One of the most talked about gifts this holiday season might not be a physical one, but a digital one. According to a recent Mercator Advisory Group study, egifts accounted for 18 percent of the reported gift card loads in 2015, an 80 percent increase from the previous year. With the rise in popularity among consumers, retailers are beginning to leverage egifts for more than just products to sell and are incorporating them into reward and rebate programs.

Electronic gift cards, or egift cards, are delivered digitally, including via email, SMS text, social media or app, and can be redeemed either in-store or by using the gift code online. Ease-of-use, personalization options and fast delivery are a few of the reasons egifts are quickly increasing in popularity.

Here’s why, in addition to being a valuable gift option, egifts are also a valuable rebate reward or incentive option for retailers and consumers around the holidays.

Omnichannel flexibility

Savvier shoppers combined with innovation in retail have transformed the landscape of holiday shopping into an omnichannel experience. Consumers quickly move from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online or on their mobile devices and back, and want to do so seamlessly. According to a recent study by the Retail Gift Card Association, omnichannel flexibility is key for consumers, with 87 percent of gift card recipients wanting to be able to redeem their cards online or in-person as they choose. Egifts responds to this desire better than other promotional rewards.

Holiday shopping or gifting with egift rewards

Around the holidays, some shoppers may like to use loyalty program and rebate rewards to help offset the cost of holiday shopping and gift giving. Retailers can make it easy for shoppers to redeem and use their rewards via various channels or even gift them to someone else. Once an egift reward is received, the recipient can print it out, store it on their phone, save it to their mobile wallet—or, in some cases—re-gift it to someone else entirely.

Elevated brand interaction

When a traditional reward check is cashed, a consumer’s experience with the brand is over. With egifts, however, the brand can remain top of mind for much longer. First, the reward is received via email, text or app, and the retailer’s messaging is present. Next, as the reward is saved or stored, it acts as a mini billboard in the recipient’s mobile wallet or inbox. Finally, when the reward is redeemed, the recipient is reminded of his or her engagement with the retailer.

Directing spendback is also valuable during the holidays. Unlike checks, egifts offered by retailers as rewards incent shoppers to return to that store (online or in person) and, according to the consumer gift card survey by RGCA, the consumers surveyed typically spend more than they have on a gift card by $20.

As retailers plan their holiday promotional and loyalty strategies, egifts should be considered for inclusion in the reward mix as a win-win option. Recipients will appreciate the flexibility, ease-of-use and fast delivery. Plus, retailers can find value in the additional opportunities for brand messaging and interaction with their consumers during the hectic and crowded holiday marketing season.

Source: http://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/articles/mobile-gift-rewards-can-have-an-impact-this-holiday-season/


Fashionistas are known to always be ahead of the curve, rocking New York Fashion Week styles before they even get off the runway. And now, these buyers are starting new trends in online and digital shopping as well, positioning mobile to become the next must-have accessory.

New data shows that more United States fashion shoppers are now buying on mobile devices (52 percent) versus desktops.

In the high-fashion world, shoppers have adopted a see-now, buy-now mentality to stay on top of the hottest trends from top designers, wanting to instantly buy no matter where they are.

Instant gratification and on-demand fashion are clearly high priorities, so much in fact that 30 percent of mobile shoppers are more likely than desktop buyers to consider swift delivery as very important.

As New York Fashion Week introduced the newest trends of the season, luxury brands should also brace for the introduction of the newest generation of digital buyers.

New generation
A new generation of fashionistas is emerging: Smartphonistas. These shoppers who make purchases on smartphones account for 63 percent of fashion shoppers under 35, and will only continue to grow to represent the bulk of all fashion shoppers in the near future.

Smartphonistas are true high-fashion advocates, vying for the best of the best and are dedicated to their mobile phones to guide them through the entire shopping process.

Marketing to this growing group of prime purchasers is key to any brand’s success, but first we must understand the key traits and behavior of the generation.

Live for fashion: Smartphonistas do not just buy clothes, they are truly invested in high fashion, with 59 percent saying they love buying clothes, compared to only 46 percent of desktop buyers.

Additionally, dollar signs do not seem to faze these mobile users, as 42 percent claim they are not cost-conscious.

Use smartphones for smart buys: Smartphonistas approach online shopping in a strategic fashion, never taking risks on size or style.

Thirty-two percent of mobile shoppers are more likely than desktop buyers to order several sizes for a single piece and then return those that do not fit.

Mobile the whole way: Smartphonistas use their phones throughout the entire customer journey, from search to purchase: 68 percent use their smartphones to research new clothes before buying, more than half (51 percent) prefer buying on their phones versus other devices, and Smartphonistas are almost twice as likely to share images of their buys on social networks.

