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Pricing

It’s no longer OK to price a product once and mark it down once. Retail pricing is now a volatile area in retail. Often, merchants must be on their toes and ready at a moment’s notice to update product prices in order to remain competitive. New pricing solutions are helping retailers determine initial product pricing, then figure out how to adjust and readjust pricing during the entire product lifecycle.

Shop Direct Implements SaaS Pricing And Promotion Solutions

  • Published in News Briefs
Shop Direct, the $2 billion UK-based digital retailer, is deploying cloud-based pricing and promotional solutions as part of its ongoing digital transformation strategy. Shop Direct can trace its roots back more than 80 years to the Littlewoods catalog, but by 2015 it had completely phased out mail order to become…
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2017 Holiday Tips: Personalize Promotions, Target Millennial Dads, Prepare For ‘Black November’

Channel-agnostic retail is shaping the 2017 holiday season, requiring merchants to readjust many aspects of their holiday planning, including marketing, experiential retail, fulfillment and workforce optimization. With a little more than a month to go, retailers anticipate seasonal sales growth of anywhere from 3.6% to 4%, which remains in line with 2016 figures. Four retail experts shared insights into the steps merchants should take this holiday season to optimize for the anticipated growth. The experts covered topics such as pricing and markdowns, the de-emphasis of in-store shopping on Black Friday, the growth of mobile shopping and the anticipated role of voice and AI platforms. Here are some key takeaways:

Will The Amazon Acquisition Be Good For Whole Foods?

Look, I understand why Whole Foods agreed to be acquired by Amazon — the traditional grocery industry is taking a beating from all sides. Competition from non-grocery retailers, new technologies and strategies designed to meet the demands of today’s time-starved shoppers are taking over, including: Subscription Meal Services; Online Grocery Ordering & Delivery; Curbside Pickup; and Big Box stores getting into the grocery game. But being swallowed up by Amazon can be good news and bad news. While price-cutting may bring in some additional shoppers in the short term, the Amazon way of not making a profit could severely hurt Whole Foods in the long run.

Have Retailers Killed Black Friday?

Retailers may have sensed that Black Friday has been losing its punch as the single-day sales bonanza that kicks off the holiday season, but new research confirms just how sharp the drop-off has been. Only 35% of consumers who plan to shop during Thanksgiving week will do so on Black Friday, down from 51% last year and 59% in 2015, according to PwC. “Black Friday has lost its significance,” Steven Barr, consumer markets leader for PwC, told The Washington Post. “Retailers have conditioned the consumer to believe everything’s on sale every day, which means the deals on Black Friday are not significantly different from any other time.”

RSP17 Recap: Timely Tips For Maximizing Holiday Season Success

Early indications are that the 2017 holidays will bring good tidings of great joy — at least for those retailers able to convert high consumer confidence and a boost in disposable income into purchases. Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast, released last week, predicted a sales increase of 4% to 4.5% over 2016, with e-Commerce revenues climbing 18% to 21%. The Retail TouchPoints Retail Strategy & Planning (RSP17) webinar series aired live last week, and all 10 webinars are now available on demand. Just in time for the launch of the holiday season, three sessions provided practical tips on how to be successful in Q4 and beyond, including:

Chinese Consumers Favor U.S. Retailers For Overseas Online Purchases

Just over half of consumers in five Chinese cities have purchased from foreign merchants/marketplaces during the previous year, and U.S. retailers are a favorite destination: 89% of shoppers “bought American,” according to a survey conducted by PayPal. That’s nearly twice as high as the percentage for the second-place country, the UK, which attracted 46% of shoppers, and third-place Japan, at 42%. Accessories (83%) and clothing (68%) were the product categories most frequently bought from U.S. merchants.

Whole Foods Becomes Lab For Amazon To Test Pricing Strategies

Even for a company that routinely generates big headlines, Amazon made quite a splash with its purchase of Whole Foods in June. The retailer got even more attention when it lowered prices on key items at the grocer-formerly-known-as-“Whole-Paycheck” in late August. But Amazon is after more than just a public relations spike, or even the 25% customer traffic increase that it generated, according to Bloomberg. What Amazon got from buying Whole Foods was a real-world testing lab for its pricing strategies. This strategy could be a boon for competing retailers, which have traditionally had difficulty tracking the multiple price changes Amazon is capable of making online. Moving its price changes into the open air of a supermarket, where they are by nature quite visible, could give competitors a clearer view of the e-Tail giant’s tactics.

