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Now bigger than eBay, Shopify sets its sights on Amazon
August 20, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent.

.....ecommerce via social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, which have become vital to growing online retail outside Amazon, and increasingly important to Shopify.

“Instagram has been the most phenomenal growth vector for small businesses,” said Mr Lütke. “It's a great way to tell stories about products that Amazon, with its static pictures and very sanitised listings, doesn't offer people.” 
Amazon  e-commerce  fulfilment  logistics  retailers  Shopify  Tobias_Lütke 
27 days ago by jerryking
Walmart Hires Global Tech Chief to Compete With Amazon
May 28, 2019 | WSJ | By Sarah Nassauer.

Walmart is working to becoming an increasingly tech-focused company, buying up e-commerce startups and investing heavily to boost online sales. ...... Walmart is working to becoming an increasingly tech-focused company, buying up e-commerce startups, investing heavily to boost online sales, adding more grocery-delivery options and working to ramp up its digital ad revenue. The bulk of Walmart’s revenues and profits came from around 4,600 U.S. stores as of the most recent quarter......Walmart’s current chief information officer, Clay Johson, and all unit CTOs will report to Mr. Kumar. Marc Lore, Walmart’s head of U.S. e-commerce, will continue to report to Mr. McMillon directly,
Amazon  appointments  C-suite  CTOs  digital_strategies  e-commerce  hiring  retailers  start_ups  technology  Wal-Mart 
may 2019 by jerryking
Business leaders are blinded by industry boundaries
April 22, 2019 | Financial Times | Rita McGrath.

Why is it so hard for executives to anticipate the major shifts that can determine the destiny of their organisations? Andy Grove called these moments “strategic inflection points”. For some, he wrote, “That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Industry leaders would do well to focus on productive opportunities, even when they lie outside a fairly well-bounded industry. Want to survive a strategic inflection point? Stop focusing on traditional metrics and find new customer needs that your organisation can uniquely address.

Why do business leaders so often miss these shifts? Successful companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Nokia did not heed the early signs of a move to app-based smartphones. Video rental chain Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix when it had the chance, in 2000.

Senior people rise to the top by mastering management of the KPIs in that sector. This, in turn, shapes how they look at the world. The problem is a strategic inflection point can occur and render the reference points they have developed obsolete. Take traditional retail. Its key metrics have to do with limited real estate, such as sales per square metre. Introduce the internet and those measures are useless. And yet traditional systems, rewards and measures are all built around them.....British economist Edith Penrose grasped this crucial link, she asked, “What is an industry?” In her studies, executives did not confine themselves to single industries, they expanded into any market where their business might find profitable growth.

Consider the energy sector: Historically, most power generators and utilities were heavily regulated...The sector’s suppliers likewise expected steady demand and a quiet life....that business has been rocked by slow-moving shifts many players talked about, but did not act upon. The rise of distributed energy generation, the maturing of renewable technology, increased conservation and new rules have eroded the traditional model. Many failed to heed the warnings. In 2015, General Electric spent about $10bn to acquire Alstom’s power business. Finance chief Jeff Bornstein crowed at the time that it could be GE’s best acquisition ever. Blinded by traditional metrics, GE doubled down on fossil-fuel-fired turbines just as renewables were becoming cost competitive.

Consider razor blades: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand of razors had long enjoyed a competitive advantage. For decades, the company had invested in developing premium products, charged premium prices, invested heavily in marketing and used its clout to get those razors into every traditional retail outlet. A new breed of online rivals such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have upended that model, reselling outsourced razors that were “good enough” and cheaper, online via a subscription model that attracted younger, economically pressured customers...... Rather than fork out for elaborate marketing, the upstarts enlisted YouTube and Facebook influencers to get the word out.
Andy_Grove  BlackBerry  blindsided  Blockbuster  brands  cost-consciousness  customer_insights  Dollar_Shave_Club  executive_management  GE  Gillette  good_enough  Harry's  industries  industry_boundaries  inflection_points  Intel  irrelevance  KPIs  metrics  millennials  movingonup  myopic  obsolescence  out-of-the-box  P&G  power_generation  retailers  reward_systems  sales_per_square_foot  shifting_tastes  slowly_moving  warning_signs 
april 2019 by jerryking
America’s Biggest Supermarket Company Struggles With Online Grocery Upheaval
April 21, 2019 | WSJ | By Heather Haddon.

Kroger adjusts operations and invests in technology to hang on to customers who avoid stores; ‘we’ve got to get our butts in gear
Amazon  bricks-and-mortar  BOPIS  CDO  cultural_clash  delivery_services  digital_strategies  disruption  e-commerce  e-grocery  grocery  IBM  Instacart  Jet  Kroger  Microsoft  millennials  Ocado  Oracle  pilot_programs  post-deal_integration  retailers  same-day  Shipt  start_ups  supermarkets  Vitacost  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods 
april 2019 by jerryking
Supercharging retail sales through geospatial analytics
March 2019 | | McKinsey | By Rob Hearne, Alana Podreciks, Nathan Uhlenbrock, and Kelly Ungerman.

A retailer can now use geospatial analytics to understand the interactions between its online and offline channels. With these insights, it can create a higher-performing retail network.
====================================
Is our outlet store in San Francisco hurting foot traffic and sales at our full-price store two miles away? Or is it doing the opposite—attracting new customers and making them more likely to visit both stores? How are our five Manhattan stores affecting our e-commerce revenue? Are they making consumers more likely to shop on our website or to search for our products on Amazon? If we open a new mall store in the Dallas metro area, what impact will it have on sales at our existing stores, at our department-store partners, and online?

The answers to these kinds of questions are increasingly crucial to a retailer’s success, as more and more consumers become omnichannel shoppers......most retailers don’t give adequate thought to the cross-channel impact of their stores. They rely on gut feel or on high-level analysis of aggregated sales data to gauge how their offline and online channels interact.....there’s a way for retailers (and other omnichannel businesses) to quantify cross-channel effects, thus taking the guesswork out of network optimization. Through advanced geospatial analytics and machine learning, a retailer can now generate a detailed quantitative picture of how each of its customer touchpoints—including owned stores and websites, wholesale doors, and partner e-commerce sites—affects sales at all its other touchpoints within a micromarket......US retail sales are on an upward trajectory.....despite the growth of e-commerce, the vast majority of these purchases still happened in brick-and-mortar stores. .....So why have US retailers closed thousands of stores in the past year, with thousands more closures to come?....Because the consumer journey is changing!!......Consumers are transacting in different channels....engaging across multiple channels, often simultaneously rather than sequentially. It’s critical for omnichannel retailers to have a detailed understanding of the interplay between online and offline touchpoints, and between owned and partner networks.

Quantifying cross-channel effects

the starting point is data......from a wide range of internal and external sources. Inputs into a geospatial model would ideally include not just transaction and customer data but also store-specific details such as store size and product mix; site-specific information such as foot traffic and retail intensity; environmental data, including local-area demographics; and anonymized mobile-phone location data.......A simulation model can then quantify the sales effect of each of the retailer’s customer touchpoints on its other channels within a local market. The model must be sophisticated enough to simulate the upward or downward revenue impact of adding or removing a particular touchpoint.

Geospatial analysis reveals that the consistency and magnitude of cross-channel effects vary significantly across channel types and markets.
analytics  bricks-and-mortar  cross-channel  customer_journey  customer_touchpoints  data  e-commerce  foot_traffic  geospatial  gut_feelings  location_based_services  McKinsey  moments_of_truth  omnichannel  privacy  retailers  store_closings  security_consciousness  site_selection 
march 2019 by jerryking
Store wars: short sellers expect more pain in US retail
February 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Alistair Gray in New York.

