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.

Beauty Retailer Boots UK Deploys IBM Analytics-Powered Mobile Sales App

  • Published in News Briefs
Boots UK, a pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer that is part of the Walgreens-Boots Alliance, has partnered with IBM to deploy a new app for sales associates. The company is the first retailer to offer IBM’s analytics-powered Sales Assist app, which is designed to help turn every salesperson into a personal shopper for in-store customers. The service is available in more than 2,300 stores. The app uses beacon technology to locate and identify shoppers on the store floor, look up online inventory and suggest products based on previous purchases. Using deep analytics combined with customer data, it can provide real-time product and location information straight to the associate’s mobile device.

Who Will Buy Neiman Marcus? Featured

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire's recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire, retail industry executives get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a panel of retail industry experts. Neiman Marcus, known for selling the most luxurious and memorable of luxury goods, is putting something else up for sale: itself. The retailer is reportedly seeking a buyer or an investor, since soft sales have made it tough for the department store to pay down debt totaling $5 billion. Neiman Marcus' most recent quarterly results, for the period ending April 30, 2016, revealed a 5% decline in comp store sales compared to the same quarter the previous year. The decline in net revenues was even sharper, dropping from $19.8 million in Q3 2015 to $3.8 million this year. The chain, which was acquired in a leveraged buyout by Ares Management LP…

Cali Bamboo Manages Rapid Growth With Electronic Order Tracking Solution Featured

After doubling its sales from $22.3 million in 2013 to $45.6 million in 2015, and building a valuable partnership with Lowe’s, sustainable flooring manufacturer Cali Bamboo needed to scale up its electronic order tracking operations to match its rapid growth. By selecting an electronic data interchange (EDI) system from TrueCommerce in early 2015, Cali Bamboo sought to eliminate any bottlenecking potentially caused by the company’s increasing sales volume. The solution also helped Cali Bamboo adhere to diverse technical requirements of its retail partners and third-party logistics (3PL) providers.

Amazon Cuts Shipping Fees 67% On Small Items, Taking Aim At Asian Competitors

Amazon will be cutting its shipping fees for small envelope packages effective July 1, another indication that the retailer likely means serious business in Asia, according to Bloomberg. An internal email to marketplace sellers revealed that merchants using the Fulfillment By Amazon Small and Light Program would pay $1.61 to ship three, flat, 1-ounce packages, 67% less than the current price. Speculation is that the price cut represents a shot at Alibaba and other competing marketplaces, especially as the Chinese e-Commerce giant attempts to further expand its influence in the U.S. Chinese merchants have direct shipping access to U.S. shoppers using Alibaba's ePacket program — an affordable courier service created via an agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and China Post — to ship packages weighing 4.4 pounds or less.

Conquering The Last Mile: Cuts Costs, Delights Customers Featured

In recent conversations with retailers and other industry executives, the topic of "last mile" has consistently risen to the surface as a new retail battleground — one where every retailer can compete against Amazon's fulfillment, delivery and returns offerings. It's literally the last chance to satisfy the customer and the last interaction that can turn a good experience into a bad one. Now retailers are grappling with how to optimize the last mile. Do they handle it in-house? Use a third-party partner? Convert stores into DCs? The answer will be different for every company, depending on products, regions covered and service availability. For example, lots of new last mile services have popped up lately, from Curbside, Uber, eBay, Instacart, Postmates and deliv — even Google driverless trucks may be coming. But these services are only available in certain large cities across the country.

ProShip Unveils CVP-500 Automated Fulfillment Solution To Optimize Parcel Sizes

ProShip, a Neopost company, has unveiled the CVP-500 automated order packaging solution, designed to build, fill, fold and label individual fit-to-size parcels all in one process. With the CVP-500, fulfillment operations can eliminate unnecessary volume and create the smallest parcel needed at the lowest expense. This packing system uses 2,300 feet of continuous feed corrugated to pack single or multi-item orders with variable dimensions in a custom-fit box.

