All Articles Tagged "online shopping"
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.
College students have been finding innovative ways to make money since the birth of higher education. From waitressing weekends, to setting up salons in dorm rooms, hustling is just as much a part of the college experience as the classes themselves. Current students like University of Kansas senior, Jacque Amadi, are giving that hustler’s spirit a tech upgrade.
A psychology major and business minor, Jacque doesn’t have a resume that screams fashion. She dabbled in fashion blogging, but never thought to pursue it professionally. Her online boutique, Lioness, started as a celebration of her hobbies and interests, one she hoped would ease the financial woes that come with a college education.
“I would sell clothes on eBay whenever I needed money,” says Jacque. “And I love thrifting, even if I don’t keep what I find. With blogging and taking pictures – I loved doing it, but I was broke. So, I wanted to do all these things that I love in a way that could make me money.”
There’s one extra twist. Lioness is a digital time machine where the dial is always set to 1995. Jacque may be too young to remember the top news stories of the decade, but the images she saw as a child made a big impression on her.
“At first I was selling any vintage clothes I found, but then I decided to focus on the 90s because I felt that time period was the best time period for African Americans in terms of our exposure and our reach on television,” Jacque said.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been taught to buy black. If there were a white mechanic in the neighborhood and a black mechanic 30 minutes away, who charged a bit more, in financially fit times, my father would have opted for the black mechanic. This behavior was drastically different than my maternal grandfather’s. A Jamaican living in Indianapolis, Indiana, my grandfather didn’t always view American blacks in the most positive light. In fact, his sentiments would lead you to believe he regarded them as inferior– and he might have. Though, in his defense, he’s grown over time.
But buying black was an important lesson I learned at the crib. One that stuck with me once I got a little money of my own…which was just three years ago really.
I can honestly say that I do as much, if not more shopping online than I do in actual stores. Everything is at your disposable on the internet in ways that the stores are drastically limited. And not only that, on the internet, you’re more than likely to find more black owned and operated businesses. There’s jewelry made by black women. (Earrings are my everything.) Books written by black women, businesses run by black women and unique, one of a kind clothes designed, made and shipped to your apartment or workplace by black women. It’s a beautiful thang. And I’m happy to support even if it means I end up spending a few dollars more than I would have if I bought said item from a white and or mainstream outlet.
Now, please know that my money is not long. With rent, student loans, regular utilities and other things that come up, I don’t have an extensive shopping budget. But as hard as I work, every month I have to buy myself at least one something nice.
In November it was a necklace from Peace Images Jewelry. In December, it was a Boxing Kitten dress. For Christmas I asked my sister to buy me an Ifenkili pillow and earlier this week I was looking at a $55 sweatshirt from Quelly Rue Designs. The sweatshirt featured a simple design on a plain, solid colored hoodie. I showed it to my sister telling her I was thinking about buying it. She agreed it was cute; but when she saw the price tag, her immediate reaction was, as it often is, “I can make that.” My sister, the artsy one, is probably right. But would she actually make it. Probably not. But that’s not the issue, I was contemplating buying the hoodie because the design, although simple, was still beautiful and the designer was a black woman. Historically, that’s been a good reason to spend $10, $20, even $50 dollars more than what I would pay somewhere else.
I support black women because one day I know I’ll need the same and I believe in karma. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. My father, who recently started up his own business selling and installing blinds and window fixtures works with all types of people. But recently he had a client, a black man, who said that he was buying from my father, though he probably could have gotten a lower quality product for less, because he was a black man and he was trying to support his business. As a black woman with a dream, that will ultimately require the financial support of others, it’s important that I regard these women and their products as I would hope they would one day do for me.
Do you go out of your way to patronize black businesses? Are you willing to pay more to buy their products?
Last year after her first baby was born, Asharah Damore was looking for something to keep her creative juices flowing as well as make a little money while she stayed home with her newborn son. “Although this was a tremendous blessing I felt like I was losing my identity after about the six-month mark. I knew I didn’t want to go back to work but I wanted to make money doing something I enjoyed,” Damore explains to us.