Short sellers who made big bets against US retailers a couple of years ago had hoped for carnage across the board. No one could compete with the rise and rise of Amazon...which would make life hard for every mall tenant across America.

But after a period in which internet shopping seemed to hit almost every brick-and-mortar retailer, the industry seems to be dividing into winners and losers. Casualties are still piling up: bankruptcies since the turn of the year....Payless Shoes ....Sears, the once dominant department store chain, narrowly avoided outright liquidation.

However, some of the biggest companies e.g. Walmart & Best Buy are reporting their healthiest metrics in years......For short sellers trying to profit from falling share prices, it makes for a perilous environment.

“It’s a slow death by a thousand paper cuts, and not the kind of ‘mall-mageddon’ originally anticipated by that trade,”.....“Retail has been much more volatile than many would have expected. It hasn’t been decidedly one way down.”....an over-reaction in 2017 and that led to pretty nice opportunities [for longs] in 2018,”.....Investors who put money on the demise of retail that summer have lost out in many cases......It was almost as if they [shorts] were acting like no retail real estate space can work,” ....overcapacity doesn’t mean retail real estate is dead.”...Shares in the sector have been volatile in part because investors have had to consider a series of seemingly contradictory data points about the health of both the US consumer and the retail business.....Traditional chains are also trying to take on Amazon by improving their online offerings and making their stores more enticing. Both require hefty investment, although successful examples include Lululemon, which offers yoga lessons in its stores. Shares in the company have tripled since a 2017 low.

“Those who are innovating and investing in ecommerce, marketing and social media tend to be doing well...“The US is still over-stored,” ...Ecommerce meant “more of the store base is not economic. That’s going be a secular pressure for years to come. For those retailers that don’t have a digital strategy, it’s just a matter of time before they fall.”
Amazon  apocalypses  bankruptcies  barbell_effect  bear_markets  bricks-and-mortar  department_stores  digital_strategies  e-commerce  innovation  investors  investment_thesis  Lululemon  pain_points  overcapacity  retailers  shopping_malls  short_selling  structural_decline  Wal-Mart  commercial_real_estate 
february 2019 by jerryking
Apple’s Executive Shake-Up Readies Company for Life After iPhone
Feb. 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

Apple Inc. is shaking up leadership and reordering priorities across its services, artificial intelligence, hardware and retail divisions as it works to reduce the company’s reliance on iPhone sales......The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies......Apple has also trimmed 200 staffers from its autonomous-vehicle project, and is redirecting much of the engineering resources in its services business, led by Eddy Cue, into efforts around Hollywood programming......The competitive landscape could complicate Apple’s efforts to diversify beyond the iPhone. Media services like Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA have a head start and more subscribers; Google’s autonomous-vehicle initiative has logged more miles on the road; and Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo speakers have put Alexa into millions of homes.

Apple spent $14.24 billion on research and development last year, a 23% increase from the year prior........Though the iPhone still contributes about two-thirds of Apple sales, the company has encouraged investors to focus on a growing services business, which includes streaming-music subscriptions, app-store sales and mobile payments.....The services business also is key to preserving iPhone loyalty. Just as Amazon has used media and music offerings to increase the value of Prime membership, Apple executives view its mobile payments, music service and coming video offering as ways to encourage current iPhone owners to buy future Apple handsets.....Apple is also expected to lean on its artificial-intelligence team to personalize the services on people’s devices.
actors  Apple  App_Store  Apple_IDs  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  celebrities  competitive_landscape  hardware  Hollywood  iPhone  leadership  mobile_payments  overreliance  priorities  R&D  retailers  services  smart_speakers  streaming  subscriptions  Tim_Cook 
february 2019 by jerryking
Ikea looks to launch sales platform that would include rival products
February 12, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne in Almhult.

Ikea is exploring the launch of an online sales platform offering furniture not just from the famous flat-pack retailer but also from rivals as part of its big transformation...........

Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter Ikea, added: “It is also about how you connect. If you take home furnishings, for instance — how you connect communities, how you connect knowledge, how you connect the home. It’s not only furniture, it’s paintings, it’s the do-it-yourself part. There are many different constellations that can and will evolve over the years to come.”
Alibaba  Amazon  brands  clothing  e-commerce  experimentation  fashion  furniture  home-assembly  Ikea  leasing  opportunities  platforms  retailers  third-party  Zalando  rivalries  digital_strategies  Torbjörn_Lööf  coopetition 
february 2019 by jerryking
Can tech save bricks and mortar retail? | Financial Times
Alistair Gray in New York

Stores turn to augmented reality, robots and smart mirrors in battle against Amazon
Amazon  augmented_reality  retailers  shopping_malls  robotics 
january 2019 by jerryking
Let the grocery chains fix Canada’s cannabis-supply mess
January 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | ANDREW WILLIS.

Despite the long run-up to legalization of recreational marijuana last October, demand for legal cannabis is outstripping supply and the retail system is a mess. ....The Ontario government held a lottery last Friday to award licenses for its first 25 stores, which aren’t expected to open until April. Experts say the nascent industry’s nation-wide logistical issues will take months, if not years, to fix.

Who wins out of this chaos? Criminals. Removing the social stigma from cannabis without ensuring robust cultivation and retail networks are in place opens the door to black-market suppliers, the folks the federal Liberals were trying to put out of business when they started down the path to legalization. Who can set things right, by getting cannabis into the hands of those who want it at prices the black market will be hard pressed to match? How about Jim Pattison, along with the Weston and Sobey clans and the folks running Metro Inc. Provincial governments should be looking to the national grocery and drug store chains to deliver on the federal Liberals' promise of a modern approach to marijuana sales.

Mr. Pattison, who runs the 45,000-employee Jim Pattison Group, has been showing shoppers the love for six decades. Think about what greets you when you walk into one of the former car salesman’s Save-On-Foods grocery stores in Western Canada, or a large-format Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro outlet.
Andrew_Willis  black_markets  cannabis  criminality  grocery  retailers  supermarkets  raw_materials  scarcity  supply_chains  gangs  nationwide  organized_crime 
january 2019 by jerryking
On-Demand Warehouse Space Gains Traction in Tight Real-Estate Market - WSJ
By Jennifer Smith
Dec. 23, 2018

QUOTABLE
You don’t always want to build the church for Easter. —Justin Schuhardt, senior director of operations for Walmart e-commerce, on on-demand warehousing.
Flexe  logistics  on-demand  retailers  Second_Closet  Wal-Mart  warehouses  nimbleness  cold_storage 
december 2018 by jerryking
Lowe’s to close 27 stores in Canada as housing markets slow - The Globe and Mail
MARINA STRAUSS
NICOLAS VAN PRAET QUEBEC BUSINESS REPORTER
TORONTO AND MONTREAL
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Lowe’s Cos. Inc. is shutting 27 stores in Canada, mostly under the Rona banner, as well as offices and plants as the U.S. home-improvement retailer grapples with an overcrowded market and a cooling housing sector......In an increasingly tight home-improvement retail landscape, Lowe’s faces tougher competition from incumbents and emerging e-commerce players such as Amazon.com Inc. as well as reduced home sales.......While the home-improvement industry has enjoyed sales lifts over past years, that growth is moderating as the housing market loses steam, Mr. McLarney said. Many young consumers cannot afford to buy homes, while baby boomers are downsizing, resulting in fewer purchases for home improvements, industry observers say.

