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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.

Project44 Raises $35 Million Funding Round Amid Global Expansion

Project44, a logistics software provider, has raised $35 million in new funding, the first round since the company’s $10.5 million Series A funding in September 2016. The Chicago-based firm plans to hire 200 employees, adding to its current staff of 80, and expand its North American rail, trucking and parcel services into ocean shipping and the European and Asian markets, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Exclusive Q&A With Gartner L2’s Amazon Guru: Watch Out For Total Vertical Integration

Jeff Bezos’ ambitions for Amazon go well beyond becoming the world’s number-one retailer, according to Cooper Smith, Director of Amazon Research at Gartner L2. “That’s a means to an end,” said Smith in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I believe his vision is for Amazon to be the ultimate purveyor in the marketing, selling and transportation of goods.” Smith revealed key insights into both the omnichannel retailer’s latest moves and its long-term plans, including: • The likeliest targets for Amazon’s next brick-and-mortar acquisition after purchasing Whole Foods;• How these acquisitions will help Amazon crack higher-end markets, particularly in apparel;|• The likelihood that Amazon will introduce Amazon Go-style cashierless technology in its brick-and-mortar stores;• Which “strange bedfellow” combinations may be needed to challenge Amazon; and• The potential location of Amazon’s HQ2.

CCSeries Webinars: Perfecting Every Point Of Contact

Even as points of customer contact multiply, retailers are tasked with making the most of every interaction along the shopper journey. The 2018 Connected Consumer webinar series from Retail TouchPoints highlighted innovative solutions and strategies for maximizing each contact point with a retailers’ customer target groups. Following are brief recaps of the seven webinars in the #CCSeries, which are now available on-demand. 4 Email Marketing Strategies That Create Relevant Experiences Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst at Oracle + Bronto, kicked off the Connected Consumer series with the webinar, titled: Increased Expectations Means Better Email Marketing: Are You Prepared?

The Race Is On: 43% Of Consumers Expect ‘Much Faster’ Deliveries In 2018

As retailers race to speed up deliveries of online orders, consumers’ expectations also are increasing rapidly. An even bigger concern: consumers’ negative experiences with e-Commerce deliveries have shot up this year, and they are not receiving same-day delivery options in many of the categories where they would most like to…
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Walmart Debuts Small-Format, High-Tech Supermarket In China

Walmart has opened its first small-format, high-tech supermarket in Shenzhen, China, according to Reuters. The store carries items that consumers also can buy on the online platform JD Daojia, an affiliate of JD.com. Walmart has not released information about the size of the store, but it will stock more than 8,000 items, ranging from stir-fried clams to fresh fruit, 90% of which also will be available online. Items can be delivered within a two-kilometer (1.2 mile) radius as quickly as 29 minutes, and customers can opt to pay with their smartphones using the WeChat platform. Walmart recently implemented WeChat Pay into its mobile offering, replacing Alipay in all its stores in the western region of China.

Infor Launches Networked Order Management Solution

Infor, a provider of industry-specific cloud applications, has unveiled Networked Order Management, leveraging the platform provider’s GT Nexus Commerce Network. The solution is designed to help brands and retailers improve omnichannel shopping experiences by enabling a networked approach to order management. With Networked Order Management, retailers can: Provide customers with more complex buying options within a single transaction; Share the same UX that other Infor in-store products use for point of sale, clienteling and store inventory management; Reduce out-of-stocks, save the sale, and shorten delivery lead times; and Reduce the cost and complexity experienced with legacy distributed order management systems.

Exclusive Q&A: Shinola Chief Merchandising Officer Chris Hull

After spending 14 years at Nike, Chris Hull shifted gears and became the Chief Merchandising Officer for a fast-growing design brand selling leather goods, watches, bicycles and more. Based in Detroit, Mich., the company purchased the “Shinola” brand name in 2011; and as a tribute to that name, Shinola also sells shoe polish. Since joining the Shinola team in 2015, Hull has worked to incorporate merchandising fundamentals and create opportunities to improve cross-functional communication so they can execute an effective go-to-market strategy. He shares his experience and insights in this exclusive Q&A.

FedEx Acquires UK-Based Transportation Solutions Provider, Orders 20 Tesla Semi Trucks

FedEx has acquired P2P Mailing Limited, an e-Commerce transportation solutions provider, from The Delivery Group for approximately $130 million. With the acquisition, FedEx plans to expand its global commerce portfolio with more last mile delivery offerings and specialized fulfillment solutions. P2P is headquartered in Laindon, UK, and will operate as a subsidiary of FedEx Cross Border within the FedEx Trade Networks operating company. The acquired company has relationships with private, postal, retail and clearance providers in more than 200 countries, enabling FedEx to bring more services to a global consumer base.

Shoptalk 2018 Secures Its Spot As A Must-Attend Retail Event

The impressive marketing and branding efforts have catapulted Shoptalk to the top of the events-on-your-radar list for retailers and brands, but the 2018 speaker lineup and massive 1:1 meeting setup has cemented the conference as one of the top “big” retail events-to-attend. As press attendees, it honestly was difficult to decide which sessions to cover and which meetings to schedule. Here’s a wrap-up of our key takeaways, in addition to the Quick Quotes article we shared last week:

Kx Systems Launches Retail Range Optimization Platform

Kx Systems, a Big Data software specialist, has unveiled Kx for Retail Range Optimization, a solution designed to enable retailers to gain actionable insights on product assortment through basket analytics. With Kx for Range Optimization, retailers can perform basket analytics on historic and real-time datasets to understand product substitutability, affinity and loyalty. Users can specifically leverage the platform to identify: Product affinity and cross-sell/upsell opportunities; Merchandising personalization; and Product recommendation engines.

Zulily Pampers Millennial Pet Parents, Sees Sales Soar 33%

Millennials own more than one-third of pets (35%) in the U.S., more than any other generation, and they are leading the “humanization of pets” trend, according to the American Pet Products Association. In a recent survey, e-retailer zulily found that Millennial pet owners view their pets more like their children than previous generations, and almost all of them (92%) purchase gifts such as toys, clothing and treats for pets. More than half of Millennial men (55%) purchase gifts for their pets once a month or more, as do 47% of women. Millennials who buy their pets gifts on a monthly basis do so four times a month on average.

With Crowdsourcing, Betabrand Takes 3D Printed Heels From Design To Presale In 5 Days

Betabrand, an e-Commerce fashion retailer that crowdfunds and crowdsources ideas for its apparel designs, launched the “On-Your-Mark Heel Project” with one question in mind: “Can we create the next great pair of heels in less than a week?” The retailer collaborated with CPG manufacturer and designer Li & Fung to launch the project. Through crowdsourcing and 3D digital rendering, Betabrand is banking on this project to create and sell new products even more quickly than its fast fashion competitors. 

Zara To Deploy Click-And-Collect Robots In Stores

Zara has long been known as a fast fashion leader, but the retailer has been slow in one area: fulfilling buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders. The bottlenecks are a particular problem for Zara, a division of Inditex, because one third of its global online sales are picked up in store locations, including the 85 shops located in the U.S. The retailer will deploy robots operating behind the scenes in stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shoppers will scan or enter a code at in-store collection points, which will trigger the robot to search for the correct package in a small warehouse, then deliver it quickly to a drop box.
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