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.

Neiman Marcus To Close 10 Last Call Stores

  • Published in News Briefs
Neiman Marcus has decided to shutter 10 of its Last Call stores to focus more on its full-line, higher-end stores and merchandise — which also includes the NYC-based Bergdorf Goodman store. The luxury retailer has already closed three of these locations this year, leaving 28 Last Call stores in operation.

Newgistics Releases SmartLabel+ For E-Commerce Returns

Newgistics has launched SmartLabel+, a solution designed to simplify the e-Commerce returns process for retailers and brands. When a customer initiates a return that uses SmartLabel+, parcels are routed to the nearest “first touch” Newgistics facility, instead of sending merchandise directly back to a retailer’s distribution center. This enables Newgistics to more quickly open and inspect a return and then follow the appropriate instructions for processing specific products.

Chinese Consumers Favor U.S. Retailers For Overseas Online Purchases

Just over half of consumers in five Chinese cities have purchased from foreign merchants/marketplaces during the previous year, and U.S. retailers are a favorite destination: 89% of shoppers “bought American,” according to a survey conducted by PayPal. That’s nearly twice as high as the percentage for the second-place country, the UK, which attracted 46% of shoppers, and third-place Japan, at 42%. Accessories (83%) and clothing (68%) were the product categories most frequently bought from U.S. merchants.

Understanding The Real Cost Of Inventory To Free Up Working Capital

For many businesses keeping an up-to-date inventory can seem time consuming, but most understand the importance. Ensuring you have enough stock (and the correct stock) to meet demand means that products get to customers quicker, market share increases, further sales opportunities are seized and ultimately you have happy customers. However, what many businesses fail to understand is that the cost of the inventory is so much more than the cost of the goods themselves. It’s not the price that you sell an item for, but profits, and so into this cost analysis you must factor a whole host of additional elements. For example, if inventory turnover is low (a company holds onto its inventory for an extended period of time), it becomes more expensive.

Pitney Bowes Acquires Newgistics For $475 Million

As part of its bid to expand further into the U.S. domestic parcels market at scale, Pitney Bowes has agreed to acquire Newgistics for $475 million. The purchase is projected to be finalized in late Q3 or early Q4. To avoid disruptions during the holiday season, Pitney Bowes plans to operate the businesses as independent units into Q1 2018. Known for its returns processing capabilities, Newgistics provides a range of e-Commerce capabilities for nearly 500 retail clients. The privately held company is a workshare partner of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and processes nearly 100 million parcels annually.

To Fulfill By Amazon Or Not? Brand And Tax Implications Shared In Exclusive Q&A

With major brands such as Nike, adidas, Disney and Victoria’s Secret all selling directly on Amazon, it’s clear that more of these companies are considering bypassing third-party sellers altogether to reach the customer. This could pose a big problem for sellers’ profit margins, particularly as many of these companies rely on the power of these brands’ products to stand out from other marketplace sellers. As of Q3 2016, third-party sellers sold half of the total units on Amazon, indicating that the marketplace has grown popular along with the retailer. Now that brands are taking note of Amazon’s popularity, the third-party sellers that boosted marketplace sales must work even harder to build relationships with them.

UncommonGoods Takes Proactive Steps To Meet Delivery Date Promises

Late deliveries are the classic lose-lose for both retailers and their customers. They are particularly painful during the holiday season, when the calendar creates a drop-dead deadline and shipping volumes balloon. UncommonGoods took steps to deal with this challenge well ahead of the holiday season. For Father’s Day 2017, the retailer used a delivery intelligence platform from Convey to proactively identify shipments that were going to miss their promised delivery dates — days ahead of the actual deadline. UncommonGoods used this information to expedite new shipments guaranteed to arrive at their destinations on time. Meanwhile, existing in-transit shipments were intercepted by the carrier and returned to the warehouse.

High Shipping Costs Push 59% Of Shoppers Toward In-Store Purchases

A new survey reveals a major disconnect between retailers and consumers about the perceived value of shipping services: two thirds (66%) of shoppers think that the high cost of shipping does not justify the experience retailers provide. In fact, 59% of shoppers will opt to buy from a brick-and-mortar store if they perceive that the delivery fee for buying the same item online is too high, according to research from Temando. Multiple shipping options are critical to providing an optimal customer experience. Consumers today want more options to control their deliveries; they want to dictate how, when and where products are shipped. The survey revealed that 41% of consumers want delivery from a local store or distribution center, and that 38% would be willing to pay for it. However, only 24% of retailers currently offer this option (18% would like to offer it within the next 12 months).

Exclusive Q&A: How zulily Keeps Shoppers Coming Back With 1,000 New Images Every Day

The most successful retailers create connections based on trust with their customers. That’s particularly important to zulily because its target audience is moms. Their trust is not easily gained, and they are generally more time-starved than the average consumer. So the e-Commerce retailer needs to fulfill two key goals: being “a trusted voice for mom,” and also providing enough variety and surprise to maintain her interest — and to keep her coming back. (Zulily’s motto is “something special every day.”) One of the most powerful tools zulily uses is photography: the retailer re-populates its home page every day with 100 to 150 new photos. In total, zulily produces as many as 1,000 images per day to keep its site fresh and visually vibrant.

Narvar Acquires GoPigeon For APAC Expansion

Narvar has acquired India-based logistics platform provider GoPigeon for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is designed to scale Narvar’s global growth, provide the company with an anchor in the Asia-Pacific e-Commerce market and enable worldwide operations support. With the acquisition, Narvar seeks to advance its global platform development with additional engineering talent. Narvar will leverage the GoPigeon engineering team as part of its goal to scale more quickly and accelerate its machine learning capabilities. GoPigeon recently launched Intelligent Courier Allocation (ICA), an artificial intelligence system designed to help retailers optimize how they use their carrier networks based on customer needs in a given scenario.

‘Whole Paycheck’ No More: Amazon To Slash Prices On Select Whole Foods Products

A day after the Federal Trade Commission officially approved the $13.7 billion Amazon-Whole Foods Market acquisition, the companies announced that the grocer will offer lower prices on select items starting Aug. 28, including bananas, avocados, brown eggs, kale, salmon and tilapia, lean ground beef, rotisserie chicken, apples and butter. “The speed with which Amazon intends to adjust pricing across the Whole Foods network will force changes in the way the industry operates,” said Greg Portell, lead partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “The complexity associated with traditional grocers makes it difficult to adjust pricing quickly. If Amazon is able to translate their dynamic pricing capability to the physical stores, traditional grocers will be under pressure to match that ability – regardless of whether they match prices.”

Metro Shoes Taps IBM Watson To Streamline Inventory Management, Personalization

  • Published in News Briefs
Indian footwear retailer Metro Shoes is launching a digital commerce platform powered by Watson Customer Engagement hosted on IBM Cloud. The platform includes the IBM Watson Order Management and Commerce solutions. With a countrywide footprint of 350 physical showrooms, an expanding brand portfolio and shifts in customer preferences, Metro Shoes…

What Retail Can Learn From Walmart-Uber Partnership

  • Published in News Briefs
Walmart is expanding its Uber-powered grocery delivery pilot to two more markets — Orlando and Dallas. Tampa and Phoenix were the first two locations served in the initial pilot. As part of the test, consumers can shop online for grocery items, then opt to have an Uber driver deliver them…
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