B2B Loyalty Programs are Key to Future Growth: What Matters Most and Findings from B2C

by Bistriti Poddar |

B2B Loyalty Programs are Key to Future Growth: What Matters Most and Findings from B2C

B2B Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs in B2C brands are adding a lot of value for brands, manufacturers, and retailers.  B2B, however, is just now starting to take off.   B2B manufacturers and distributors view loyalty differently than B2C.  However, it is clear that loyal customers drive perpetual growth and boost brand affinity. According to Pareto’s principle, 80% of … Weiterlesen

Why Loyalty is your Best Asset During Periods of Market Unrest

Loyalty is your best asset during periods of market unrest

If you are a business that’s in it for the long haul, you need to be comfortable that at some point there will be a market downturn. Recessions are undeniable and only the most resilient businesses thrive in such difficult economic conditions. You need strategic thinking to navigate the waters of an economic slump. Customer … Weiterlesen

Annex Cloud Brings Advanced Loyalty Solutions to Shopify Plus Certified App Program


Shopify Plus 7000 plus merchants can now seamlessly discover the best in class apps vetted and certified by Shopify Plus. The Shopify Plus Certified App Program is for developers who warranty product quality that aligns with advanced requirements of Shopify Plus merchants. Apps that merchants choose to work with, can not only impact a merchant’s … Weiterlesen

Facebook Lead Ads is a New Feature in Social Bridge Powered by Annex Cloud

Facebook Lead Ads

As any marketer knows, the marketing dollars have to make sense. It’s imperative that you’re spending the money you’ve been allocated in a way that brings you the greatest Return on Investment (ROI). Facebook lead ads could be the best friend you’ve been missing. Facebook lead ads, if done properly, can feel less intrusive and … Weiterlesen

Customer Retention in a Recession Requires Ongoing Customer Engagement

Customer Retention

Welcome to the second part of our ongoing Customer Retention series. If you missed the first part of our series, you can read it here. Weathering through the storm market volatility is not easy. It requires making good judgment calls and trusting your team to pull together. But it also means shielding yourself through the … Weiterlesen

Top Tech Integrations for Your Loyalty Program

Benefits of customer loyalty programs

When you went to get coffee today, probably at your local Starbucks, you may have paid with your Starbucks app. And if you did, you’re in good company. As one of the 15 million people who are signed up for and active users of Starbucks Rewards, Starbucks’ all-in-one loyalty program and social behavior software is … Weiterlesen

Fallstudie: Wie man ein erfolgreiches B2B-Treueprogramm aufbaut

B2B Loyalty Case Study

B2B Loyalty Overview:

It is very true that there is no one-size-fits-all Treueprogramm. Especially not in the business-to-business industry. The B2B space is such a specific market with a narrower audience, so it must be treated as such. That means audience segmentation and personalized incentives are that much more important. This study will review how Annex Cloud helped two industry-leading companies build out their B2B loyalty programs and what impact it had on those brands.

Goals of B2B Loyalty:

Though the strategies may differ, there are several common goals of a B2B loyalty programs. These businesses both needed to increase customer spend and increase customer lifetime value. This can be challenging in B2B because the market is not only competitive but niche as well. They wanted to build brand advocacy and basically create a community of ambassadors. They also needed to reduce discounts on items. We live in an economy so deeply entrenched by discounting that retailers and B2B companies alike have the challenge of migrating away from it as to maximize product return.

Our Solution:

Every loyalty solution has its challenges but B2B requires another level of personalization. Both of these companies opted for Annex Cloud not only because we have a unified marketing platform with Kundentreue, Benutzergenerierte Inhalte, and referral marketing capability, but also because we work with businesses to create a custom implementation strategy.

Annex Cloud also helps companies nurture their relationships with existing customers through personalized incentives, which in turn increases customer spend and average customer lifetime value. These incentives inspire customers to become brand advocates where they’re more likely to take actions like referring a friend or reviewing an item. It’s about following the customer journey from beginning to end and building a true community around their B2B brand.

