Walmart Grocery is expanding its $98 per year ‘Delivery Unlimited’ subscription across the U.S. – gpgmail


Walmart is expanding its brand-new “Delivery Unlimited” grocery delivery membership program to more stores across the U.S., with plans to reach over 50% of the country by year-end. The new program allows regular grocery delivery customers to pay either an annual fee of $98 or $12.95 on a monthly basis instead of paying the usual $9.99 per delivery fee. These options make Walmart Grocery delivery more affordable for those who order at least twice a month or more.

The program also gives Walmart a better way to compete with rival grocery delivery services including Amazon Prime Now/Whole Foods, Instacart, and Shipt, all of which offer subscription memberships.

Shipt currently charges $99 annually, and Target recently announced a way for Shipt shoppers to pay a per-order fee of $9.99 for the first time, by way of a Shipt integration on Target.com. Instacart, meanwhile, cut its annual fee to $99 in November. Prime Now is the most expensive option at $119 per year, but includes all the perks of Amazon Prime’s broader membership program.

In June, gpgmail broke the news that Walmart’s Grocery Delivery Unlimited program was being trialed in Houston, Miami, Salt Lake City, and Tampa.

Those customers responded favorably, which is why the retailer decided to roll out the program to more U.S. markets.

Initially, that includes all 200 metro areas where Walmart Grocery Delivery is available today. By this fall, it will reach 1,400 stores. And by year-end, it will reach 1,600+ — or more than half the U.S.

The program doesn’t offer any other perks, beyond the savings for Walmart Grocery’s regular shoppers. However, it does have the advantage of locking customers into Walmart Grocery and increasing their return rates and loyalty.

Walmart’s Grocery business grown steadily over the years, and has become a favored alternative to higher-priced services like Instacart where the individual products are marked up as a means of generating revenue. Walmart, on the other hand, charges the same online as it does in stores — the only added cost is the delivery fee and tip. (Pickup is free).

Today, Walmart Grocery Pickup is offered at nearly 3,000 stores and Walmart employs more than 45,000 personal shoppers to fill its online grocery orders. Walmart Grocery Delivery, as noted, is on track for over 1,600 stores this year.

Unlike some grocery delivery businesses, Walmart doesn’t operate its own network of delivery professionals or independent contractors. Instead, Walmart partners with delivery providers across the U.S., including Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire, Roadie, Postmates, and DoorDash. It has also tried, then ended, relationships with Deliv, Uber, and Lyft.

“We’ve been investing in our online grocery business by quickly expanding our Grocery Pickup and Delivery
services. Delivery Unlimited is the next step in that journey,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president, Digital
Operations, Walmart U.S., in a statement about the launch. “By pairing our size and scale and these services we’re making Walmart the easiest place to shop. Combine that with the value we can provide, our customers can’t lose,” he said.

Last month, Walmart reported its 20th consecutive quarter of sales gains in the U.S., with $130.38 million in revenue, earnings per share of $1.27, and net income to $3.61 billion, beating expectations. It said at the time that e-commerce sales had grown 37% in the quarter, in large part because of the rollout of next-day delivery and same-day grocery delivery.

Delivery Unlimited will not replace the pay-per delivery fee — that will remain an option for those who don’t want to subscribe. Customers will be able to see if the service is available in the market by visiting the Walmart Grocery website.

 


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Google Express to close in a few weeks, will become part of Google Shopping – gpgmail


Google’s failed online shopping service Google Express is closing in a few weeks, as its features will be merged into a revamped version of Google Shopping, Google says in an email sent to its customers this week. The company had already announced its plans to shutter the Google Express brand, as part of a wider redesign of how it approached online shopping. This included new advertising options for brands and online sellers, as well as a universal shopping cart across its platform of services, like Search, Shopping, Images, and even YouTube.

While Google is characterizing Google Express’s closure as an “integration,” it’s really more of a sunsetting of a failed product and brand.

