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.

Borderfree And Alipay Team To Bring American Brands To Chinese Consumers

Logistics solution provider Borderfree, a division of Pitney Bowes, has expanded its partnership with payment service provider Ant Financial to bring American fashion, sports apparel and lifestyle accessories brands to online shoppers in China in advance of the holiday season.

Borderfree’s program with Ant Financial’s Alipay provides the payment, logistics services and marketing support to help global brands and retailers connect with Chinese consumers. The partnership, which launched in 2014, will now enable Alipay’s registered users to purchase products online directly from retailers such as Aéropostale, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, using localized payments.


Bristol Farms Taps ReposiTrak To Manage Food Safety Compliance

bristolfarmsNatural and organic grocery chain Bristol Farms has selected ReposiTrak, a provider of compliance management solutions for food, pharma and dietary safety, to manage regulatory and business documentation compliance within the supply chain.

The retailer will use the Compliance Management solution, which receives, stores and shares documentation, and also manages compliance through dashboards and alerts for missing or expired documents.


Black Friday To Regain Top Spot As Busiest In-Store Day Of 2015 Holiday Season

Knowing which days during the holiday season will attract the biggest crowds helps retailers allocate labor and other store resources more effectively. This year, Black Friday, Nov. 27, is anticipated to be the top sales day and the busiest traffic day for brick-and-mortar stores during the 2015 holiday season, according to research from ShopperTrak.

This prediction is attributed to the rise of the price-conscious shopper who is motivated by sales and exhibits a growing tendency toward shopping earlier. In addition, Hanukkah begins 10 days earlier in 2015 than it did in 2014, and so is expected to generate November sales at the expense of December.


Overstock Losses To Cost Retailers $471 Billion In 2015

When it comes to the holiday season, retailers have to closely monitor every bit of cash flow that affects their bottom line in order to optimize profits. However, it appears that the industry as a whole is still leaving a vast amount of money on the table, in the form of overstocks, out-of-stocks and merchandise returns. In fact, the lost revenue from these three factors totals as high as $1.75 trillion, in what DynamicAction and IHL Research refer to as the “Ghost Economy.”

Overstocks make up $471.9 billion of this lost revenue total, and they continue to be a thorn in the side of retailers globally. In fact, the overstock issue has been a growing menace for merchants, with the number inflating by more than $100 billion over the $362.1 billion of 2012 losses, according to a report from Tyco and IHL.


68% of Retailers Not Well Prepared To Provide Multiple Holiday Shipping Options

AR Temando ImageAs many as 68% of retailers say they are not well prepared to provide multiple shipping options that will meet customer expectations this holiday season, according to a survey from Temando.

On the whole, smaller retailers reported being less prepared to provide multiple shipping options than their larger counterparts. Only 24% of micro-level retailers (those shipping fewer than 20 deliveries per week) are prepared to meet these expectations, while 29% of small retailers (shipping 21 to 100 deliveries per week) are prepared for the season. Mid-sized (36%) and Enterprise (50%) retailers are better prepared, likely due to the greater number and variety of consumers they ship to, which makes multiple shipping options a business requirement.


Simpli Home Cuts Product Launch Times By 75% With Data Management Solution

When Simpli Home experienced a significant growth spurt three years ago, it brought benefits — and, as is often the case, a new set of business challenges. The furniture importer, which sells its products through major e-Commerce sites, including Amazon,, Macy's and Walmart, had started out selling only a small range of products. But as its offerings grew, the task of preparing product content for multiple web sites grew along with them — by leaps and bounds.

"We had begun with a small number of products and developed an understanding of what kind of content was required by these sites, and how each one needed different information," said Simpli Home Founder Yoram Weinreich in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. But when the company's previously limited product range "exploded" three years ago, Simpli Home found that its home-grown data management processes weren't meeting its needs.


Cracking The Big Data Code By Leveraging BI Solutions

Retailers are constantly looking for the best strategies and technologies to help them understand consumers' purchase journeys. But as consumers' expectations of the shopping experience become more demanding, retailers are turning to business intelligence (BI) solutions designed to analyze and report on information gathered from previous interactions. Using BI solutions, retailers can use relevant data to make more informed decisions that can help deliver long-term business success.

With the need to address Big Data pervading through all technology-reliant industries, retailers must take great care to understand the concepts and practical uses for BI and analytics solutions. SAS defines Big Data as “the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured,” indicating that as the data pool gets larger, more measures must be taken to make it useful for business purposes.