B2B Rewards:

The key to rewarding in the business-to-business space is allowing your customers to sample your products risk-free. If you offer an impressive product catalog with a great loyalty offering, they are more likely to purchase. It’s a low risk scenario if built surrounding high-margin products. This B2B model implemented by Annex Cloud has proven to help support sales and drive revenue.

Consumer Electronics

Client A: Consumer Electronics


Our client, a leading consumer electronics company, built a very successful model around selling office electronics like computers, monitors, copiers, and printers to small businesses around the world. They wanted to implement a B2B loyalty program that would sign up more users and build a community of brand advocates.

They had so many questions about best practices for strategy and segmentation. How do we best incentivize with the B2B model? How do we grow our customer base while creating meaningful relationships with our existing customer base? They chose Annex Cloud for its experience in creating very personalized incentives specific to the B2B industry.


Soon after launch, we saw major wins for the program. By designing a solution specific to our client’s B2B sales goals, we positioned them as a leader in SMB loyalty. Since initiating this campaign, we have already signed up over 100,000 businesses for the program. We also saw a 7% increase in repeat purchase rate and a 9% increase in customer lifetime value. However, probably the largest takeaway from the program has been building a community of 10,000 brand advocates. By building a custom solution with Annex Cloud and by leveraging their Benutzergenerierte Inhalte, our client is seeing a huge increase in partnering businesses and overall brand awareness.

b2b loyalty

Client B: Physician Loyalty


Our other client is a large specialty healthcare company with an array of products like over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals. Their primary objective was to build a Treueprogramm targeting physicians, which of course brought a lot of challenges. How do we keep a physician’s attention when there’s so much competition in healthcare? How do we reduce discounting and still keep them engaged? Luckily, Annex Cloud specializes in using long-term incentives to keep attention and to help reduce discounting.


By implementing a tiered program where discounts depend on the physicians’ spend, we have been able to see major benchmarks in performance. We have now signed up 70% of our client’s current customer base since the launch of the campaign. We also saw a 6% increase in customer spend and an 8% increase in customer lifetime value. But what we’re most impressed by is the 25% decrease in discounting. For a healthcare company of that scale, to reduce discounts by a quarter is a huge plus. By working with Annex Cloud to award returning customers and by personalizing incentives, our client was able to surpass its goals in customer acquisition and discounts.

To learn more about how Annex Cloud can help your business grow, Kontaktieren Sie uns oder eine Demo planen heute.

Why Your Ecommerce Sales Strategy is Incomplete Without a Customer Loyalty Solution

Customer Loyalty

Once upon a time, an ecommerce company could get away with just a simple website that sold products. Then one day the industry progressed to the point that we all needed to incorporate an email service provider. And now, we have Amazon, Walmart.com, and the other retail powerhouses creating new standards for ecommerce fulfillment, price, and service. According to TechCrunch, Amazon accounts for 49% of all ecommerce sales. The closest competitor is eBay with 5% of total ecommerce transactions. This chaotic battle for market share has forced other retailers to get creative with how they use Kundentreue to incentivize their customers.

Ecommerce SalesThe Amazon Effect:

In 2017, Amazon saw $177 billion in sales revenue. This year, they’re projected to clear $258 billion. Features like Q&A, item comparison, and peer reviews have forced smaller retailers to get creative with their own user experience.

They also built one of the most unique customer loyalty programs in retail history. With its innovative paid loyalty model, Amazon Prime has changed the way millions of us shop each year. It’s also very diverse in scope, as Prime subscription benefits can range from free two-day shipping to streaming thousands of movies. And now that Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, it’s become that much more convenient for the customer. And to think it all started with books…

The Issues:

With the dominance of the third party aggregators like Amazon, Google Shop, and Walmart.com, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep a consumer’s attention. So many factors come into play on why this is such a problem.


