All Articles Tagged "online shopping"

FedEx & UPS Fail: Many Christmas Gifts Bought Online Didn’t Arrive On Time

December 27th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Some of those overnight gift deliveries didn’t make it under the tree this year. United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and FedEx Corp. failed to to deliver packages in time for Christmas, exposing the dangers of retailers promising to get last-minute gifts to customers, reports Bloomberg.

This of course upset many consumers. Now such chains as Kohl’s,, and are offering gift cards and refunds to calm angry shoppers who vented on social media about missed shipments. UPS tried to explain the situation on its website by saying the volume of last-minute air packages exceeded its capacity to process them.

“A very small percentage of our gifts were affected due to the widely reported issue regarding UPS deliveries,” Yanique Woodall, a spokeswoman for the company, told Bloomberg an e-mail. “In some cases, we were able to substitute their gifts with our same-day delivery floral arrangements from our florists. In addition, to apologize for any inconvenience, we offered a $20 savings pass to our customers.”

When realized their shipments were going to miss the delivery dates, they reached out to customers immediately. Over at Amazon they offered customers $20 gift cards and refunds on purchases that UPS didn’t get to their destinations on time.  Kohl’s is contacting affected customers and will fully cover the cost of all items not delivered on time.

According to experts this shipping snafu won’t deter people from shopping online. But shipping companies need to be ready for the influx of orders, especially during holiday season.

UPS spokeswoman Peggy Gardner says it is working on the problem by conducting an analysis of what caused the delayed air shipments.

FedEx meanwhile said in an email to Bloomberg that said it had shipped 99 percent of its ground deliveries on time and didn’t specify a percentage for its air shipments.

Usually last-minute purchases bought two to three days before Christmas are shipped by air. UPS refunds air and international packages that don’t arrive on time during peak shipping season. However, there were no guaranteed delivery times for shipments by ground ordered after Dec. 11.

Volume was one reason for the missed deliveries. ComScore Inc. reported that merchandise purchased via personal computers rose 10 percent this year to $42.75 billion.  Another problem as that the season was six days shorter than last year.

UPS and FedEx “may need to increase investments to handle such volume surges,” Anthony Gallo, an analyst at Wells Fargo & Co., wrote in a note to investors. “The 2014 Thanksgiving and Christmas calendars will be similar to 2013.”

Word to online shoppers: Next year order earlier.

Revamp Your Online Store! People Want To Read About Products As Well As See Them

December 12th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Just in time for the shopping-filled holiday season, a new report commissioned by the University of Miami School of Business and posted on PRNewswire explains exactly how to optimize your online store for consumers cruising around your site.

Consumers love pictures! Graphics and visuals are all the rage — but this is solely if you have a small selection of products to offer. If your online site offers a wide range of selections, drawing in some sales might actually be more difficult. The study calls it “choice overload” — consumers are so overwhelmed by the amount of options, they don’t buy anything at all. Honestly, this is why MN Biz has trouble making it through Zappos.

Surprisingly, if you offer a lot of items for purchase, using more text (not pictures) will heighten the consumers’ chances of pressing “buy.” The more products there are on your online page, the more erratic the buyers will be in examining your page. By offering more information for your potential customer, he or she will be more likely to take their time and analyze which choice is best for them. This way, you’re more likely to score a sale.

“Although images are attractive and fun, when a large product set is shown with images only, there is a tendency among consumers to gloss over them rather than make a purchase,” said Claudia Townsend, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business.

Retailers that create mobile apps often fall prey to relying on visuals rather than clarifying text to lure in customers. Townsend insinuates that this sole focus on graphics just isn’t the way to go.

Through a series of five experiments, lead investigators came to this conclusion: although visuals are preferred, if you know your site will trigger “choice overload,” it’s best to add some text to facilitate the buying process. “Because consumers prefer to see products visually, we suggest that online retailers design a home page that uses visual information upfront, emphasizing ease-of-purchase and variety,” said Townsend.

“They should then make the product-offering pages more text based in order to cause the shopper to slow down, review each option more carefully, and buy,” she concludes.

Black Friday Was A Bust. What About Cyber Monday?

December 2nd, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Black Friday in Naples, FL. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Black Friday in Naples, FL. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Store openings on Thanksgiving day took the bite out of Black Friday, with retailers tallying a 13.2 percent drop in sales compared to 2012. But total sales for the two days were actually up 2.3 percent to $12.3 billion. Over the course of the entire four-day weekend, sales are estimated to come in at $57.4 billion, down 2.9 percent versus last year. Cold temperatures and a storm seemed to keep shoppers home in the Northeast, which tallied the lowest sales. A total of 141 million people went shopping over the holiday weekend.

