This Week in Retail Marketing Innovation - June 3, 2019

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Amazon's New Domain Could Impact Google's Search Traffic

After a seven-year battle with several South American countries, Amazon finally received the green light to move forward with its own “.amazon” domain.

The conflict arose when the company first applied for the top-level domain in 2012. South American countries claimed the domain name should be reserved for countries within the Amazon region, saying it should not be used by a single company for their benefit.

But because the drawn-out battle had no suggested solution, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ruled that Amazon can continue the process of securing their .amazon domain. The new domains will allow customers to circumvent Google searches entirely and head straight to the shopping category of their choice, such as electronics.amazon.

Amazon and Google have been feuding over search traffic, domains,and streaming services for years, and the new domain continues to stir the pot. Google’s search traffic numbers (plus overall tracked user data) would likely take a hit if customers remember to go to “fashion.amazon” rather than search for Amazon clothes via Google. But while Google may lose out on the benefits of customers searching through their platform, there’s a chance that the domain might hurt Amazon’s SEO. Having multiple pages feature the same content (i.e., separate pages for a “shoes” search on Amazon.com v. going to shoes.amazon) would likely push the site down in the Google search ranks.  

SEO aside, it’s possible that the new URLs won’t change much in the way that customers buy online. Oweise Khazi, senior principal at Gartner L2, gave his opinion on the new strategy, "Shoppers can already access Amazon directly by keying in amazon.com and the product they are looking for. It's another path to the platform for consumers but wouldn't really drive incremental purchases or give Amazon any real retail advantage."

Amazon will continue to fight for their domain name and top-of-mind awareness, despite their unparalleled popularity within the online retail space. It’s likely we’ll see the effects on buyer behavior and Google search traffic by the end of 2019.

Mastercard and Samsung work together to secure online identity

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Mobile fraud increased by 30% in 2018, according to a report by the AppsFlyer State of Mobile App Install Fraud. Since online fraud continues to grow, it’s no surprise that a survey by Experian found that 55 percent of all consumers are sticking with traditional credit cards, as opposed to mobile credit cards, due to safety concerns.

That’s why Mastercard and Samsung have partnered up to create “Digital Identities” that offer their customers a safe and easy way to access their online funds and avoid verifying through passwords and personal information.

Consumers will not only be able to use their digital ID to secure online and offline purchases, but will also have the option to order prescription medications, open a bank account, or even rent an apartment, according to a spokesperson.

“At Samsung, we believe consumers should be in complete control of the privacy and security of their personal identity and we’re excited to work with Mastercard to bring the first digital identity solution to Samsung smartphones,” said Yongje Kim, EVP and head of service business office at Samsung Electronics Mobile Division.

If the two companies succeed in providing a seamless and safe way for customers to create and manage their digital identities, Apple may be seeing a downturn in sales in the near future.

Beauty Industry to be Recognized at 2019 Glossy Awards

The Glossy Awards recognize companies revolutionizing the fashion and beauty industries, and will celebrate the finalists and name the winners at their gala on June 12, 2019.

Glossy recognized companies that are truly revolutionary and bringing about a reimagined and better customer experience, like Mack Weldon, Kaja Beauty, and Perch x Coty x Holition in “Best Brand/Agency Collaboration” and “Best In-Store Tech, Beauty” categories.

Nordstrom turns to their merchandise-free “Local” stores to reverse dropping sales

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Nordstrom had a tough Q1. The company reported a 3.5% drop in net sales in the year-ago period, with digital sales growth at only 3%, compared to 2018’s 16% increase.

Co-President Erik Nordstrom attributes the downturn in both full- and off-price stores to “Executional misses with the customer experience,” including cutting paper mailings for their new “Nordy Club” loyalty program, and offering less-than-exciting choices in women’s apparel and beauty categories.

In an effort to combat the economic downturn within large department stores, Nordstrom developed their first merchandise-free “Local” store, which debuted in Los Angeles in late 2018. While there are no physical clothing displays in the store, customers can pick up their online order within one day, have their garments altered on-site, and have their own personal stylist.

This trendy take on the clothes-buying experience gained tremendous buzz in LA, leading Nordstrom to announce two more opening in NYC’s West Village and Upper East Side in the fall.

Although they are expanding in wealthy cities, it’s unclear how they’ll expand to urban areas. Managing director of GlobalData Retail, Neil Saunders, noted that, “The shape of these investments appears to be a hub and spoke model where a number of big stores are supported by smaller local outlets which extend reach and encourage customer interaction. In our view this is a sensible model as it maximizes returns while minimizing capital investment. However, there is still a question mark over how Nordstrom can turn around performance in stores outside of the big cities."

Sounding Smart by The Retail Water Cooler

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