Home-improvement retail sales climbed 5 per cent last year to $48.2-billion, but are expected to pick up by only about 4 per cent in each of 2018 and 2019, according to Hardlines......Alex Arifuzzaman, founder of retail real estate adviser InterStratics Consultants, said consumers increasingly can buy many of the items home-improvement stores carry more conveniently online. At the same time, more people are moving into condominiums that don’t need as many renovations or repairs. “The profit model in the future is going to be different," he said.

Lowe’s said on Monday that of the 27 under-performing stores in Canada it will close by the end of January, nine are in each of Quebec and Ontario, while six are in Newfoundland and Labrador, two are in Alberta and one is in British Columbia.
Amazon  home-center_industry  home-improvement  Lowes  Marina_Strauss  Quebec  retailers  Rona  store_closings 
november 2018 by jerryking
Walmart tells investors to expect more risk-taking
October 16, 2018 | Financial Times | Alistair Gray and Pan Kwan Yuk in New York.

Doug McMillon said at an investor meeting on Tuesday that the Arkansas-based company was experimenting with technology ranging from floor-cleaning robots to augmented reality and biometrics as he urged Wall Street to “challenge your thinking about Walmart”.

Walmart superstores have transformed shopping habits and became a dominant force in American retail. The bricks-and-mortar model, however, has been upended in by the rise of ecommerce.

“Looking back, we had a proven model, and we naturally focused on execution. As the numbers grew, we . . . unintentionally became risk averse,” Mr McMillon said at a meeting for investors.

“But today we’re getting to reimagine retail and our business. To do that we take risk — try quite a few things and learn from our failures. That type of behaviour’s in our DNA, and we’re waking up that part of our culture.”.....Online sales, in which Walmart has been investing aggressively as part of its response to Amazon, are expected to increase around 35 per cent for the fiscal 2020 year, compared to the expected 40 per cent for 2019.

Walmart also on Tuesday struck a partnership with Advance Auto Parts, allowing it increase its presence in the car parts business. Under the tie-up the companies will offer home delivery, same-day pick up at each other’s stores and installation of some parts.
Amazon  e-commerce  experimentation  failure  innovation  retailers  risk-taking  Wall_Street  Wal-Mart  augmented_reality  auto_parts  biometrics  bricks-and-mortar  home-delivery  same-day  shopping_habits 
october 2018 by jerryking
The incredible shrinking grocery store
NOVEMBER 8, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | RASHA MOURTADA.

Today's urban shoppers – whether they're 35 or 65 – are generally looking for two things in a grocery store: prepared food that tastes homemade and household staples such as paper towels and dishwashing detergent. They want a shopping experience that's more contained but still meets all their needs....Grocery store guru Paco Underhill on three trends he expects to see in North American supermarkets:

Hybrid stores: Think part traditional shopping, part Internet shopping. He expects customers to shorten trips by submitting shopping lists in advance to stores and selecting only certain items – produce and meat, for instance – themselves when they pick up their order.

Refillable containers: He expects a bulk shopping model – widespread today for dry goods – to take off for household supplies such as laundry soap, where shoppers will bring back large containers for refills.

Private label 'stores': Imagine all of Loblaws' President's Choice products in one spot within the store. "Rather than shelving these products throughout the store, they're concentrated in one area, so the shopper looking for the best price sees it all together," says Mr. Underhill.
big-box  boutiques  grocery  Highland_Farms  retailers  small_spaces  supermarkets  Wal-Mart  Paco_Underhill  trends  downsizing  prepared_meals 
october 2018 by jerryking
The Prime Effect: How Amazon’s Two-Day Shipping Is Disrupting Retail
Sept. 20, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

Amazon.com Inc. has made its Prime program the gold standard for all other online retailers... The $119-a-year Prime program—which now includes more than 100 million members world-wide—has triggered an arms race among the largest retailers, and turned many smaller sellers into remoras who cling for life to the bigger fish.

In the past year, Target Corp. , Walmart Inc. and many vendors on Google Express have all started offering “free” two-day delivery. (Different vendors have different requirements for no-fee shipping, whether it’s order size or loyalty-club membership.)

Amazon and its competitors are often blamed for the death of bricks-and-mortar retail, but the irony is that these online retailers generally achieve fast shipping by investing in real estate—in the form of warehouses rather than stores. To compete on cost, the vendors must typically ship goods via ground transportation, not faster-but-pricier air. The latest to offer free two-day delivery is Overstock.com , which claims it can reach over 99% of the U.S. in that time frame from a single distribution center in Kansas City, Kan.

But the biggest online retailers aren’t the only ones building massive fulfillment centers and similar operations. Fulfillment startups and large companies from other sectors are hoping to scale up by luring smaller sellers who want alternatives to Amazon’s warehousing and delivery operations.
Amazon  Amazon_Prime  arms_race  delivery_times  disruption  e-commerce  free  fulfillment  retailers  same-day  shipping  third-party  warehouses 
september 2018 by jerryking
How Tech is Drawing Shoppers Back to Bricks-and-Mortar Stores - WSJ
By Rebecca Dolan
Sept. 12, 2018

Robin Lewis, "The New Rules of Retail"

E-commerce’s disruption of malls is impossible to deny, but sometimes shopping in stores is the only way to guarantee quality before you buy. The question: Will these technologies help you make the most of the trip?
books  brands  bricks-and-mortar  customer_experience  e-commerce  high-end  innovation  Nike  retailers  technology  mobile_applications  Nordstrom 
september 2018 by jerryking
Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea - The New York Times
By David Streitfeld
Sept. 7, 2018

....... Ms. Khan wrote, that once-robust monopoly laws have been marginalized, Amazon is consequently able to amass so much structural power that let it exert increasing control over many parts of the economy. Amazon has so much data on so many customers, it is so willing to forgo profits, it is so aggressive and has so many advantages from its shipping and warehouse infrastructure that it exerts an influence much broader than its market share. It resembles the all-powerful railroads of the Progressive Era, .......The F.T.C. is holding a series of hearings this fall, the first of their type since 1995, on whether a changing economy requires changing enforcement attitudes.

The hearings will begin on Sept. 13 at Georgetown University Law Center. Two panels will debate whether antitrust should keep its narrow focus or, as Ms. Khan urges, expand its range.

“Ideas and assumptions that it was heretical to question are now openly being contested,” she said. “We’re finally beginning to examine how antitrust laws, which were rooted in deep suspicion of concentrated private power, now often promote it.”........Her Yale Law Journal paper argued that monopoly regulators who focus on consumer prices are thinking too short-term. In Ms. Khan’s view, a company like Amazon — one that sells things, competes against others selling things, and owns the platform where the deals are done — has an inherent advantage that undermines fair competition. “The long-term interests of consumers include product quality, variety and innovation — factors best promoted through both a robust competitive process and open markets,” she wrote.

The issue Ms. Khan’s article really brought to the fore is this: Do we trust Amazon, or any large company, to create our future?........ “It’s so much easier to teach public policy to people who already know how to write than teach writing to public policy experts,” said Mr. Lynn, a former journalist.

Ms. Khan wrote about industry consolidation and monopolistic practices for Washington publications that specialize in policy, went to Yale Law School, published her Amazon paper and then came back to Washington last year, just as interest was starting to swell in her work.... the F.T.C. needs to bring back a tool buried in its toolbox: its ability to make rules......“Amazon is not the problem — the state of the law is the problem, and Amazon depicts that in an elegant way,” she said......“could make sense” to treat Amazon’s e-commerce operation like a bridge, highway, port, power grid or telephone network — all of which are required to allow access to their infrastructure on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Amazon  antitrust  breakthroughs  FTC  ideas  lawyers  Lina_Khan  monopolies  platforms  retailers  regulators  reframing  Yale 
september 2018 by jerryking
Hard Lessons (Thanks, Amazon) Breathe New Life Into Retail Stores
Sept. 3, 2018 | The New York Times | By Michael Corkery.

