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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.

GrandCanals Launches Fulfillment Intelligence Cloud 4.0

GrandCanals, a commerce fulfillment analytics provider, has launched version 4.0 of the Fulfillment Intelligence Cloud (FIC), a SaaS application that enables analytics-driven fulfillment. Built to optimize fulfillment and delivery, FIC 4.0 is designed to help e-Commerce and retail companies increase sales and deliver orders by improving their delivery experience.

The Fractional Ownership Of Everything

The “modern” consumer is rethinking the value of ownership. Over the last several years they’ve come to realize that the sharing of items and services is cheaper, less burdensome, more convenient and better for the environment than traditional ownership. While this peer-to-peer (P2P) way of sharing may seem like an entirely new concept, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The sharing of goods and services has taken many forms throughout history. In fact, Benjamin Franklin is credited with founding the first modern library some 300 years ago. His concept embodied how we think of “fractional ownership” today: A central body (a library) acquires assets (books) and makes them available to consumers (readers) for a sufficient amount of time so that he or she can glean value from the asset without buying it themselves. It took nearly 240 years after Mr. Franklin’s concept to take root in a commercially viable way in the United States, when the rental company as we know it today began popping up in towns across the U.S. soon after World War II.

Exclusive Q&A: Explosive Growth Of Direct Brands Reveals Seismic Retail Shift

Earlier this year, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a report titled: The Rise of the 21st Century Brand Economy, which examined the sputtering growth of traditional retail and CPG brands versus the rise of direct brands over the past decade. To delve deeper into the findings of the report, Retail TouchPoints recently sat down with Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB, a trade association for interactive marketing representing more than 600 leading media, marketing and technology companies.

Innovative Use Cases Leveraging RFID In Retail

With the integration of RFID, brands are finding ways to gain greater real-time insights beyond the store shelf via on-site and off-site inventory visibility, allowing them to improve inventory accuracy, product return efficiency and loss prevention. According to Accenture, research showed 73% of retailers have implemented or were currently implementing or piloting RFID, almost double the number from 2014. A top trend driving implementation continues to be RFID as the engine for visibility in retail as it’s a critical enabler of improving efficient uses of assets and inventory management, as well as improving the productivity of employees’ time utilization and retail execution. However, benefits don’t stop at visibility, as consumer engagement scenarios are also proving to drive consumer engagement, education and omnichannel experiences.

Carter’s Decision Support Solution Cuts 8 Days’ Inventory Out Of System

Inventory carrying costs remain retailers’ biggest capital expense, but companies are generally cautious about reducing inventory levels as a way to cut costs. That’s because lowering inventory levels can create delays and out-of-stock situations that play havoc with the retailer’s service levels. Carter’s Inc., however, leveraged a decision support solution that helped the retailer trim eight days of inventory from its system, while actually raising service levels for its 800 retail stores and e-Commerce business. For the first seasonal “buy” following the September 2016 implementation of the Anaplan Connected Planning solution, the children’s apparel retailer “shrunk our inventory carrying costs and increased our cash flow by $25 million in working capital, with no impact to our customers,” said Peter Smith, EVP Global Supply Chain at Carter’s. “We got improved service, match levels and fulfillment levels while simultaneously reducing inventory costs.”

Kroger Debuts Dip Private Label Apparel Line

  • Published in News Briefs
Aiming to provide simple, affordable yet stylish apparel to a wide range of customers, Kroger will introduce the Dip clothing lines this fall in more than 300 Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace stores. The Dip brand will replace more than a dozen Kroger private label brands, including Indigo by Great Northwest, GNW, Kids Korner and Curfew, according to Supermarket News. Kroger has partnered…
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Right Product, Right Place: Positioning Inventory For Omnichannel Success

People talk about retail reinventing itself, but if we’re honest with ourselves, the key elements are the same today as they have always been. Call the state of retail today “omnichannel” or call it “unified commerce,” but it’s still “retail.” At the end of the day, the fundamentals of retail have always been about getting the right product to the right place at the right time. The challenge is figuring out how to get valuable inventory closer to where the customer needs it to be, but before solving for that equation, what steps should a retailer take?

Forrester Study: Only 26% Of Companies Are B2B E-Commerce ‘Masters’

Strong, mature B2B e-Commerce capabilities bring numerous benefits to organizations. These companies can maximize the potential of digital channels and add self-service capabilities; use merchandising features to frame their products and solutions in a better light; and create multiple selling sites dedicated to specific geographies, customer segments, product lines and channels. But while the benefits of B2B e-Commerce maturity are clear, the road to achieving it is a long one. A June 2018 Forrester study, titled: What It Takes To Be A Leader In B2B eCommerce, reveals that no more than 50% of companies surveyed have any one of the following five best practices for B2B e-Commerce:

