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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.

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.

One Door Launches Planogram Connector for Merchandising Cloud

One Door, a cloud-based visual merchandising software provider, has introduced Planogram Connector for its Merchandising Cloud application. The solution combines product and promotional visual merchandising with store information to provide every location with a unique and interactive merchandising plan. As many as 82% of stores still receive planograms as static documents, either as PDFs or image files, and as a result store teams handle an average of 41,600 printed planogram pages per year, according to a survey conducted by One Door. With the new feature, visual merchandisers and retailer space planners can incorporate data from their planogramming applications into the mobile-optimized, interactive plans shared with stores using Merchandising Cloud.

Looking For A Competitive Advantage? Don’t Overlook Your Supply Chain

By 2021, 71% of logistics leaders believe their supply chain will be a key driver of quality customer service. But there’s a disconnect. Fewer than half of those same leaders view the supply chain as a key brand differentiator. We’re living and operating in the age of the consumer. Today, customer demands influence business decisions more than they ever have before. How companies deliver their goods, the experiences and value-added services they provide are now as important as the product itself. Shoppers want options and personalization. Companies like Stitch Fix and Imperfect Produce differentiate themselves by adding more value to the customer through their logistics. Stitch Fix delivers curated clothing and a personalized note from the stylist in every box. They also offer convenient try-on-and-exchange options to make the purchasing experience effortless. Imperfect Produce salvages ugly fruit and vegetables that otherwise wouldn’t make it to store shelves and delivers it to customers’ front doors. Subscribers can select the produce they want, including type, amount and where it’s sourced, and Imperfect will total how many pounds of food waste they save each week.

No Quick Relief For Retailers From U.S.-China Trade Dispute

Tariffs on Chinese-made goods already are increasing prices on apparel and footwear imports, and the impact will be even more damaging when tariff rates jump from 10% to 25% in 2019. The National Retail Federation (NRF) and other industry groups have stated that the tariffs harm both U.S. consumers and workers, but it seems that retailers and manufacturers will need to adjust to these additional costs. During the Sourcing Journal Summit held Oct. 11 in New York City, a group of sourcing industry experts responded to the fact that they see little chance of either the U.S. or China backing down any time soon.

Tops Supermarket Debuts Curbside Pickup, Adds Organic Options Online

  • Published in News Briefs
Grocery delivery and curbside pickup have become the latest competitive arenas in supermarket retail, and regional player Tops Friendly Markets has joined the fray. The 169-store chain, with locations in New York, Vermont and northern Pennsylvania, built on its existing relationship with Instacart to offer curbside pickup at three locations…
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Kohl’s Debuts Private Label Plus-Size Brand

  • Published in News Briefs
For spring 2019, Kohl’s will launch its EVRI private label plus-size women’s apparel brand. The introduction of EVRI, which stands for Easy, Versatile, Real (Value) and Inspiring, is part of a planned transformation of Kohl’s plus-size shopping experience both in-store and online. The EVRI brand will include tops in sizes 0X-4X…
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Postmates Raises $300 Million Funding Round, Eyes 2019 IPO

In the latest sign that investor confidence in on-demand delivery continues to skyrocket, Postmates has raised $300 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global Management. The deal values the company at approximately $1.2 billion, according to Fortune. Postmates previously raised $140 million at a $600 million valuation in 2016. The funding comes one month after last mile competitor DoorDash raised $250 million to reach a $4 billion valuation.

UnDigital Launches Package Insert Advertising Marketplace

UnDigital, the package insert marketplace that launched in July 2018, gives advertisers of all sizes access to an inventory of more than 300 million packages for insert ads. Additionally, the service is designed to empower retailers to transform package overhead into a bottom-line business driver.  With billions of packages shipped annually, UnDigital is seeking to bring scalability to insert advertising. The marketplace is designed to enable marketers to reach new consumers in a measurable, testable channel with positive brand association and guaranteed viewability.

Want To Reinvent The Customer Experience? Start With Assortment Planning

Every retailer knows that if it wants to be successful and profitable, it must strategically align its product selection to meet customer needs. Creating compelling, curated collections requires more capable assortment planning. However, assortment planning can be a major pain point for retailers, due to the number of people involved and the complexity of the details required to be effective. Traditionally, the process includes a slew of meetings, the never-ending consolidation of spreadsheets, and cobbling together information from dozens of systems to get it all done. Retailers are perpetually racing against the clock, yet at the end still often find themselves saying, “We could have done this a lot better, but we ran out of time...”
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