Barbara Kahn, a marketing professor and former director of the retailing center at the Wharton School, has written “The Shopping Revolution” describing the disruption in the retail industry.

It may be too early to declare the death of retail. Americans have started shopping more — in stores. From the garden section at Walmart to the diamond counters at Tiffany & Company, old-school retailers are experiencing some of their best sales growth in years....Stores that have learned how to match the ease and instant gratification of e-commerce shopping are flourishing, while those that have failed to evolve are in bankruptcy or on the brink....Amazon has forever changed consumer behavior....Many successful stores are now a cross between a fast-food drive-through and a hotel concierge......Doomsayers have predicted that online shopping, led by Amazon, would one day conquer all of retail, rendering brick and mortar obsolete....But the pace of closings has slowed, as the most unprofitable stores have been culled and the weakest companies have collapsed....Far from retrenching, many retailers are expanding their physical presence or spending billions to overhaul existing stores......Many of the new stores are supposed to be all things to all shoppers — what the industry calls an “omni-channel” experience.

Customers can order online and pick up at the store. They can order online and have their purchases delivered home, in some cases, on the same day. Or they can visit the store
Amazon  BOPIS  bricks-and-mortar  consumer_behavior  e-commerce  home-delivery  instant_gratification  lessons_learned  omnichannel  retailers  revitalization  same-day  store_closings  Target  Tiffany  books  Wharton 
september 2018 by jerryking
Is Thomas Goode a sleeping giant of British retail?
August 31, 2018 | Financial Times | by Horatia Harrod.

200 year old Thomas Goode & Co is a homewares powerhouse.... Outfitted in morning suits, the staff — many of whom have worked at Thomas Goode for more than two decades — are solicitous and impeccably well-informed. There’s only one thing lacking. Customers....Johnny Sandelson, is the property entrepreneur who acquired the store for an undisclosed amount in July 2018. .....Sandelson has set himself the task of waking the company up — and it’s going to take more than just turning on the lights. What is required is a 21st-century overhaul....Thomas Goode sells more over the phone than it does online, for the simple reason it has no ecommerce platform. Some 40 per cent of its £5m in annual sales comes from special orders — a loyal client outfitting their new yacht or private jet — but oligarchs alone are unlikely to keep the business afloat....The plan, Sandelson says, is to democratise. “Fortnums did it, Smythson did it. Those great British brands reinvented themselves to become relevant to the affluent middle classes, but Thomas Goode didn’t.”.......Sandelson hopes that, in an age of experiential retail, the shop’s peerless service will entice a new generation of customers. He’s also eyeing up collaborations to reach those for whom the Thomas Goode name has little resonance.......Parts of the business that had lain dormant are to be revived, with an injection of £10m-£15m in investment. There’s a voluminous archive to be mined for designs, and production of tableware in the Thomas Goode name is being restarted at factories in Stoke-on-Trent......Sandelson is committed to a revival. “We’re unashamedly proud of our British heritage and our British brand,” he says. “To honour that, you have to be involved with a very high standard of manufacturing in Britain. There would be cheaper ways of going about things, but the British way stands for quality. Stoke-on-Trent has been producing beautiful plates for 200 years. So it works for us.”....Almost inevitably, the top floors of the South Audley Street flagship are to be turned into luxury flats. “Will we be able to afford a shop of this scale in the coming years?” says Sandelson. “I think the brand is bigger than the premises. I’m pursuing the dream on the basis that the building will be developed over time and we’ll hope to have a space within it.”
21st._century  brands  commercial_real_estate  entrepreneur  experiential_marketing  gift_ideas  heritage  history  homewares  London  luxury  middle_class  property_development  real_estate  retailers  restorations  revitalization  turnarounds  United_Kingdom  Victorian 
september 2018 by jerryking
Amazon’s Ripple Effect on Grocery Industry: Rivals Stock Up on Start-Ups
Aug. 21, 2018 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

When Amazon bought Whole Foods Market. The $13.4 billion deal shook the grocery world, setting off a frenzy of deals and partnerships that continues to intensify. Traditional retailers pursued digital technology, and online companies reconsidered their relationship with brick-and-mortar retail......“Are technology folks like us going to figure out retail faster than the retailers figure out technology?” [the Great Game] ..... “In some ways we’re all kind of fighting the same fight against the gigantic folks online.”

Food shopping is one of the last major holdouts to online retail. Groceries are unique in that their inventory is perishable, fragile and heavy. Grocery customers often shop at the last minute, like to see the food they are about to eat and don’t want to pay high delivery fees.

Even Amazon, with its Amazon Fresh online grocery service, has struggled to gain ground in the business. The company’s Whole Foods deal, paired with Walmart’s 2016 acquisition of Jet.com, underscored that the future of selling food and household items requires cooperation between the digital natives and the old-school retailers.....Grocery companies “are realizing that with Walmart and Amazon moving at their pace, you need to pick yours up, too,” .... “I wouldn’t call it fear. I would call it a wake-up call.”....... Market research conducted by Morgan Stanley in July found that 56 % of consumers who were likely to order groceries online said they would most likely order from Amazon, compared with 14 % who would go to a mass merchandiser and 10 % who would use their local supermarket. Phil Lempert, a grocery industry analyst, predicted store closings for chains that do not evolve to meet the changing needs of customers. Stores offering curated selections, specialty items, cooking classes and the option to buy online and pick up in person will thrive,......Josh Hix, chief executive of Plated, a meal kit start-up, said the Amazon-Whole Foods deal had immediately changed his discussions with grocery chains. Meal kit companies have a checkered record. But the grocery companies saw an opportunity to use Plated’s data and research on recipes and taste preferences......Most of the big grocers “have wanted to kill us, partner with us, invest in us or buy us — all probably in the course of the same conversation,”......The ownership structure allows Boxed to license its technology to its retail competitors in the United States as they try to become more digital. The company is in talks with 10 or so potential partners for various pieces of its technology. They include mobile app technology, personalization software, a packing algorithm that maximizes space in shipping boxes, software that tracks item expiration dates, order management software and warehouse robotics automation........Grocery delivery is difficult to do affordably, but tech-driven efficiencies like those developed by Boxed, Amazon and others have forced change on the industry.

“Consumers want convenience and will pay more for it,
Amazon  AmazonFresh  bricks-and-mortar  e-commerce  home-delivery  partnerships  retailers  same-day  start_ups  the_Great_Game  Whole_Foods  fulfillment  grocery  supermarkets  ripple_effects  e-grocery 
august 2018 by jerryking
Inside FreshDirect’s Big Bet to Win the Home-Delivery Fight - WSJ
By Jennifer Smith
July 18, 2018 5:30 a.m

Designed to keep food fresh longer and move it faster, FreshDirect’s 400,000 square-foot distribution centre is the online grocer’s multimillion-dollar bet on the fastest-growing sector in the grocery business, home-delivery. FreshDirect pioneered the e-commerce home-delivery market, and now with Amazon and big grocery chains like Kroger Co. piling on investments, companies are jockeying for position in a business that some believe is the future of supermarket sales.....FreshDirect's trucks now provide next-day delivery to customers across the New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas, with plans to expand into Boston next. The private company says it generated between $600 million and $700 million in annual revenue in 2017.