Google Express was Google’s high-profile attempt to compete with Amazon for online shopping clicks and ad dollars buy creating a virtual mall on the web filled with top retailers’ products. Because Google is not a retailer itself, it did what it knows best — it organized information. At Google Express, you could find products from thousands of retailers — including big names like Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Best Buy, and others. And you could shop through a dedicated online storefront on the web, a Google Express mobile app, or even Google Assistant.

In the latter case, Google Express partnered with retailers like Walmart and Target for deep integrations for voice-enabled shopping. As direct competitors with Amazon, these retailers didn’t want to offer third-party skills for Echo users or others on Amazon’s Alexa platform. Google represented a safer third-party platform for their experiments with voice commands and personalized shopping.

But even several years after launch, Google Express had failed to offer any real threat to Amazon. Its retail partners, meanwhile, were building out their own fulfillment businesses for their customers’ online orders — like Walmart Grocery’s curbside pickup and delivery, for example, or Target’s Shipt, Drive Up, and Restock.

Not too much later, Target and Walmart were pulling out of Google Express.

Google has tried to downplay the news of Google Express’s demise by including it as just another part to the larger Google Shopping revamp. After all, it’s not a shutdown, the company implied. Its features were simply becoming a part of Google Shopping! Nothing to see here! Just a rebrand!

But clearly, Google Express had been unable to establish itself in consumers’ minds as its own dedicated shopping destination. If customers wanted an online mall, they already had one with either Amazon or Walmart and their vast third-party marketplaces where you could find just about anything you’d need. Nor had Google innovated (or acquired) across key areas like warehousing or logistics, while others like Amazon, Target and Walmart had been spending billions.

With Google Shopping, Google goes back to its search engine roots. It aims to simply capture consumers’ clicks, ad dollars and now conversions no matter where they are on Google’s sites — whether that’s shopping from Merch shelves under YouTube videos, browsing photos in a Pinterest-y manner on Google Images, or through more traditional Google searches for products where ads become shoppable, and shopping carts follow you around Google’s part of the web.

In an email to Google Express shoppers that was sent this week, Google says Google Express will be integrated with Shopping in a few weeks’ time.

The redesigned Google Shopping will then be available across the web and through apps for iOS and Android later this month. At that point, the Google Express apps will automatically update to become Google Shopping, if you already had them installed.

The full email about Google Express’ closure is below:

 


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Target’s personalized loyalty program launches nationwide next month – gpgmail


Target today announced its new, data-driven loyalty program, Target Circle, will launch nationwide on October, 6th, following a year and a half of beta testing in select markets. The program combines a variety of features including 1% back on purchases, birthday rewards, and personalized offers and savings designed to make the program more attractive to consumers.

It also includes a way for customers to vote on Target’s community giving initiatives, which helps directs Target’s giving to around 800 nonprofits in the U.S.

The new program is designed to lure in customers who have yet to adopt Target’s store card, REDcard. While REDcard penetration today is around 23%, that number has remained fairly consistent over time — in fact, it’s down about one percentage point from a year ago.

With Target Circle, however, the retailer has another means of generating loyalty and establishing a connection with its customers on a more individualized basis.

A big part of that is the personalized aspect of the Target Circle program. In addition to the “birthday perks” (an easy way to grab some demographic data), customers will also get special discounts on the categories they “shop most often” — meaning, Target will be tapping into its treasure trove of customer purchase history to make recommendations from both in-store and online purchases along with other signals.

“As guests shop, Target leverages information about their shopping behaviors and purchases to share relevant offers that create an even more personalized, seamless shopping experience,” a company spokesperson explained, when asked for details about the data being used. “For example, a guest who frequently shops Target for baby products may receive a special offer on their next purchase of baby items.”

TargetCircle NonBeta 19 Brand RGB Logo Red

According to a recent retail study from Avionos, 78% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that better personalize their experiences and 63% are more open to sharing personal information if retailers can better anticipate needs.

And as some may recall, Target is already scary good at personalization.

