Week in Review: Holiday Faux Pas Aplenty

Starbucks_Red_Holiday_Cups_2015_full_sizeThey say good things come in threes… and sometimes bad things as well. How about in fours?

This past week, there have been four separate instances of retail brands who ran into social media blowback as a result of some type of faux paus or protest over moves tied to holiday shopping. First, Starbucks underestimated the negative reaction to its latest holiday cup, a plain red item with the company’s green logo. A lot of folks got upset, including faith-based groups and others who wanted to at least see some type of Christmas or seasonal icon adorning the popular caffeine containers.

Then there was Target and its hotly debated OCD sweater, which in its case stood for “Obsessive Christmas Disorder,” a pun on the madness that accompanies the holiday shopping season. Advocates for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder didn’t get the joke. The company apologized, sort of: “We never want to disappoint our guests and we apologize for any discomfort,” said Target spokesperson Jessica Carlson. “We currently do not have plans to remove this sweater.”

Bloomingdale’s made an unfortunate decision to run an ad in its catalog which read, “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.” The wording appears next to a woman who appears oblivious to a man gazing at her.  This led to the company apologizing for the gaffe, saying it was “inappropriate and in bad taste.”

Lastly, Nordstrom faced a huge backlash late this week when it offered a holiday-themed ugly sweater that at first appears innocent – a Hanukkah menorah on the front, a star of David on the back. But then you read the script at the top of the sample a model was wearing: “Chai Maintenance.” The Hebrew word “chai” is pronounced “high.” The retailer quickly pulled the item in response. “We made a mistake by not looking more closely at the words on the sweater before we posted it — had we done so, we wouldn’t have offered it,” a spokesperson said.

– Intro by Multichannel Merchant Senior Editor Mike O’Brien… And here’s 5 reasons to follow Mike on Twitter

Here’s a look at what else was happening in this weeks’ news, commentary and events that shaped the direct-to-customer world… and more.


share-this-icon-75X75Are you engaging your omnichannel B2B customer? This infographic by Accenture highlights why omnichannel engagement is critical for your B2B business. … J.C. Penney has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a class action lawsuit arises from the price comparison advertising of private and exclusive branded products used in California between November 2010 and January 2012. The company denied the allegations, saying it wanted to avoid expensive and protracted litigation. …Barnes and Noble announced a new ad campaign with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett for the holidays. ShopDeally  announced the launch of its new marketplace ShopDeally.com.


Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75Both Alibaba and JD.com announced record-shattering Singles Day sales figures… International Military Antique will use Rackspace to power its ecommerce site… Field & Stream launched its first-ever ecommerce siteForrester says mobile will drive 14% of ecommerce this holiday season… Walmart announced that most of its Black Friday deals will be on Walmart.com… ShopCo has launched a beta of the world’s first A.I.-powered personal buy buttons… Baudville has selected WebLinc to power its multi-site capabilities… During the second quarter of 2015, ThreatMetrix detected more than 45 million ecommerce attacks, a 25% increase over the previous quarter… Nordstrom.com net sales increased 11%, reflecting continued expansion of merchandise selection…. GuitarCenter has relaunched its ecommerce site… Playboy Enterprises, Inc. unveiled today a major ecommerce initiative with the launch of PlayboyShop.com…Here are 10 ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment on your ecommerce site.


shipping-delivery-75X75Continuing its expansion plans, crowdsourced same-day delivery company Deliv has acquired New York-based Zipments, following its June acquisition of WeDeliver in Chicago… GPS manufacturer Garmin is planning a new 712,842-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center at its Olathe, KS headquarters… Fashion marketplace Farfetch is rolling out same-day delivery at 45 boutique stores in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, Rome, Milan and Barcelona… FedEx is looking to build a new distribution center on 80 acres in Chattanooga, TN, while opening a new one in Manassas, VA… SEKO Logistics has opened an omnichannel logistics hub in Chino, CA and expanded into a new 200,000-square-foot facility in San Francisco. … The U.S. Postal Service reported a 14.1% increase in package volume, and an 11.1% increase in shipping and package revenue for fiscal 2015, while posting a net loss of $5.1 billion, down from $5.5 billion the prior year.

… And more

newsWilliams Sonoma said it plans to close its stores on Thanksgiving Day… Man-made diamond manufacturer Charles & Colvard has hired ChannelAdvisor CMO Suzanne Miglucci as its CEO, effective Dec. 1… CafePress’s third-quarter net revenues totaled $19.5 million, compared to $25.9 million in the third quarter of 2014… bebe stores’ first-quarter comp sales decreased 4.1%… Macy’s, Inc. saw its third-quarter sales drop 5.2%, and blames that in part on a lack of tourism… Macy’s will, however, open up to 500 LensCrafters licensed departments over the next three years… Kohl’s said its sales rose 1% in the third quarter… JCPenney said its comp store sales were up 6.4% in the third quarter, and they expect them to be up 4% to 5% for the whole fiscal year…

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