It declined to disclose the cost of the new facility, which was financed with the help of a $189 million investment round in 2016 led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, direct funding and incentives from state and local governments......Amazon, Target Corp. and other large companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to expand food delivery and build out their grocery e-commerce operations. Supermarket chain owner Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV’s Peapod unit, the longest-running online grocery service in the U.S., has expanded to 24 markets and is investing in technology to cut its handling and delivery costs.

Walmart Inc. said this month that Jet.com, the online retailer it bought two years ago, will open a fulfillment center in the Bronx this fall to help roll out same- and next-day grocery deliveries in New York City.

The grocers are trying to solve one of the toughest problems in home delivery: Getting food to doorsteps in the same condition consumers would expect if they went to the store themselves. Delivering perishables is trickier than dropping off paper towels or dogfood. Fruit bruises, meat spoils, eggs break. ........FreshDirect’s logistic hurdles start well before delivery. It must get products from its suppliers to the building, process the food, then pick, pack and ship orders before the quality degrades.

That is why the new distribution centre has 15 different temperature zones. Tomatoes do best at about 55 degrees, but “chicken and meat like it to be just at 32 degrees... it gives more of shelf life to it,"....Software determines the most efficient route for each order, and tells workers which items to pick.....A big part of the facility [distribution centre] is ripping out tons and tons of operating costs out of the business.....The stakes in getting the technology right are high. FreshDirect is competing with grocery chains that often fill online orders through their stores, using a mix of staff and third-party services like Instacart Inc. So-called click-and-collect services, where consumers swing by to pick up their own orders, tend to have better margins because the retailer isn’t paying for last-mile delivery.....Online-only operations with centralized warehouses tend to be more efficient than logistics run out of stores, because they use fewer workers and can position goods for faster fulfillment.
algorithms  Amazon  big_bets  cold_storage  distribution_centres  distribution  e-commerce  food  FreshDirect  grocery  home-delivery  infrastructure  Kroger  logistics  perishables  retailers  software  supermarkets  Target  Wal-Mart  warehouses  fulfillment  same-day  piling_on  last_mile 
july 2018 by jerryking
India’s Biggest Competitors to Walmart and Amazon? Mom and Pop - WSJ
By Eric Bellman and Vibhuti Agarwal | Photographs by Smita Sharma for The Wall Street Journal
May 28, 2018 9:00 a.m. ET
Amazon  bricks-and-mortar  convenience_stores  e-commerce  family_business  India  local  mom-and-pop  retailers  Wal-Mart  small_business 
may 2018 by jerryking
Welcome to the New Convenience Store - WSJ
By Jane Black
April 25, 2018

“People will come in and say this isn’t a convenience store,” said Lisa Sedlar, the founder of Green Zebra Grocery. “And I say, ‘Of course it is.’ We are redefining what it means to be a convenience store in America.”

Several trends are driving change, according to research firm the Hartman Group. In the era of fast-casual restaurants, customers of all ages aren’t willing to sacrifice good taste or a pleasant experience for fast and easy. And despite claims of being time-starved, they don’t seem interested in a one-stop shop. Primary shoppers report making more frequent trips to buy food at a range of outlets, from traditional grocery stores to specialty shops: The average number of grocery trips made per purchaser, per month jumped nearly 30% between 2014 and 2017. Finally, snacks—the raison d’être of convenience stores—are supplanting meals. Of all “eating occasions,” 50% are now snacks.
convenience_stores  fast-casual  grocery  one-stop_shop  retailers  small_spaces  snacks  time-strapped  trends  upstarts  urban 
april 2018 by jerryking
Can Smartphones Stop the Death of the Salesman? - WSJ
By Khadeeja Safdar | Photographs by Dominick Reuter for The Wall Street Journal
April 15, 2018 8:00 a.m
smartphones  retailers  mens'_clothing  suits  apparel  salespeople  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking
Japanese convenience stores limber up in effort to spur growth
April 15, 2018 | FT | Leo Lewis and Robin Harding in Tokyo YESTERDAY.

Over the next five years, FamilyMart — Japan’s second-biggest convenience store chain with revenues of ¥3.1tn ($29.5bn) — plans to open 300 Fit & Go gyms in a challenge to its two largest competitors, Seven & i Holdings and Lawson.

FamilyMart’s move into fitness highlights powerful trends that are transforming Japanese retail. They are creating fresh opportunities, say analysts, for the mighty konbini (a transliteration of “convenience”) to seize an ever greater share of consumer spend.

“Current social patterns — the rise of working women, the ageing population — are a strong following wind for the convenience store industry,” said Sadanobu Takemasu, chief executive of Lawson, the third-largest operator with ¥2.6tn sales and 14,000 stores. Rural depopulation is also on their side, with a konbini often the last shop standing in many communities.

“There are people who think Japan can manage with nothing but ecommerce and convenience stores. The big dry goods like toilet paper would come online,” he added. “All the day-to-day goods would come from the convenience store.”

But, say analysts, even the konbini face the challenge of population decline. Footfall at stores open for more than a year has fallen for 24 months in a row, the longest period since the Japan Franchise Association began compiling the statistics in 2004.

The answer to lower footfall is more revenue per customer. Having achieved dominance of their own industry through consolidation, the konbini are moving into other sectors, taking on supermarkets, coffee shops, drug stores and fast-food chains......“The convenience stores’ biggest challenge is the absence of a new category big enough to give the whole industry a lift,” said Mr Kawano, who added that even the ready-to-eat likes of the Famichiki had yet to prove their power to transform. “Each group is investing more in its fast-food offering — but there has been nothing revolutionary, no game changer.”
convenience_stores  retailers  Japanese  prepared_meals  Japan  foot_traffic  gyms  fast-food  trends  new_categories 
april 2018 by jerryking
Les Wexner, the man behind Victoria’s Secret
Barney Jopson MARCH 30, 2018

Propped against the wall are boards from recent presentations about customer loyalty schemes and the nearby Easton open-air shopping complex, which was conceived by Wexner, a staunch and often lonely defender of bricks-and-mortar retail....Since his existential crisis, Wexner has devoted part of his time and fortune to philanthropy, funding leadership training and the Wexner Center for the Arts and Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, his alma mater.....The typical lifespan of a fashion business, Wexner says, is 15 years. Most retail chains, whatever they sell, don’t survive beyond 20 or 30 years. Yet Wexner has been in charge for 55 years. Behind him in the Fortune 500 longevity stakes is Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has run Berkshire Hathaway for a mere 53. The key to survival, Wexner says, is to reinvent yourself as your shoppers evolve. “When the customer zigs, you zig.”

But he is facing his stiffest trial yet. Amazon, which has conquered a series of retail categories, is now getting into underwear. Online-only lingerie specialists are trying to steal Victoria’s Secret customers....His eventual point is that most people want to express their individuality, which has a lot to do with sexuality, which means lingerie is loaded with powerful “emotional content” for women.......I talk about the predictive power of data and algorithms (one of Amazon’s great assets) but he pooh-poohs their relevance. The response is similarly dismissive when I ask Wexner — who did not marry his lawyer wife Abigail until he was 55 — whether he sourced lingerie ideas from the women he dated. “N-n-nooo,” he says. “You can’t ask. Fashion is about latent demand. You can’t research it. If I say, ‘what colour are you going to buy next fall?’, no one is going to say, ‘I think purple’s going to be a great colour’.”
........He says the death of shops has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, 9,000 US stores closed last year by some estimates. Sure, habits are changing. People used to wile away four hours at the mall and visit 20 stores. Now they skip the mediocre shops and make a beeline for just one or two, Wexner says. But humans are still “pack animals” who like to mingle. And where they go, they spend more. Amazon is great for buying commodity products when you know exactly what you want. But fashion stores are about stumbling upon “things you haven’t seen before”, Wexner says. The doom-mongers are looking at average sales across all shops. “I think they’re missing the wheat from the chaff,” he says.
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Leslie_Wexner  Victoria's_Secret  moguls  CEOs  entrepreneur  retailers  L_Brands  intimate_apparel  personal_care_products  lingerie  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking
How One Investor Made a Fortune Picking Over the Retail Apocalypse - WSJ
By Khadeeja Safdar and Miriam Gottfried
March 21, 2018

While private-equity firms and public investors have been shying away from traditional retail, Sycamore has made bigger bets on the sector. It bought Staples Inc. in September for $6.8 billion—the largest U.S. leveraged buyout of 2017.... strong demand from pension funds and other institutions to co-invest to tap Sycamore’s retail wizardry.

