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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.

The Parcel Shipping Issues Keeping You Awake At Night

Parcel shippers are facing a triple whammy in price increases this year against the backdrop of heady market growth. Industry innovators like Amazon continue to change the playing field while consumers enjoy more power than ever in a buying cycle that now operates around-the-clock.   What does all this mean for parcel shipping? Simply put, getting packages to your customers in 2015 is more challenging than ever. Following are some issues that may keep you awake at night, but also included are some ideas on mitigating the impact to help you experience a more peaceful slumber.

Localizing Product Mix

The word “local” has been so overused in the business of retail that it has become nearly meaningless. It refers to a method of shopping, sourcing products and food, or unique, one-of-a-kind retailers. For the past decade, the retail industry has trended more and more local in the way it approaches its customers. “Local food” choices and “shopping local” have become buzzwords pitched at consumers to encourage them to make environmentally healthful and economically sustainable choices when purchasing food or products from local purveyors and small businesses. But there is another form of “local” being embraced by large retailers outside the specialized niche of locally owned businesses: The localized product mix.

Target Chief Merchandising Officer Steps Down

After bringing a variety of successful collections and partnerships to Target, Kathee Tesija, the retailer’s Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising and Supply Chain Officer has stepped down. Starting July 6, Tesija will move into an advisory role until Target finds her replacement.

FreeShipping.com Partners With Retailers To Ease Shipping Costs

While browsing online, shoppers often strive to receive the best deal possible on the items they covet. Many consumers see free shipping as a benefit, however, few retailers can afford to offer this service at all times. Clarus Commerce launched FreeShipping.com to provide subscribers with free shipping and 10% cash back on purchases from more than 1,000 retailers. FreeShipping.com subscribers pay more than $10 per month to receive a 90-day low-price guarantee and a price comparison tool that displays the lowest price on more than one million SKUs.

Askuity Mobile App Helps Improve In-Store Inventory Management

Merchandising teams need all the help they can get while gathering information about their stores’ inventory levels. However, they don’t always have the time required to gather data and apply it to stores. Askuity, an analytics solution provider focused on improving collaboration between retailers and product manufacturers, has released its Mobile App, which is positioned to extend data analytics to in-store employees. The Mobile App enables in-store merchandising teams from retailers and product suppliers to access real-time inventory data without having to rely on store-generated reports or dated spreadsheets delivered by headquarters.

JDA Software Announces Partnership With Google

JDA Software has developed a new partnership with Google in an effort to create the next generation of its cloud-based omnichannel and supply chain solutions. Through this collaboration, Google is positioned to provide a scalable and flexible technology platform via the cloud to support JDA’s future application development and delivery.…
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Smart Merchandiser Simplifies E-Commerce Design Planning

For e-Commerce retailers, it is imperative to merchandise products effectively. But at the same time, online merchants need to manage and analyze an excessive amount of data, making it difficult for them to make the right merchandising decisions in a timely manner. In fact, data can be so complex that the company may need more manpower to sort, sequence and strategize merchandise, taking away valuable time that could be used for other tasks. Smart Merchandiser has released a tool to help retailers manage large amounts of data and streamline the online visual merchandising process based on critical analytics, ratings, conversation rates and inventory levels. Designed to empower e-Commerce professionals to make faster, better-informed decisions, the tool can help retailers improve their online catalog layouts, enhance the customer experience, respond in real time to changing markets and increase productivity levels to meet and exceed sales goals.

Logility Retail Optimization V5.4 Helps Streamline Merchandise Planning

Retailers managing multiple data siloes across their supply chain can encounter numerous difficulties, particularly if their visibility is limited. To ease these roadblocks, Logility, a provider of retail planning and supply chain optimization solutions, has released Voyager Retail Optimization V5.4. The latest release is designed to extend the value of an integrated retail and supply chain platform and delivers new merchandise planning views, extended allocation functionality and robust assortment planning capabilities.

Free Shipping Is Imperative For Most Online Shoppers

Free shipping remains key for most (77%) online shoppers today, according to a new study from UPS and comScore. In fact, 60% of consumers have added items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. UPS and comScore released the fourth UPS Pulse Of The Online Shopper Study during a…
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SLI Systems Demonstrates Landing Page Creator At #IRCE15

SLI Systems, an e-Commerce solutions provider for mid- to large-size online retailers and B2B companies, has launched the SLI Landing Page Creator, which was debuted at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) 2015 in Chicago. Landing Page Creator is designed to enable merchandisers to create and deploy custom shopper-friendly…
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Janam XM5 Rugged Scanners Ease Application Migration

With mobile technology in hand, employees can complete and manage tasks in a more streamlined fashion. However, most consumer-grade mobile devices do not have the optimal hardware design for more rugged environments. Janam Technologies has released the XM5 family of rugged mobile computers, designed to specifically meet the needs of retailers. The devices are optimized for barcode scanning and wireless communication, and help eliminate the stress and cost associated with forced application migration and hardware upgrades.  

Will Same-Day Delivery Thrive?

With major retail players, such as Amazon and Google, throwing their hats into the same-day delivery fray, it is clear that the industry senses the fulfillment model has a future among consumers. However, thought leaders debate if the model will truly change the delivery game. Online shoppers in both the U.S. and Canada are willing to sacrifice delivery speed for a lower shipping cost, according to a recent survey conducted by Purolator International. As many as 63% of U.S. shoppers and 76% of Canadian shoppers also rank shipping cost as a very important priority that affects their online purchasing habits. Conversely, only 28% of U.S. shoppers and 22% of Canadians rank delivery speed as a very important part of their decision, although 46% of U.S. shoppers and 51% of Canadian shoppers value delivery speed as “somewhat important.”

RFID And The Strengthening Retailer-Manufacturer Relationship

In the retail industry today, retailers and their trading partners are struggling to deliver an omnichannel strategy that transcends outdated supply chain processes and truly delivers a seamless experience. While retail industry stakeholders may understand omnichannel, few currently have the operations and infrastructure in place to take advantage of this opportunity. Those positioned to make serious investments in their omnichannel future are realizing the benefits of radio frequency identification (RFID) and are including it in their strategies to gain more accurate inventory visibility. The recent results of the GS1 US Standards Usage Survey confirmed RFID is gaining traction as the key enabler of omnichannel retailing, as inventory visibility is foundational for both retailer and manufacturer success. The survey measured the usage of EPC-enabled item level RFID by both manufacturers and retailers (including manufacturers who are also retailers).

Target To Roll Out RFID In All Stores

Target will roll out RFID-enabled “smart labels” on price tags in an effort to improve inventory accuracy and visibility, as well as optimize in-store stock. Keri Jones, EVP of Global Supply Chain and Operations of Target, made the announcement in a company blog post. The RFID rollout will start in…
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