So she turned to eBay. “I frequent the thrift stores and I would always see brand new or next to new items not in my size which I would pass [on] buying because I had no one to buy them for,” she says. “So I decided to start buying a few of those items too see if I could re-sell them on eBay.”
Damore found nearly immediate success, but the eBay format took time to master. “The first month was great and but it was hard to keep the momentum because on eBay keywords are very important and depending on how you list your items someone searching for what you have may or may not be able to find it,” Damore points out. “So you have to be creative on how title you listings.”
It’s not hard, however, to get started. First, you need to set up an account by registering on the website. “There’s no fee for listing items so long as you do not exceed 50 items per month; after that, the fee is nominal. In addition, once your item sells, you must pay eBay nine percent of the sale price, with a maximum fee of $250,” reports Forbes.
Ebay gives users two options on how to sell their products. The most common is the auction method. A seller establishes a baseline price (reserve), the length of auction and can even strike a deal, called “Buy it Now.” You can also lists items for sale at a set price with no bidding.
Now, you have opened a virtual business. Treat it as such and be professional in your approach, online language and dealings with customers. Forbes suggests picture your eBay business as a virtual storefront. “There are also websites, such as auctiva and The Seller Sourcebook, that provide thousands of templates based on a variety of categories. Pick one that works for you. Then be sure to categorize each item correctly so it can be easily found,” reports Forbes.
There has been much publicity this shopping season about supporting black-owned stores. It was made a little easier for shoppers with the Around the Way app that locates black-owned businesses in your area, but here’s a site you might want to keep in mind for the final hours of your gift hunt –Ujamaa Deals.
Ujamaa Market is the online store for Ujamaa Deals, which is a daily deals site and online store that features products from black-owned companies. And you get a discount as an added incentive to support them.
Ujamaa deals was founded to not only encourage consumers to shop at black-owned businesses, but on the concept that if more people frequent these businesses it would boost employment in the black community.
“My business partner, Lawrence Watkins, and I both recognized the need to make it easier for African Americans to support black-owned businesses and we didn’t think simply creating another black business directory was enough. We looked at the daily deals model (e.g. Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.) and thought that would be a good approach, so that’s where we started. Since then we’ve evolved to a more traditional e-commerce site, so while we still feature deals from time to time, customers can purchase the products we feature even after the deal ends,” Tre Baker, CEO of Ujamaa, explained to us in an email.
The partners wanted to combat this staggering statistic: African Americans spend more than 90 percent of their money with businesses they don’t own.
Ujamaa is on a mission. “Black-owned companies are more likely to hire black employees,” said Baker. ”Therefore, the best way to increase black employment is not to beg or demand that other companies hire so-called ‘minorities’ like Bob Johnson suggests, it is to support our own companies so they can grow and afford to hire more people. Affirmative action style policies can only take us so far. We need to start relying on ourselves for full employment.”
Ujamaa finds black-owned businesses via their own research and through submissions. “Once we’ve decided that their products would be a good fit for us, we verify their ownership and upload their products to our site,” Baker says of the process. “There are some key product categories we want to focus on. Right now our attention is on bath and body products so we’ll eventually have the largest online selection of soaps, lotions, hair products, etc., from black-owned companies.”
According to Baker, there is an increase in consumers looking to patronize black-owned businesses as the site is seeing more and more requests. “But our biggest challenge has been finding quality black-owned businesses with great products that people want to buy and convincing them to join us,” said Baker. “It’s going to be a long process, but as long as we keep supporting other businesses before our own, we’ll always have a problem with employment and wealth inequality. I think most African Americans understand this and just need a convenient way to support black businesses. “
Have you patronized black-owned businesses this holiday season?
The numbers are in and this year’s Cyber Monday is the all-time online shopping champ.
