Macys credit card processors stop working on Black Friday

It’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but retail giant Macy’s can’t get its charge card processors to work.

Customers have been waiting in lines across the United States to buy discounted items, merely to find out that the machines won’t take credit cards or gift cards. Some Bloomingdale’s stores, which are owned by Macy’s, may have also been impacted.

Update : The company says it has resolved the issue and has provided the following statement.

“We have fully resolved today’s system issues. We highly value our customers and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience today’s system slowdown may have caused during their shopping experience. The lags we experienced this afternoon were due to a capacity-related issue that caused some transactions to take longer to process. We do not anticipate any additional delays.”

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become a shopping holiday, with retailers offering heavily discounted items. Macy’s even kicks off the occasion with its big annual Thanksgiving parade in New York, which is televised throughout the country.

The company also experienced an outage on its website during Black Friday 2016. Holiday marketings play a significant role in the company’s quarterly earnings and Macy’s disappointed Wall Street last season.

Its stock is trading at less than half of what it was a year ago and about one-third of what it was three years ago. The company currently has a market cap of $6.4 billion.

Last year, Terry Lundgren, who was Macy’s CEO at the time, said in an interview with Fortune that the company started opening its stores earlier on Thanksgiving Day because of industry pressure. “If you’re not open and your challengers are, there’s going to be a number of those consumers who simply will go shop elsewhere, ” he told Fortune. “You’ll never retrieve that sale.”

Lundgren is now executive chairperson. Jeff Gennette took on the role of CEO in March, after being promoted from president.

Gennette told CNBC earlier Friday that Black Friday was off to a stronger start than last year .He said that the company had fewer discounts this year, which would lead to better profit margins.

According to the National Retail Federation, 164 million Americans planned to store during Thanksgiving weekend .~ ATAGEND

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Lord & Taylor will start selling on Walmart.com

Walmart and Hudson’s Bay-owned department store Lord& Taylor just announced an interesting partnership — Lord& Taylor will start selling its catalog of high-end way merchandise on Walmart.com this Spring.

Of course this deal doesn’t mean you’ll ensure designer gasps on the same page as $19.97 Wranglers. Instead, Lord& Taylor will have its own “flagship store” on Walmart.com — which essentially will be a segment on Walmart’s website dedicated to goods sold by Lord& Taylor.

For Walmart, this partnership is a way to drive traffic from customers looking for high-end items that otherwise may not be shopping on Walmart.com.

And for Lord& Taylor the deal is also about traffic — department stores are fighting, and opening a store on Walmart.com will give them a bunch of new eyeballs( and potential shoppers) they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. It’s almost like the modern-day version of renting retail space on 5th Avenue in NYC. Lord& Taylor will keep their existing e-commerce site at lordandtaylor.com, so this new store is really merely to attract new clients that wouldn’t otherwise shop with them online.

High-end fashion has been a category notorious for being hard to sell online, especially as expensive brands have been reluctant to let sites like Amazon and Walmart carry their items. Of course, this doesn’t mean the e-commerce giants aren’t trying — Amazon merely launched Prime Wardrobe and Walmart recently bought manner sites Bonobos and ModCloth.

So this digital store within a store approach is interesting, and could be the best style for for high-end way retailers to take advantage of the online traffic and sales being generated by sites like Amazon, without sacrificing their own brand by simply listing their items in a sea of millions of alternatives.

If the bargain demonstrates to be successful look to see a lot of copycats doing the same thing — because there’s surely no famine of department stores and brick and mortar retailers struggling for sales today.

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Deal-finding browser tool Honey now tracks Amazon price drops, offers hotel savings

Since its launch several years ago, the deal-finding browser add-on Honey has grown its install base to 4.4 million users on Chrome, in addition to its smaller presence on Firefox and Safari. Initially conceived as an easier route to find savings by tracking sales and retailers promo codes, the company is now expanding its selection of online shopping tools to include an Amazon price drop tracker called DropList, along with other new tools for observing travel deals.

With its heavy focus on observing coupon codes, Honey has been missing out somewhat on constructing itself indispensable those online shoppers who largely buy from Amazon. DropLists launch is an effort to change that.

