Inventory / Merchandising / Supply Chain

Supply chain challenges are mounting for many retailers, especially those operating in multiple regions of the country and abroad. Consumers expect to be able to order and purchase products via any channel, then have them delivered to their channel of choice – and quickly! New technologies are providing the ways and means for merchants to deliver on the promise of omnichannel excellence. Now retailers must find the best ways to implement new solutions to stay competitive.

Will Macy's AI-Powered Mobile App Be Friendly Tech — Or The Terminator? Featured

There's no question IBM's Watson is smart. After all, it beat the pants off the best-of-the-best Jeopardy contestants. But is it smart enough — and flexible enough — to help a Macy's customer find the perfect dress for her daughter's wedding? That's one of the things the retailer is trying to discover with its 10-store test of a mobile web tool that connects shoppers with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform. "Macy's On Call" taps IBM Watson, via the Satisfi intelligent engagement platform, allowing customers to input natural language questions about each participating store's assortment, services and facilities.

Starbucks Creates Siren Retail Group To Manage Specialty Store Growth

Starbucks has promoted Cliff Burrows to head its new Siren Retail Group, which will encompass the retailer's Roastery, Starbucks Reserve and stand-alone Princi bakeries. Burrows, who has been with Starbucks since 2001, most recently as Group President for the U.S. and Americas, also will take charge of growing the company's global Teavana business. The Siren Group's debut is part of several organizational changes at the company, including the promotion of John Culver to the role of Group President for Starbucks Global Retail. His most recent position was Group President for China/Asia Pacific, Channel Development and Emerging Brands.

Target Appoints Former Apple Exec To Lead Supply Chain Processes

Target has appointed Ben Cook as Senior VP of Global Logistics, Inventory Allocation and Replenishment. Cook will be responsible for leading the company’s inbound and outbound supply chain processes, including carrier transportation and last-mile delivery. He will report to Target’s Executive VP and Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer Arthur Valdez.

Convenience Economy Fuels Global Estate Sale Segment At EBTH: Exclusive CEO Interview Featured

Every retail segment can benefit from a more convenient way to purchase. That was part of the premise behind the development of EBTH (Everything But The House) back in 2008. Fast forward a few years: with 123% year-over-year growth and $30.1 million in sales in 2015, EBTH is resonating with a global audience, according to Andy Nielsen, President and CEO, EBTH. Recently I had the chance to chat with Andy to find out more about the challenges of building a strong, Internet-based global company. He also shares insights for other entrepreneurs and retailers working to grow their businesses.

Breaking the Discounting Spiral: Steps to Reduce Unnecessary Markdowns in Retail

It’s been a not so exemplary year for retailers in 2016. DynamicAction’s benchmark report comparing Q1 2015 to Q1 2016 found retailers sold 63% more orders with a promotion this year. Promotions last year might have gotten shoppers in the door, but this year during Q1 there was a 7% decrease in new customers, in addition to a 6% drop in returning customers. Retailers have seen full price orders down 4% from Q1 2015, and overall profits have dipped 2% in Q1 2016 compared to Q1 2015. The recent Forrester report titled: U.S. Retail eCommerce: Readjust Continually To Combat Amazon, reports that “Amazon captured $23 billion more in U.S. e-Commerce sales in 2015 than the previous year (up from $77 billion in 2014 to $100 billion) and accounted for some 60% of total U.S. online retail sales growth nationwide.”As Amazon has grown over the years, its market share has increased, while…

Only 17% Of Mobile Apps Display Local In-Store Inventory Levels Featured

  • Published in Mobile
While buy online/pick up in-store is becoming a more common strategy among retailers seeking to up their omnichannel fulfillment game, many still have a ways to go before they can say they’re doing it right.   Despite consumer demand for inventory visibility prior to walking in a store, only 17% of retailer mobile apps display in-store inventory quantities for local stores, according to data from Kibo.

UK Startup Bridges Store And Mobile With Real-Time Inventory Data

  • Published in News Briefs
Although all Brexit-related news continues to stay top-of-mind for UK retailers and consumers, one startup is going full speed ahead to ensure that local stores throughout the nation can continue to connect with shoppers. Retail tech startup NearSt is aiming to bridge the in-store and mobile experiences with the launch of its NearLive platform, as well as its web site and mobile app. The platform, which has already partnered with local bookstores in London, is expanding its retail partnerships to more sellers including consumer electronics, DIY goods, health and beauty products, sportswear, stationery and gift shop services.

