Quarterly recap: Most-clicked retail stories

The third quarter brought some surprises for SmartBrief’s retail readers, whose favorite story turned out to be about a hot dog -- yes, you read that right. News about Costco’s revamped menu and its decision to keep its $1.50 hot dog was the most popular retail story from Q3, and readers also clicked on other, more serious news items, including some big moves by J.Crew and Toys R Us’s final message to shoppers before it closed its doors for good.

Following our Q1 and Q2 roundups this year, Q3 brought a new set of trends that drew interest from SmartBrief’s retail readers:

Delving deeper into omnichannel: Retail’s omnichannel transformation is certainly not new, but some big traditional retailers embraced omnichannel in their overall strategies in Q3. News of why Nordstrom picked the LA market for testing out its omnichannel innovations was among the quarter’s top-clicked retail stories, and more details about Target’s 1,000-store, multi-year plans to remodel its stores to incorporate the retailer’s omnichannel plans was also popular with SmartBrief readers. And readers were not only interested in stories that followed retailers from brick-and-mortar to digital channels -- news of digitally-native Google’s plans to open its first physical store in Chicago made Q3’s list of most popular stories, along with a story covering how brands are focusing on interactive, Instagram-worthy designs when planning their pop-up shops.

Amazon Prime Day -- it’s a big deal in retail: Amazon held its biggest Prime Day event yet in July, and shoppers reportedly spent $4.2 billion during the 36-hour event this year. Since its launch in 2015, Prime Day has grown to the extent that its effects are felt throughout the retail industry -- and SmartBrief’s retail audience wanted to read about it. This year, Amazon even brought its Prime Day deals into Whole Foods stores, which appeared on Q3’s list of top-clicked retail stories. And this year, Prime Day expanded well beyond Amazon, with news of other retailers’ rival deals also among the top stories from Q3.

Drilling down to specific shopper sets: Retailers were busy finding ways to target different groups of shoppers in Q3, and SmartBrief’s retail subscribers wanted to read about them. Home Depot’s move into the home decor category was the second most-popular retail story from SmartBrief in Q3, and J.C. Penney’s plans to target older women shoppers was another popular story among readers. Nike’s innovative Nike Live concept also drew interest last quarter, with its model that collects shopper insights from the NikePlus mobile app to tailor selection in each store to individual neighborhoods. Targeting Gen Z shoppers was another popular topic in Q3, particularly a study that revealed some of the ag group’s more surprising habits.

To read more about these trends and see all the other news items that caught the attention of SmartBrief’s retail readers last quarter, download the full list of SmartBrief’s top 25 retail stories from Q3. And be sure to look for our Q4 roundup following the all-important holiday shopping season.