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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.

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.

Exclusive CMO Q&A: Storytelling Drives Disruptive Apparel Retail Model

Two of the most important areas of responsibility at any retail company are Marketing and Merchandising, but at Matilda Jane Clothing they are handled by one hard-working executive: Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Allison Flatjord. At another company, this might be a tale of competing priorities and siloed departments, but that’s not the case here. Matilda Jane bridges the gap by maintaining an unrelenting focus on its customers and a commitment to a unified brand message. “Our whole brand revolves around storytelling,” said Flatjord. “Every season we tell a different story, and in order to effectively tell those stories, we have to be really tight on marketing and product — everything that supports that story. So, for us it makes much more sense to have marketing and merchandising combined, to ensure the product supports the story you want to get across.”

#RIC18: Adore Me And Bedgear Take Divergent Paths Into Brick-And-Mortar

In an omnichannel world, innovators can choose multiple avenues to break into an existing market. Because of its relatively low cost of entry, many upstarts gravitate to e-Commerce first. Other startups choose to work with existing retailers to take advantage of their brand recognition, customer base and operational capabilities. At the Retail Innovation Conference, speakers from two companies that are less than 10 years old — Adore Me and Bedgear — explained why (and how) they took different routes to become players in the lingerie and mattress/bedding businesses, respectively.

Bringing Distribution Center Science To The Art Of Retail

Brick-and-mortar retailers today are faced with a hyper-competitive and continuously evolving landscape in which consumer expectations for the ideal shopping experience have never been higher. To differentiate themselves from online-only retailers, physical stores are offering shoppers new features such as click-and-collect and ship-from-store as well as value-added services such as gift wrapping and personalization. But retailers are finding these services to be time-consuming, inefficient, inconsistent and often unprofitable.

21 Innovative Solutions Showcased At #RIC18

At the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference, innovation wasn’t limited to the educational sessions. Sponsors showcased solutions for some of the retail industry’s most pressing concerns, including marketing personalization; mobile applications; making loyalty and referral marketing programs more effective; deepening connections between retail associates and shoppers; and the latest in design and digital signage. Following is a roundup of the sponsors’ offerings.

#RIC18: 17 Quick Quotes Provide Taste From Smorgasbord Of Retail Topics

The 2018 Retail Innovation Conference featured more than 50 retail industry executives and experts speaking on a wide range of the hot topics — from the sometimes-difficult move from online to brick-and-mortar to optimal use cases for AI, voice and personalization. These 17 quick quotes provide a “tasting menu” for those that couldn’t make the conference, which was held April 30-May 2 in New York City. “If you want the rewards of creativity and innovation, you have to take the risk. Comfort zones are great, but nothing actually grows there. They’re deserts.” — Ken Hughes, Award-Winning Shopper BehaviouralistCreativity can’t be cultivated by simply creating the right environment — you have to work personally to generate fresh ideas and innovations. Trendy accoutrements like beanbag chairs or coffee bars are what Hughes calls “lipstick on a gorilla” — they’re superficially attractive, but don’t actually improve the creative process, which is ultimately a personal responsibility.

Checkpoint Systems Debuts InterACT Suite

Checkpoint Systems, a supplier of electronic article surveillance (EAS) and RFID platforms, has released InterACT, a range of interactive solutions that utilize data collected from RFID-tagged merchandise. While RFID has historically been used primarily to improve inventory accuracy, InterACT enables retailers to use RFID-based inventory data to provide customers with recommendations and additional information about a product.
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