In one notable case, the retailer figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did, and sent her coupons for baby items. The dad, understandably, was angry — until he found out that Target was right.

That story was a high-profile example of the data collection and analysis big retailers are doing all the time, though. Target Circle simply formalizes this into an opt-in program instead of an opt-out experience.

As part of the changes, Target’s Cartwheel savings are rolling into Target Circle where they’ll be rebranded as Target Circle offers. 

TargetCircle inApp

Circle members will also get early access to special sales throughout the year — that is, the events people line up for, like they did for the Lilly Pulitzer fashion line or more recently, the quickly sold out Vineyard Vines collection.

Target says, in time, it will come up with “even more personalized, relevant ways” to make shopping easier for its customers.

The new program is meant to complement the REDcard, which will increase the cashback to 5% when used. But REDcard holders can still join Circle to take advantage of the other perks.

WalletRedeeming

“Our guests are at the center of everything we do, and we’re always looking for ways to create even easier, more rewarding shopping experiences that give them another reason to choose Target,” said Rick Gomez, Target executive vice president, and chief marketing and digital officer, in a statement. “We worked directly with guests to develop Target Circle, and the program includes the benefits and perks they told us were most important to them, from earning on every trip to having the opportunity to help Target make a positive impact in their local communities,” he said.

The loyalty program had been in testing in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Charlotte, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Phoenix over the past 18 months.

Though not having Amazon’s scale, Target has done well at quickly innovating to keep up with today’s pace of e-commerce. In short order, it has made over its stores to make more room for order pickups and online grocery, and has launched and expanded new services like Target Restock (next-day), Shipt (same day delivery) and Drive Up (same day pickup). The changes have been paying off with Target beating on its latest earnings with $18.42 billion in revenue and profits of $938 million.

 


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DHL expands Africa eShop online retail app to 34 countries – gpgmail


DHL  has expanded its DHL Africa eShop business to 13 additional markets, upping the presence of the global shipping company’s e-commerce platform to 34 African countries.

DHL  href=”https://Gpgmail.com/2019/04/11/dhl-launches-africa-eshop-app-for-global-retailers-to-sell-into-africa/”>went live with the digital retail app in April, bringing more than 200 U.S. and U.K. sellers — from Neiman Marcus to Carters — online to African consumers.

Africa eShop operates using startup MallforAfrica.com’s white label fulfillment service, Link Commerce. Similar to MallforAfrica’s model, the arrangement allows Africa eShop users to purchase goods directly from the websites of any of the app’s global partners.

This week’s expansion is the second for DHL’s Africa eShop, after adding 9 markets in May.

DHL’s moves run parallel to significant developments this year in the Africa’s online retail scene—namely Jumia’s big capital raise through its IPO.

Here are Africa eShop’s latest additions: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Lesotho, Namibia, Niger, Sudan, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

MallforAfrica CEO Chris Folayan points to the novelty of online sales in many of Africa eShop’s new markets.

“For some of these countries no one has really tapped into e-commerce the way we’re tapping into it, with an ability to buy online and also buy online directly from places like Macy’s or Amazon,” he told gpgmail on a call.

Payment methods include local fintech options, such as Nigeria’s Paga and Kenya’s M-Pesa. DHL Africa eShop leverages the shipping giant’s existing delivery structure on the continent, through its DHL Express courier service.

To add some context, someone with a mobile phone and bank account in, say, Niger can now use DHL’s app to shop at Macys.com and have anything from designer sneakers to kitchenware shipped to their doorstep in Central-Africa.

DHL AFRICA ESHOP MAP

DHL Africa eShop is also offering incentives to entice first-time digital consumers.

“We will be launching with a promo, buy any 5 items from over 100 retail partners and get a $20 flat shipping fee. This is DHL’s way of showing they are dominant in shipping and eCommerce in Africa.”

As gpgmail highlighted this spring, the launch and expansion of DHL’s MallforAfrica supported platform is creating a competitive scenario with e-commerce unicorn Jumia.

