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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.

Why The Retail Supply Chain Demands Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is at the top of the agenda for many retailers; however, this is only the beginning of the retail industry’s efforts to embrace digital change. According to a 2018 report by SAP, only 22% of retailers investing in digital transformation were within the planning stage, and 55% were still running pilot schemes. Evidently, there was still a long way to go, as only 3% of retail businesses had completed digital transformation projects. Consumer demand has shifted, with fast-changing preferences seeing consumers demanding the products they want, when they want and where they want them. Today’s consumer lives in an ‘always-on’ world, driven by connected technologies centered around convenience. The retail sector has been slow to keep pace with this changing consumer demand, and unless it can accelerate the pace of digital transformation, the gulf between consumer demand and satisfaction will only grow wider, placing customer loyalty at risk.

Establishing Zero Distance Supply Chains – A Survival Necessity For CPG

(Left: Takshay Aggarwal, Middle: Manish Varshney, Right: Kishor Gummaraju) The key mission of every CPG company is to deliver its brand promise. The Baby Boomer generation drove the growth of packaged goods and made companies like Kellogg’s, P&G and Kraft Heinz household names and darlings of Wall Street. While the growth in the last three decades has been good, this engine has been slowing and has come to a grinding halt in the last five years, in the range of 0.6% to 1.0% growth. In addition, stocks of major CPG companies hit 52-week lows in a roaring stock market.

Kroger Says: Houston, We Have Autonomous Delivery

Kroger is expanding its self-driving delivery pilot to two Houston stores in spring 2019. Kroger and robotics company Nuro have operated a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Ariz. for a Fry Food Stores location since August 2018, serving a single zip code with an autonomous vehicle fleet and completing thousands of deliveries, according to a company statement. Customers in four Houston ZIP codes served by the new program will be able to place orders for same-day or next-day delivery via Kroger.com or the Kroger mobile app, based on time slot availability. The service, to be available seven days a week, will carry a $5.95 flat fee, with no minimum order requirement.

Rituals Cosmetics Deploys Supply Chain Software To Enhance Product Visibility

  • Published in News Briefs
Rituals Cosmetics, a European home and body cosmetics retailer with 730 stores around the world, has selected Logility Voyager Solutions to establish a robust sales and operations planning (S&OP) process, improve service levels and enhance visibility across its omnichannel operations. The retailer also is leveraging the AI-based software platform to:…
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Direct-To-Consumer Brands Set To Soar In 2019: 3rd-Party Logistics Firms Help Fuel Growth

We’ve all heard the radio ads and seen the TV commercials — from socks and bedsheets to bras, hair color and more — brands that are bypassing Amazon and major traditional retail and online resellers by selling direct-to-consumer are revolutionizing the retail industry. This trend will continue in 2019 as direct-to-consumer brands expand beyond e-Commerce to brick-and-mortar. Despite predictions of a “retail apocalypse,” it’s evident that both online and even brick-and-mortar retail is alive and well, especially when compelling and experiential. Why are these brands so successful? Because they’re listening to their customers. Today’s customers expect an excellent product and a personalized experience, and successful brands are taking note. But there’s more: According to Epsilon research, eight out of 10 customers prefer to buy directly from a brand when shopping online. They want choices, but not too many. They want ease of access and demand top-notch customer service. Customers want it all, and to stay competitive, brands must deliver.

Rise Of Returns: How Retail Can Combat Its $351 Billion Problem

The next time you think about returning an item to Amazon, be forewarned: Return too many items in a year, and you might just be exiled for good. Retail returns have become such a nightmare that even the world’s third largest retailer has recently made waves by changing how it handles customers the company thinks abuse the system — despite touting a free and easy returns policy.

NRF2019: Innovation Lab Showcases Frictionless Self-Checkout, Facial Recognition And Last Mile Transparency

Photo credit: NRF For the third year the NRF Big Show put a spotlight on its top innovators, giving attendees tools and ideas for solving consumer needs in 2019 and beyond. The eclectic, hand-picked group of 50+ startups — broken out into customer convenience and customer experience sections — showcased new ways for retailers to manage some of their most pressing concerns, including: Removing friction from checkout; Providing targeted content to shoppers using facial recognition; Offering personalized assistance, whether in-store or online; and Adding transparency to last mile delivery.