Z Gallerie Selects Full Suite Of Cloud-Based Aptos Solutions

Z Gallerie exteriorFashion-forward home brand Z Gallerie will deploy a full suite of cloud-based retail solutions from Aptos (formerly Epicor Retail Solutions). The end-to-end omnichannel solution, delivered in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, provides Z Gallerie with strong CRM and e-Commerce functionality combined with solid financial reporting capabilities.

Z Gallerie will leverage a complete solution set that includes Aptos Store (for point of sale); Aptos Merchandising, Planning and Resourcing; Aptos Retail Analytics and Sales Audit; Aptos CRM and Clienteling; Aptos Digital Commerce; and Aptos Enterprise Order Management. The suite will enable the retailer to better understand customers' wants, needs and buying behavior, as well improve customer engagement and allow the company to expand its digital commerce footprint.


Shrink As Percentage Of Sales Climbs 50% In 2015

The combination of a still-slow world economy straining consumers' buying power, along with decreased spending by retailers on loss prevention, has led to a significant increase in global shrink numbers. As a percentage of sales, shrink rose from 0.94% of total sales in 2014 to 1.42% this past year, an increase of more than 50%.

In the U.S., the shrink percentage rose even more steeply, from 1.28% in 2014 to 1.97% in 2015, a 54% jump. These figures are from the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer, a survey of more than 200 retailers representing 113,000 stores in 24 countries, conducted by The Smart Cube with retail loss prevention analyst Ernie Deyle and underwritten by a grant from Checkpoint Systems. Total shrink costs in the 24 countries studied equals approximately $123.4 billion (U.S.).


Mi9 Retail Acquires Raymark

Mi9-logoMi9 Retail has acquired Raymark Xpert Business Systems. The newly combined company will offer a broad suite of real-time enabled applications including merchandising, analytics, point of sale, omnichannel, clienteling and CRM, while continuing to support and develop all existing applications. Neither party disclosed a purchase price.

Based on the growth of its flagship solution that combines merchandising and business intelligence, Mi9 Retail has experienced strong growth over the past two years. Built on a common set of web technologies, retailers can deploy this solution in the cloud, on premises or as a service.


CollaborateCloud Ties Together Internal Communication For SMBs

Although small businesses don’t have the breadth of larger retailers, they can still have difficulty trying to manage workflow and internal communication. Often, these companies are still growing and are learning how to manage these processes effectively.

CollaborateCloud has released a collaboration suite specifically designed for small business retailers so that they can improve productivity through better collaboration, management and workflows. From a management perspective, the solution is designed to connect employees, suppliers, partners and executives across multiple locations to enable rapid communication and collaboration.


Whole Foods Names Clark To Non-Perishables Purchasing Post

DonClark WholeFoodsDon J. Clark has been named Global Vice President of Purchasing for Non-Perishables at Whole Foods Market. He will be responsible for all functions of the retailer's non-perishable business, including growth through strong supplier relationships, inventory and category management initiatives, and managing Whole Foods' exclusive brands program, which generated approximately $1.8 billion in sales in fiscal 2014.

Clark joins Whole Foods from Target, where he helped in the ongoing transformation of that retailer's grocery business via significant investments in merchandising, produce sourcing, store design, supply chain, store operations, technology and omnichannel capabilities. Prior to that Clark led the expansion of the Merchant Planning and Presentation capabilities in Target's Bangalore, India office for its U.S. store and .com businesses.


Kohl's To Open New Store Formats As Part of Growth Strategy

1kohls store smallKohl's will add three new concepts to its store footprint in 2016. The department store retailer will open five to 10 smaller, more agile 35,000-square-foot stores in underserved markets as well as 10 to 15 FILA sports apparel stores in outlet malls. In addition, the retailer plans to open two more Off-Aisle by Kohl's off price locations in 2016, following a single-store pilot of the concept.

"We are in a strong position to explore new formats as an additional avenue for growth and diversification," said CEO and President Kevin Mansell, speaking at the WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit on Oct. 27.


Consumer Demand Signals Reveal Chinks In Amazon's Armor

AmazonhomepageSmallRetailers of all sizes and kinds have found Amazon to be a fierce competitor. The eTail giant has a number of built-in structural and technological advantages — but it's by no means invincible.

That's the message from assortment intelligence provider Ugam, which recently analyzed Amazon's assortment of baseball bats and women's running shoes while factoring in a list of key trending products in these categories in order to compare assortments and pricing with several competing online retailers.

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