Online Apparel Retailer Asos Defies Brexit Woes

At least one UK-based retailer is bucking the trend of retail gloom from the country's Brexit: online apparel seller Asos. For the four months that ended June 30, 2016, Asos' sales climbed 30%, to £203.1 million, and CEO Nick Beighton projects that full-year sales growth will be "at the upper end of the 20% to 25% range," according to a company statement. One effect of the Brexit — the decline in value of the British pound — actually has been a benefit for Asos, since the retailer pays for most of its clothing in pounds rather than dollars or euros. This is unusual for a UK-based retailer, according to Bloomberg.

Infor Buying Spree Continues With Starmount Acquisition

Less than a month after buying analytics solutions provider Predictix, Infor has announced plans to acquire Starmount, a manufacturer of in-store systems including POS, mobile commerce and inventory management. The acquisition will help Infor deliver its CloudSuite Retail suite of cloud-based enterprise applications in support of "converged commerce," which is designed to provide retailers with a single selling system for all consumer interactions. After forming its Infor Retail business unit in summer 2015, Infor:

Three Ways to Increase Private-Label Profitability With Channel Data Management

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that only 7.8% of total U.S. Q1 2016 retail sales came from e-Commerce. This percentage challenges e-retailers to get more creative with their sales channels, particularly for their private-label products. Many that produce such private-label products — which tend to have higher profit margins — are achieving great success by leveraging channel strategies used by manufacturers and reselling these goods at the brick-and-mortar stores of other retailers, such as Sears. Known as indirect sales channels, these pipelines are notorious for offering producers scant visibility into crucial areas ranging from inventory to sales to end customer data. Fortunately, there are three ways e-retailers can increase the profitability of their private-label products sold through indirect sales channels, using channel data management (CDM).

Getting The First Mile Right: Retailer-Supplier Collaboration Is Key Featured

Retail is all about the customer today, and it’s vital to get the first mile of the shopping journey right in order to ensure a great customer experience through the last mile. That’s where retailer-supplier collaboration comes in. In order to get the right products to the right consumers at the right time, retailers and their vendor partners must work together cohesively.

eBay Bolsters Machine Learning Capabilities With SalesPredict Acquisition

A version of this news brief was initially posted on Demand Gen Report. EBay has agreed to acquire SalesPredict, an Israel-based predictive analytics company. The acquisition is intended to support eBay’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. As Amazon continues to use data to offer product recommendations that can benefit both the retailer and the consumer, all while dynamically pricing its products, eBay is seeking tools that make the marketplace experience more relevant for consumers.

Nordstrom Acquires Dsco To Streamline Inventory Management

Nordstrom has acquired a minority stake in Dsco, a supply-chain software firm. The move will help the retailer streamline online order fulfillment via drop shipping. The investment follows a successful partnership in which Nordstrom leveraged Dsco to manage inventory, order fulfillment and drop shipments for

Walmart Banks On Free Shipping To Grab Its Share Of Prime Day Frenzy

With Amazon Prime Day ready to dish out more than 100,000 deals to its Prime members on July 12, Walmart is dealing out price cuts of its own. The retailer is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase on all online orders for five full days, from July 11 to July 15. Despite dominating brick-and-mortar retail, Walmart has struggled mightily in Amazon’s shadow when it comes to selling online. E-Commerce sales growth at Walmart has declined for five straight quarters, with the retailer’s 7% revenue boost in Q1 2016 representing a heavy dip from the 17% increase the year prior. When comparing the two companies in digital sales, Amazon dwarfs Walmart by a grand total of $82.8 billion to $13.5 billion, according to eMarketer.

Brexit's Retail Impact: The Sky Is Falling! (Or Is It?) Featured

One thing is clear about the impact of Brexit on retailers and consumers: nothing is very clear about the impact of Brexit on retailers and consumers. Yes, there have been immediate effects from the June 23 UK vote to leave the European Union (EU), but most of these have been the result of the nosedive that the British pound has taken relative to other world currencies. So while economists and pundits are full of predictions, many of them dire, it's important to remember that at this point the effects are more psychological than concrete. The actual shape and scope of the Brexit is unlikely to be known for at least two years, not least because the UK has not even formally filed for its "divorce." British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said he will resign in October 2016, will leave the invocation of Article 50, which starts the Brexit…
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