Week in Review: Confederate Flags Pulled After Sales Spikes

The Confederate flag was in the news this week… a lot…

The controversy surrounding the Confederate flag spilled to ecommerce sites and shopping carts, as retailers scrambled to stop sales of the Confederate flag this week.

The bans have come in the wake of the horrific incident last week at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, in which nine black churchgoers were shot dead by lone gunman, Dylann Roof, who is white. Dylann Roof reportedly “harbored racist sentiments and wanted to incite a race war,” according to Business Insider. Among other things, this was based on pictures discovered after the attack, including Roof posing in front of his car and its Confederate flag license plate, and statements he made to friends.

The shooting has sparked a national debate on whether it is appropriate to display the Confederate Flag, the most recognizable symbol of the slave-holding South during the Civil War.

Walmart, Sears and eBay all announced they would ban the sale of Confederate flags on their ecommerce sites. Amazon followed, but after reports of a four-digit increase in Confederate flag sales.

On Wednesday, flash-sales site Rue La La did something less controversial. It shut down its boutiques for the day, and sold only a specially-designed symbolic t-shirt. All net proceeds were to be donated to “non-profit groups which help bridge the racial divide.”

And in the end… #LoveWins

Here’s a look at the rest of this week’s news, commentary and events that shaped the direct-to-customer world… and more.

Marketing

share-this-icon-75X75Williams-Sonoma and Visa Checkout launched shoppable videos, using YouTube’s technology… Turn your social followers into buyers with these five tips and selling on social media is certainly a trend… Warby Parker plans to provide an estimated 20,000 pairs of free eyeglasses to every New York City student in need as part of New York City’s Community Schools initiative… Rakuten Marketing will leverage Krux’s next-generation data management platform DMP to improve the accessibility of Rakuten’s rich consumer data for more personalized omnichannel marketing… Country superstar Jennifer Nettles is teaming up with American West Jewelry to debut a collection on QVC… Miguel Almeida will become Executive Vice President, Digital at lululemon athletica when he starts with the company in mid-July… Marbles: The Brain Store launched a loyalty and gift program via Clutch, designed to deliver personalized engagements to customers based on their preferences and activities… ShopStyle launched a Snapchat click-to-buy button campaign…

Ecommerce

Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75Twitter is testing product and place pages, as well as groups of pages in “Collections,” to facilitate quick location of useful information as well as shopping…  Alibaba is pulling the plug on 11 Main, its U.S. ecommerce marketplace. It will fold the operations into partner OpenSky, a social shopping marketplace, along with Alibaba acquisitions Auctiva, Vendio, and SingleFeed, which provide logistics and fulfillment services for 11 Main… Blue Acorn launched of a new ecommerce website for Everlast Worldwide… Silver Star Brands talks ecommerce trends at IRCE2015… Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has launched an ecommerce site for its New York City-based Martha Stewart Café. Coffees, teas and apparel are now available for purchase online at www.MarthaStewartCafeShop.com… A new report from Criteo shows that mobile apps generate almost 50% of mobile transactions for some of the largest ecommerce players who have made their app experience a priority, due to much higher conversion rates than mobile browser or even desktop… This report from ACI Worldwide shows that 65% of U.S. and U.K. retailers believe they lack adequate fraud management tools to support effective fraud management in an omnichannel environment, although 60% say they have a cross-channel strategy… Three-quarters of potential ecommerce sales are abandoned across the world, with this figure reaching 79.9% in Latin America, according to SaleCycle’s stats… Canada’s Leon’s Furniture has a new ecommerce site, built by Blueport Commerce… hybris software has launched a new ecommerce site for Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters… Ecommerce startup BaublaBar will launch bricks-and-mortar stores…

Shipping and delivery

shipping-delivery-75X75Petco has tapped Instacart to deliver items in as little as an hour in 14 major metro areas, with more than 13,000 pet products to choose from… Just 12.4% of 6,000 U.S. adults surveyed in June said they were likely or very likely to sign up for Walmart’s new Shipping Pass subscription delivery service, representing 18 million households, according to a Prosper Insights survey. The figure rose slightly to 14% among loyal Walmart shoppers… The U.S. Postal Service plans to extend its pilot grocery delivery program with Amazon Fresh beyond San Francisco to include New York starting on June 29, according to a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission… Netherlands-based online retailer Bol.com has launched a same-day delivery service for its customers… Crowdsourced same-day delivery company Deliv has acquired WeDeliver, which does same-day delivery for local Chicago area merchants. … UPS will build a $7 million package sorting facility on a leased site at the Harrisburg (PA) International Airport. … Postmates is planning to roll out a service in August that provides one-hour delivery for $1 during peak periods in major metro areas

Cross-border

global-ecommerce-icon-75X75Mobile’s share of global ecommerce is expected to reach 40% by the end of 2015, according to a recent report from performance marketing technology firm Criteo…  POS hardware and payment services Ingenico is working with Google on a new cross-border selling initiative, being piloted in Belgium… China is opening up its ecommerce market to more offshore investment, allowing foreign concerns to take a 100% ownership stake in ecommerce operations there, up from the previous threshold of 50%. That will certainly be a hot topic at Growing Global 2015 … Adidas will soon roll out an omnichannel model at its retail outlets in Punjab, India. The company plans to have 200 outlets online with the capability by March 2016…U-PIC has announced a partnership with APC Postal Logistics to offer international parcel insurance at discounted rates… Harrods is one of 11 iconic U.K. retailers to sign on as Borderfree users… transcosmos has opened goodsbuy, a cross-border ecommerce website that offers products to consumers in the Korean market… transcosmos also entered into a strategic and equity partnership with Magic PandaGoogle Ventures Europe and Softbank have invested $11.5 million in Yieldify, a UK-based ecommerce startup that helps online retailers convince people to buy products online.

Financials

financials-icon-75X75Gap Inc. plans to close 175 of its stores over the next few years, with 140 closures coming in 2015, bringing the count down to a more manageable 800 in an omnichannel world… Hardware start-up littleBits Electronics, Inc. announced $44.2 million in new funding to further fuel its growth… Barnes & Noble, Inc.’s fiscal 2015, consolidated revenues decreased 4.9% to $6.1 billion versus the prior year. Conolidated revenues for the fourth-quarter fell 10.4%. Its NOOK division saw  drastic decreases of 39.8% for the quarter and 47.8% for the year…

Mergers and Acquisitions

mergers-and-acquisitions-75X75Boot Barn’s $147 million acquisition of western wear rival Shepler’s should close next week…

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