CCC Footwear Boosts Margins, Sell-Through With Planning And Markdown Optimization Solutions

CCC Group, a Polish footwear retailer that sells more than 50 million pairs of shoes annually in 1,200 stores, has leveraged Oracle Retail Merchandising and, Planning and Optimization solutions to boost its gross margin 4.2% and increase inventory sell-through rates by 7.1%. The technology provides CCC Group with new business processes designed…
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For Retailers, It’s Back To The Future

The proliferation of private label, white label, and store brands has caused a fundamental shift in how retailers think and operate from a supply management perspective. Retailers that are focused on private label can realize higher margins and improved customer loyalty through well-oiled supply chains, but they need to think and act like a manufacturer of consumer goods, food and beverage, high tech, pharmaceuticals or whichever industrial segment they participate in to do it.  By applying best practices and know-how from top-performing supply chains within the appropriate industry, retailers can stave off value leakage. How? By looking to the past and what has worked across industry segments, while at the same time turning to the future and working with contract manufacturers and other outsourced elements of their supply chain, leveraging digital technologies to drive advanced sourcing capabilities that deliver innovation, cost savings and efficiencies and business growth.

Exclusive CEO Q&A: How Touch Of Modern Uses Customer Feedback To Drive Merchandising

Touch of Modern, an e-Commerce retailer focused on selling lifestyle products, fashion and accessories for men, has always strived to introduce merchandise that shoppers can’t find anywhere else, even dabbling in wine sales. After six years in business, that mantra has clearly paid dividends; the retailer now generates $120 million in annual revenue and is profitable going into 2019. So how does Touch of Modern consistently deliver the right goods to its target audience? The retailer uses a strategic combination of customer feedback and merchandising analytics to determine its most loyal shoppers’ preferred products and buying patterns.   In an exclusive conversation with Retail TouchPoints, Touch of Modern CEO and Co-Founder Jerry Hum reveals: The company’s recently developed national television ad campaign; Curating new merchandise that’s in line with the Touch of Modern brand; How the company balances customer retention and customer acquisition efforts by educating the shopper on the product’s value; Video’s role in educating shoppers on the Touch of Modern brand and products; and Potential partnerships with more direct-to-consumer brands going into 2019.

Self-Service App Deepens Customer Connections At Fairway Market

Some retailers worry that adopting a self-checkout solution will deprive them of a key point of contact with their customers. Fairway Market, a New York City metro area chain of 15 supermarkets and four wine and spirit stores, wanted to be absolutely sure that wouldn’t happen when it deployed a self-checkout app, because the retailer prides itself on a family atmosphere and a close relationship with shoppers. The retailer is in the process of rolling out its first self-checkout app and will be seeking results that include:

New Sam’s Club Store Will Be A Mobile-First, AI-Powered Tech Lab

  • Published in News Briefs
Sam’s Club is set to open its Sam’s Club Now store in Dallas, designed as a real-world technology innovation lab. The store will test technologies including mobile-enabled shopping; smart shopping lists that use machine learning and shoppers’ past purchase data; and augmented reality to tell the “stories” behind products. “At…
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The Snuggle Bugz Baby Formula: Abundant Content Builds New Parents’ Confidence

There’s no shortage of advice for parents, particularly first-timers. In fact, it’s all too common for new moms and dads to suffer from a bad case of information overload. Retailers in this space want (and need) to be perceived by shoppers as trusted advisors, so it makes sense that the corporate mission of Canadian baby retailer Snuggle Bugz is to give confidence to customers navigating parenthood. Fulfilling that mission means providing plenty of solid content, both about the products it offers and other parenting issues. Unfortunately, the retailer’s old e-Commerce platform was causing a confidence gap between its in-store and online customer experiences. “Our stores are beautiful, and people can get all the information they need there,” said Sharron Vanderbeek, Director of E-Commerce at Snuggle Bugz, noting that the average employee spends more than 100 hours in product knowledge training each year.
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