Department Stores

Nordstrom family members are closing in on an agreement with a private equity firm to assist in a buyout of the luxury retail giant. It was reported in June that the Nordstrom family, which collectively owns 31 percent of the Seattle-based luxury retailer’s shares, had formed a group to explore a potential “going-private transaction” that would involve the acquisition of 100 percent of Nordstrom’s outstanding shares.

The company has struggled with poor traffic trends, due in large part to eCommerce competitors like Amazon. In 1999, the department store had total sales of $230 billion. Last year, that was down to $155.5 billion.

Nordstrom To Go Private


In-Store Experience

Target is in a massive store remodel and they’re focusing on the in-store experience. After testing in small urban stores, Target plans to play background music in all of their newly remodeled locations to help keep shoppers in the aisle a little longer.

Marketing researchers have long explored the effects of background music in retail settings. In the 1980s, a Loyola University marketing professor found that supermarket shoppers spent more time and money in stores when the background music was at a slow tempo.

Target Is Playing Music


Internet


Brick-and-Mortar

Toys “R” Us filed Chapter 11 documents late Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia.

The company said its approximately 1,600 Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores around the world – the “vast majority of which are profitable” – and its web portals continue to operate as usual.

The chain also said it had secured US$3-billion in financing to stay open while it restructures its outstanding debt and establishes a sustainable capital structure to invest in long-term growth.

What will restructuring look like? “The restructuring is intended to facilitate the continued success of our iconic brands; building a stronger company for our customers, business partners and team members,” Melanie Teed-Murch, president of Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Canada said in a statement.

Toys “R” Us

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Brick-and-Mortar

Add Kohl’s to the list of brick-and-mortar retailers signing deals with Amazon.

The department store chain unveiled plans to roll out a “smart home experience” in 10 stores, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Beginning in October, shoppers at the designated locations in Los Angeles and Chicago will be able to purchase Amazon devices, accessories and smart home products directly from the e-commerce giant.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/06/kohls-partners-with-amazon-to-sell-echo-devices-and-smart-home-items.html


Ecommerce

BJ’s Wholesale Club is launching two e-commerce websites for its Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms brands, the first time it has created dedicated sites for its private labels.

The sites two sites will showcase a broad assortment of both brands, showcase the stories behind the products and create a shoppable, dedicated experience for both brands. Members will also be able to access BJ’s Pick Up & Pay click-and-collect service to reserve select nonperishable products online and retrieve them in-club in as little as two hours.

https://progressivegrocer.com/bjs-develops-dedicated-sites-pl-ecomm


Acquisitions

In its fourth attempt, Walgreens Boots Alliance clinched regulatory approval for a deal to buy Rite Aid Corp. stores after a last-minute reduction of the number of stores and price.

The Deerfield-based drugstore chain said Tuesday it secured clearance for a revised deal under which it will buy 1,932 Rite Aid stores for $4.38 billion. That’s about 250 fewer stores than under a previous proposal, which totaled $5.18 billion.

Walgreens Buys 1,932 Rite Aid Stores


Retail Technology

With a growing number of automated machines performing jobs and tasks that could eliminate jobs, one San Francisco official is pushing a statewide “tax” in California on robots that put people out of work. Is the time to think about how people will earn a living as more U.S. jobs are lost to automation?

Jane Kim is launching a statewide campaign to bring revenue-raising ideas to the state legislature or directly to voters. She is also considering using revenue from the robot tax to supplement the low wages of people whose jobs can’t be automated, like home healthcare aides.

http://www.pymnts.com/innovation/2017/san-francisco-jane-kim-knightscope-robot-tax/

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Social Media Habits

Like most adults, marketers do their best to understand teens, but it’s not easy to follow their changing digital habits and preferences. Twenty-year-old Tiffany Zhong recently left the University of California, Berkeley, and founded Zebra Intelligence to do just that—help marketers keep up with this cohort.

What’s going on with Facebook? Are teens still using it?

Facebook has become a place where everyone posts everything. There’s no filter to it anymore. When teens go on Instagram or Snapchat, they know what to expect. Facebook has become a mixture of low-quality, random things. Often it’s content that’s just irrelevant to their lives.

Marketers Need To Understand Social Media Habits


Natural Disaster

Retailers are struggling to meet the need. Harvey is slated to cause $1 billion in lost sales for retailers, according to an estimate by the Planalytics weather analytics firm.

