Week in Review: The Great Amazon Retail Store Mystery Solved

Amazon was going to keep its store expansion plans a mystery. And Jeff Bezos would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for those meddling CEOs…

General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani spilled the beans Tuesday during its 4Q earnings call, saying Amazon was going to open 300 to 400 more Amazon Books stores in an effort to go omnichannel. But on Wednesday, GGP retracted the statementJust kidding, right?

Maybe not. According to the Vox Media website re/code, Amazon is still looking to launch stores. And they’re looking to hire managers in La Jolla and San Diego.

re/code’s Jason Del Ray reports that the Amazon retail store initiative is being led by Steve Kessel, a longtime Amazon executive whose team launched the first Kindle e-reader and who is very tight with Bezos.

– Intro by Managing Editor Tim Parry.

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

share-this-icon-75X75Marketing

Here are 6 tips for improving your email deliverability… And here’s 5 reasons verified reviews are not a silver bullet for thwarting fake reviews… Macy’s will honor the “Year of the Monkey” with celebrations taking place across the country that will proclaim a fresh start for this Lunar New Year… Epsilon will provide targeted email marketing services across the Lamp Plus family of brands…The Container Store created a YouTube contest to engage customers asking them to create videos focusing on the store’s shopping experience.  The brand created a “People’s Choice Awards” program and the winner will be announced on its social channels….In a blog post by Cohere One’s John Lenser, talks about the “Circle of Wagons”  as it relates to direct mail during an election year.

Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75Ecommerce

2016 was a huge year for Tmall’s cross-border ecommerce growth… BlueSnap is launching The Checkout Conversion Calculator, a 12-step tool checkout abandonment tool to help retailers identify the points of friction that create a loss of sales… BigCommerce and eBay.com.au have partnered to provide sellers a way to easily and efficiently list products and manage inventory on eBay using eBayLINKInternational Checkout announced that it has partnered with footwear company Greats, enabling the brand to reach a wider global consumer audience…Ecwid announced its Jumpstart Reseller Program… Payments made big impact in 2015,  this year see what three ecommerce trends will impact 2016….Staples finalized merger agreement extension with Office Depot  A bug in the Magento ecommerce platform, now fixed, has potentially put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk, according to several published reports.

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UberRUSH has gained new retail partners for its same-day delivery service… Speaking of UberRUSH, Dick’s Sporting Goods will use the service to deliver displaced Broncos or Panthers fans in Chicago and New York Super Bowl champions merchandise after the big game Sunday… OneClick Ventures shares how they maintain a zero fulfillment error average … UPS reported record earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015, citing strong ecommerce growth, tight management controls and a payoff from automation investments. … Newgistics reported increases of 18% to 35% in holiday returns among its 450+ retail clients, driving by ecommerce gains as well as more companies adopting liberal returns policies, including free returns. … Here are some great tips from the SmartHub Benchmarking team at eBay Enterprise + Innotrac to help you create an excellent shipping and delivery experience for your customers. You can find out the winners of this year’s Excellence in Customer Experience Awards, sponsored by eBay Enterprise + Innotrac, at the 2016 Operations Summit, April 12-14 at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, hosted by Multichannel Merchant.

financials-icon-75X75… And more

Specialty baby retailer giggle has acquired baby gear and products retailer Right Start… The Broncos may be playing the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, but here’s why Amazon was the big winner in 2015… Ecommerce veteran Tony Chvala, has joined SHOP.CA as CEOErnie Herrman is the new CEO at TJX Companies, but Carol Meyrowitz will remain with the off-price seller as Executive ChairmanFanatics, Inc. has completed the acquisition of UK-based ecommerce sports company KitbagMacy’s named Peter Sachse as chief growth officer. Sachse was previously the chief innovation and business development officer…Joe’s Jeans Inc., announced the completion of a merger combining Hudson Jeans and Robert Graham to launch Differential Brands group. … Macy’s has made executive moves to shore up its omnichannel future, moving Chief Innovation and Business Development Officer Peter Sachse over to Chief Growth Officer, while Justin S. MacFarlane, former SVP for corporate strategy at Ann Inc., has been named Chief Strategy, Analytics and Innovation Officer.

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