During its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, Kroger reported its biggest increase in operating profit all year, a sign that its cost saving measures are starting to pay off even as it makes costly investments to grow its online business. Kroger reported that fourth quarter identical sales, excluding fuel, were up 2%, while digital sales were up 22%. Total company sales were $28.9 billion, compared to $28.3 billion last year.
Last January, direct-to-consumer furniture brand Article took a step that's still relatively unusual for a startup: it launched an in-house last-mile delivery program. As an online-only startup that has yet to open a single store, Article viewed building its own in-house delivery operation as a necessary customer service investment. The biggest benefit of launching ADT is that it has allowed Article to reduce delivery times. The company is now able to deliver roughly half of its orders in under a week, compared to 30% in 2018
As the coronavirus spreads, home cleaning brands like Lysol and Clorox have seen a surge in sales. But for organic home cleaning brands, which aren't always effective against the virus, the issue is causing an interesting problem: There are lots more questions about their efficacy, leading in some cases to increased sales. But at the same time, they can't advertise false claims that they can help prevent the spread of the virus. At Blueland, the DTC cleaning supplies brand has seen a surge in sales this past week, particularly with hand soap being purchased in large bulks, said CEO Sarah Paiji Yoo.
What started as a messaging app in 2011 is now a mobile payments giant through which travels a third of China's data traffic. "People use it for everything. For utilities, for gaming, obviously to communicate with their family and friends, and to do business," said Lu.
Target is the latest big box retailers to announce plans to attack digital alcohol sales. It joins a group of other players -- including Walmart and Amazon. The industry-wide focus on adult beverage shows a huge area of growth, but it also represents a host of new obstacles for digital grocery programs
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).
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.
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.
As bot-driven fraud eats into budgets, marketers are placing a heightened focus on identifying the characteristics that account for authentic audience humanity.
Exclusively for Modern Retail+ members: Hear from Connie Matisse, Co-founder and CMO and Alex Matisse, Co-founder and CEO at East Fork Ceramics, on how to maintain brand loyalty during a time of tumult.Subscribe