Sales for the day were up 30.3 percent year-over-year with department stores leading the pack, according to the AP. “Results show Americans are getting more comfortable shopping across all screens — computers, smartphones and tablets — and retailers are capitalizing on this by improving e-commerce offerings and beefing up Cyber Monday-specific deals,” the news outlet reports. Still, online sales only account for 10 percent of total holiday sales. We’ll have to wait for the November and December numbers to get a fuller picture, but The National Retail Federation is expecting an overall increase of 4.1 percent in holiday spending this year.
There had been concerns that Cyber Monday had lost its oomph. In response to yesterday’s numbers, Jay Henderson, IBM Smarter Commerce’s strategy director tells USA Today, “The reports of the death of Cyber Monday are greatly exaggerated.” The “most-searched-for products” were Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Ugg boots. The most-searched retailers were CyberMonday.com, Target, Amazon, and Walmart. The data shows that mobile devices were used by many people to visit a retailer and make purchases and “PayPal had almost 200% more volume in mobile payments,” the paper writes. (Interestingly, Mashable reports that Twitter contributed zero to online sales on Black Friday. Or .34 percent to be exact.)
For the weekend as a whole, Ad Age says the average shopper spent $423, up from $398 last year. The magazine outlines four things that they say the weekend showed about the consumer habits. The one that we found most interesting is, “Consumers could care less about the ‘fiscal cliff.’”
“More Americans this month said the U.S. economy will improve than at any time in the past decade, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. The share of households saying the economy would get better rose to 37%, the highest since March 2002. A year ago, the measure showed a record number of consumers said it was a bad time to spend,” the magazine continues.
We’re curious about whether this optimism is something that comes with the holidays and a coming new year. The holiday season is a happy time, and New Year’s brings with it lots of hope for the year ahead. And after years of this recession, who doesn’t want to let go a little now that things seem to be slowly turning around? (Though unemployment numbers in the black community still show many still feel a strong level of economic strain.)
But an analyst that spoke with the AP, Brian Sozi, also makes an interesting point: ”Retailers have done a fine job at shifting the pool of holiday buyers to earlier in the season, but have not necessarily created demand outside of the carefully scrutinized shopping list.” So the question is whether the level of optimism and enthusiasm will be sustained for the next month? Or will shopping fever cool as people reach their budget thresholds?
This also ties in with one of the other things that Ad Age said about the holiday shopping weekend: “Retailers are nervous about the economy.”
As more retailers opened their doors late on Thanksgiving evening, in-store sales for Black Friday and the holiday weekend rose.
According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for the weekend was estimated at $59.1 billion, with 89 million consumers braving the crowds on Black Friday, up from 86 million in 2011. Additionally, 35 million customers went out on Thanksgiving Day, up from 29 million last year.
In-store sales for the weekend rose by 13 percent, which was not as much as the 16 percent increase in sales last year. Looking just at Black Friday, ShopperTrak, which counts retail foot traffic, reported in-store sales of $11.2 billion, down 1.8 percent from Black Friday 2011. But overall foot traffic was up 3.5 percent.
But online sales on Black Friday—jumping the gun for Cyber Monday—reached more than $1 billion, according to comScore. Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and Apple were the top five e-commerce sites visited.
Apple was a notable participant in Black Friday, offering in-store and online discounts on its new MacBooks, iPads, and more. It paid off, with Apple beating Microsoft in Black Friday sales.
Additionally Citi’s retail analyst Deborah L. Weinswig put together a spreadsheet with the major retailers, declaring that Walmart “won” Black Friday based on door busters, store traffic, and customer service.
There were still Black Friday riots and violence, which may lead more consumers to shift to online shopping. Business Insider has some stats about online and digital Black Friday sales, including the fact that 16 percent of sales came from mobile devices, up from 10 percent in 2011.
But online sales during the same time rose to new records, showing that consumers are starting to take their shopping times into their own hands. With the increases in online sales and the spreading out of shopping days, there is a shift in the ways consumers are doing their holiday shopping this year. Check out this story for more on that.
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a marketing creation, born out of the increasing use of Internet on the job. Historically, people would head back to work on Monday where the Internet connection was better and faster, and do their online shopping at their desks. But that was back in 2005. Nowadays, your handheld device has enough connectivity to let you do your shopping on the go. As a result, some suspect that the fire surrounding Cyber Monday may start to burn out.