Jumia is Africa’s most visible e-tailer and operates consumer retail and online service verticals in 14 African countries. Headquartered in Lagos, the company raised more than $200 million in an NYSE IPO this April.

DHL launched the Africa eShop product the day before Jumia went public and made its first country expansion only weeks after.

There’s a brewing business debate on which platform is best positioned to capture a larger share of a projected $2.1 trillion in consumer spending (10% online) expected in Africa by 2025.

Then there’s the question of who’s largest. DHL Africa eShop touts itself as “Africa’s Largest Online Shopping Platform.” Jumia said, “We believe that our platform is the largest e-commerce marketplace in Africa,” in its SEC F-1 filing.

On the prospect of going head to head with Africa’s best funded e-commerce company, Chris Folayan is somewhat circumspect.

“We’re note focused on competing with Jumia, but in a way it’s starting to happen as a result of our expansion and growth,” he said.

Two main spectators in a MallforAfrica, Jumia match up could be the big global e-commerce names.

Alibaba has talked about Africa expansion, but for the moment has not entered in full.

Amazon offers limited e-commerce sales on the continent, but more notably, has started with AWS services in Africa.

DHL and partner MallforAfrica plan to bring Africa eShop to all 54 African countries in coming years.

 

 


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Why Walmart’s Flipkart is betting heavily on Hindi – gpgmail


To win India’s next 200 million internet users, e-commerce giant Flipkart wants to speak their language

Flipkart, the largest e-commerce platform in India, said Tuesday it has concluded the roll-out of a range of features to its shopping app in what is its biggest update in recent years.

Chief among these new features is access to Flipkart in Hindi language. Prior to the revamp of the app, Flipkart was available only in English, a language spoken by 10% of India’s 1.3 billion population.

Flipkart says it is hoping that the new features, which includes a video streaming service, would help it reach the next 200 million users in India.

The major bet on Hindi, a language spoken by more than 500 million people in India, illustrates a growing push from local and international companies operating in the country as they adapt their services and business models to go beyond the urban cities.

And that’s where much of the opportunity, which countless startups and companies have trumpeted to investors to successfully raise hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and venture capital in recent years, lies in the nation.


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Target’s Drive Up pickup service expands nationwide – gpgmail


Target’s same-day curbside pickup service, Drive Up, has now reached all 50 U.S. states, the retailer announced on Thursday. The service allows consumers to shop online then pull up to designated spaces at their local store to have their purchases ferried to their vehicle by Target staff.

Drive Up has rolled out to Target stores at a fairly fast pace, given the technology requirements, infrastructure and operational changes required to support these fast-to-fill online orders.

The company in April 2018 introduced Drive Up to its first locations outside of Target’s hometown market of Minneapolis-St. Paul, where it had been in piloting testing since October 2017. With the public launch, Drive Up was immediately available across nearly 270 stores in Florida, Texas and the Southeast. By summer 2018, it had reached over 800 stores, with plans to reach 1,000 by year-end.

Instead, it hit the 1,000-store milestone in October 2018.

And with the start of this year’s back-to-school shopping season, Drive Up became available at over 1,500 stores.

With the expansion announced today, Drive Up has now reached 1,750 stores, thanks to recent rollouts in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. As it launches in new locations, Target will often dole out free product samples as a perk for its first customers and to encourage repeat business.

Overall, Drive Up seems to be working to bring more consumers to its stores — even if they don’t come inside.

In less than two year’s time, Drive Up has become one of Target’s best-rated services. During its most recent earnings, Target noted that it had more than doubled the total number of Drive Up orders in 2018 by fulfilling nearly 5 million orders within the first part of this year alone.

The retailer also recently noted that roughly 1 in 5 customers placing a same-day order in Q2 were placing an order with Target for the first time.

The backend side of Drive Up has improved over time, as well, with improvements to optimize both order picking and delivery of curbside orders to customers.

At launch, Target was committing to fulfill Drive Up orders within 2 hours. Today, Target says it’s able to offer fulfillment by Drive Up in as soon as one hour.

