Producers behind the scenes at QVC's studios monitor high-tech control boards, gauging which aspects of segments send shoppers to their phones and computers and directing hosts and guests to do more of the things that boost sales. Online sales now account for 45% of QVC's total, and the multichannel retailer's mobile sales are on track to rival Wal-Mart's this year.
Amazon-owned Quidsi, which operates e-commerce properties including Diapers.com and Soap.com, has launched Familyhood Plus, a two-day shipping service similar to Amazon Prime. Membership is free for now, but the retailer is expected to start charging later. Since its launch, Amazon Prime has added membership perks including a free movie-streaming service and e-book borrowing.
J.C. Penney is returning to its deal-offering roots -- online at least -- with Web deals more than doubling compared with last year, when former CEO Ron Johnson looked to transition away from discounts, according to Hipiti. But year-over-year online traffic in February and March was down 14%, according to comScore.
Online video is proving to be a strong digital marketing tool that comes with the ability to measure return on investment. "The beauty of video is we can say exactly what we want to say -- it's like being a movie director. You choose the cast, the script and you know the ending. That's powerful for us," Topshop marketing chief Justin Cooke said.
E-commerce sales grew 14.8% last year, and online retail's growth rates are expected to continue outpacing overall retail growth for at least the next five years, according to reports. Several trends are fueling growth, including brick-and-mortar merchants' improvements in the multichannel arena, a tablet-driven jump in mobile commerce and expanding international efforts, Marcia Kaplan writes.