Target Escalates Grocery Price Wars With Amazon, Walmart

  • Published in News Briefs
Amazon and Walmart have continued trying to one-up each other in a price war that is now affecting the entire grocery industry, but it looks like a third party is intensifying the affair. In a blog post, Target announced it was lowering prices on “thousands of items,” specifically highlighting grocery staples such…
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‘Whole Paycheck’ No More: Amazon To Slash Prices On Select Whole Foods Products

A day after the Federal Trade Commission officially approved the $13.7 billion Amazon-Whole Foods Market acquisition, the companies announced that the grocer will offer lower prices on select items starting Aug. 28, including bananas, avocados, brown eggs, kale, salmon and tilapia, lean ground beef, rotisserie chicken, apples and butter. “The speed with which Amazon intends to adjust pricing across the Whole Foods network will force changes in the way the industry operates,” said Greg Portell, lead partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “The complexity associated with traditional grocers makes it difficult to adjust pricing quickly. If Amazon is able to translate their dynamic pricing capability to the physical stores, traditional grocers will be under pressure to match that ability – regardless of whether they match prices.”

40% Of Personalization Strategies Fall Short

  • Published in News Briefs
Although consumer demands for personalized experiences continues to rise, many retailers still make shoppers jump through hoops to get it. As many as 70% of personalization experiences on an e-Commerce site only occur when the shopper is logged into an account, according to a study from Kibo and Astound Commerce.
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ROI Of AI: 5 Ways Retailers Are Embracing The Innovation

“Artificial Intelligence (AI)” is being touted as one of the newest, most promising business technologies of the 21st century — even though its roots go back nearly 80 years. The fact is, the basics of AI can be traced back to Alan Turing and the Theory of Computation in the late 1930s; and the 1950 paper that helped inspire the 2014 film, The Imitation Game: Computing Machinery And Intelligence. But as AI has moved out of the theoretical realm and into the practical, confusion about what AI is — and what it can do — has grown. Even today’s smartest and wealthiest business executives seem a bit stumped by what, exactly, constitutes an AI solution. As recently as July 25, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk got into a social media feud over each other’s understanding of the technology.

AI Sharpens Promotion Planning For Earth Fare Grocery Chain

  • Published in News Briefs
At the 41-store Earth Fare chain, the food is organic and natural but the intelligence is artificial — at least when it comes to promotion planning. For the past year, the retailer has used an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solution to help its category managers determine which items to feature in weekly…
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Can Discounted Cosmetics Drive Department Store Traffic?

The cosmetics counter has been a rare bright spot in these dark days for department stores — for example, the JCPenney-Sephora partnership has been a win-win for both parties. So it makes sense that other department stores would seek ways to leverage the category’s drawing power as a way to bring foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores. But the tactic chosen by Macy’s and Bloomingdales — offering discounts on products that are rarely involved in promotional sales — is raising eyebrows. Many industry experts note that once a retailer lowers prices, even for a limited time or to a select audience, it’s difficult to push them back up to a “normal” level. Meanwhile, Sephora is not putting all its eggs in one basket. The brand is testing Sephora Studio, a small (2,000 square feet) store concept that will be located outside of mall locations. The first Studio debuted on Boston’s Newbury Street on July 21. The Studios will offer skin consultations and the Sephora Digital Makeover Guide, which captures clients’ product, application and look preferences. Product selection will be limited due to the stores’ small size, but associates will be able to use an “order in store” feature via Sephora.com.

Exclusive Q&A: How To Add 15,000+ New Customers Each Month

You will never hear Brian Berger, CEO of men’s underwear retailer Mack Weldon, apologize for the limitations of selling intimate apparel online. Quite the opposite, in fact: “Our whole business is formulated on the idea that the best way to buy the things we sell is not in a physical store,” said Berger. The success of the business, which Berger co-founded with Michael Isaacman in 2012, supports his belief. Mack Weldon has been more than doubling its business year-over-year and boasts a customer base of more than 250,000. The brand is adding well over 15,000 new customers each month and maintaining high loyalty rates: 20% of new customers return within 60 days, and they spend, on average, 40% more than they did on their initial visit.
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