By this holiday season, Target says that “most” of its 1,855 U.S. stores will offer Drive Up service.

“We’ve heard the message loud and clear from our guests: They absolutely love the ease and convenience of Drive Up, whether they’re shopping for household essentials, road trip snacks or baby gear,” said Dawn Block, senior vice president, digital, in a statement about the nationwide expansion. “So our team has worked hard to rapidly expand the service since its introduction less than two years ago to all 50 states. And the work’s not done. The team’s continuing to find ways to make the service even better.”

The service is not without competition, however.

Walmart Grocery offers curbside pickup at over 2,500 locations. Sam’s Club in July announced same-day pickup nationwide. Amazon, which has historically lacked a brick-and-mortar presence, has been quick to react to the threat of curbside pickup. Most recently, it announced a new partnership with Rite Aid, that will see the arrival of a “Counter” service — a free, in-store pickup option — at 1,500 Rite Aid locations by year-end. (Amazon also offers grocery pickup at select Whole Foods.)

However, in-store pickup isn’t quite as convenient as curbside service. And that’s especially true for curbside’s top demographic: parents — often those with young children. Among Target Drive Up’s best-sellers, for example, are things like diapers, wipes, and formula.

Drive Up is one of several ways Target is fighting back against Amazon. The company also now owns same-day delivery service Shipt, offers online order pickup, subscriptions to common household items, and runs a Prime Pantry competitor with next-day service, Target Restock. 


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Ron Johnson’s e-commerce startup Enjoy raises $150M, expands in U.K. – gpgmail


Enjoy, the e-commerce startup led by former Apple VP of retail operations, Ron Johnson, has raised an additional $150 million in Series C funding from L Catterton’s new consumer technology platform, LCH Partners. The funds will be used to fuel Enjoy’s U.K. expansion and other international growth. The startup is also today launching a partnership with British mobile network operator EE, which will allow the company to serve over 80% of U.K. households by 2020.

The company announced the funding but not the size of the round. An SEC filing shows $150 million was offered, but only half had closed. However, a source familiar with the round confirmed $150 million had been raised.

The new growth funding brings Enjoy’s total raise to date to $350 million, following its May 2015 launch. Prior investors include Riverwood Capital, Stamos Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Highland Capital, and Oak Capital Management.

Having spent over a decade at Apple, Johnson is best known for pioneering the concept of Apple’s retail stores and Genius Bar. He previously held an executive position at Target as VP of Merchandising and, following Apple, had a less successful run as J.C. Penney’s CEO which led to his ouster. (Though in hindsight, it’s been argued that J.C. Penney should have just stuck with his plan, after all.)

With Silicon Valley-based Enjoy, Johnson combined the convenience of online shopping with the personal service that comes from shopping in a physical, brick-and-mortar store and the help you’d receive at Genius Bar, for example.

As Johnson explained around the time of launch, the goal was to figure out how to provide personal service to those who want to buy online.

“One of the observations from my time at Apple is that Apple makes the easiest to use products on the planet, but look at how busy the stores are with people asking questions and needing help. So what about the rest? How do you deliver help in this digital world we live in?,” he said, during an interview at gpgmail Disrupt 2015.

Through partnerships with other companies, including AT&T, Sonos, Google, and now EE, Enjoy creates an online mobile store where customers can shop for devices and receive same-day delivery. They can also opt to have an Enjoy expert deliver the item and help them get set up free of charge.

Enjoy generates its revenue from its business partners, who pay to have their products sold through an online storefront. Enjoy then returns information like what sort of challenges customers face with their setups, and help to reduce calls to tech support while also increasing brand loyalty.

“One of the highlights of my retail career was creating a new channel for Apple customers, which was the Apple Retail Store,” said Ron Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder of Enjoy, in a statement. “Now I get to do it again by creating the mobile retail store for not just one company, but for many great companies around the world. As we look to drive the next phase of our growth, L Catterton was a natural choice as our partner, given their expertise in building consumer and technology brands on a global scale,” he said.