Many people spent the day in a fruitless search in parts of the city, as stores remained closed due to flooding or power outages, but some bigger stores, like WalMart, were starting to get back to business.

WalMart Stores Inc. is reopening many stores in the Houston area, some on a limited basis, and trucks are coming from across the country to quickly restock shelves, says Todd Manley a regional vice president for WalMart in Texas who lives in the area.

WalMart Lends A Helping Hand


Digital Age

Traditional grocers must address a key aspect of their business in order to keep up with the digital transformation. The results of transforming to a digital business include the ability to deliver distinctive experiences that delight and engage the shopper, driving advocacy and loyalty, and delivering revenue and profit.

Digital shoppers and the information they generate have opened doors to an amazing transformation that can bring things into light that past grocers only dreamed about. Access to orders, customer profiles and buying habits, accurate predictive analysis, real time inventory visibility (even at the consumers’ pantry), and much more are now available in a digital world.

Read 7 Key Areas for Digital Transformation 


Ecommerce

China’s Alibaba Group Holding has invested at least $8 billion since 2015 in a push to expand from e-commerce into retail via physical stores. China became the world’s biggest retail market in 2016 with sales of $4.9 trillion, and 80% of those sales happened at brick-and-mortar locations, according to eMarketer.

Alibaba wants to change that. It is developing algorithms to analyze customer data such as brand membership information, purchasing history and store visit time to better understand shopper preferences and predict changes in consumption habits. The results can then be used to adjust product offerings, design fresh marketing campaigns as well as build faster supply chains that are free of layers of distributors.

Alibaba Is Betting On Brick-And-Mortar


 

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

The Industry

As home improvement spending surges, Home Depot hit their highest quarterly sales yet. Revenue for the period increased to $28.11 billion topping the $27.84 billion analyst forecasted.

In June, Americans signed more contracts to buy homes, snapping a three-month decline in pending sales. That same month, U.S. sales of new homes rose slightly, a sign that more would-be buyers are seeking newly built properties. In May U.S. home prices reached a new high for the sixth straight month.

Home Depot Is Booming


Brick- and-Mortar

The migration to the skies represents the latest volley in a clash between Walmart and Amazon to grab shoppers’ attention, loyalty and dollars.

The world’s largest retailer has applied for a U.S. patent for a floating warehouse that could make deliveries via drones, which would bring products from the aircraft down to shoppers’ homes.

The blimp-style machine would fly at heights between 500 feet and 1,000 feet (as much as 305 meters), contain multiple launching bays, and be operated autonomously or by a remote human pilot. Amazon was granted a patent for a similar vessel in April 2016.

Walmart Looks For Patent On Floating Warehouse


International Business

Estée Lauder is tackling the market from all angles by embracing the opportunities in China. After opening its own e-commerce sites for its top three brands (Clinique, Estée Lauder and Mac), the company turned to Alibaba’s consumer marketplace.

They launched brand storefronts where shoppers can browse brand content and purchase items directly through the site.

Dennis McEniry, president of the brand’s online business, said “China is a unique market. Product preferences and descriptions used in marketing are different. Social media and influencers are important, but the way to navigate that space is nuanced.”

Estee Lauder Grows E-Commerce Business in China


Fast Fashion

Can fast fashion companies keep up with the growing e-commerce competition? Analysts argue, they aren’t moving fast enough.

H&M and Zara-owner Inditex disrupted the fashion industry with lightning-fast production, trend-led products and a vast retail footprint. But today a new wave of digital disruption is coming from e-commerce players like Asos, Boohoo, Zalando and Amazon, and the fast-fashion behemoths are being uncharacteristically slow to catch up.

Is Fast Fashion Fast Enough?


I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Retail Technology

In the first four months of 2017 alone, there have been 14 retail bankruptcies–almost as many as in all of 2016. Other companies, such as J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Sears, have announced massive store closures.

Retailers who have adopted new forms of technology, such as artificial intelligence, are hitting record numbers. A few companies that have stood out so far in 2017 are Starbucks and Lowe’s.

Starbucks already allows people to order remotely and go into their retail locations to pick up drinks, and is presently deploying and A.I. assistant into their app. Called My Starbucks Barista, the feature will allow users to place orders with one tap of a button, then speak to a virtual barista. The bot then communicates with a nearby store, which makes the drink. This initiative should increase remote ordering, which already allows consumers to bypass long lines to the cash register. Smartphone payments already make up 25 percent of Starbucks’s transactions in the U.S.