When your products are being advertised on third party sites, they’re being compared apples-to-apples against hundreds of similar products. Google Shop’s comparison tool places the most relevant goods with the best price right next to your products. Not only that, but customers are channel-hopping across various ecommerce sites, social media, and other sources to get as much information as possible about your product. According to a study done by CommerceHub, 86% of purchasers change channels when buying online. So if your reviews, Q&A, and product descriptions don’t check out, your potential customer has a lot of other options to choose from.


customer loyaltyThe cost of acquisition is currently higher than the cost of inflation, a detrimental stat for marketers and ecommerce professionals. This is attributed to lack of trust in retailers and institutions in general. “The trust that consumers have in brands is going down tremendously,” stated Al Lalani, Chief Strategist of Annex Cloud. “Customers are researching more and looking for peer reviews across many channels, thus increasing the acquisition cost of that customer.”

The Solutions:

Though there is no one simple solution to this problem, there are a few strategies that can help your brand better position itself against the competition.


It’s so vital for a brand to have a strong presence across all industry-related platforms. That includes a great ecommerce store, third party aggregators, mobile devices, and social media. Once a customer is acquired through a good omni-channel campaign, it’s important to incentivize them to return for future purchases. This is done with kanalübergreifende Loyalität. Say you’re a shoe manufacturer and a customer just purchased your shoes on Amazon. Because advertising on Amazon means more cost to you and more distraction to your customer, it’s in your best interest to convince the customer to purchase from you directly in the future. This can be done by incentivizing the consumer with offers like $10 off their next shoe purchase or offering free socks with each purchase.

Retention Through Customer Loyalty:

No matter how you acquire a customer, it’s important to make them want to buy from you again. The cost of acquiring a customer is greater than the cost of retaining a customer, so incentivizing right after the initial point of purchase is your best chance of nurturing that relationship. According to Ciceron, a satisfied customer will contribute on average 14x more revenue to a business compared to a dissatisfied customer. It’s about not only rewarding after a purchase, but incentivizing them when they take actions like posting photos with your products. It’s about breaking out of the points-for-purchase model and building a real community around your brand. When you cater to your customers, they gain a sense of inclusion and are more likely to purchase in the future.

Annex Cloud helps bridge the gap between retailer and consumer. By working with the retailer and creating a custom loyalty solution, we generally see an increased average order value and decreased cost of retention. The old days of getting by on an ecommerce site alone are behind us. It’s an absolute necessity for retailers to incentivize their customers with customer loyalty. If you either don’t have a loyalty program or you just want to get more out of your program, Kontaktieren Sie uns and we’ll be sure to help you out!

31 Shopping Cart Abandonment Statistics for 2021

Abandoned shopping cart

Marketing places a high emphasis on consumer engagement and consumer base expansion. However, an engaged consumer is not always guaranteed to buy. Shopping cart abandonment is one of the major problems for retailers to overcome. Retailers should be extra careful of this issue because a high abandonment rate leads to poor user experience or a broken … Weiterlesen

8 Shopping Cart Abandonment Solutions That Really Work


Online shopping cart abandonment has become a serious problem for many e-commerce and retail businesses. This very real issue will deplete your conversion rate unless you take the right measures. More than three of every four consumers visiting an e-commerce site leave their shopping carts full. Typical reasons consumers leave their online carts include excessively high … Weiterlesen

2018 Retail Predictions: How You Should Be Prepared

Retail Predictions

Digitalization, ultra-connectivity, and ever-shifting customer expectations are causing seismic shifts in the retail landscape. Staying on top of these changes are key to making the most of the coming year. Here are our 4 major 2018 retail predictions and ways you can amp up your marketing strategy.

A) Purpose-Driven Partnerships:

Strategic brand alliances will be the core currency in 2018. It will allow retailers to think beyond monotonous and too-common one-off collaborations and in-the-moment engagements. By collaborating with multiple partners, they can come up with unique values and exclusive benefits. Capitalizing on this trend will ensure a unique competitive edge, as it will put retailers in a much better position to satisfy the newly-formed customer experience.