Including today’s expansion by way of its EE partnership, Enjoy now operates in more than 54 U.S. markets and covers more than 50% of the U.S. population, and will be offered in 11 U.K. markets, covering more than 60% of the population, by year-end. As of 2020, it will reach 80% of the U.K. population.

The company also plans to expand to at least one other country this year, and additional countries in 2020.


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How to use Amazon and advertising to build a D2C startup – gpgmail


Entrepreneurship in consumer packaged goods (CPG) is being democratized. Every step of the value channel has been compressed and made more affordable (and thereby accessible).

At VMG Ignite, we have worked with dozens of direct-to-consumer startups trying to both find product-market fit and achieve scale through Amazon and online advertising.

This article focuses on customer acquisition, particularly Amazon and online advertising, for the direct-to-consumer (D2C) CPG venture. Selling on Amazon, specifically third-party (3P), has become an increasingly important component of the D2C playbook. About 46% of product searches start on Amazon, which makes it a compelling source of sales even for early-stage ventures.

Table of contents

How to find product-market fit 

People say that ideas are a dime a dozen. They aren’t valuable. But finding product-market fit? Now, that’s hard. The gap between an unexecuted idea and proven product-market fit can seem vast. Yet it’s a critical first step because, ultimately, marketing amplifies your product and value proposition.

If they aren’t compelling, marketing will fail. If they’re compelling, even mediocre marketing can often be successful. So start with a great product that people love.

How do you create a great product, you ask? A/B test your product configuration like you A/B test your landing page, copy, and design. Your product is a variable, not a constant. Build, ship, get feedback. Build, ship, get feedback. Turn detractors into your customer panel for testing.

Early-stage D2C companies typically get their first customers through three channels:

  1. Begging your friends and family to buy and promote your product.
  2. List it on Amazon as a 3P seller. Figure out the platform and start selling!
  3. Advertise on Facebook. Start with a daily budget of 10x your price point to get started and start tinkering with creative, audiences, and settings to minimize cost per order.

The companies that succeed are often the ones that iterate the fastest. In his book Creative Confidence, IDEO founder David Kelley and his co-author (and brother) Tom relay a story of a pottery class that was split into two groups.

The first group was told they would each be graded on the single best piece of pottery they each produced. The second group was told they would each be graded based on the sheer volume of pottery they produced.

Naturally, the first group labored to craft the perfect piece while the second group churned through pottery with reckless abandon. Perhaps not so intuitive, at the end of the class, all the best pottery came from the second group! Iteration was a more effective driver of quality than intentionality.

Don’t know how to manage Amazon or Facebook? Here are some best practices:

How to get started with Amazon


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Target’s same-day pickup and delivery services growing at double the rate of 2018 – gpgmail


Target’s investment in same-day pickup and delivery options is paying off. The company, which today offers same-day in-store pickup, drive-up, and same-day delivery through its acquisition of Shipt, said this week that these services combined have more than doubled their sales in the last year. In addition, they accounted for more than a third of Target’s digital sales, up from about 20% last year.

“These options offer speed, convenience and reliability and as a result, they are quickly becoming the preferred fulfillment choices for our guests,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell, speaking to investors about Target’s Q2 earnings. “And most importantly, because these options leverage our store infrastructure, technology, and teams, same-day fulfillment delivers outstanding financial performance as well,” he added. 

What’s notable about the same-day sales is that they’re bringing in guests to Target, who had never before placed digital orders with the retailer.

Roughly 1 in 5 customers placing a same-day order in the second quarter were placing an order with Target for the first time.

And once Target customers become familiar with the process, they seem to return in short order. During Q2, more than three-quarters of the same-day orders were placed by guests who had used same-day fulfillment in the past three months.

Target’s ability to grow its same-day sales in this fashion was the result of investment in infrastructure, technology, and even its brick-and-mortar stores themselves.