With Sycamore’s strategy, it isn’t necessary to spruce up a purchased company. The firm often buys struggling retailers and sells off their most valuable pieces. It cuts costs at whatever remains, sometimes using the savings to extract dividends.

The firm tells investors its returns “need not depend” on successfully identifying growth opportunities for its retail targets, according to documents for its new fund.

Sycamore also extracts returns from clothing chains by acting as a middleman between them and suppliers, using a company it owns to sell inventory to the retailers, sometimes as they struggle to remain solvent, according to industry executives and court filings.....“Sycamore is the best of the bunch in the retail sector,” .....Sycamore’s team doesn’t usually get involved in day-to-day operational decisions such as selecting merchandise and designing store layouts, preferring instead to hire consultants and veteran retail executives, said former executives at some of its portfolio companies.
private_equity  retailers  cost-cutting  investors  bricks-and-mortar  apparel  Staples 
march 2018 by jerryking
Why Crate and Barrel’s CEO Isn’t Worried About Amazon WSJ
March 20, 2018 | WSJ | By Khadeeja Safdar.

Furniture has been late to shift online, but it is now one of the fastest-growing segments of e-commerce. Competition from online players such as Wayfair Inc. and big-box stores like Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. has put pressure on furniture chains. Amazon.com Inc. has been making a major push into the home-furnishings business, too.
retailers  furniture  Amazon  social_media  decluttering 
march 2018 by jerryking
Amazon: The Making of a Giant
By Hanna Sender, Laura Stevens and Yaryna Serkez
Published March 14, 2018 at 5:30 a.m. ET
Amazon  e-commerce  Jeff_Bezos  new_businesses  new_products  retailers 
march 2018 by jerryking
Is This the Start of Better Airport Shopping in the U.S.? - WSJ
By Scott McCartney
March 14, 2018

In the age of online shopping, retailers are finding that airports can take some of the sting out of declining mall traffic. Travelers have time to kill and money to spend when they’re captive inside airport security. Major airports around the world, from Singapore to Dubai, London to Beijing, have essentially become shopping malls with gates.......Airports like duty-free shops because they get a cut of the revenue; luxury-goods makers like the chance to interact in person with shoppers; and customers like the convenience, savings and opportunity for capricious purchases.....“The variety is good,” he says. “I don’t know if the prices are good, but the convenience is.”

Name-brand cosmetics and perfumes especially can be cheaper at the airport, with special packages, quantities and, for some brands, unique products. Other items can be hit and miss.....Airport customer research showed a hunger for high-end retail catering to expense-account business travelers and vacationers dubbed “indulgent explorers,” who are willing to spend on unique items, especially local brands. .......Moët Hennessy, the Paris-based maker of Champagne and cognac, has a boutique in the Dallas duty-free store where it does tastings of rare editions—a spot of cognac before boarding. The unit of luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH sees airport retail as a chance to educate consumers about its brand. ....DFW's duty free mall store has no doors; travelers just wander through. Brands have their own areas, creating a boutique feel. There is some seating upstairs on an open, second level designed for events such as tastings, entertainment and parties that will lure curious passengers.

While online retailing has curtailed some airport retail business, companies say they are still seeing growth—stronger than other traditional venues like malls or Main Streets.
airports  retailers  duty-free  travel 
march 2018 by jerryking
The dumb-bell economy: inside the booming business of exercise
FEBRUARY 9, 2018 | FT | Jo Ellison.

Where once consumers looked for acquisitions to express their status, our spending habits are shifting towards more holistic expenditures. In the past 20 years, the leisure industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic, disruptive and fashionable of forces. It’s all part of a new focus on the “lifestyle experience”, a trend that has possessed consumers and found luxury brands spiking with sporty new offerings — sneakers, leggings, apps and accessories — designed to harness the burgeoning market. As Harvey Spevak, the executive chairman and managing partner of the Equinox group, likes to say: “Health is the new wealth.”
.....2019 will see the first Equinox hotel opening in New York’s Hudson Yards, the first in a rollout of Equinox hotels earmarked for billions more in investment. The hotels will be founded on the same full-service ideal as the clubs. “Our vision for the hotels is to cater to the high-performance traveller,” says Spevak, “and we think about it as we do, historically, from a science perspective. We call it MNR — movement, nutrition and recovery — where a high-performance lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle is a three-legged stool.”.....as our lives have become busier, atomised and more urban, the gym has emerged as the new place in which to gather: to be part of a community....not only are millennials more likely to buy gym memberships, they’re driving the boutique business as well. The rise of the group workout, club membership and all of the attendant accessories that come with it have become part of the new language of “wellness”......Where you work out, who you work out with, and what you wear to work out in have become totems of fashionability. Spevak traces the first shoots of the wellness trend to 9/11, when he saw a jump in the number of people becoming focused on holistic health and taking care of themselves.
....But more than anything, the fitness boom must be a corollary of a digital revolution in which working out has become a ubiquitous feature of our online life; ....Minton agrees that a gym’s success depends on cultivating this tribal loyalty, delivering a unique experience and then selling product that marks its members out. “Some of the most interesting clubs are those that are expanding into less obvious areas,” he says. “We now have over 600 boutiques across the UK and they are growing faster than traditional gyms as they have a smaller footprint and can take pop-up spaces.......The experiential market is throwing a lifeline to retailers, as well. “The fashion link is growing,” adds Minton. “Fitness apparel brands like Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, Reebok, Nike all now offer free in-store workouts, which provide them with an opportunity to market their brand lifestyles more directly and forge a connection with the consumer.”.......“The demise of retail is a permanent shift,” says Spevak. “It doesn’t mean retail’s going to go away, but it’s going to look very different. The consumer, in my opinion, will continue to buy nice things for themselves, but I think in the scheme of priorities the experience is more important than the handbag.”
fitness  exercise  London  United_Kingdom  gyms  wellness  rollouts  strength_training  boutiques  leisure  Equinox  millennials  experiential_marketing  small_spaces  pop-ups  non-obvious  upscale  retailers  in-store  digital_revolution 
february 2018 by jerryking
Imagining the Retail Store of the Future
APRIL 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By ELIZABETH PATON.

What will the store of the future look like? Gleaming robots using facial recognition technology to personalize sales pitches to mood or past spending preferences? Voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone? 3-D printing stations? No checkout counters when you leave? Holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by? Virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets? Drones dropping deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps?.......is this the sort of shopping experience that customers really want?
Scores of leading retailers and fashion brands increasingly say no.........Farfetch — the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques — held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London. There, in front of 200 fashion industry insiders and partners, José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, unveiled “The Store of the Future,” a suite of new technologies developed by his company to help brands and boutiques bridge the worlds of online and offline.......A report by Bain suggests that although 70 % of high-end purchases are influenced by online interactions, stores will continue to play a critical role, with 75 % of sales still occurring in a physical location by 2025.