Courting Smartphonistas
With Smartphonistas making up a large and growing market of the fashion landscape, they are a critical audience for any successful luxury brand to attract.

When marketing to this generation, it is critical for high fashion retailers to develop campaigns specifically for mobile, allowing them to instantly buy no matter where they are – even if it is alongside the runway. Retailers should:

Offer quick delivery: Staying up to speed with the latest fashion trends is no easy feat.

Smartphonistas will appreciate any offering that will make their mobile order faster. Deliver fast, and they will return for more. Plus, slick packaging does not hurt either.

Help them find the right size: We know these buyers will do whatever it takes to get the perfect fit, so make their experience as easy as possible.

Make sizing straightforward, and offer free returns as a backup to keep them satisfied and styling.

Simplify social sharing: Smartphonistas are tied to their phones for more than just finding fashion.

Like the majority of their generation-peers, they spend their down time on social applications such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Use these trends to your advantage and make it easy for Smartphonistas to show off their purchases and share with their network.

IN THE FAST-PACED fashion industry, it is crucial for luxury brands to stay on top of the trends, and that means staying in style with Smartphonistas.

This new generation of digital buyers is setting the stage for a mobile-first world of high-fashion, quickly dominating over desktop purchases and other devices.

Marketers must market to mobile to meet the needs of this growing market, or risk going out of style.

Source: http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/marketing-to-the-smartphonista-a-new-generation-of-digital-buyers


Using the internet to make payments to utility, phone, credit card, insurance and other companies saves considerable time and effort. It is also a simple and convenient way to contribute to charity either directly or sponsoring participants in money-raising activities. There are, however, risks associated with online payments and you need to take care when making them.

The Risks

  • Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages.
  • emails directing you to fake websites set up to collect your payment card details.

Safe Payments

Online payments are normally part of your arrangement with a service provider as an alternative to payment by Direct Debit or cheque. In most cases, therefore, the payee will be familiar to you, but you must take care to ensure that you are on the provider’s genuine site.

  • Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection against fraud than with other methods.
  • Double check all details of your payment before confirming.
  • Before entering payment details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
    • There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
    • The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
    • If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
  • When making a payment to an individual use a secure payment site – never transfer the money directly into their bank account.
  • Check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Keep receipts – electronic or otherwise.
  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after payment to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.

Source: https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/online-payments/


The first generation to grow up online — Gen Z— is also poised to rank as the most demanding consumer group in history.

That’s according to a new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology, which warns that retailers, restaurants and leisure companies will have to adapt to the wants and needs of Gen Zers (refers to those born in 2001 and later.

Having grown up with social media and assuming instant access to almost all things digital, from music to video to information, Gen Z want it all — and they want it now as they acquire apparel, cosmetics and experiences.

“The new technology products and services have broadened consumers’ range of choice and quickened the pace of life,” said Deborah Weinswig, managing director of Fung Global Retail & Technology. “It is hard not to see these creating a more demanding, image-conscious consumer.”

Gen Z comprises 19% of the U.S. population, and will rise to 25% in 2020. In the EU, the generation accounts for 16% of the population, and is forecast to peak at 21% in five years.

The only generation to grow up with the on-demand economy, Gen Zers likely will continue to be highly demanding consumers, whether they are requesting instant access to video, ride-hailing apps or delivery services.

“Exposure to near-infinite choice and access to near-endless information makes this generation more demanding than any of its predecessors,” Weinswig said. “As Gen Z matures, it will become more discerning, but its demanding nature is unlikely to be diluted. We think brands and retailers will be the ones that need to change, because Gen Z looks unlikely to compromise on its high expectations.”

Source:http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/report-get-ready-most-demanding-consumers-history


The average sale price for a stolen credit card paired with personal information on the cardholder is $15.

“Criminals have a clear incentive to target internet retailers,” says Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO [Fast Identity Online] Alliance, an interindustry group aimed at developing specifications for better internet security.

That’s because merchants often keep valuable data on their networks—networks that criminals can, and do, break into to steal information and resell it. There were 3,141 confirmed data breaches last year, according to the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report. Of those, 370, or about 12%, were of retailers’ systems, and 182 of these retailers confirmed data was stolen. The report did not track whether the breaches were of retailers’ websites or store networks. The more recent major security breaches, such as Target Corp. in 2013 and The Home Depot Inc. in 2014, involved compromised point-of-sale terminals in stores.