The feature is an expansion of Honeys earlier efforts to help provide helpful pricing information to Amazon shoppers. It had earlier launched an informational feature called Price History, which displays historical pricing data on any product on Amazons marketplace. This was designed to help Honey users better understand if it was now a good time to buy, or if they should wait for prices to fall.

With DropList, Honey can now immediately notify you when its time to snag the items youre watching.

To use the feature, you simply visit a product page on Amazon after having installed the Honey extension. The extension adds Honey badges to the page, including one that flags whether or not the item is the best bargain( or how much youd save by shopping elsewhere ), as well as the new Add to DropList option.

You can also add items to your DropList from Amazons shopping cart, if you prefer.

When you click the Add to DropList button, you can tell Honey to watch the price of that item for either 30, 60 or 90 days. If the price fells more than 5 percentage, Honey will send an email to alert you. It will also email you when items on your list are about to expire, so you can extend your cost tracking of the item in question, if desired.

The tool may be useful during Amazons upcoming Prime Day sale, which was just announced as taking place on July 11 th, 2017, with deals beginning at9 PM ET on Monday July 10 th. If there are particular products youre interested in watching, you can simply add them now to your DropList then wait to see if they become a part of the Prime Day sales savings.

DropList is currently only available for Amazon, but Honey says it plans to bringing it to more stores over the summer.

To date, Honey has focused primarily on helping clients save when shopping from online retailers, but another new addition will expand Honeys focus into the travel space.

Next week, Honey was formally launch Honey Travel ,a savings tool that will allow Honey users to unlock member-only discounts when shopping for hotels. Honey says it will provide comparisons to rates on sites likeExpedia, Priceline, Booking.com, and others, and when it doesnt have the lowest rate, it will let you know.

So far, were ensure an average savings of about $30 per night compared to the next cheapest rate online thats more than $200 for a weeklong vacation, a Honey spokesperson notes. In words of total savings booking through us as opposed to the hotel site our users are getting up to 55% off, they added.

Honeys travel savings are being handled through a unique system, which involves the use of something called HoneyKeys. When you first install Honey, youre offered one HoneyKey. As you continue to shop online, youll earn more keys. The keys arbitrarily pop up on retailers checkout pages as a perk for Honey users.

The Honey Travel site( powered by Hotel Storm) is already live, and some users have discovered it despite it not having been formally announced.

Honey declined to share details regarding its revenue, but it stimulates committees when users find a sale or coupon through its extension, much like other services in this space do. However, the company divides that commission through its money bonus program, Honey Gold , which is meant to incentivize utilize of its software.

DropList is available now from the most recent version of the Honey Chrome extension. Honeys Travel site can be found here.

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Targets next-day essentials delivery service opens to customers in pilot test

Target announced this morning its opening to customers a new, next-day home-delivery service called Target Restock. The company said in May the service was live and being tested with company employees ahead of a consumer-facing pilot program that was due to arrive sometime this summer. The service is initially available to Minneapolis-area customers, which is near Target headquarters.

Target Restock is meant to rivalAmazons Prime Pantry , as it also offers the ability for online shoppers to fill a box of everyday essentials online many of which would be otherwise prohibitive to ship separately, like detergent, sodas, dog food, etc.

With Prime Pantry, clients can fill a box up to 45 pounds for a flat rate of $5.99, which is otherwise shipped for free for Prime members, as long as it has at least five qualifying items. However, the boxes are not available for expedited shipping due to their size and weight, theyre shipped use ground shipping.

Target Restock, meanwhile, will enable online shoppers to fill a box with up to 45 pounds of similar items for $4.99 per box. However, its only be submitted to Target REDcard holders at this time, though theyre able to choose any pay method at checkout. Non-cardholders may be invited in at some phase in the future, as the service expands beyond testing.

Customers also have to have an account with Target.com in order to do their online shopping.

During the trial period with employees, Target Restock offered around 8,000+ SKUs for shipping. As the retailer opens the service to clients, the available selection now tops 10,000 SKUs.

To use the service, consumers visit the new website target.com/ restock, where they can browsing products by category, brands or do a search after confirming their ZIP code. As they fill their Restock box, a gray bar will appear at the top of the screen, demonstrating the percentage of the box thats being used, and how much space is left.