In fact, a few retailers have already moved in this direction. Home Depot has joined hands with Laurel & Wolf, an online design company. Laurel & Wolf have created an exclusive, multi-platform design consultation and installation service called Home Depot Pro Referral Service. Home Depot customers can work with Laurel & Wolf designers to create custom interior design plans.

What You Can Do

Put a focus on strategic partnerships in 2018. Venture into alliances with a specific aim such as enhanced customer traffic and brand reach. But, make sure you’ve backed up your goal by finding out what your customers really want. Run surveys to find out what pain points they’re facing that a strategic partner could potentially help solve.

Have a holistic and studious approach to partnerships. Identify various possibilities where a strategic alliance could solve customers’ needs and improve the overall brand experience. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Unique partnerships can not only build better customer experiences but they can also add a lot to your PR strategy in the coming year.

B) Ever Shortening Shipping Windows:

Just like we’ve seen in the last decade, Amazon will continue to play the disruptor role in 2018. That disruptive effect would be more palpable in changing consumer shipping expectations. The online retail giant often delivers the same or comparable products as other retailers at a lower price- in a much quicker time frame. And looking at the efficiency that it has pulled it off, Two-day shipping has now become a new normal. With ever developing shipping technologies and methodologies like drone deliveries, shrinking shipping windows is indeed among one of the most important 2018 retail predictions.

What You Can Do

If you don’t want to (or can’t) eat a bunch of overhead expenses to drive shipping costs down, you can think about a ship-to-store option. It is beneficial from all conceivable angles. Customers receive free shipping, you’re bringing them in store and keeping costs low, and there are no return costs if it’s not what they want.

C) Connected Environments:

The line between physical and digital world is blurring, making integrated scenario the future of retail. In the coming year, customers will seek robust interactions that seamlessly connect multiple devices, environments, and technologies. Retail will move towards more immersive and distinctive shopping experiences.

What You Can Do

Think about pairing tools such as voice commerce applications like Google Home and Alexa, RFID, beacons, mobile applications, Internet of Things and wearable devices to create a connected ecosystem to own up this key point of 2018 retail predictions.

Identify which devices your customers use most commonly, and integrate emerging technologies into moments and immersive experiences that complement and enhance day-to-day life.

D) Transparency Will Matter More Than Ever:

With increased environmental awareness and health-conscious customers, transparency will be a big factor. Note that in an age of information overload, they have more than enough resources to know the truth about your products and brand. Customers want to know where their products come from, and the brands they buy really stand for. It’s then not surprising that one study found that 86% of millennial moms reported that they would pay more for a product with full transparency.

What You Can Do

As transparency is a constant undertaking, it needs to be looked at contentiously. Make conscious decisions about your sourcing. Be able to defend the things you sell, the prices you sell them at, and the way your business runs. If transparency in your sourcing, manufacturing, and employee satisfaction makes you nervous, you may have a bigger problem on your hands this year.