What may change, however, is a store’s primary purpose. Forget e-commerce, or bricks and mortar, or even omnichannel sales; according to Mr. Neves, the new retail era is one anchored in “augmented retail,” a blend of the digital and physical allowing a shopper to shift seamlessly between the two realms.....Holition is an augmented-reality consultancy and software provider based in London that has worked with some well-known retail brands.......“The holy grail for retailers is creating digital empathy....No one knows what the future will look like....those using technology and data to create bespoke personalized shopping experiences...are more likely to come out on top.”.....boutiques and physical events remained vital “marketing opportunities,” with a more specialized inventory selection and the opportunity for customers to do more than buy merchandise......talks, film screenings and designer meet-and-greets, along with social media lessons, exercise classes and floristry sessions.......“Stores cannot just be row after row of product rail anymore,” he added. . “To survive, they have to tell stories — rooted in a sense of community and entertainment — and have points of view that makes the owner stand out.”.......“Ultimately the use of data to transform stores will separate those who make it to the next step and those who won’t.
reimagining  retailers  physical_place  shopping_malls  cashierless  e-commerce  reconceptualization  future  shopping_experience  brands  fashion  omnichannel  bricks-and-mortar  MatchesFashion  Holition  Yoox  facial-recognition 
february 2018 by jerryking
No lines, no registers, no fun: Amazon Go’s sterile future - The Globe and Mail
ELIZABETH RENZETTI

there's only one Amazon Go, located in the bottom of the company's Seattle headquarters, but you can bet more are on their way – especially since Amazon now owns the retail chain Whole Foods. The expansion of a chain of cashierless stores, whose shelves will one day likely be stocked by robots, raises many good questions about what kind of work we value and want for the future. Amazon's opaque data-collection procedures raise other important questions about privacy and information security..... We already know that, in the West, we suffer from a crisis of social isolation – what used to be called loneliness – that is so acute it is becoming a public-health crisis. Social interactions, even small and seemingly meaningless ones, can have great benefit to people who feel disconnected and adrift. A smile from a cashier or a commiseration from a fellow shopper could be the highlight of someone's day. ....."The more contact we have with other human beings, the better the world is, even if it's just a gas station attendant or a store clerk," Dr. Yarrow said. "This is how we form communities, in these seemingly inconsequential interactions."....But community-building isn't the buzzword of the moment – "seamlessness" is. That is, all experiences are meant to be as convenient as possible, requiring the least number of clicks, human interactions, waiting times. Friction is the enemy. Bumps are the enemy, and so, I gather, are sidesteps and interruptions and serendipity. I'm not sure if the proponents of seamlessness have ever listened to Leonard Cohen, or they would have heard the master's wisdom: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
Amazon  Amazon_Go  retailers  e-commerce  experimentation  soulless  Communicating_&_Connecting  sterile  loneliness  cashierless 
february 2018 by jerryking
Despite Amazon effect, not all mom and pops in trouble on Main St.
Chris Morris, special to CNBC.com Published 8:53 AM ET Fri, 11 Aug 2017

With so many major retailers struggling to stay afloat, it'd be easy to think smaller, mom-and-pop stores are doing even worse, or might be largely fading away. The recent demise of retail giants, however, has left a brick-and-mortar vacuum for local stores to fill.

And many experts say it might be best to stay small. Being a micro-sized business certainly isn't protection against big-box retailers or online competitors, but being a small business that's an integral part of a local community can help build a loyal customer base.

"The vast majority of mom-and-pop businesses are either neighborhood retail businesses or small service businesses," says Leonard Schlesinger, Baker Foundation professor at the Harvard Business School. "As neighborhood businesses, they play a significant role in neighborhood stabilization, [providing convenience for people living close by]."
Amazon  big-box  mom-and-pop  retailers  e-commerce  ethnic_communities  convenience_stores  local  customer_loyalty  small_business  department_stores  neighbourhoods 
january 2018 by jerryking
Inside Amazon Go, a Store of the Future - The New York Times
Jan. 21, 2018 | NYT | By Nick Wingfield

....Amazon’s store of the future hits you right at the front door. It feels as if you are entering a subway station. A row of gates guard the entrance to the store, known as Amazon Go, allowing in only people with the store’s smartphone app......Every time customers grab an item off a shelf, Amazon says the product is automatically put into the shopping cart of their online account. If customers put the item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from their virtual basket. The only sign of the technology that makes this possible floats above the store shelves — arrays of small cameras, hundreds of them throughout the store. Amazon won’t say much about how the system works, other than to say it involves sophisticated computer vision and machine learning software. Translation: Amazon’s technology can see and identify every item in the store, without attaching a special chip to every can of soup and bag of trail mix. ........Amazon Go, checking out feels like — there’s no other way to put it — shoplifting. ......A big unanswered question is where Amazon plans to take the technology. It won’t say whether it plans to open more Amazon Go stores, or leave this as a one-of-a-kind novelty. A more intriguing possibility is that it could use the technology inside Whole Foods stores, though Ms. Puerini said Amazon has “no plans” to do so.

There’s even speculation that Amazon could sell the system to other retailers, much as it sells its cloud computing services to other companies.
Amazon_Go  Amazon  cashierless  computer_vision  convenience_stores  customer_experience  grocery  machine_learning  one-of-a-kind  supermarkets  retailers  Whole_Foods 
january 2018 by jerryking
This is the age of the Microsoft and Amazon economy
Tim Harford

the big digital players: Google dominates search; Facebook is the Goliath of social media; Amazon rules online retail. But, as documented in a new working paper by five economists, American business is in general becoming more concentrated.

David Autor and his colleagues looked at 676 industries in the US — from cigarettes to greeting cards, musical instruments to payday lenders. They found that for the typical industry in each of six sectors — manufacturing, retail, finance, services, wholesale and utilities/transportation — the biggest companies are producing a larger share of output..... “superstar firms” tend to be more efficient. They sell more at a lower cost, so they enjoy a larger profit margin. ....Superstar firms are highly productive and achieve more with less. Because of this profitability, more of the value added by the company flows to shareholders and less to workers. And what happens in these groups will tend to be reflected in the economy as a whole, because superstar firms have an increasingly important role.
economics  monopsony  monopolies  Facebook  Amazon  superstars  David_Autor  retailers  platforms  corporate_concentration  economies_of_scale  network_effects  Tim_Harford  Microsoft 
january 2018 by jerryking
In the fashion industry, McShopping has gone global - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2017

invaded by the same global chains that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. In the main shopping districts of Paris, Madrid, London or Toronto, the invasion of the same global chains (e.g. Zara, H&M, Primark & Uniqlo) that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. It's destroying the visual identities of cities once visited for their unique charm.

The cheap-chic revolution has brought affordable fashion to the masses and, thanks to better monitoring of offshore factories, provided millions of decent jobs in developing countries. It also has its downsides. Massive amounts of "disposable" clothing end up in landfills each year. When clothes are this cheap, we don't think twice about chucking what we bought last month for something even trendier. Instead of four fashion seasons, we now have at least 12...... department stores are a dying breed. Those that survive will likely only do so by going global.
Konrad_Yakabuski  fast-fashion  fashion  apparel  retailers  department_stores  brands  globalization  concentration  identity  Uniqlo  H&M  HBC  Zara  Paris  Madrid  London  Toronto  disposability  Primark  uniqueness  J.Crew 
january 2018 by jerryking
How Retailers Can Thrive in the Age of Amazon - WSJ
By Stephen Moore
Dec. 15, 2017

How can a retailer flourish in such a daunting environment? By providing “emotional fulfillment,” = the joy customers take in seeing, touching, sniffing and testing the product before they pull out the credit card. A computer can’t match that experience...“We are social animals. We aren’t robots who are going to make all our purchases from robots.”