Payment data is the prize that most thieves are seeking when they hack into networks, says Al Pascual, senior vice president and research director for the fraud and security practice at Javelin Strategy & Research. Customer data—email addresses, birth dates, shipping addresses, passwords, etc.—is also valuable. The average sale price for a stolen credit card paired with personally identifiable information, such as the card owner’s billing address, was $15 in 2015, according to Intel Corp.’s McAfee Labs research, or about double the price of the credit card information alone.

Obtaining customer login credentials also can prove fruitful because of consumers’ penchant for using the same usernames and passwords on multiple websites, and e-retailers’ hesitation to apply more stringent authentication methods. Internet retailers “are always fighting to reduce their shopping cart abandonment rates, which historically required them to sacrifice some proven user authentication practices to reduce the number of steps required for a customer to complete a purchase,” McDowell says. Those practices include two-factor authentication, wherein a customer provides two means of verifying his identity such as a password and identifying information that might be the name of their first pet, for example, before allowing the consumer to complete a purchase.

63% of confirmed data breaches (across all industries) in 2015 involved leveraging weak, default or stolen passwords, according to the Verizon investigation report. Once these credentials are in hand, experts say the most common target for their use is to access payment information consumers store with merchants or financial institutions.

Source: https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/08/17/payment-and-personal-data-are-what-hackers-seek-most


When you read the following list of advantages of ecommerce for businesses and customers, you will get the sense that ecommerce is the holy grail of retail.

1. Overcome Geographical Limitations

If you have a physical store, you are limited by the geographical area that you can service. With an ecommerce website, the whole world is your playground. Additionally, the advent of mcommerce, i.e., ecommerce on mobile devices, has dissolved every remaining limitation of geography.

2. Gain New Customers With Search Engine Visibility

Physical retail is driven by branding and relationships. In addition to these two drivers, online retail is also driven by traffic from search engines. It is not unusual for customers to follow a link in search engine results, and land up on an ecommerce website that they have never heard of. This additional source of traffic can be the tipping point for some ecommerce businesses.

3. Lower Costs

One of the most tangible positives of ecommerce is the lowered cost. A part of these lowered costs could be passed on to customers in the form of discounted prices. Here are some of the ways that costs can be reduced with ecommerce:

  • Advertising and Marketing
    Organic search engine traffic, pay-per-click, and social media traffic are some of the advertising channels that can be cost-effective.
  • Personnel
    The automation of checkout, billing, payments, inventory management, and other operational processes, lowers the number of employees required to run an ecommerce setup.
  • Real Estate
    This one is a no-brainer. An ecommerce merchant does not need a prominent physical location.

4. Locate the Product Quicker

It is no longer about pushing a shopping cart to the correct aisle, or scouting for the desired product. On an ecommerce website, customers can click through intuitive navigation or use a search box to immediately narrow down their product search. Some websites remember customer preferences and shopping lists to facilitate repeat purchase.

5. Eliminate Travel Time and Cost

It is not unusual for customers to travel long distances to reach their preferred physical store. Ecommerce allows them to visit the same store virtually, with a few mouse clicks.

6. Provide Comparison Shopping

Ecommerce facilitates comparison shopping. There are several online services that allow customers to browse multiple ecommerce merchants and find the best prices.

7. Enable Deals, Bargains, Coupons, and Group Buying

Though there are physical equivalents to deals, bargains, coupons, and group buying,online shopping makes it much more convenient. For instance, if a customer has a deep discount coupon for turkey at one physical store and toilet paper at another, she may find it infeasible to avail of both discounts. But the customer could do that online with a few mouse-clicks.

8. Provide Abundant Information

There are limitations to the amount of information that can be displayed in a physical store. It is difficult to equip employees to respond to customers who require information across product lines. Ecommerce websites can make additional information easily available to customers. Most of this information is provided by vendors and does not cost anything to create or maintain.

9. Create Targeted Communication

Using the information that a customer provides in the registration form, and by placing cookies on the customer’s computer, an ecommerce merchant can access a lot of information about its customers. This, in turn, can be used to communicate relevant messages.

10. Remain Open All the Time

Store timings are now 24/7/365. Ecommerce websites can run all the time. From the merchant’s point of view, this increases the number of orders they receive. From the customer’s point of view, an “always open” store is more convenient.

11. Create Markets for Niche Products

Buyers and sellers of niche products can find it difficult to locate each other in the physical world. Online, it is only a matter of the customer searching for the product in a search engine. One example could be the purchase of obsolete parts. Instead of trashing older equipment for lack of spares, today we can locate parts online with great ease.

