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.

Managing Returns In A Complex Omnichannel Environment

1Ian Goldman CelerantOmnichannel has been a hot topic for the past few years in retail. That begs the question: When will retailers just achieve omnichannel success and move on to the next topic? It’s not a simple question to answer because the term encompasses so much, even when looked at from a purely technical perspective. It gets even more complex when you consider the softer aspects of omnichannel; that is to say, the human experience and expectations that are driving its evolution.

The only metric that truly matters is how well merchants satisfy evolving customer demands with consistency. The most striking aspect of the omnichannel universe is how it has been affected by the concurrent shift in power to consumers. That makes success a moving target. Never before have consumers had so much influence over retailers, fueled in large part by enhanced communication between them — but more importantly, the explosion in consumer-to-consumer communication empowered by the Internet and social media is influencing behaviors in a massive way.


Retailers Fail To Deliver On Consumer Shipping Preferences

1RR Temando ImageWhile retailers continually strive to deliver convenient shipping and fulfilment options to consumers, research indicates that there is still a disconnect between what they are providing and what consumers actually want.

For example, 77% of consumers have used or would like to use guaranteed weekend or after hours shipping, and 42% are willing to pay a premium for this shipping option. However, only 34% of all retailers offer this shipping option, according to the 2016 State of Shipping In Commerce report from Temando.


Centralized Promotions Engine Drives Strong Brand Impressions

OneView Commerce logoEvery promotion will not work in every channel, but centralizing the effort will strengthen the entire brand strategy. With that in mind, OneView Commerce introduced both an inventory management module and a promotions engine for its Digital Store Platform at #NRF16. Both solutions are cloud-based and are designed to operate effectively in omnichannel enterprises.

"In an omnichannel environment, the lack of a centralized promotions engine has the potential to weaken the retailer's brand by confusing customers with offers that don't support the customer journey," said Lexy Johnson, OneView SVP of Global Delivery in a statement. "OneView developed the solution in conjunction with its customers, who agree that while not all promotions will fire in every channel, a centralized engine is the only way to ensure delivery of a consistent customer experience."


SKU IQ Integrates In-Store POS With E-Commerce Site To Optimize Inventory

Boutikka Labs has launched SKU IQ, a retail operating system designed to connect in-store POS systems with e-Commerce sites so that retailers can manage inventory between the online and physical channels.

SKU IQ integrates with various e-Commerce and POS solutions and provides a centralized sales history and cross-channel reporting. Three of its major features are:


SATO, Intel Combine IoT Solutions With Big Data Analytics

1satointelSATO Global Solutions (SGS) is collaborating with Intel to provide a data-driven, end-to-end IoT solution designed to improve inventory accuracy.

According to McKinsey, IoT innovations in store layout, automated checkouts, and inventory management are expected to impact retail by up to $1.2 trillion worldwide by 2025, as a result of transforming business processes and enabling new business models.


Store Sales Disappointed But Store-Based Fulfillment Volumes Spiked 72%

While the past holiday season has been considered lackluster by many analysts within the retail industry, the concept of omnichannel fulfillment appears to have caught on more strongly than ever.

In fact, peak e-Commerce order volumes that were fulfilled at physical stores increased as much as 72% during the period from Nov. 23, 2015 to Dec. 23, 2015, according to data from eBay Enterprise. Throughout the season, e-Commerce sales fulfilled by stores reached $515 million — a 62% overall increase from 2014.


Brightpearl Raises Additional $11 Million To Grow SMB Client Base

Brightpearl logoBrightpearl, which supplies a cloud-based inventory management and business platform to SMB retailers and wholesalers, has raised $11 million in its latest round of financing. This brings the company's funding total to $30.5 million. Brightpearl will use the cash, from Eden Ventures, MMC Ventures and Notion Capital, to accelerate the growth of its sales and marketing organization in the U.S., and to scale engineering, service and support teams to deliver value to its more than 1,400 customers in 30 countries.

The Brightpearl software provides an integrated solution combining accounting, inventory, purchasing, CRM, shipping/fulfillment, POS and other modules to help manage multiple aspects of a small to medium-sized retail business.


SHOP.COM Adds More Than 50,000 Items To Product Line

1shopspsE-Commerce retailer SHOP.COM has selected the Sourcing solution from SPS Commerce to expand its sales volume in select product categories such as soft goods and consumables. Since implementing the solution in late 2015, SHOP.COM has added more than 50,000 items from 50 drop-ship capable vendors and distributors from the SPS Retail Network.

“SPS Commerce introduced us to scores of qualified vendors that we didn’t know existed but were a perfect fit for our merchandising strategy,” said Eddie Alberty, VP of Strategic Partnerships at SHOP.COM. “The solution has streamlined our sourcing process by relying on SPS to identify and pre-screen vendors, allowing our merchandisers to focus on vendors that met our merchandising, supply-chain and financial requirements. SPS is a strategic part of our growth strategy as we expand into new markets with the compelling brands that improve the SHOP.COM consumer experience.”


Infor Invests $25 Million For Stake In Predictix

1infor predictixInfor, an enterprise software vendor, has invested $25 million in cloud-based retail analyst Predictix. This partnership will give Infor a small stake in Predictix with the opportunity to purchase the company in full.

With this investment, Infor will become a reseller of Predictix. This will allow the company to deploy, manage and support its big data analytics applications for customers in the Infor cloud. Infor will also infuse Predictix into the development of Infor CloudSuite Retail, a cloud-based management suite built for Whole Foods Market, a mutual customer.


E-Commerce Growth Spawns Unwanted Side Effect: More Holiday Returns

As the 2015 holidays come to a close, retailers are tasked with handle their annual flow of product returns. The pickiness of consumers and the nature of gift-giving makes returns an inevitable part of the season, but retailers are now giving themselves more to handle as they continue to make purchases easier for their consumers.

Almost one quarter (24%) of consumers will return or exchange the gifts they received over the 2015 holiday season, according to a survey from mobile shopping app provider Retale. This percentage represents a slight increase over the 21% from the year prior that said they were likely to send back presents received. In total, the National Retail Federation expected returns this entire year to make up as much as 8% of sales.


Oracle Updates Entire Retail Solution Suite

Oracle-logoWhile many solution providers announce solution upgrades and enhancements during the NRF Big Show each year, 2016 is a seismic shift for Oracle Retail. Version 15 of Oracle Retail solutions includes an update of the entire suite, featuring several new cloud services that embed science and analytics across the portfolio.

The new solutions are "role-based, contextual and simple for the user," said Jill Puleri, SVP and General Manager, Oracle Retail, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. "A lot of customers are coming to us and asking: 'Should I upgrade?' With version 15, retailers can upgrade or extend around whatever they already have in place."


The Fresh Market Names Former Walmart Exec As Chief Merchandising Officer

1pamkohnThe Fresh Market, a specialty grocery retailer, has appointed Pamela Kohn as its EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer. In her role, Kohn is responsible for enhancing the retailer’s merchandise selection, customer value, brand messaging and in-store experience.

Kohn also will oversee the retailer’s marketing and supply chain functions, and will report directly to Rick Anicetti, President and CEO of The Fresh Market.

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