Experts say that the super early start to the holiday sales along with the option of shopping on turkey day sucked some of the excitement out of Black Friday. Also playing a big role is the continued budget crunch that many average Americans are feeling. The amount that each consumer said they would be spending this weekend was $407.02, down from $423.55.

This is a big deal for retailers who usually look to take in 20 to 40 percent of their annual sales during the holidays; 10 to 15 percent are from this Thanksgiving holiday alone, reports The New York Times.

A bright spot was mobile and online shopping, with an IBM survey of 800 retailers showing that sales on mobile devices were up 40 percent versus last year. Tablet sales made of 14 percent of the total sales on Black Friday, and online sales were up 19.7 percent on Thanksgiving and up 19 percent the following day, says CNN Money.

Which brings us to Cyber Monday. Hopes are high for online sales this year, so much so that retailers like Amazon and Walmart are declaring this Cyber Week. Some of the deals include 40 percent off at H&M and Banana Republic, a 16GB Kindle Fire HD tablet down to $119 from 169 on Amazon, and a Dyson Multifloor Vaccum down to $399 from $549 at Best Buy. Lots of news sites are offering a round up of Cyber Monday, but honestly, if you go to any site or receive daily emails from your favorite retailers, then you probably know what to buy where. Airlines and travel companies are also offering deals today. So if you’re thinking of taking a trip to recover from the holidays, today might be the day to get a deal.

Even with fewer people out and about there was mass craziness at retailers across the country. ICYMI, here’s a taste of what some people were doing while you were chilling out with family and friends. Happy holidays.

Virtual Theft: The Dangers of Mobile Banking & Safety Tips

October 11th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Sooner or later many of us are going to begin our holiday shopping efforts for the perfect gift. Some will hit up malls and shopping centers while others will use their electronics for online purchases. While purchasing gifts is expected this time of year, it’s important to remember there are bad people waiting in the wings in hopes of taking your items and even your information.

Gone are the days when one could just enjoy the holidays without thinking about the lurking technology dangers. As we all at some point will use our phones to check our balances and possibly move money around, we need to be conscious of closing the door to virtual theft. Here are some mobile banking dangers and safety tips.

Don’t Just Throw It In The Bag: How To Shop Online Without Getting Ripped Off

September 25th, 2013 - By Desire Thompson
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shop online pf

If you aren’t a fan of crowded fitting rooms and shops, then online shopping is for you. During my college days, online shopping was a must. I would hunt for bargains on Karmaloop, Urban Outfitters and eBay (no shame in my game) for 20 minutes and still make it to class on time. The site deals and discounts are even more tempting to the eye of a fashionista, but I’ve learned that even the most tempting sites and deals can leave you more exposed than Instagram on Throwback Thursday. Here’s why, along with some things to remember when shopping online.

Crazy Coupon Clippers! Which Group Nabs The Most Discounts?

September 6th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Scoping the internet for the best discounts can be a tiresome task, but after The Great Recession, many people are up to the challenge and being more scrupulous with their cash. But which group is clipping the most coupons to save money? Bachelors and bachelorettes? Married adults? A new survey details which demographic is more inclined to be frugal, Motley Fool reports.

More than three-fourths of adults with kids are likely to use coupons when making online purchases. When it comes to the childless, 67 percent, just a few percentage points less, would use a discount. Also, adults who have said their “I do’s” are more prone to use promo codes (71 percent) compared to single shoppers (63 percent), according to a survey conducted by

Among college graduates, 32 percent are more inclined to use coupons to redeem discounts for their purchases. For shoppers with high school degrees or lower, only 27 percent would do the same. Surprisingly, the survey’s participants whose household income exceeded $75,000 used more coupons for online shopping (33 percent) compared to those who earned less than $35,000 (24 percent). Motley Fool explains this observation:

 [I]t appears that educated, higher-wage-earning married adults with kids living at home are the most likely group to save money when shopping online. Perhaps since more demands compete for their dollars (funding back-to-school supplies, higher insurance premiums, family trips to Disneyland, college tuition, etc.), it creates more pressure for families to make every dollar stretch as far as possible.

Regardless of which group has the most financial burden, we know for a fact that clipping coupons can certainly do wonders to build financial security. “While a small monthly savings might not seem like much, it could end up creating a nice little nest egg for your future goals,” Motley Fool concluded.

Cheap Chic: The Best In Online Shopping For Women on a Budget

August 28th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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The BB Dakota Roly Open-Front Cardigan for $89.

The BB Dakota Roly Open-Front Cardigan for $89.

Urban Outfitters. I never understood the appeal—$60 for a top that feels like potato sack? I’ll pass. Without fail, I always find a similar top, with better quality, for a fraction of the price. I’m a diligent shopper, especially in these stagnant economic times. I consider quality, durability, and trendiness before making any purchase. And I will trek all over the mall, from Macy’s to Charlotte Russeto find the best deals and I do the same for my online shopping.

