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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.

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.

How A Digital Storefront Enhances The Physical Experience At Mizuno

Designed to “capture the new digital savvy customer and showcase Mizuno product cross-sport,” the digital solutions in place at Mizuno flagship stores are driving global customer engagement and loyalty. Mizuno operates one flagship store in the U.S., as well as others in key markets worldwide. The digital display merchandising solution, provided by Perch, features self-serve technology that brings the digital online experience into the brick-and-mortar store. This technology is a key focus of the Mizuno Experience Center, located in The Battery, the U.S. flagship store in Atlanta. Here, shoppers can immerse themselves in digital experiences to book custom fittings for golf clubs or running shoes, assess their baseball swing, get gloves steamed and more.

Sometimes It Is About Looks — Implementing Visual Merchandising In Your Online Store

Most shoppers are visual deciders, and they react best when they can see what they are about to buy. In brick-and-mortar stores, visual merchandising is about how you set up your front windows and how your products look, so how can that be done in an online store? How do you replicate that split decision which often happens at the shelf?

Sportsman’s Warehouse Boosts Sales, Customer Acquisition With ‘Back In Stock’ Emails

Out-of-stocks (OOS) cost North American retailers roughly $130 billion each year, according to the IHL Group. To combat this problem, Sportsman’s Warehouse, an omnichannel sporting goods and outdoor products retailer, has deployed a solution that allows shoppers to sign up for an email alert that lets them know when the item they’re seeking is back in stock. Sportsman’s Warehouse went live with the MyAlerts solution in November 2017. Since then, the company has seen a “significant lift” in sales, with high open rates for the back-in-stock emails. “This demonstrates our consumers are very engaged and excited to know when our merchandise is available,” said Mike Van Orden, CTO of Sportsman's Warehouse in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

NuORDER Debuts Online Visual Merchandising Tool

NuORDER has launched Whiteboard, a visual merchandising tool designed to showcase brands’ product lines. Within the NuORDER platform, the new feature transforms static linesheets into interactive displays of a brand’s products. Viewing products in static spreadsheets or catalogs can make it difficult for retail buyers to visualize a complete product line, understand how products work together and select the right combination of products for their stores.
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