Aéropostale Catches Second Wind With Lender Financing Approval

Aéropostale has received final approval from a U.S. bankruptcy court to procure $160 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from Crystal Financial LLC. With the financing, the retailer expects to begin a restructuring process and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy during Q3 2016. Aéropostale filed for bankruptcy in May 2016, becoming the latest teen retailer to experience the pitfalls that come with decreasing sales and store traffic. While the retailer will close 113 U.S. stores and all of its 41 Canada locations as part of its reorganization, the liquidation does bring a new opportunity for the brand to cater to Gen Z consumers.

Ron Jon Surf Shop Integrates Content, Order Management To Power New E-Commerce Site

  • Published in News Briefs
Ron Jon Surf Shop has selected two cloud solutions from Aptos — Aptos Digital Commerce and Aptos Enterprise Order Management — to help revamp its e-Commerce business and improve its online personalization experience. As part of a 180-day implementation, Aptos will fully design a new e-Commerce site with responsive design capabilities, to support optimal viewing and navigation across a wide range of devices.

Unified Commerce Platform: Common Goal, Uncommon Reality Featured

While retailers are embracing the concept of unified commerce, with three out of four planning to have a single commerce platform within three years, the majority of organizations have yet to fully commit to this technology in 2016. Only 23% of North American retailers have implemented a unified commerce platform, according to Boston Retail Partners (BRP).

Dillard's, Levi Strauss Honored For Inventory And E-Commerce Innovations

The information standards organization GS1 US honored four retailers for innovations that promoted greater inventory accuracy, supply chain visibility and sustainability. The winners of the 2016 GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Retail Industry Achievement Awards were recognized during the GS1 Connect Event on May 31 in Washington, D.C. They include:

Canadian Chocolatier Launches Streamlined Interactive E-Commerce Site

Online customers of Purdys Chocolatier will gain access to rich interactive content and simplified navigation on the retailer's newly launched web site, serving both its direct-to-consumer and group fundraising businesses. The revamped site simplifies browsing for products using factors such as type, price point, Kosher certified and/or free from allergens, as well as "staff picks," "most popular" and "new." Purdys, which also operates 74 brick-and-mortar stores in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, deployed Aptos Digital Commerce and Integrated Aptos Enterprise Order Management solutions to create its new site, replacing two of its legacy e-Commerce systems in the process.

Small Solutions Can Mean Big Business For Retail

The bigger the business, the bigger the security system, right? Wrong. There’s been a long-standing misconception that large-scale retailers need large-scale surveillance solutions, and small systems are strictly for the mom-and-pop shops. Oftentimes, retailers feel “trapped” by their size and forced into generic solutions because they think there is no other way. That is certainly not the case anymore. As retailers become more diverse by the day and adopt a variety of cutting edge business models, store set-ups and customer experiences, the ideas of big and small have gone out the window. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to retail security, and luckily, security and surveillance technology has adapted alongside this new era of retail. With IP-based systems becoming baseline, we are seeing the advent of out-of-the-box solutions that have the ability to scale to a large enterprise, opening up new doors for retailers of every size who take this hybrid…

As Burberry And Tom Ford Dip Into Fast Fashion, Will More Luxury Retailers Do The Same? Featured

While luxury fashion retailers have traditionally built their business models on hyping long-awaited clothing lines and accessories, Burberry will take a page out of the fast fashion playbook with the launch of its “see now, buy now” collections. While consumers usually have to wait months after a fashion show to purchase items displayed on the runway, Burberry is taking the opposite approach by enabling shoppers to buy items as soon as they appear. The luxury retailer recently launched its first advertising campaign to promote its Burberry 2016 line, which will be showcased at London Fashion Week in September 2016.

Pitney Bowes Showcases Enroute SaaS-Based Shipping Platform

Upon acquiring Enroute Systems Corporation in January 2016, Pitney Bowes expanded its global e-Commerce offering by integrating the SaaS-based transportation platform into its suite of solutions. The Enroute multi-carrier shipping solution is designed to help high-volume retailers and online retailers achieve: Faster shipping execution times; Lower shipping costs; Enhanced business intelligence; and Real-time supply chain visibility and tracking.
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