Unlike Amazons Prime Pantry, which fulfills orders from their warehouses( at the least for now with its $ 13.7 billion Whole Food acquisition, that could easily change ), Target Restock fills orders from nearby stores. This is how its able to meet its next-day delivery promises, as well.

Target and Cartwheel apps to merge starting this summer, mobile payments and improved maps to follow

Targets mobile app strategy will undergo a significant change, starting the summer months. The retailer announced this week it will soon combine the capabilities of its Cartwheel savings app with its main shopping app, in preparation for an eventual Cartwheel shutdown. The Target app will also receive a notable upgrade this year, adding support for an indoor map that shows your location in the store, along with the nearby Cartwheel bargains, in addition to support for mobile payments.

According to Target, the decision to merge its apps into one is a result of client feedback. Shoppers wanted an easier route to access all of what Target has to offer from one destination , not two.

Target isnt the only retailer to streamline its mobile app strategy. A couple of years ago, Ebay shut down its wider suite of apps( Fashion, Motors, and Valet ), to return their functionality to Ebays main app, for example. Meanwhile, other retailers like Walmart, Kohls, and CVS all of which have their own mobile payments service offer their pays and savings features within their main shopping app , not in a separate one.

The retailer hadannounced its plans to launching a mobile payments service earlier this year, but had not disclosed when that would be beyond sometime this year. Thats still the ETA for the mobile pays portion of this transition and, in fact, it could be pushed back to January, if the team requires the time.

We also already knew that Targets initial entry into this space would be focused on supporting its Target REDcard holders, rather than a broader strategy that would allow for other forms of payment.

The REDcard is Targets own credit card, offering shoppers 5 percent off of all their purchases. The company declined to say how many cardholders it has, but noted they accounted for 24 percent of last years sales.

With Cartwheel, consumers today add bargains to an in-app shopping list, then show their barcode at checkout to save on the items theyve bought that match the available discounts. Following Cartwheels integration with the main Target app, this process will continue except that, with is supportive of mobile payments, shoppers will be able to both save and pay by having that barcode scanned just once.

The transition to the main Target app has already begun.

Customers can now access their Cartwheel deals in the main app, even though the standalone version of Cartwheel has not been shut down. We understand that Target has no immediate plans to close Cartwheel, instead favoring a slower transition for this app, which is the more popular of the two.

Cartwheel has been downloaded around 40 million times, and its users have saved around a billion dollars via its bargains. Thats up from the $600 million reported last year.

However, Target tells it will soon begin alerting Cartwheel users to make the switch to the Target app through notifications.

Following the transition of Cartwheel to Target, the main app will be updated with other features, including mobile pays and the in-app map.

Beacons in Targets new LED Lights

This map will now present a users place in the store as a blue dot, and it will display which Cartwheel bargains are nearby.

This addresses one of the disconnects between using the Cartwheel app today, and actually shopping the store shelves. You can only see that youve added bargains to your list, but it doesnt show their exact location. The bargains arent even organized in your listing by type or aisle number, entailing you have to have a pretty good memory of what you wanted while actually placing items in your cart at the store.

Though Target main app has offered a store map and aisle finder functionality for years, the capacities for it to track your place and present you deals which will begin rolling out this summer are new. We understand that location-tracking will be enabled through the use bluetooth beacons.

Beacons, which use bluetooth for positioning, are how the Target app will be able to provide a GPS-like experience for its apps indoor map. Thatssomething Target began testing a couple of years ago, in partnership with beacon provider Estimote.

That test wrapped up some time ago, we understand. Instead, Target is updating all stores with new, energy-efficient LED lighting, and will be installing fixtures that have beacons built in. The company isnt disclosing the name of its vendor partners, but may be working with more than one on this effort. The scheme is to have several hundred stores updated with the beacon-enabled LED illuminations the summer months, and the full chain by the holidays.

Presumably, once Target main app becomes the de facto location for shopping in-store, online, seeing bargains, and attaining payments, it could then be updated to include other newer features, if Target chose. One of those potentially could be support for its next-day home delivery service, Target Restock, which will also launch a pilot test this summer.

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