for the local spot, run by some real estate guy, and sometimes...