Safety concerns for workers and their surroundings has been top of mind for the retail industry, especially for companies that largely rely on China-based manufacturing and supply distribution. While many top brands have taken a hit to their projected bottom line due to the outbreak, preventing spread via business-related travel is the immediate priority.
After Walmart started more aggressively growing its marketplace following its Jet.com acquisition in 2016, it wasn't a question of if the company would launch a fulfillment service for third-party sellers, but when, given that Amazon has had a fulfillment service since 2006. This week, Walmart finally took the wraps off its fulfillment service, which the retailer said it soft launched with select vendors a few months ago. But, agencies and sellers say that Walmart still has a way's to go in matching Amazon's features and reach.
As fears of the coronavirus spreading accelerated in the U.S over the weekend, some grocery delivery services have also reported seeing some unusual spikes in activity, as shoppers feel compelled to stock up on certain products. Instacart said in a statement that over the last few days, it has "seen a surge in customer demand for pantry items such as powdered milk and canned goods, as well as personal care products like hand sanitizer and vitamins." Amazon warned customers on Monday that orders through its Prime Now and Amazon Fresh delivery services are being delivered more slowly than usual. (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment).
On big-box retailer Lowe's fourth quarter earnings call today, CEO Marvin Ellison acknowledged that the company's website is "still under construction." That statement isn't often uttered by retail executives in 2020. But Lowe's is still in the process of upgrading a website that was built on a decade-old tech stack.
Over the last week, we've gotten a glimpse into the new programs Amazon is implementing to grow its digital grocery program. It includes a reported new micro-fullfilment center in LA as well as a cashier-less store in Seattle. Amazon isn't the only one making big investments in online fulfillment -- and these developments show that the war is just beginning to heat up.
In 2020, e-commerce startups are facing a greater sense of urgency to turn a profit, and furniture company Wayfair is no exception. Earlier this month, the company announced that it was cutting 550 jobs, or about 3% of its workforce. In an email to Wayfair employees obtained by the Boston Globe, CEO Niraj Shah said that "We find ourselves at a place where we are, from an execution standpoint, investing in too many disparate areas, with an uneven quality and speed of execution."
Walmart is shutting down Jetblack, its shopper concierge service. It's one of many small digital programs Walmart on which Walmart is scaling back. This move highlights Walmart's changing approach to its digital experiments. It no longer needs to spend a lot and think big; the retail giant has made a name for itself as an e-commerce leader and can now think more conservatively.
Peapod is shutting down its Midwest division, laying off 500 people. While it's only a small percentage of its overall business, the move highlights the headwinds grocery e-commerce businesses face. While more grocers try to offer more digital fulfillment options -- it becomes ever more clear that it remains an difficult, unprofitable program.
Birchbox is laying off a quarter of its global workforce. It's a last-ditch effort to keep the 10-years-old business afloat -- and shows just how difficult it is to be a business that relies mostly on subscription sales. Despite numerous attempts to reinvigorate the brand, things seems especially bleak for Birchbox right now.
Retailers are now gravitating toward Pinterest’s shopping-friendly features to add another source of e-commerce revenue. The platform has added more social commerce tools in an effort to pitch retailers on how being on the platform can help actual conversions. These include the ability to build custom shopping catalogs, product pins and improved retargeting.
Both retailers and service providers alike are investing heavily in pickup services. To consumers, it's billed as a way to buy groceries online and have them ready to be picked up while driving home. But for the grocers, it presents heightened costs and new logistical issues. How long will this fad last?
Over the last six months, Walmart has made many changes to its leadership. While some of these changes are natural to growing multinational businesses, they also hint at the retailer's evolving and more cohesive online strategy.
Google is phasing out support for third-party cookies within two years, a move that has major implications for how some retailers advertise -- and may also be a boon for retail media operations at major companies like Target and Walmart. Third-party cookies are pieces of code that track what a user or their device does across different websites, and help retailers figure out when to serve an ad to various groups of users. They're most commonly used for ad retargeting and behavioral advertising. As such, as Google prepares to phase out support for third-party cookies, it could limit the number of ways retailers can target and advertise to users across the web.
After starting as a media company, Food52 is transforming into a commerce company -- and learning the ropes for dealing with customer service hurdles.
The Trump administration has proposed a 100% tariff on all European wines. This has caused the wine industry to go into panic mode. While importers would be on the front lines of this change, a whole slew of wine-adjacent businesses stand to be adversely impacted by these new duties.
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