Payment news - Better late than never for eCommerce?
Vantiv Omnicommerce Tracker™ August 2017
Better late than never for eCommerce?
Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in omnicommerce. Here's an overview of the Omnicommerce TrackerTMpublished in August 2017.
It seems like all physical retailers have embraced eCommerce as a natural extension of their brick-and-mortar businesses. Well, maybe not all.
eCommerce is an undeniable force for physical retailers, with more than 10 percent of retail purchases happening online. Despite the revenue potential of digital commerce, some businesses have resisted selling their inventory through digital channels. Hibbett Sports, a Birmingham, Alabama-based sporting goods retailer, was a longtime holdout. With a 70 year history and over 1,000 storefronts in operation, Hibbett only recently entered the world of online commerce. This July, the retail chain finally opened its first online store, Hibbett.com.
August’s Omnicommerce Tracker, presented by Vantiv and PYMNTS.com, features an interview with Hibbett Sports’ vice president of digital commerce, Bill Quinn. In the interview, Quinn discusses the new website and the company’s future eCommerce plans.
The company historically thrived on putting stores in small towns without access to other sporting goods retailers. Hibbett was successful at growing brick-and-mortar sales without a website, and even boasted an expanding footprint. Between 2007 and 2016, the company’s net sales grew from $512 million to $943 million, and its footprint increased from 613 stores to 1,044. More recently, however, the company saw its in-store sales begin to slide and its profits begin to shrink.
“After we started to feel an impact on our sales numbers, we did a study of our customers and we found that people in the small towns with our stores are actually quite tech-savvy,” Quinn explains. “They use the internet a lot and buy online a lot as well. That changed our minds and, because the company needed a new channel of opportunity and growth, we decided at that point to move forward and make the investment in an online store.”
To stand out, the company took inspiration from luxury retailers to give shoppers a top-flight buying experience. The goal was to convince both customers who had previously shopped at Hibbett Sports — but had since migrated to online shopping — and new consumers unfamiliar with the brand to bring their online shopping business to Hibbett.
“We wanted to know what we needed to do to get them to shop with us, rather than continuing to shop wherever they shop for sporting goods already,” says Quinn.
Adding value to consumers’ shopping experiences meant providing omnichannel features and customized offerings — which other sporting goods retailers weren’t doing. With that in mind, Hibbett Sports built out its new platform to include features such as interactive calendars with release dates of popular sneaker brands’ product launches, curated looks from stylists and a tool to find the best cleat style and size for a given athlete’s foot and sport.
“We tried to make it a very premium website with premium functions that you would find on fashion sites or luxury retail sites,” Quinn explains. “We want customers to know that they are going to find something here that they are not going to find on a competitor’s website.”
Just weeks since its rollout, Quinn and his team are already working on adding new features to the site that could potentially help the company win back more customers. Hibbett Sports is developing AI- and machine learning-driven capabilities designed to increase traffic to the company’s website and expand its online customer base beyond its brick-and-mortar geographic footprint.
Now that the sporting goods chain has embraced multichannel commerce with the development of an online store, Quinn says the next step is adding yet another channel with the debut of a mobile shopping app.
Read the full interview in August’s Omnicommerce Tracker, along with other news and updates in seamless shopping. Here’s a sampling:
Walmart ups its online fulfillment efforts
Walmart recently opened an eCommerce fulfillment center in Florida to enable faster online order fulfillment and shipping directly to customers or to stores for pick-up. The facility comprises 2.2 million-square-feet — equivalent to about 20 football fields — and features 33 miles of shelving as well as hurricane-resistant dock doors that can withstand wind speeds up to 120 mph. In opening the facility, the company notably created 1,500 new jobs. Walmart.com also launched new features including free two-day shipping with no membership fees, an extra discount for picking up orders in stores and the ability to easily reorder online or make store purchases from the Walmart app.
The Alexa effect
The popularity of virtual assistants seems to be hitting new heights, with Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home, Apple’s Siri and a slew of other competitors’ offerings making their way into households at a steady clip. Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable interacting with these AI-enabled devices — so comfortable, in fact, that they’re using them to make purchases. Approximately one-third of consumers surveyed in a recent report said they planned to buy something via an Amazon Echo or other voice-controlled device this year. That would be a notable increase from the 19 percent that did so in the past 12 months.
Back-to-school marketing blitz
Kids across America may not be ready for summer to end, but marketers sure are. According to new research, 85 percent of retailers are planning to increase their back-to-school promotional spending this year to compete with the increased number of online shopping options and subscription services. Researchers found most retailers will be turning to omnichannel marketing to increase back-to-school sales.
More consumers are buying online, picking up in store
The increasingly popular feature known as buy-online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) has now been used by approximately half of consumers, according to one recent survey. More than 50 percent of surveyed consumers told researchers they had used BOPIS services within the past 12 months, a 44 percent increase from the previous year. That increase is set to continue, with even more shoppers, approximately 80 percent, saying they would considering using BOPIS services in the future.
Meanwhile, BOPIS’s close cousin, BORIS, buy-online,return-in-store, may be surpassing that popularity. More than 30 percent of consumers took advantage of the feature in the past 12 months, a 75 percent increase over the previous year.
Locking away deliveries
With reports of purchases from online sellers like Amazon being stolen from customers’ doorsteps or mailrooms, the online giant is looking to protect packages when they arrive at their destinations. To that end, the company recently debuted “The Hub,” a new delivery locker system designed for apartment buildings and other housing complexes that do not offer package acceptance or storage services. And The Hub won’t just be for Amazon deliveries, as the company said it will accept and store packages from any sender. The Hub is a modular system featuring individual slots for packages. It can be locked and used to store deliveries and accessed by the package’s owner via a PIN. The lockers will be accessible 24 hours a day for residents, and property owners can currently request Hubs for their buildings using an online portal. Users will have to pay a fee for the service.
Giving shopping a Spark
Amazon recently announced the launch of Amazon Spark, a service designed to improve customers’ ability to find new products. According to reports, the service seems to take a page from Instagram’s shoppable photos. With Spark, users are encouraged to share stories, ideas and images that feature products they either love or covet. Users can then react via a comment or smile, which is the eCommerce giant’s version of Facebook’s “Like” feature. Reports noted Amazon had been beta testing the feature for a few monthsin the U.S. before the official launch.
Amazon plans to add 50,000 workers
Amazon is currently planning to add 50,000 workers to its ranks and, with back-to-school and holiday promotional periods around the corner, retailers will be competing for those same hires. According to reports, the majority of jobs added as part of this latest Amazon hiring effort will be full-time positions, following up on the company’s January pledge to add 100,000 full-time workers by the middle of 2018.