On the technology front, Target says its pickup and delivery services benefitted from increased order picking efficiency. Instead of using a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system, new algorithms are being used to prioritize the sequence of order picking that helps direct store employees on which work to do first as well as the best box size for packing orders.

The technology also helps to optimize the path for order picking to minimize the number of steps between the sales floor and back room.

Target claims that since the beginning of last year, these improvements have led to an over 30% increase in order picking for drive-up and pickup services. Its ship-from-store capability also improved over 30% during that time.

Meanwhile, the retailer’s $7+ billion remodeling project announced in 2017 was focused more than just updating the stores’ look-and-feel and merchandising displays. The new format stores also include changes designed to cater to online shoppers who come inside the store for their order pickups, by adding more space for things like Order Pickup.

Outside, space is added for Drive Up customers who shop online then later drive to the store for curbside service.

This summer, Target passed its 500th store remodel, and says it’s on-track to remodel 1,000 stores by the end of 2020. It also plans to open up more small-format stores — about a third of the size of a traditional Target, or on average, 40,000 sq ft — in big cities, suburbs, and college campuses.

Target says it plans on opening 30 more small-format stores per year, as it has done last year and the year prior. It said on Friday it had opened its 100th small-format store.

Richmond Drive Up

All the changes to make Target’s stores more of home for order fulfillment has helped the retailer reduce costs, as well, the company pointed out this week on its Q2 earnings.

Target says, as it’s shifted away from upstream distribution centers for order fulfillment to its stores, costs went down by more than 40%. And costs related to same-day services went down by 90%. Target today has 1,855 U.S. stores, which is how it’s able to make this store-centric strategy work.

Many traditional big-box retailers are struggling under the weight of competition from Amazon — Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney’s all released disappointing earnings this week, for example.

Target’s earnings, however, beat every estimate this week, sending shares to a record high.

The company reported $18.42 billion in revenue, above the $18.34 billion expected. Profits were up 17% to $938 million ($1.82 a share) compared with $799 million ($1.49 a share), a year ago.

Second-quarter comparable sales grew 3.4 percent, with same-day fulfillment accounts for nearly 1.5 percentage points of that. Over the past two years, comparable sales have grown 10%, Target said.

 


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Amazon is acquiring a 49% stake in India’s Future Coupons – gpgmail


Amazon, which has invested over $6 billion in India’s growing internet market, just invested a little more to expand its foothold in the the world’s second largest internet market. The U.S. e-commerce giant is acquiring a 49% stake in Future Coupons, a group entity owned by India’s second largest retail chain Future Group, the latter said in a regulatory filing Thursday evening (local time).

In a statement to gpgmail, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Amazon has agreed to invest in Future Coupons Limited, which is engaged in developing innovative value-added payment products and solutions such as corporate gift cards, loyalty cards, and reward cards primarily for corporate and institutional customers. This investment will enhance Amazon’s existing portfolio of investments in the payments landscape in India.”

“Pursuant to these agreements, Amazon has agreed to make an equity investment in Future Coupons Limited for acquiring a 49% stake comprising both, voting and non-voting shares. As part of the agreement, Amazon has been granted a call option,” Future Retail said in a filing (PDF) to the local stock exchange.

As part of the agreement, Amazon has the option to “acquire all or part of the promoters’ shareholding in Future Retail Limited” between the third and tenth year in “certain circumstances, subject to applicable law.” Future Coupons owns about 7.3% stake in Future Retail, according to past regulatory filings.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The Promoters have also agreed to certain share transfer restrictions on their shares in the Company for same tenure, including restrictions to not transfer shares to specified persons, a right of first offer in favour of Amazon, all of which are subject to mutually agreed exceptions (such as liquidity allowances and affiliate transfers). The transaction contemplated above is subject to obtaining applicable regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions,” Future Retail added.

It is interesting that Amazon is indirectly acquiring stake in Future Retail. Future Retail runs over 2,000 stores, including “Big Bazaar” retail stores, across 400 cities in India.

This is a developing story. More to follow…


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