Live Chat vs Chatbots: An Overview

live chat vs chatbots

Edsger. W. Dijkstra, a pioneer in many research areas of computer science, has said: “The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.” The truism of his statement is unfolding in front of us now amidst the exasperating modernization that is happening in the world of computer science. As this advancement has helped businesses in inventing and reinventing most of their operations, e-commerce is no exception. A partial, if not total, ouster of live chat because of chatbots is a likely possibility today. An analytical understanding of live chat vs chatbots will help in measuring the actual feasibility of that possibility. However, before we enter into the terrain of live chat vs chatbots, it’s important to note that during the teething days of chatbots, their detractors complained that chatbots were too mechanical.  They were too robotic and lack the human intuition and warmth that is key to conversational commerce. Many also pointed out that the algorithmic nature of chatbots made them completely inept at understanding words that are not programmed in them as keywords. Moreover, they also pointed out that the lack of natural intelligence, with which a human is born, doesn’t allow chatbots do grasp the meaning of a sentence by strictly staying within the context. For example, chatbots will not understand if the term “St. Louis” is the name of the person, city, or school. On the other hand, as live chat actually has a human presence on the other side of the screen, it’s  devoid of contextual errors and emotional coldness of the chatbots. Without a doubt, there was truth to the  views of chatbots’ detractors. But that was a few years ago, and times have changed.. Technical advancements, such as natural language processing (NLP)– a field of artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, and computer science concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages–have been successful in bridging the gap between human language and chatbots. NLP makes chatbots think and learn. They work with high end rules of synonyms, ontologies, and spell checker. As they now don’t get distracted by the misspelled and new words due to the machine learning process, they work by searching for the meaning of the sentences, and not just seeking for specific keywords–just like human reasoning. This has given a clear upper hand to chatbots in the live chat vs chatbots debate. As far as operational efficiency and accuracy of the chats, which are absolutely necessary for indelible customer experience, chatbots have more advantages. The following image explains why that is the case. live chat vs chatbots We can see the immediate benefits of chat bots over live chat with an actual customer service agent in the above image. As chatbots can have unlimited concurrent conversations (humans can only realistically focus properly on a few at the same time) and provide coverage 24/7, the cost per conversation becomes significantly less. Plus, with a live agent, it’s almost impossible for him/her to provide a consistent conversation experience and professional manner across multiple different customers. Chatbots are structured in a way to ensure that the conversation will always take the same format and tone. It’s then totally comprehensible why research has shown that people engage and reply “Thank you” to an order confirmation delivered via a chat bot message, but tend to ignore an email. The need, thus, is to go beyond the live chat vs chatbots debates, as the latter has far more capabilities and usage possibilities.


Everyone knows that chatbots are already used for ordering purposes. By collaborating with Slack, Taco Bell allows users to order food in the instant–messaging application used by companies for internal communication. It looks something like this- chatbot slack tacobell Though they have  undoubtedly accelerated the food ordering process, chatbots can go a step further. Through tracking a person’s preferences, chatbots may assist customers with complex purchasing decisions. When a customer is in discovery mode, chatbots can rummage through product catalogs and send personalization recommendations. Even after personalized suggestions, if that customer is in no mood to buy right now, you don’t hit a dead end. This is because interacting with chatbots is not a one time experience. In their next interaction with that same customer, they will remember former conversation and preferences.

The Importance of Mobile

Mobile has emerged as the preferred medium for buyers to do product research and complete purchases. If they find that the sales path is not mobile-optimized, it adds up to their frustration. Chatbots can negate this frustration, as they eliminate the necessity to contact a company for additional support. They let customers  begin and finalize their transactions within a chat interface or a single messaging app. Through its “Easy Order” pizza-ordering bot for Facebook Messenger, Domino’s Pizza has established a mobile link with its customers. All you have to do is pair your Facebook account with your Domino’s account and type “PIZZA” to the Messenger bot. Depending on your ordering history, Easy Order automatically selects the pizza. You can manually configure your preferred pizza within your account interface as well. The order will be placed with the tap of a button within the mobile app or through an Apple Watch. Here’s how it looks.

Clearly, the prowess of chatbots goes beyond answering questions. They increase sales by bringing  tailor-made communication to a new visitor, and become a first point of contact with him/her. And all this can be realized with overall efficiency. Note that by assisting chatbots, companies can automate their support up to 90%. The saved time and money can be put into solving much complex problems and innovative drives. Nordstrom, for example, recently cut customer service jobs due in part to automation and operational changes. Even after believing that there is plenty of room for improvement, that’s what makes them a “perfect tool” as they spur user engagement, sales, marketing, customer support, and retention.

Google Assistant Launches New eCommerce Features

Google Assistant

Google is clearly aware of the incredible growth in e-commerce. To exploit it meticulously, over the years it has undertaken several successful ventures in e-commerce and payments, including Google Shopping, a mobile wallet, and delivery through Google Express. Once again, in order to successfully monetize Google Assistant–their AI voice assistant that made its debut at Google I/O 2016–Google is extending its voice-enabled commerce.