Cut Shrinkage And Throw Out The Planogram With Mixed Reality Merchandising

It’s rare that one technology set could solve retailer woes related to both merchandise theft and in-store planogram stipulations, yet virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) offer promise in both arenas. Retailers are cutting shrinkage of high ticket-value items by displaying virtual versions that utilize mixed reality implementations, while other retailers are eliminating tedious planogram issues by employing AR to easily configure visual store layouts and signage – all in real time. Walmart recently thwarted in-store theft by partnering with deviceless AR technology provider Spacee to install interactive product displays in five Texas stores. These displays showcase connected devices, like the Nest smart thermostat, allowing passersby to learn more about the products by engaging with the 3D touch screen displays. These endcaps have enabled Walmart to cut the risk of theft of real merchandise and lower costs associated with employee training, while still offering interesting product experiences and sharing features that can boost sales of pricier merchandise. In a video posted on Facebook, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon called the Spacee-enabled display "the future of shopping."

Hawaiian Produce Wholesaler Reduces Shipping Errors 75% With Wireless Deployment

A company that has grown from a small family-run business to handling more than 600 orders daily, Armstrong Produce needed to scale its business with a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to improve its operations efficiency and accuracy. However, in order to make full use of the WMS, the Hawaiian wholesaler and distributor of fruits and vegetables first had to install a wireless enterprise system. After deploying the ExtremeManagement wireless solution from Extreme Networks and successfully transitioning from paper picking to digital picking, Armstrong achieved: A 75% reduction in shipping errors; Labor cost savings of an estimated six figures per year; Operational savings of $3,120 per year on paperwork alone; and A wireless network that covers 87,000 square feet, 226 network users and devices and three warehouses on three separate islands.

Beam It To Me, Scotty

It wasn’t long ago when same-day delivery service was reserved for extremely sensitive and important business documents and medical supplies, or highly perishable gifts such as fresh flowers. Even purchasing next-day delivery has traditionally cost a fortune. Of course that’s all changed now, as large retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target are competing for customer loyalty by offering same-day delivery for a few more dollars than other options. Same-day service isn’t available for all items in all markets from these retail giants, but that’s certain to expand in due time. The mainstreaming of mobile apps like Uber and Lyft have made the stakes higher, with just-in-time ride services that are super easy to use and affordable too. Consumers increasingly prefer companies that give them really good experiences. A recent survey by logistics and warehousing provider 2Flow found that nearly half of shoppers are more likely to shop online if same day delivery is offered, while 63% say that receiving information about an estimated or guaranteed delivery date is an important factor in online shopping.

Pitney Bowes Launches SendPro Enterprise

Pitney Bowes has introduced SendPro Enterprise, a cloud-based multi-carrier and PC postage software solution designed to give enterprises greater visibility and control over rising carrier costs and parcel shipping volume. SendPro Enterprise is designed for organizations with multiple locations and remote employees. The platform includes an operational dashboard that consolidates a view across the entire organization.

Quick Quotes From Retail Execs At IRCE And CRMC

The educational programs at IRCE and CRMC, both held in Chicago the first week of June, provided insights that went far beyond just the shows’ overarching topics of e-Commerce and customer relationship management (CRM). Industry leaders from retail companies including Lovesac, Warby Parker, Oriental Trading, Shoe Carnival, Jack Grace and Hilton Hotels shared tips and tactics covering global commerce, personalization, the move from online to offline retailing, selecting the right solution provider partners, and ways to make returns a strategic part of the business. Following are quick quotes from some of the retail industry experts who spoke at the two events.

Finish Line Centralizes And Streamlines Merchandise Planning

With 950 locations across the U.S., an e-Commerce site and a partnership with Macy’s, Finish Line has plenty of ground to cover in delivering the right items to the right shoppers at the right time. To streamline its inventory and budgeting across one single platform, Finish Line implemented the Merchandise Planning Solution from TXT Retail, an Aptos company. With TXT Retail Merchandise Planning, Finish Line has: Centralized its merchandise planning capabilities under one platform; Set global sales/margin targets for all products, brands and channels they serve, while harmonizing buying decisions to expected demand; Created budgets for future merchandise planning cycles; and Simulated and made course corrections to keep a firm handle on margin and inventory investment targets.

Exclusive CMO Q&A: How Inventory Transparency Builds Customer Loyalty For Industry West

As a growing business founded in 2011, Industry West seeks to bring highly curated, innovative modern furniture to a diverse clientele that encompasses both B2B and B2C consumers. While the company has done furnishing jobs for the office buildings of Google, Facebook and Airbnb, it primarily sells chairs, barstools and additional upholstery for shoppers seeking to upgrade their home living spaces. In an exclusive Q&A at the Magento Imagine conference, Ian Leslie, CMO of Industry West, discussed what drives the e-Commerce retailer’s marketing and product strategies. Leslie started his career with the company in 2015, coming from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he served as the Director of Interactive Design.
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