Category Archives: Retail

Analysis: How Electricity Bills Have Risen Over Time

Retail energy companies compete with local utilities to give U.S. consumers more choice. But in nearly every state where they operate, retailers have charged more than regulated incumbents, meaning you may be paying more for your electricity than your neighbors. Here’s why. Photo Illustration: Jacob Reynolds

E-Commerce: How China Reined In Ant & Alibaba

In less than six months, Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma’s Ant IPO, which could have been the world’s largest, was scuttled and his companies brought in line by regulators. The U.S. is also taking aim at big tech, but here’s how China moves faster. Photo illustration: Sharon Shi

Online Shopping: ‘Digital Coupon Codes’ – Making Curators Millions (Video)

Promo code sites have become big business, with digital coupons surpassing paper for the first time in 2020. Major deal sites make millions based almost entirely on commissions from each sale. They don’t sell shopper data and it’s not a scam. In fact, big companies like PayPal and Rakuten are buying up deal sites for billions.

From Honey to Slickdeals, Rakuten Rewards to Brad’s Deals, CNBC asked the major sites what it takes to find deals that are real and why the business model works. With the huge boost in online shopping during the pandemic, deal-finding sites have become a major business. In 2020, Inmar Intelligence found that digital coupons surpassed printed coupons for the first time ever. Also in recent years, behemoths like Goldman Sachs and PayPal have paid hundreds of millions – or even billions – for sites like Slickdeals and Honey that automatically curate coupon codes or offer shoppers cash back for making purchases through their sites.

Even banks like Capital One are getting into the game. The business model is not a scam. All major deal sites say they don’t sell shopper data. Instead, each sale generates a commission for the deal site and for the middleman known as the affiliate marketer – a company that connects the vast world of retailers with deal sites. With nearly 2,000 businesses in the daily deal site space, it’s a crowded industry filled with legitimate businesses as well as plenty of sites that are riddled with ads and expired coupon codes. That’s because regardless of whether a coupon code works, the site that provided the code will get commission for that sale. When the deals are legitimate, however, it can mean big money for shoppers, retailers, and the deal sites.

From Honey to Slickdeals, Rakuten Rewards to Brad’s Deals, CNBC asked the major deal sites, and shoppers, what it takes to find deals that are real and why the business model works. Watch the video to learn how saving consumers’ money makes big bucks for companies in the vast world of online deal hunting.

Analysis: Why Mercedes-Benz Is No Longer An ‘Aspirational Brand’

Mercedes-Benz is perhaps the biggest name in luxury cars globally, and for countless buyers around the world, it is a car brand to aspire to own. The German automaker has a reputation for superb build quality, excellent engineering, and the bragging rights that its founder Carl Benz invented the first production automobile.

Today, Mercedes-Benz faces a new class of challenges as Tesla has become the aspirational brand for younger consumers. There is a slew of other EV hopefuls vying for the next generation’s aspirational vehicle’s mantle. Automakers have had to sink billions into new technologies and contend with a new crop of competitors in the critical Chinese market and around the world.

Video Profile: How Danny Meyer Built ‘Shake Shack’

It’s hard to think of a bigger restaurant success story over the last decade than Shake Shack. The high-end burger chain began as a hot dog cart in 2001 in New York City’s Madison Square Park by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer. The menu was handwritten written by Meyer on a single sheet of paper in about 10 minutes and is about 85 percent the same today.

But there’s so much more to this story. Like for three years after 9/11 that hot dog cart paid the bills at the crown jewel of Meyer’s restaurant empire, Eleven Madison Park. Or how he wasted over a million developing a line of French fries only to throw them away out of pure pride. If Danny Meyer is the heart and soul of Shake Shack, its longtime CEO Randy Garutti is the engine that powers it. Here’s how they built Shake Shack.

Future Shopping: Online Retail & Personal Data

The pandemic has upended the way people buy—online retail has soared as high-street shops and malls close. Brands are now racing to exploit one of the most important weapons in the battle for buyers: their customers’ data.

Read special report on the future of shopping here: https://econ.st/2Q8XQC2

Analysis: ‘Why U.S. Malls Are Disappearing’ (Video)

Shopping malls in the U.S. were already in decline before the Covid-19 pandemic as consumers shifted away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce. The outbreak has only exacerbated the challenges at malls as social distancing has placed restrictions on stores, movie theaters and restaurants.

So what will become of malls in America after the pandemic ends? Shopping malls across the U.S. have been reeling as restaurant and retail tenants struggle to keep their doors open. Data compiled by Coresight Research shows about a quarter of U.S. malls could close over the next three to five years, accelerating a trend that began before the pandemic.

Simon Property Group — the nation’s biggest mall owner — said earlier this month that its fourth-quarter revenue dropped by 24% on a year-over-year basis to $1.1 billion. However, some analysts think Simon — with its portfolio of A-rated malls and a healthy balance sheet — will benefit as distressed malls operated by its rivals close their doors. The company is also expected to see gains from new additions like hotels and luxury residences.

“Unfortunately there are a lot of centers that don’t fit that high profile and that have lost their competitive edge,” said Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Goldfarb. “The thing about Simon is they’ve been really focused on maintaining it, and that’s both been through a combination of culling the lower productive centers as well as making sure that they keep investing in their top centers.”

Simon Property Group CEO David Simon said the company is also getting a lift from increasing traffic at some of its locations and from tenants paying their rent on time. Malls are a big tax driver for the communities they serve and employ lots of people locally. Watch the video above to find out more about the struggles U.S. malls face and what could become of them after the pandemic ends.

Retail Psychology: ‘How Museum Gift Shops Decide What To Sell’ (Video)

Gift shops are like the final exhibit of an art museum. They’re often located toward the exit and are unmissable on your way out the door. Souvenirs inside can range from Vincent Van Gogh socks to giant stuffed soup cans to Mona Lisa rubber ducks.

But how do gift shop curators decide what to sell? Stocking decisions often revolve around how curators want visitors to perceive the art lining museum walls. When you see a certain piece of art on a lot of merchandise, that usually means curators think that artwork is important. And thanks to a psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect, the more you see that art, the more you begin to think it’s important.

Read more about this from Micaela Marini Higgs at Vox: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11…

Analysis: What Makes ‘Costco’ So Successful

Costco is one of the biggest and most successful retailers in the country. In this video, WSJ’s Sarah Nassauer dissects the wholesaler’s unique approach to doing business. Photo: Qian Weizhong/ZUMA Press