Retail Revolution

Why e-commerce companies are turning themselves into banks

Walmart has big plans to enter the fintech space. Although few retail companies offer financial services in the U.S., e-commerce companies in Asia -- including Alibaba, Rakuten, Shopee and others -- have made themselves into hubs not only for goods but also for everyday banking needs. These companies give out loans to customers, take bank deposits and facilitate transactions that are not directly related to e-commerce -- like paying for utility bills -- and they offer one possible path forward for U.S. retailers looking to add a financial services arm.

Latest Stories

  • JAN 13, 2021

    How the coronavirus vaccine may help legacy pharmacies

    Existing pharmacies are attempting to revamp their offerings following a rocky year. Walgreens, for instance, is emphasizing the speed of pickup at its store, while Rite Aid is putting money toward sleep products, essential oils and other new-age health goods. The Covid-19 vaccine will offer a unique chance for these pharmacies to make their pitch to consumers and draw new customers.

  • JAN 12, 2021

    High-end health-focused meal kits are seeing a boom

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, more consumers have discovered semi-ready health-focused meal kits. Now, emerging startups in this niche category -- which include Factor, Provenance Meals and CookUnity -- are finding a new cohort of customers embracing their delivery menus.

  • JAN 12, 2021
    bed bath and beyond

    How Bed Bath & Beyond has revamped its digital operations during the pandemic

    A boom both in online shopping and sales of home goods have helped give Bed Bath & Beyond new life. The big-box retailer has reported more than 75% growth in e-commerce sales during each of the last three quarters. The company's chief digital officer, Rafeh Masood, spoke with Modern Retail about how the company is seeking to capitalize on its e-commerce growth.

  • JAN 11, 2021

    Contactless payments are hitting fever pitch in 2021

    "The genie is out of the bottle" for contactless transactions, said one analyst, as 2021 is set to help the method accelerate even more. After months of avoiding touching POS systems, experts say shoppers are increasingly on board to tap and go to pay for their goods in the age of coronavirus.

  • JAN 11, 2021

    Why some brands are betting on mushroom-based fabrics

    Last year, a number of major fashion brands -- Lululemon, Adidas, Stella McCartney and Gucci -- announced they were investing “seven-figure sums” to produce clothes and shoes made out of mycelium fabric with a startup called Bolt Threads. Bolt Threads specializes in a mycelium-based leather it calls Mylo -- and as the leather industry continues to slide, driven in part by concerns about sustainability and animal rights, startups are pitching fungi as an environmentally friendly replacement.

  • JAN 07, 2021

    Why off-price retailers are staying afloat as department stores falter

    Off-price stores, including TJ Maxx and Ross, are recovering a lot quicker than many bankrupt retail counterparts. While department stores with robust online shopping presence continue to struggle, discount chains -- that still rely mostly on in-store purchases -- are finding loyal customers returning for bargains amid the pandemic.

  • JAN 06, 2021

    ‘A record year’: Liquidators and resellers are poised to profit from the online return rush

    More people bought holiday items online, and returns volumes are likely to hit record highs. And these items may end up on a liquidation site or at a warehouse, where small businesses, resellers or regular consumers can buy bundles of products at steep discounts. In recent months, many of those liquidators have reported a surge in inventory, right as resale platforms like Poshmark are ballooning in popularity. And to unload products faster, the two industries are partnering up.

  • JAN 06, 2021

    As JCPenney’s CEO exits, a turnaround is still far away

    The architect of JCPenney's most recent turnaround plan has left the company. Last week, JCPenney announced that CEO Jill Soltau was leaving the company effective December 31. During Soltau's two-year tenure, she started to take some steps JCPenney around, by paring down the company's in-store assortment, redesigning some of its private label brands, and had started to experiment with new store formats. But some analysts said she didn't move quickly before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now, JCPenney's path forward under its new owners, Simon and Brookfield, is unclear.

  • DEC 31, 2020

    In 2020, QR codes finally became cool

    It took it nearly three decades since its humble beginnings, but the QR code is officially considered hip. Thanks to its ubiquitous presence at shops and restaurants across the country, this year the QR code's technology is making up for lost time.

  • DEC 30, 2020

    In memoriam: Iconic retail brands we lost in 2020

    Oddly, 2020 might prove to be the year of the zombie brand. Even the companies that did shutter their physical stores are on track to find a second life online, thanks to companies like Retail Ecommerce Ventures buying rights to the brands out of bankruptcy.

  • DEC 30, 2020

    How Authentic Brands Group has positioned itself as the 2020 repo man

    Nearly 30 retailers have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2020, closing thousands of a stores. But a few of those businesses have been acquired by consortia like Authentic Brands Group. Most recently ABG has purchased Brooks Brothers, Forever 21 and Barneys -- all ailing for their own set of reasons. ABG's philosophy seems simple, and predicated on past wins: buy low and eke out profit any way you can every step of the way. The question remains: Who's next?

  • DEC 23, 2020

    How Zazzle is trying to gin up more sales through social selling

    Social selling just recently began to take off in the U.S., but the trend is quickly evolving to include everything from virtual cooking classes to artisan services. As marketplace Zazzle's investment in its Zazzle Live shows, demand for on-demand digital activities is beginning to stick.

  • JAN 18, 2021

    Shoppable video is filling a physical retail void

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Jan 22, 2021

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