Retailers continue to partner with startups to explore implementing Amazon Go-like checkout solutions, but efforts are still in the early stages, particularly as the growth of Amazon Go hasn't quickened as retailers previously feared.
More shipping providers are teaming up with brick-and-mortar retailers to turn their stores into package pickup centers, as Amazon's grip on e-commerce threatens to upend both of their businesses. This week, UPS announced that it's partnering with CVS, Michael's and Advance Auto Parts to allow customers to retrieve packages, print labels and drop off returns.
Last week, Google released a redesigned version of Google Shopping, in its latest attempt to build a marketplace that can compete with Amazon. But that's not the only move Google has made over the past year to encourage more shoppers to stay on Google to discover products, instead of going to Amazon or Instagram.
Over the past seven years, licensed sports apparel retailer Fanatics has rebuilt its business to become a more vertically integrated company. And as the Fanatics business model has evolved, so too has its loyalty program.
While the term "innovation lab" has fallen in and out of favor, retailers are still trying to figure out exactly how to put these concepts to work, including how much autonomy they should give teams responsible for creating forward-thinking products and services.
Hollister is relaunching its lingerie brand Gilly Hicks by opening four new pop-up stores. This is part of the retailer's strategy to reinvigorate business and catch people's attention using small format, more experiential spaces. This strategic shift follows the lead of DTC brands. But can a large ailing retailer ride the same wave?
Ace Hardware is using a customer data feedback loop and in-store technology that better manages the way employees work across its different tasks: store management, specialty services like tire repair and deliveries. The retailer’s stores are located within 15 minutes of 75% of the country, and as customers now rely on the stores for more hands-on services as well as online order fulfillment, the company has rethought the way its employees work.
Members of Nordstrom's loyalty program were recently miffed that they missed out on early access to the retailer's annual sale. While these kinds issues happen for big brands, this example highlights some pain-points Nordstrom – and other big brands – has experience with newly revamped, digitally-focused loyalty clubs.
Toys 'R' Us is angling for a comeback, but in order to do so, it will have to win over vendors who may be skeptical of working with a brand that's fresh out of bankruptcy. On Thursday, Tru Kids Brands – the new holding company of Toys 'R' Us – announced that it would be opening up two stores, one in Texas and one in New Jersey, in time for the holidays. Tru Kids will be partnering on the new stores with b8ta, a startup that's built both its own physical storefronts as well as a software platform to help retailers build experiential concepts
Brands that have participated in Amazon's one-year emerging brands program, which encompasses the initiative to launch DTC startup brands on Amazon, said they get access to a level of customer service and account management that others sellers don’t, and the participation opens doors to more opportunities working with Amazon.
Shortly after Sephora announced it was upping its clean standards in July to include 50 free-from ingredients versus 13, Target revealed more details around its clean program this week. Though Target Clean also extends to the retailer's household essentials and baby departments and spans approximately 5,500 items across the entire assortment, its beauty and personal care is its largest and entails 4,000 products
Much of retail work is seasonal and volatile. A growing number of new companies aim to tackle that uncertain labor force by partnering with brands and retailers to offer gig work. At first glance, this may look like temp work. But these new services are transforming the model by which brands and retailers find talent, as well as quietly shifting the labor makeup of the stores we visit.
Big-box retailers like Target and Walmart increasingly want their stores to double as fulfillment centers. They see their existing store footprints as one of the biggest advantages they have over Amazon, which has had to build more than 100 fulfillment centers in order to enable next-day delivery on millions of products for Amazon Prime members. But, there are limitations on just how much the store can do.
Amazon may be the only retailer with an event called Prime Day, but competitors are capitalizing on the growing name recognition of Prime Day among U.S. shoppers to promote their own sales events. No one is calling their sales event Prime Day outright, but other retailers are alluding to Amazon's annual two-day sales event in their marketing and promotional copy.
Accurate consumer data is a goldmine for companies. While businesses have sought out feedback to inform future product design, DTCs provide a strengthened relationship between brand and customer. With this, more digitally-native startups are able to capitalize on data to receive quick and informative feedback.
Seventy-three percent of shoppers now use multiple channels to research and shop before making a purchase. And 90 percent expect consistent interactions across all of those channels.
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