USA Today took a look at comScore numbers, showing that Americans are expected to spend another $1.5 billion today, up 20 percent from last year. But online shopping is now taking place across a more dispersed amount of time. Consumers spent $663 million on Thanksgiving Day, up 32 percent. CBS News reports that 57 million people have already gone online to shop during Black Friday, with sales topping $1 billion for the first time. And “for the holiday season-to-date, comScore found that $13.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 16% increase over last year,” USA Today writes.
In addition, retailers are trying to cut off e-commerce sites at the pass. “In an effort to get a leg up on online retailers and each other, many brick-and-mortar retailers — including some of the biggest, such as Walmart — opened their stores as early as 8 p.m. the day before this past Black Friday, and advertised their deals online in the days and weeks leading up to the event,” reports Mashable.
In other words, you can shop anywhere, anytime, using almost any device you can get your hands on. So Cyber Monday may one day be just another day online. But if today is your shopping day, here’s a list of deals.
With more smartphones, tablets and other digital tools available, shoppers have many ways to research and buy gifts online for the holiday season.
A 2012 holiday survey from research firm Ipsos MediaCT and Google found that 51 percent of consumers plan to research products online and then make the purchase in-store. Additionally, 44 percent said they plan to both research and buy online; 17 percent will visit a store first and then purchase online; and 32 percent said they will research online, check out the physical item in stores, and then go back online to buy. Complicated!
Consumers will also use a variety of devices to do this researching and buying, with 65 percent saying they plan to make purchases on their computer, 10 percent on their tablet, and 16 percent via their smartphone. AdWeek posted an infographic with more data.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) also expects more than half of consumers to shop online for holiday gifts, according to its annual holiday consumer spending report. That survey says 51.8 percent of consumers plan to shop online this year, and the NRF expects that the average consumer will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, cards, and more for the holidays.
And while shoppers are turning to digital for their needs, retailers are responding. A fall 2012 survey conducted by BIGinsight for Shop.org, a division of the NRF, 61.6 percent of online retailers will introduce their holiday marketing promotions by Halloween, up from 52.9 percent who said the same thing in 2011. Of holiday promotions, free shipping is by far the most popular.
Which of these categories do you fall in? Will you shop online or use your smartphone this holiday season?
From the woman who struggles finding the right fit due to her curvy figure, to the one who struggles because she’s a bit shorter than the norm, every woman has had trouble finding the right pair of jeans. Fast Company details that the problem with finding the right size is a lack of diversity when it comes to designing jeans. Retailers use “fit models,” women between sizes 2 and 6 to craft their jean sizes; even though the average woman in the US wears a size 14. But it’s from the frustration to find the right jean size and fit that INDI Custom Jeans was born.
INDi is an innovative company that creates a unique pair of jeans for each of its customers. Users simply go online, pick their fit and style and fill out the body profile. Jeans are then sewn and made uniquely for each person.
“Jeans shopping is tough; 70% of women and 40% of men say they wish they had jeans that fit,” Ali Fenn, the company’s head of marketing tells Fast Company. “It’s also emotional for people. People have their own body issues. There’s something about being able to go through this process online in a way that you wouldn’t go through in a brick-and-mortar.”
INDi helps to give customers a one-of-a-kind fit that is saved for future shopping, and familiarizes them with using technology and e-commerce in a new kind of way. The INDi team is a combination of people with a myriad of experiences working in fashion and retail as well as members familiar with various social media and technology companies.
It’s an idea that can change the way people currently shop, if they grow comfortable with the idea. Fenn hopes that one day, there will be equal space in the market world for custom fit products like INDi, and the traditionally shopping experience.
“Ultimately, they need to merge,” she says. “On the one hand, going and trying on a bunch of clothes with friends…is a good thing. On the other hand, you don’t find something that fits great, or you are 20 pounds heavier than someone else, it can be not so fun.”