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Online Advertisers Want More Than Facebook and Google

facebook-260818_640Advertisers want options besides Facebook and Google, but at present, no third platform has so far distinguished itself as to shake up the Facebook-Google “duopoly.”

“In the battle for digital ad dollars, it’s Google, Facebook and then who?

That’s the question marketers are asking as they try to spend effectively on the Web, and even more so on mobile, where traffic is shifting.

Heading into quarterly earnings reports next week, Google andFacebook utterly dominate digital advertising, according to eMarketer.”

Read the full article at CNBC. 

Mattel Is Crowdsourcing Toy Ideas

275px-Mattel-brand.svgIt has the look of a last-ditch effort as Mattel’s sales falter.

“Got a great toy idea? Mattel wants to hear from you.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company behind iconic toys like Barbie, Hot Wheels and American Girl hopes someone in the general public will think of the Next Big Thing.

Mattel (MAT) is teaming up with Quirky, a crowdsourcing platform for inventors that lets anyone submit an idea, as the toymaker struggles with lackluster sales. The site has previously landed products with Costco (COST), Home Depot (HD), Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Bed, Bath & Beyond.”

Read the full article at CNN.

Target and Lily Pulitzer Partner to Open a Pop-Up Shop in Manhattan

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr cc

Reports say there were 500 to 600 people waiting outside the doors on opening day.

“Target Corp. on Thursday opened a pop-up shop at Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan selling what many experts say will be one of its most popular designer collaborations to date: A 250-piece Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection. According to reports, 500 to 600 people were waiting in line at 8 a.m. when the temporary store opened.”

Read the full article at Chain Store Age.

Apple May Become America’s First $1 Trillion Company

Photo Credit: wafitz via Deviant Art cc

Photo Credit: wafitz via Deviant Art cc

And if it does, it will have more than just its gadgets to thank. Its software is its “secret sauce,” according to one analyst; its software is what will push Apple into record-breaking territory.

“Just 18 years ago Apple flirted with bankruptcy. Now it’s trying to become America’s first $1 trillion company.

Steve Jobs helped return Apple (AAPL, Tech30) to greatness by churning out innovative products like the iPod and iPhone that consumers fell in love with.

Since taking over for Jobs in August 2011, current Apple CEO Tim Cook has doubled the tech behemoth’s earnings and profits, thanks largely to strong sales of the latest generations of the iPhone. Cook has also plunged the company into the world of wearable technology with the Apple Watch, which started taking pre-orders last week. It’s already back ordered until June.”

Read the full article at CNN.

Wal-Mart’s Apparel Category Is Stagnating

Wal-Mart’s main focus has been on grocery and people, but apparel is lagging and must be attended to.

“Analysts and retail experts say Wal-Mart, while focused on fresh grocery, customer service and employee relations, could also do better with its stagnant apparel division that represents about 7% of the U.S. annual sales, or $20.16 billion last year. “

Read the full article at The City Wire.

Target’s Food Business Is in Need of “Strategic Repositioning”

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr cc

According to whom? According to Target itself! It has hired Anne Dament to turn things around.

“On March 3, the retailer announced its intention to overhaul its food assortment and operations. The effort will focus on six product categories, including better-for-you snacks, coffee and tea, premium sauces and oils, specialty candy, wine and craft beer, and yogurt and granola. It also will expand the availability of natural, organic, locally grown and gluten-free choices to fit the wellness-focused lifestyles of its customers, according to Target.”

Read the full article at Food Business News.

Toys “R” Us Adopts a New and Savvy Strategy

Photo Credit: Terence Ong via Wikimedia Commons cc

Photo Credit: Terence Ong via Wikimedia Commons cc

If it can’t beat Walmart and Target at prices, it can beat them at experience. Walmart and Target might be able to sell toys on the cheap, but they can’t turn entire stores into playrooms.

“Toys “R” Us may have decided the best approach to winning customers is by kidding around, but that does not mean it will have to play nice.

Retailers are well known for their price-cutting (and cutthroat) tactics when selling toys. So Toys “R” Us, which has been losing market share to Walmart, Target and Amazon, set its gaze beyond the price tag and onto the tyke. It recently detailed plans to open a prototype store that will include play space and interactive technology to engage kids and attract parents. The chain also is arming its staff with mobile devices so they can provide more on-the-spot product information.”

Read the full article at Forbes.

How Millennials Really Use Their Smartphones

iphone-410314_640Surprisingly few use their smartphones to complete purchases.

“Millennials have made smartphones a totem of their generation. Even as smartphone penetration climbs among older consumers, millennials are the ones making the most of the device’s capabilities.

In important respects (like social networking), smartphones now surpass computers as the locus of millennials’ digital lives. But the phone’s degree of importance to them is not uniform across all digital activities, with transaction of purchases among the laggards, according to a new eMarketer report, ‘Millennials and Their Smartphones: How Many Have Them and What They Do with Them.'”

Read the full article at eMarketer.

Etsy Says IPO Won’t Interfere with Its Mission

crafts-289536_640Etsy is a B Corporation – a company dedicated to promoting the social good. It is only the second B Corporation to go public. Will Etsy remain true to its values amid the pressures of Wall Street?

“The online craft bazaar Etsy made its debut on the Nasdaq stock market Thursday, signaling the birth of an unusual public corporation — and not just because its employees carry around compost on bicycles, or because its regulatory filings are peppered with phrases like, ‘We keep it real, always.'”

Read the full article at The New York Times. 

Wal-Mart’s Food Sales Look Small and Sad Beside Other Supermarkets’

Photo Credit: Abras2010 via Wikimedia Commons cc

Photo Credit: Abras2010 via Wikimedia Commons cc

Supermarkets like Kroger and Safeway are competing with Wal-Mart and Target all too effectively. It’s becoming embarrassing. Both the “schooled” retailers are searching out ways to regain ascendancy.

Traditional supermarkets such as Kroger and Safeway are schooling mass merchants Wal-Mart and Target in the business of selling fresh food and packaged goods, sending two of the nation’s most formidable retailers back to the drawing board to reignite their sales.”

Read the full article at The Street.