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.

Zebra Introduces Smartphone Designed For SMB Field Workers

Zebra Technologies Corp. has introduced the TC25, a rugged smartphone specifically designed for the needs of small- to medium-sized businesses. The phone allows field mobility workers to scan barcodes on parts, manage routes and complete invoices. Key features of the TC25 include:

With $200M In New Funding, CEO Declares Instacart Is ‘Just Getting Started’

A battle of the titans continues to play out as Amazon and Instacart each move to capture more convenience-hungry grocery customers. In a Feb. 12 blog post, Instacart Founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta declared that the five-year-old home delivery service “is just getting started,” as he announced a new $200 million funding round that raises Instacart’s valuation to approximately $4.2 billion. “In 2017, the online grocery market reached a tipping point,” Mehta wrote. “Offering customers the ability to buy their groceries online went from being a nice to have to being mission critical for grocery retailers.” He noted that 70 million households in the U.S. and Canada have access to Instacart delivery services from nearly 200 grocery partners, including seven of the top eight North American supermarket retailers.

NRF Supports $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Plan

  • Published in News Briefs
A White House plan to leverage $200 billion in federal funds in order to complete $1.5 trillion in infrastructure improvements, released on Feb. 12, has received qualified support from the National Retail Federation (NRF). “As major shippers, retailers face challenges every day as they work to move freight quickly, efficiently…

Should Retailers Prioritize Workforce AI Investments?

Artificial intelligence (AI) was the hot topic at the 2018 NRF Big Show. Big-name retailers, including eBay and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM shared success stories; academics debated the ethical safeguards that need to be built into AI programs; and everyone wants to know what will be needed for AI to reach its full potential. Yet a recent Accenture survey of 1,200 executives found that only 3% plan to significantly increase their companies’ investment in AI skills over the next three years, despite expressed optimism about the technology’s benefits:

Amazon Brings Prime Delivery Challenge To Grocery Industry

A long-awaited result of the Amazon-Whole Foods acquisition is finally here: Amazon will start delivering groceries from Whole Foods via its Prime Now one- and two-hour delivery service in select markets, including Austin, Texas; Cincinnati; Dallas; and Virginia Beach, Va. The service is expected to expand into more U.S. markets throughout 2018. Prime…

Kroger CIO Q&A: Innovation Initiatives Leverage IoT, Mobile Scanning And Shelf-Edge Videos

Long gone are the days when supermarkets were the most risk-averse, tech-unfriendly retailers on the block. In fact, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, displays a commitment to data, innovation and tech savvy that other retailers should envy. The leadership of Chris Hjelm, who has been EVP and CIO at Kroger since 2005, is one reason Kroger has been able to keep up with the times. “I came from a background of high-tech at companies including Orbitz, eBay and FedEx,” said Hjelm in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I created a research and development team shortly after I got here, and that’s been a huge contributor to innovation — and it’s a unique capability compared to many of our competitors.”

PacSun Road To Unified Commerce Begins With OMS

California-inspired teen fashion chain PacSun has embarked on a multi-year plan to deploy unified commerce, starting with the implementation of an enterprise Order Management System (OMS) within the next 12 months. “The OMS implementation will provide the foundation for the various use cases we want to expand to enhance the omnichannel shopping experience for our customers,” said Alan Flaesgarten, VP of IT for PacSun, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The big win for PacSun is to sell our inventory in any channel, regardless of where the customer engages with us.”

Hudson’s Bay Picks CVS Exec As New CEO

HBC, parent company of iconic retail brands including Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, has appointed CVS executive Helena Foulkes as its new CEO, effective Feb. 19, 2018. Richard Baker, who has been acting as interim CEO, will continue as Governor and Executive Chairman of HBC.  Foulkes joined CVS in 1992 and rose to become EVP of CVS Health and President of CVS Pharmacy in January 2014. During her time at the company, she helped lead the retailer’s decision to discontinue sales of tobacco products, and the creation of the pharmacy’s digital prescription program, which is now used by 48 million consumers to fill prescriptions.

Grupo Martí Improves Inventory Operations With Oracle

  • Published in News Briefs
Mexican sporting goods retailer Grupo Martí aims to enhance inventory control and improve CX with the recent deployment of Oracle Retail technology. The company will implement the Oracle Retail Merchandise operations management suite, Oracle Retail Store Inventory Management and Oracle Retail Allocation to make goods available to consumers in stores…

Evergage Acquires MyBuys Merchandising Business From Magnetic

Evergage, a personalization platform provider, has acquired the MyBuys merchandising products business from Magnetic, a digital advertising technology provider. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition extends Evergage's retail penetration and brings a wider array of personalization capabilities to clients of MyBuys. This extension is vital to the company as personalization continues to play a greater role in retail.

Office Depot Accelerates Services Offerings With Oracle Cloud

Office Depot has been adding business and IT services to its offerings through acquisitions, including BizBox and CompuCom. The retailer also has made changes to its underlying IT infrastructure that will help it manage a more complex business. The 1,500-store retailer has selected Oracle Cloud Applications to support supply chain,…

L.L.Bean Extends Forecasting Timelines To 18 Months, Tightens Inventory

As a retailer that began its journey in the catalog business, L.L.Bean has taken many steps to evolve its supply chain to cater to consumer demand. The latest move has lengthened and improved its forecasting capabilities. The retailer’s recent major supply chain overhaul began in 2014, with the implementation of new forecasting and fulfillment tools from JDA Software. Since implementing the solutions, L.L.Bean has: Extended forecasting abilities from monthly and seasonal to 18 months in advance; Improved forecast accuracy 4%; Switched forecast processes from manual to automatic; and Tightened its inventory management levels.

NRF 2018: Retail Personalization Reaches A Crossroads

The National Retail Federation Big Show jammed the Javits Center with people, technology and excitement from January 14 to 16, and Retail TouchPoints was there in force. In addition to conducting video interviews, our team of editors met with retailers, analysts and solution providers to get a line on the biggest trends that will be shaping retail in 2018. Visit the #NRF2018 hub for our complete coverage.
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