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Study: E-commerce continues growth

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK — The retail revolution may not be televised, but it will be digitized.

The new Q3 E-commerce Pulse from predictive analytics platform provider Custora shows that e-commerce revenue grew a healthy 11.8% year-over-year in third quarter 2015. E-commerce transactions rose an almost identical 11.6%.

Mobile continued to grow in significance as a channel for e-commerce in the quarter. Phones and tablets made up a combined 28.7% of e-commerce transactions, up from 23.1% of orders during the same time the prior year.

Apple’s iOS continues to be the platform of choice for mobile shoppers, taking 76.9% of the order share. However, Android’s stake climbed to 22.7%, up 16% from 19.5%.

Organic search was once again the leading driver of e-commerce purchases bringing in 22.5% of orders. Paid search ads and affiliate marketing both saw significant increases for each channel. Paid search moved up to 19.3% from 16.4% and affiliate marketing jumping to 16.7% from 12.1%.

Social media (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) continued to have a minor impact as an e-commerce purchase driver, only accounting for 1.5% of total volume.

However, a recent rash of new direct social selling tools such as the Twitter Buy Now button, expanded Pinterest Buyable Pins and YouTube shoppable ads may enhance social media’s influence on e-commerce purchases in coming quarters.

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Twitter amplifies ad offering

BY Dan Berthiaume

SAN FRANCISCO — Placing ads in tweets just got easier and more precise for retailers.

It will probably not have the same impact on social commerce as Twitter’s recent introduction of a Buy Now button, but the social platform is opening its Amplify ad program. In a beta offering, Twitter is letting advertisers select content categories and audiences they want to target with preroll video ads.

Twitter automatically and dynamically places the ads into embedded videos tweeted by publishers, with the publisher receiving most of the ad revenue through an automated revenue-sharing arrangement. The main difference from the traditional Amplify format is that advertisers no longer have to partner with a specific publisher to get their preroll ad placed.

Twitter plans to expand the new, more open Amplify out of beta both in the U.S. and globally. For retailers, this is a chance to target their ads more precisely based on video content and additional audience targeting, rather than by general audience demographics of a specific publisher.

More granular targeting should lead to more customer engagement and ultimately more sales, especially with the new Buy Now button that lets consumers make purchases without having to leave Twitter.

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Longtime Publix exec announces retirement

BY Mike Troy

LAKELAND, Fla. — An executive who played a key role in helping Publix deliver on its “where shopping is a pleasure” brand promise has stepped down after nearly half a century with one of the nation’s best supermarket operators.
 
David Bridges, VP of fresh product business development at Publix will retire effective Jan. 1, 2016 and his role will be filled by Chris Litz who currently serves as a regional director of Publix Atlanta Division.
 
Bridges’ career at Publix began in 1966 when the retailer had roughly 100 stores and its operations were concentrated in Florida. He began at a store in the retailer’s hometown of Lakeland, Florida, as a front service clerk. He became a store manager in 1981 and in 1987 he became a district manager. In 1994 he was promoted to Lakeland Division regional director and to vice president of retail business development in 2000. The following year he was named to the role of VP of fresh product business development, a position he held for the past 14 years. Today, Publix operates roughly 1,100 stores across six states.
 
“David (Bridges) has been a dedicated Publix associate and an integral part of the growth of our fresh and meals departments. He has a passion for providing premier service to his customers and for the training, development and advancement of his team. We will miss David and wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his life,” said Publix president Todd Jones.
 
Bridges’ successor, Chris Litz, joined Publix in 1987 as a store clerk. He became a store manager in 1995 and Lakeland Division district manager in 2000. He was promoted to director of warehousing in 2007 and his current position in 2010.
 
“Chris’s experience in retail and support makes him an ideal candidate for this leadership position,” said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. “His knowledge of both facets of our operations will continue to move our fresh retail business units forward.”
 
Litz will report to senior VP Dave Bornmann who has responsibility for grocery and customer service business development, which Publix says allows for insight across the center and perimeter of the store and the front end operations.
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