 

Source: https://www.thebalance.com/advantages-of-ecommerce-1141610


Smartphone and tablets dominate retail search queries for location-specific keywords, such as “where to buy” and “24 hours.”

The majority of online retail searches are made by consumers on their mobile devices, according to a new study from web measurement firm Hitwise, a division of Connexity Inc.

56% of online retail searches are made on a smartphone or tablet, according to the study, which looked at hundreds of thousands online search queries across 3.5 million smartphones and tablets between April 10-May 7 and made by consumers based in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Hitwise considers smartphones and tablets as mobile devices.

When looking at specific keywords retail consumers search, location-based retail searches are the mostly made on mobile devices, according to the study. 82% of searches that include the words “24 hours” are made on mobile devices. Other mobile-dominated location keywords include “where to buy …” (84% mobile), “near me” (79% mobile) and “hours” (82% mobile).

Many retail mobile search queries occur while consumers are in a physical store, according to the study. 77% of retail searches that mention the words “coupon,” “return policy” and “price match” are made on a mobile device.

“Especially for traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, the smartphone has become an indispensable shopping tool providing consumers—sometimes within feet of a register—with information or offers that could seal or jeopardize a transaction,” says John Fetto, senior analyst, research and marketing, at Hitwise.

73% of searches with the words “sale” and 68% of “discount” searches are made on a mobile device, according to the study. However, 59% of searches that include “promo code” are made on a desktop.

In addition, 82% of retail searches with the word “reviews” are made on a smartphone or tablet, and 82% of searches for “engagement rings” are made on a mobile device.

While more than half of retail searches are made on mobile devices, mobile devices’ share of overall search is lower than many other industries, such as food and beverage, in which 72% of searches are made on a mobile device. Other verticals with higher mobile search queries include health (68% of searches are mobile,) sports (68%), news and media (64%), lifestyle (62%) and automotive (62%).

Source: https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/07/26/56-online-retail-searches-take-place-mobile-devices


MUMBAI: Stock trading through mobile phones is fast picking up across the country as the increasing popularity of smartphones has made it simpler for investors to execute trades through the device. Turnover through mobile trading as a percentage of turnover clocked by retail investors, who mostly use smartphones to trade, has almost doubled in the last two years, according to an ET study.

Almost 30% of trading by retail investors in the cash segment is taking place through mobile phones. In futures and options, about 35% of the retail activity is happening through such apps.

“Many a days, a quarter of the trades is happening through mobile platform,” said Chaitanya Shahare, head-products, IIFL Markets.

Brokers say the highest growth in mobile phone trading is from smaller towns, mainly where there are no branches.

Out of the 7,00,000 downloads of IIFL’s trading apps in the last one year, majority has been done from the tier-2 and tier-3 towns.

Market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) allowed brokers to launch mobile trading in August 2010. The average daily turnover through mobile trading on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in the cash segment has jumped to Rs 600 crore in the last two years. That is about 3.2% of the total turnover. In June 2014, it was less than 1% or Rs 116 crore. Brokerages attribute the trend to the growing usage of smartphones.

Geojit BNP Paribas Securities has seen an 85% growth in mobile trading turnover in the last two years. “Today 28% of our cash transaction and 35% of the F&O trading are done through mobile application,” said A Balakrishnan, technology head, Geojit BNP Paribas. “The numbers are increasing rapidly as more and more users adopt smartphones,” he said.

Trading through smartphones is more convenient for investors unlike the conventional route of getting trades executed through brokers or relationship managers. Brokers say retail investors enjoy the anonymity and speed of trading through their own smartphones.

The outlook for mobile-based trading appears to be rosy with brokers expecting such trades to contribute around 50% of their total trading within a year or two. “Currently, we get close to 20% of our daily turnover by volume from mobile and we expect this to increase to 40% by 2017 and later grow to 60%” said Vinay Agrawal, CEO, Angel Broking.

Kamlesh Rao, CEO, Kotak Securities, agrees that the mobile trading should see robust growth over the next one year. “Mobile trading is one of the fastest growing business segments. I expect web-based trading to remain flat for the industry over the next one year, but mobile trading should see a growth of 30-40%.”

Brokerage fees on trades done through mobile trading is cheaper than those executed by the brokers. For instance, Angel Broking offers a discount of 20% for trades done through their mobile app and online platform. “With massive mobile penetration across India, mobile trading is going to change the broking industry forever in a positive way, introducing more people to stocks at a fingertip and disseminating more information than ever,” said Shahare.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/computing/Smartphones-emerging-as-the-future-of-retail-trading/articleshow/53279097.cms