At its developer conference in Mountain View, CA, Google announced that it is bringing commerce features to its voice-based digital Google Assistant. While it’s already enabled conversational commerce for select retail partners, it seems like they’re vastly extending their offerings. Google Assistant can now order, accept payments and complete the delivery as well. Google Assistant’s new e-commerce features also ensure shoppers’ identities, and send notifications and purchase receipts.

This move is viewed as a follow-up move to Google enabling shopping with its retail partners on Google Assistant back in March. Google Home allows customers to order things from Walgreen’s, Costco, or Toys R Us through Google Express. Customers just have to say commands and set up a payment option by going into the Google Home app settings. It looks something like this-

google assistant 1

Clearly, Google could have announced these new e-commerce features with the announcement of Google Home. But the intentions behind these efforts, apart from monetization, are clear. One of them is the need to catch up with the rivals. Google Assistant already helps customers in organizing their shopping lists and find out about things in which they are interested in, but it had stopped short at actually letting them buy items. But with Google Home and these new functionalities, Google is trying to overcome that lacuna as quickly as possible. Voice-enabled shopping is one of the prime reasons why Amazon’s Alexa is leading the pack when it comes to conversational commerce. Besides, Amazon has its own payments infrastructure and a grand network of warehouses and delivery services to get products to people who place voice-based orders.

Additionally, Google is going to integrate an inventory search option into Google Assistant, and it’ll be free for marketers. Recode notes, “In traditional Search, marketers pay for an ad feature that similarly shares results for nearby sellers that have in stock the item a user is seeking. The feature that is coming to Assistant pulls from the same data as the ad option already offered in traditional Search.”

“This feature for finding specific items nearby is different from asking Assistant the location of a specific store nearby; for example: “Okay Google, where is the nearest CVS?” That option is already available on Assistant, and businesses are not charged for inclusion.”

Moreover, the announcement also revealed Google’s plans to integrate Google Assistant into a slew of consumer devices. It may work with devices from Sony, Panasonic, and others to control them with the Assistant and even bake it into the device itself. A special “Google Assistant built-in” badge will highlight appliances that include that capability. It is also believed that Google Assistant’s new e-commerce features will be available in French, German, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese, as well as Italian, Spanish, and Korean, by the end of the year. Now, these developments will help Google in broadening its new features’ reach to posit itself as a serious player in the online shopping contention.

Clearly, Google Assistant’s new e-commerce features are a strategic branching out of its core functionalities and strengths. And its effect will be felt on improving Google’s competitive edge as well as monetization prospects, as it’s always a big plus for a company if it can find more revenue channels through the existing features. If it can become an integral part of people’s online buying behavior, those effects won’t be too hard to realize!

For the Best Personalization Experience, Know How to Identify the Gift Buyers

gift buyers

This is a guest post written by Van Schlichting, SEO & Optimization Practice Lead at Corra, a global digital agency creating transformative commerce experiences for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. To learn more, visit corra.com.

A good first question when familiarizing yourself with a new customer base is, “Who is my typical customer?” This is usually a question that you can readily find an answer to, but where does one go from there?

Having a clear understanding of who is hitting your site, and what they are looking for, is key to developing an immersive and relevant customer experience.

Who is on your site anyway?

The place e-commerce occupies on the cusp of technology and marketing often puts us in the mindset of a traditional marketer. One thing we often miss with this approach is the understanding that visitor composition changes naturally throughout the year, particularly for businesses in a highly seasonal industry. Some customers may seek your brand only certain times of the year. For instance, some shoppers are only interested in the winter clothing line, or they tend to shop in advance of summer activities.

Beyond changes in your customer base behavior, you also can see site visitors who aren’t actually your customer at all. For instance, your customer Mr. Smith is very loyal, and purchases fairly regularly. Mrs. Smith, however, only shops on your site on Black Friday, or during a peak season for a gift for her husband. While she may know what she wants to purchase, her unfamiliarity with your site or product leads to a shopping journey that is very different from what you might expect. Since so much of a good testing program is about looking at the end-to-end experience, this can complicate your interpretation of the results.

