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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.

Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Intensifies Grocery Price Wars

The landscape of the grocery industry is ripe for drastic and dramatic changes in the wake of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market. With the e-Commerce giant making its monumental grocery push, top supermarkets will now be forced to duke it out for pricing superiority, supply chain efficiency and convenient delivery. Additionally, food delivery services such as Instacart will now face off against a fulfillment leader with extremely deep pockets. But despite many reports, the deal doesn’t represent a death knell for grocery, particularly its major players. Unlike categories such as apparel and department stores, grocery remains a relatively stable market since it doesn’t drive discretionary spending — consumers still have to buy food.

Blue Apron Seeks IPO To Raise More Than $500M

Blue Apron is seeking an IPO that could raise more than $500 million for the meal kit delivery service that, despite impressive growth, has yet to turn a profit. The move comes just days after Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market radically reshaped both the supermarket and food delivery landscapes. In its prospectus for the IPO, Blue Apron said it planned to price its shares between $15 and $17, which translates to a valuation for the company of up to $3.2 billion, according to the New York Times. In 2016, Blue Apron earned $795.4 million in revenue, more than doubling the previous year’s total. The company has continued to lose money — $54.9 million last year — due to major expenditures on marketing and growth capabilities.

INTURN Raises $22.5 Million To Accelerate Global Growth

INTURN, a retail technology and B2B platform provider, has raised $22.5 million in Series B financing from venture capital firm B Capital Group. The company aims to use the funding to support and expand its growth globally. The INTURN platform helps brands sell excess inventory to retailers in privately controlled offerings. This B2B exchange is designed to turn inventory faster, improve cash flow and optimize returns.

Who Are Your Superconsumers? Why Retailers Need To Know

They walk among us. They look just like everyone else, but they have a secret identity. They are: SUPERCONSUMERS! Superconsumers are more than just good customers; they are passionately devoted to “their” brands. They are the sneaker-heads who own dozens of pairs of sneakers, or the bacon-loving consumers who call themselves “pork dorks.” They comprise approximately 10% of a brand’s customer base, and former Cambridge Group Principal Eddie Yoon believes retailers should proactively establish a dialogue with their Superconsumers and really get to know them. The insights they reveal will provide valuable clues about marketing, merchandising and product development — and they might even help turn some regular consumers into SUPERCONSUMERS!

Key Factors That Will Make Or Break RFID Retail Deployments

Having helped retail and other organizations with RFID implementations over the years, I’ve noticed a change in the preliminary questions being asked about the technology. Rather than asking if RFID really works, they want to know how they can fast track implementations, because they realize that RFID will make them more competitive. The business case and demonstrated value of RFID is well documented, however, achieving those benefits is where the challenge lays. Here are six factors that, if addressed properly, will enable retail organizations to get their RFID implementations live and realize ROI more quickly.

Retailers Vs. Brands: The Battle For Consumer Attention

Consumer expectations have reshaped the dynamic of how retailers and brands approach their partnerships. With fewer people shopping in stores and direct-to-consumer selling on the rise, the retailer-brand relationship is strained: Brands are finding a niche in direct-to-consumer sales; Loyalty is becoming more “brand”-focused and less merchant-focused; Data analytics sharing is vital to successful retailer-supplier partnerships; and Retailers are looking for lower prices, better content and more co-op investment from their brand partners.

What Drove Mickey Drexler Out? Retail Experts Weigh In

Millard “Mickey” Drexler earned the nickname of “Merchant Prince” for his ability to market apparel that became a lifestyle look for millions of consumers. First at Gap in the 1990s and at J.Crew since 2003, Drexler was renowned for both anticipating and shaping customer tastes. But now the prince has been deposed (or has abdicated) following quarter after quarter of poor performance. Comparable sales at J.Crew fell 6.7% in 2016, following an 8.2% decrease the year before. The company, in which Drexler maintains a 10% ownership stake, has more than $2 billion in debt and less than $150 million in cash.

3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Use AI To Grow Their Revenue

IBM Watson has become a household name in AI. The software was originally created to beat the best human chess players, but has since morphed into a “do anything and everything” machine. Now, it is one of the most visible examples of artificial intelligence in our world today. While AI feels futuristic because of examples like Watson, it's actually not a new concept within retail. AI and machine learning technologies have been in the industry for years, and both have already made a huge impact. Platforms like Amazon and Jet.com have been using this technology on the back end to adjust prices, monitor demand and even encourage consumers to buy more (see Jet.com’s dynamic pricing model, which lowers prices as consumers add to their cart).

Sealed Air Releases Inflatable Packaging Solution

Sealed Air has released the Fill-Air FLOW system, an inflatable packaging solution designed to provide a space-saving, cost-saving and environmentally friendly alternative to the use of polystyrene “peanuts” as cushioning within packing boxes. Available exclusively in the U.S. from distributor Millennium Packaging, the compact Fill-Air FLOW machine mounts to a wall or tabletop and produces 11 high-fill or 20 low-fill inflated plastic bags per minute.

GoECart Rebrands As Pulse Commerce

GoECart, an enterprise order and inventory management platform designed for mid-market merchants, is rebranding itself as Pulse Commerce. The company chose the name to reflect its role in delivering a real-time enterprise-wide perspective, or pulse, on a merchant’s commerce operations across all channels. “Our modern Order & Inventory Platform has…
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Online Retailers Teach Personalization, Mobile & Convenience To Brick-And-Mortar Competitors

Recent headlines in both the trade and mainstream press have been full of variations on the same theme: Brick-And-Mortar Retail Is Dying! And these headlines are not just clickbait.  There were more retail bankruptcies in the first four months of 2017 than in all of 2016. A rash of store closures also are making the news, both by some of the largest retailers (Macy’s, Sears, Payless Shoe Source) and smaller players including hhgregg and The Limited. An NBC News report noted that more than 100,000 retail workers have lost their jobs since October 2016. A frequent counter-argument to these stories goes like this: If brick-and-mortar retail is such a terrible business model, why are so many online retailers rushing to open physical stores? (A partial list includes Amazon, Warby Parker, Bonobos, Minted and Casper.) It’s certainly a valid question — but the answer is more complicated than it might appear at first glance.

German Fashion Brand S.Oliver Group Partners With Predictive Product Testing Platform

  • Published in News Briefs
The s.Oliver Group, a German fashion and lifestyle company, has partnered with predictive product design and merchandising platform provider First Insight. Using First Insight’s consumer-driven predictive analytics, the s.Oliver Group seeks to make quicker and more accurate design, buying and pricing decisions on its apparel, shoes, accessories, jewelry, fragrances and eyewear.
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Data-Driven Personalization Serves 1.2 Million Loyal Fabletics Customers

Many retailers talk a good game when it comes to personalizing interactions with each customer, but Fabletics really walks the walk. The brand is gathering extensive customer data from the 1.2 million members of its continuity-based subscription retailing program; Fabletics supplements this data collection with sophisticated in-store technologies that build comprehensive customer profiles in near real-time. But Fabletics also uses that data, in ways large and small. This continuous feedback loop gives the retailer a competitive edge in a number of key areas, including:

Associated Wholesale Grocers Implements Product Discovery Platform

  • Published in News Briefs
Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) has partnered with RangeMe, an online platform designed to streamline new product discovery between retailers and product suppliers. With RangeMe, the co-op food wholesaler aims to scale its retail buying efforts within the general merchandise, health and beauty and specialty, natural and organic categories for all its 3,800 member…
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