Saturday, June 23, 2018
Business

Expect rapid rise in online shopping to peak, expert says

NEW YORK — Shoppers spent more money online than ever during the holiday season, but the trend toward huge gains won't last forever.

That's the forecast of Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president of Forrester Research, which Sunday released its 2013 State of Retailing Online survey at the National Retail Federation's convention.

"Online retail is the pawn that is now the queen,'' she told an audience of retail executives gathered at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Where online sales used to be a small part of a retailer's business, it has become a powerful tool, she said, amounting to about 10 percent of a company's sales on average. Online retail sales totaled $226 billion in 2012, up from $177 billion in 2010.

Those figures will continue to rise but not as rapidly because the pool for potential new online customers is only so big, she said. And while many retailers will continue to develop mobile shopping for smartphones and tablets, those sales reflected just a small portion — $2 billion — of total online sales last year.

"Some retailers have been burned getting caught up in the hype of mobile,'' Mulpuru said. "The number of transactions done over phones is very small.''

Likewise, the number of sales through links on Facebook, Twitter and other social media is low.

Online retailers surveyed for the report said they will get back to basics this year by improving checkout, product details and the user experience. They also will try to increase the average order amount for repeat customers and target international markets.

Retailers will continue to face challenges associated with Web and mobile technology. Price matching, similar to what Target announced last week, will become a must to deal with "showrooming" — the practice of testing an item in a store but buying it online at a cheaper price.

Then there's the concern about what online retail giant Amazon will do. Its same-day shipping offer turned out to be expensive for many retailers, but not particularly valued among consumers.

Regardless, Mulpuru expects online sales on average will max out at about 20 percent of a retailer's sales. "Be prepared for the party to end, because it has to end at some point,'' she said.

The 102nd annual conference has 27,000 retail professionals in attendance, including 5,600 people from 70 countries.

Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of St. Petersburg-based HSN, spoke on a panel about the importance of connecting with customers to build trust in a brand.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18