But I’ll save you the stress of bargain-hunting in the vast worldwide Web. Here are some amazing online shops that’ll give you more bang for your buck!

Don’t Forget To Cancel ‘Free 30-Day Trials’: Corporations Rake In Billions Due To Forgetting

July 29th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Don’t be too quick to accept “free 30-day trial” offers, especially if your credit card information is required! Most Americans forget to cancel the subscription after the 30 days are up. Next thing you know, you’re unwittingly paying for an unwanted product. These companies love how oblivious we are because they rake in $14.3 billion due to our forgetfulness, reports USA Today.

Known as “gray charges,” one in three Americans are lured by these “free” deals and turned into paying subscribers, a recent study commissioned by BillGuard shows. These card holders are losing an average of $215 per year.

“These gray charges are not illegal; they’re just kind of unethical and a little but questionable,” Ron Shevlin, the survey conductor adds, “[a]nd many times it’s the consumer’s behavior that triggers these gray charges.”

By consumer’s behavior, Shevlin is referring to the fact that many Americans are simply forgetting to unsubscribe from the service, “which merchants are counting on,” says Mary Anne Keegan, the chief marketing officer for BillGuard.

Gray charges are becoming a bigger problem because consumers are increasingly making online purchases, which, of course, require credit card information. This makes it much easier for companies to keep your information on file and charge you without your consent.

Services that we love to use such as Amazon and LinkedIn are some of the main culprits behind the accumulating unwanted charges customers face. “[They] offer consumers free trials of upgraded services for a limited time, then start charging them,” adds USA Today.

Take a look at one scare an Ohio University senior endured:

Three weeks ago, Mallorie Sullivan, 21, saw her bank account had been overdrawn by about $70 and couldn’t figure out why. Until she remembered about a free Amazon Prime trial for students she’d signed up for six months earlier.

Luckily for Sullivan, and many other victims of gray charges, BillGuard is in talks with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about the deceptive marketing ploys of these companies. They are campaigning to encourage “consumer-friendly innovation” in corporate America, USA Today concludes.

BillGuard is a service that allows people to track companies that perpetuate gray charges and educates its users how to dispute them.

Amazon, Facebook Team Up To Offer Unique Gift Card Option

June 24th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Facebook continued with the big news announcements last week with news that it has teamed up with Amazon for gift card sales. The partnership will allow a group of Facebook friends to collectively buy an gift card. Here is how it works: Once Amazon users are log in they are prompted to link their account to their Facebook profile. Then a page pops up that lists all of the user’s friends, sorted by the days left until their birthday.

Next, the user can select  a friend and can send the gift card worth $1, $5, $10 or $25. The user can also choose various Facebook friends asking them to contribute. “The combined total is delivered on the birthday. Amazon will credit $3 to users who buy and deliver three gift cards by July 21,” reports The Los Angeles Times.

Gift cards are definitely worth buying. According to Gift Card Exchange Day, 39.2 percent of shoppers will purchase a department store gift card for friends and family, followed by 33.4 percent of shoppers opting for a restaurant gift card. Many surveys find that gift cards are usually the present of choice for most people. The average amount is $25. However, many gift cards go unused. According to the site, between 2005 and 2011, $41 billion in gift cards went unused. American households have an average of $300 in unredeemed gift cards. So be sure to use those gift cards if you’ve got them!

The news comes right after introduction of its Instragram Video, which has dramatically cut into the number of Vine videos that were shared on Twitter since its arrival. “After reaching a peak of nearly 2.9 million shares on June 15, Vine shares on Twitter dropped sharply to 1.35 million—more than a 50 percent decrease—on June 21, just a day after Instagram video was launched,” reports CNBC.


Have Cell, Will Shop: African Americans More Likely To Use Mobile Devices For Shopping

March 19th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Have you done research on your mobile before buying something in the store? You are not alone. According to a new study, African-American consumers use mobile devices for shopping more than the general population. In fact, black consumers ages 18 and over are more mobile-minded than the general population. And they’re on the leading edge of engagement when it comes to using their mobile devices to view online content and find other information as they do their shopping, reports Target Market News.

The study, conducted by according to Prosper Insights & Analytics, found that overall black consumers have a mobile aptitude score of 127.3, indicating that they have a higher mobile capacity (+27 percent) than most adults 18 and older.

Blacks use their mobile devices to comparison shop, to price match, and to get more detail on a product. And get this: after checking out a product in the store African Americans are actually more likely to buy online.

To that end, Adweek says African Americans shop online more than other groups. Affluent African Americans are shopping online at record levels, reports the magazine. Almost half of survey respondents made at least 30 percent of their retail purchases online. More than 22 percent of affluent African Americans made at least half of their retail purchases online.

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