Identifying the Gift Buyers

Learning how your customers act during gift-buying times is the key to achieving the most relevant and engaging experience. There is no magic bullet that will solve everything, but there are some variables to begin looking at to identify gift buyers:

  • New vs. Returning – While we may not be able to identify Mrs. Smith on Mr. Smith’s computer, we can be fairly certain that gift buyers like her are going to be “new” to our site. Beginning by looking at new visitors, and then refining them into some of the more detailed sub-segments listed here is a good place to start. It’s also important to note that Mrs. Smith may be using Mr. Smith’s computer or even account, and so may not show up as new at all. A good way to begin profiling this scenario is to focus on the typical time windows you can predict, when gift buyers surge, and develop segments for only that time period.  You can then compare their behavior to other periods more readily.
  • Index/Product Page Loiterers – Pausing longer than usual on the index or product page is most commonly a characteristic of someone buying gifts. I’ve seen 20%-30% increases in time on these pages during the holidays! Combine this with new visitors, and you’ve done most of the heavy lifting toward identifying gift buyers. Just be sure that other factors—such as other tests you are running, or content changes—are factored out.
  • Product Page, Index Page, Product Page – Similar to sitting on the index page, new and unfamiliar shoppers tend to move back and forth from products to product lists more often. This could be Mrs. Smith looking for that perfect gift, particularly when aligned with specific keyword searches (such as Mr. Smith wanting that new gadget that is being advertised) or within a specific deep (level 4) category on the site.
  • Keyword Searchers – For most retailers who aren’t high SKU count/category spread, returning users tend to use the navigation more often than keyword searching. A new visitor doing a single keyword search during the holidays is likely to be a gift buyer because they already know what is wanted.
  • Cart Adds & Abandons – Generally, you will see a negative correlation between gift buyers and abandoned carts. We often miss this one because in general, add-to-cart rates and cart abandonment rates will both rise during the holidays. This is because the existing customer is more likely to price shop, while a gift buyer goes straight to checkout.

Keeping an eye on these behavioral patterns will help retailers to see which customers are new or returning, and which have landed on your site to shop for gifts. Knowing this will allow you to target these customer groups with promotions that speak to their interests, and in some cases acquire them in their own right.

The Logic Behind Walmart’s Recent Acquisitions

Walmart's Recent Acquisitions

Just when analysts were trying to dissect  Walmart’s recent acquisitions of Shoebuy.com ($70 million) and Moosejaw ($51 million), last month they saw one more acquisition by the retail giant, with another now on the horizon.

Walmart’s ModCloth Buy

Walmart purchased ModCloth for a price between $50 million and $75 million. ModCloth founder Susan Gregg Koger had her reasons to go for this move. It may give her products the more reach and visibility- something which is expected when you get aligned with big names like Walmart. But the truth is the brand, which started out in a college dorm room, and over the past 15 years grew to be one of the biggest independent online fashion retailers in the world, was going through a crisis. It has also seen rounds of  recent layoffs. But the move that Gregg Koger considered a necessary evil has clearly not gone down well with her brand loyalists and brand enthusiasts.

Anyone who has followed ModCloth keenly will understand that it’s a brand with indie cred. Known for its inclusive sizes, vintage-style clothing, supportive attitude towards independent designers, and Photoshop-free advertising, ModCloth has always endorsed inclusive, progressive and pro-feminist business practices. Susan didn’t even hesitate in slamming Donald Trump on the issues of women. Naturally, fans have been finding it difficult to see why such a brand with fearless views and spirited founder would park itself in the lot of Walmart.