Somewhat counterintuitively....e-commerce is “not our enemy” but is becoming complementary to retail. Here’s his challenge to anyone who thinks digital sales are set to crush the old analog kind: ...If that isn’t enough, he adds: “Guess what’s one of our most successful stores we just opened up three months ago? Amazon. They already mastered online book sales. Why are they creating a physical presence? Because they know they need to connect and fuse with you as a consumer.” That’s what he means by emotional fulfillment.

He sketches out a strategy for retail in the digital age. It starts with making the mall an appealing place to visit. Parking is free, he says, and the stores are full of helpful employees. “We tell our retailers that one of the primary value added of retail shopping is the expertise that the salesclerks can offer customers,” he says, “They better be knowledgeable about what they are selling, or people will go online or to a discount store.” He urges his tenants to pay well more than the minimum wage to attract better employees, and he says most of them do
retailers  Amazon  contra-Amazon  shopping_malls  e-commerce  bricks-and-mortar  emotional_connections 
january 2018 by jerryking
Produce or Else: Wal-Mart and Kroger Get Tough With Food Suppliers on Delays
Nov. 27, 2017 | WSJ | By Annie Gasparro, Heather Haddon and Sarah Nassauer

Grocers are giving food companies a tougher mandate: Ship on time, or pay the price.
Food retailers want their suppliers to resolve the persistent problem of delayed or incomplete deliveries, which they say costs them millions of dollars a year in lost sales and overtime pay.
Retailers used to give suppliers more leeway, since any number of factors—bad weather, a surge in demand, technology malfunctions—can foil deliveries of cereal, cheese, candy and other packaged goods from warehouses scattered around the country.
But now as traditional grocers battle Amazon.com<http://Amazon.com> Inc. and other online retailers that prioritize delivery speed, as well as price-cutting discounters, more are taking a strict line with suppliers, telling them on-time deliveries will translate directly into more sales and profits.
Delayed deliveries can leave holes on store shelves. Sales of some $75 billion a year are lost because products are out of stock or unsalable for other reasons, according to the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization. That is about 10% of annual grocery sales industry-wide at a time when sales growth is hard to come by. “It’s a massive opportunity from a financial and customer standpoint,” .....The country’s biggest grocers are leading the charge. Kroger is fining suppliers $500 for every order that is more than two days late to any of its 42 warehouses, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is charging suppliers monthly fines of 3% for deliveries that don’t arrive exactly on time, according to the retailers. They began issuing the fines in August........Wal-Mart has signaled it could do more than levy fines if problems persist. Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Wal-Mart U.S., told suppliers they could also lose shelf space if they don’t solve their delivery issues, according to people in attendance at a supplier meeting earlier this year. Retailers can threaten suppliers with loss of promotional space in stores, analysts said.....Packaged-goods companies are straining to keep up with the demands and remain in the good graces of retailers. They need GPS trackers and software to adjust routes in real time. Filling full orders fast is also challenging, since many manufacturers house items all over the country. That is particularly true for refrigerated items needing costly cold storage—which has fueled investments in more fulfillment centers......“Shipping complete orders on time is a completely reasonable request but turns out it’s harder than it sounds.”...
Wal-Mart  Kroger  grocery  supermarkets  supply_chains  retailers  delays  food  shipping  Amazon  cold_storage  penalties  delivery_times  fulfillment  CPG  Kraft_Heinz  P&G  on-time  shelf_space  supply_chain_squeeze 
november 2017 by jerryking
Some Big Retailers Are Still Betting On Brick and Mortar
NOV. 14, 2017 | The New York Times | By MICHAEL CORKERY.

Target’s new store near Herald Square in New York City, down the block from Macy’s flagship store and other national retail chains. It is one of about 130 smaller format stores Target has opened or plans to open by the end of 2019. The new stores are scaled back versions of the big-box Targets that predominate in the suburbs.

The company’s store strategy stands out at a time when just about everyone seems to be questioning the relevance of brick-and-mortar retail. Amazon is seizing an ever-larger share of consumers’ wallets, reducing foot traffic to stores.....The retail industry has been pushing back against the pessimism. This summer, the IHL Group, a retail and hospitality advising firm, produced a report that showed retailers will open more new stores than they will close this year. (Most of the growth, however, came from restaurant openings, not new department stores or big box retailers.)....

“The negative narrative that has been out there about the death of retail is patently false,” Greg Buzek, the group’s president, said in August when the report was published.

Some of the biggest growth in brick-and-mortar stores is coming from discount retailers, like TJX, the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. E-commerce may offer convenience and instant gratification. But shoppers are still willing to go into a store to hunt for a good bargain.“......The big challenge is how do you get customers to come into a store if they don’t have to,” said Melina Cordero, head of retail research for Americas at CBRE, the real estate firm.....Walmart is also trying to generate more buzz around its stores, which had drawn complaints from some customers in recent years for being too cavernous and unpleasant to shop in.

This month, Walmart is holding holiday parties — complete with toy demonstrations and workers in reindeer hats — as it “cranks up the volume on store experiences.”...Retailers like Walmart are hoping they can build a more profitable business that incorporates both brick-and-mortar and online shopping — a strategy known in the industry as “omni-channel.”

Online retailers like Amazon face high transportation costs, particularly as they guarantee free two-day and even same-day delivery. They are also bearing the cost of processing free returns.

Many analysts and retail executives said Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and its more than 460 stores validated the relevance of brick and mortar. Still, e-commerce continues to grow at a blistering rate, far outpacing the increase in overall retail sales. Unless that growth abates, analysts and economists question how so many stores — from suburban malls to hip boutiques — can survive.
retailers  Target  bricks-and-mortar  small_spaces  store_closings  big-box  CBRE  Wal-Mart  omnichannel  e-commerce 
november 2017 by jerryking
From Swiss post to Swedish retail
26 August/27 August 2017 | FT | Tyler Brule

Q: I know you're a fan of Italy, so what do you think will happen to Alitalia [that went into administration in May]? Or do you even care?

A: First, I...
H&M  brands  retailers  Tyler_Brûlé  department_stores  Alitalia  Lufthansa  fast-fashion 
november 2017 by jerryking
Kenneth Cole on keeping retail fashionable in a modern age
Nov. 2, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON.

About a year ago, your company announced the closing of all but two of your stores in the United States. Why?

The retail model needs to be re-imagined. We're looking to focus on the brand experience in the virtual universe, and then recreate a new physical experience.

How much of your sales in the future do you envision coming from the brick-and-mortar space?

Everyone is trying to figure it out. The shopping experience needs to be very different. It's happening really fast. It will be an interesting time. A lot of people will not survive it. At the end of the day, you'll have a stronger, more efficient marketplace.

More than three decades into the business, how has your view of advertising changed?

In the past, my goal was to sell my brand. Over the past five years, it seems everybody is their own brand – they wake up every day and curate it on their Facebook, their Twitter feed, their Instagram feed. My goal is to hopefully convince you to allow me to be part of your brand. All of that is changing.
Kenneth_Cole  brands  Susan_Krashinsky  retailers  fashion  bricks-and-mortar  cause_marketing  advertising  store_closings  shopping_experience  physical_experiences 
november 2017 by jerryking
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