ModCloth swim campaign

The largest retailer in the country has been an object of scorn for many due to its low pay and anti-union tactics. After a lot of criticism, Walmart raised its corporate minimum wage from $9 to $10 in 2015. These well-documented shady ethics of Walmart have upset many women, as ModCloth’s progressive messaging and thinking is at odds with Walmart’s business practices. This sentiment is apparent in various comment sections of articles discussing the latest of Walmart’s recent acquisitions:

“Amplify your message by joining a company that keeps women in poverty while lining [Walmart’s] pockets with more and more money? No thanks. You’re deleted. Know your audience.

“Walmart doesn’t respect their workers or respect women. You’ve sold out to one of the worst companies in the world. They don’t pay a living wage, a huge percentage of their workers are on food stamps, and they hold holiday food drives so their employees can feed their families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’ve been sued for gender discrimination. They refuse to stop using sweatshops in other countries. This is a major disappointment. I’m done shopping with you.”

“Walmart has horrid business practices, doesn’t believe in the power of a union, and refuses to give their employees anywhere near a living wage. I’m sorry, even if they’re your parent company – I cannot in good standing support your business anymore.”

And Now, Bonobos

Before the dust of this controversial acquisition has died down, it’s been reported that Walmart is in the last leg of talks to acquire Bonobos, a 10-year-old men’s fashion retailer based in New York City. According to the industry experts, this deal will be costlier than Walmart’s other acquisitions. Bonobos has between $100 million and $150 million in annual revenue and is in better financial shape than ModCloth. It’s important to know that it valued $300 million in 2014. For Bonobos, the move makes a clear sense. It has already raised more than $125 million from investors like Forerunner Ventures, Lightspeed and Mousse Partners in part to fuel this expansion. However, it is finding it difficult to raise more money and come up with investment terms that will satisfy all the involved parties.

Bonobos is another brand that’s known for its innovation and youthful spirit. It’s popular with millennials and has gained attention in the industry for its “fit shops”–brick and mortar locations that streamline inventory and logistics by only being a space for customers to try on clothing. Instead of sending them home with their purchases, Bonobos ships orders to these shoppers.

Bonobos is extremely popular among stylish, affluent, young men.
Bonobos is extremely popular among stylish, affluent, young men.

The Logic Behind Walmart’s Recent Acquisitions

The most prominent understanding that all of Walmart’s recent acquisitions is that the retailer is trying hard to reach new markets and channels. In his seven-month tenure as Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce CEO, Marc Lore has spearheaded three other acquisitions. It began with the acquisition of Jet.com.

It’s interesting to note that all these new acquisitions have been happening under Jet.com, which is a Walmart subsidiary and was founded by Lore. Walmart bought Jet.com and poached Lore in August. If one looks at the acquisitions of Shoebuy.com, Moosejaw, ModCloth, and Bonobos, it’s quite clear that Walmart is targeting the special product categories that appeal to millennials–a demographic which was never a core buyer of Walmart. By roping in fashionable brands that stand out to this audience, it is trying to stay alive in a deeply competitive retail landscape by safeguarding and enhancing its customer base. Indeed, last summer Walmart announced their intention of expanding their millennial fashion offerings.

The another reason that has shaped Walmart’s recent acquisitions is that Walmart never really had singularly fixated attention on e-commerce. That has changed in just a year. Walmart has tried to acquire customers by opening physical stores in new markets. But 2016 saw closures of most of the Walmart’s convenience-sized stores (“Walmart Express”) in urban areas. It has actually forced Walmart to move into e-commerce zone…and gobbling up these online retailers will help Walmart in catching up with Amazon, an initiator of e-commerce. In that sense, buying Jet.com for more than $3 billion was a move in that direction. Plus, Walmart also made two-day shipping free on all online orders over $35, without any membership fees to compete with Amazon’s popular Prime shipping program.

Clearly, when looking Walmart’s recent acquisitions, these are strategic buys with an aim of building e-commerce reach, capabilities, and assortment into critical categories. As explained earlier, it will open up a whole new path for Walmart through which it can have access to the shopping world of millennials. With $1.3 trillion annual buying power, they have already become indispensable customers for any business. And all these factors will form a pivot if Walmart has to position itself as a serious competitor of Amazon!

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