Lowe’s the home improvement retailer, is proactively trying to figure out the future of retail–in fact, it has been testing store-mapping robots for two years now.LoweBots are designed to help customers find what they need in the store.

Each LoweBot employs natural-language processing to help customers find what they’re looking for. Customers can approach the LoweBot and ask for its assistance, either verbally or by typing on a touch screen. Additionally, LoweBots are equipped with 3-D scanners, so that if a person is, say, idling next to the cabinet fixtures section, it can approach and offer assistance. Once the bot knows what the customer is looking for, it then guides them towards the item in question, using smart laser sensors to navigate.

Retail Brands That Are Winning The Tech Game


Merchandising

Its no surprise Hershey company’s priority is to increase sales of its candy and snacks, but there are some facts and figures that could prove useful to retail managers. The company notes, that 56% of online grocery shoppers regularly make impulse purchases of candy and snacks before checking out. Hershey research also found shoppers linger in the candy aisle longer than any other aisle in the store, at 91 seconds (wine follows in a close second place, at 90 seconds).

As far as its own innovations go, the manufacturer noted its recently introduced stand-up candy bags provided a 5 % sales lift over its traditional lay-down bags. Hershey also touted its supply chain efficiencies, like a shelf-ready shipping box that uses 32% fewer materials that its conventional box.

Hershey’s Plan to Boost Sales


Check-Out Lines

In this day of mobile wallets and inserting cards, not everyone likes to be rushed at the checkout line. And not everyone can be. Tesco is testing a “relaxed” checkout lane at one of its stores in northern Scotland. The shopping lane is promoted to older customers, particularly those with dementia who may need a little more time to find their cash or close out the sale.

The lane includes a sign urging customers to “take as long as you need to go through checkout today.” And for those who might have strayed into the line by accident, it includes a warning: “Please be aware that you may experience a wait to complete your transaction.”

The idea came about when a Tesco employee attended a seminar on people with dementia, finding that pressure to hurry along at the grocery checkout can be stressful. Tesco has devoted two mornings a week to the relaxed lane, which includes personnel trained by a local Alzheimer’s organization to, for example, speak more slowly.

It’s a good reminder that, even in today’s zippy world, not everyone likes to be rushed. Some elderly shoppers might appreciate the social interaction.

Chill Check-Out Lanes


Transactions

Apple’s mobile payments wallet is growing quickly. The number of Apple Pay transactions in the latest quarter rose 450% from the same period a year ago, CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday during a conference call with analysts about his company’s quarterly results.The likely reason: Apple Pay expanded to a number of new international markets in 2016. It is now available in 15 countries.

In the past, Apple has said that one million new users sign up for Apple Pay each week. Apple Pay debuted in 2014 as a way to let shoppers load their credit card and debit card information onto iPhones’ “mobile wallets.” Customers can then use either their iPhone (or linked Apple Watch) to pay at retail stores equipped with point-of-sale registers supporting near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows for payments between smartphones and registers. Apple Pay users simply place their phones or watches near the registers’ sensors for payments without having to swipe a card.

More Apple Pay Users

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Energy of a Startup

“There’s a type of energy and pace that comes with startups. I enjoy wearing multiple hats.” said Jennifer Fleiss, a co-founder of clothing rental service Rent the Runway. After nine years with the company, Fleiss stepped down as CEO in March to join one of Walmart Stores’ newly launched incubator, Code 8.

Fleiss is excited to be in the fast pace startup environment again. Code 8 is still in the early phases, very different from Fleiss’ last role. In her new position, she will have six employees at their headquarters in New York City. The main product of Code 8 is a mobile, app-based experience meant to make shopping magical and delightful. It will also offer a “premium” experience not targeted to Walmart’s regular customers. Watch to see what Jennifer Fleiss does with Code 8, it sounds so intriguing. 

Walmart’s New Store: Code 8


Grocery Startup

Did the new grocery startup, Wasteless, just solve all the grocery stores’ problems? Wasteless, a startup with headquarters in Israel and New York, has introduced a new innovation dubbed the “Internet of Groceries” to reduce waste while saving customers and retailers money.

The Wasteless technology tags perishable foods in stores using an RFID chip that is intended to replace the use of the bar code. The RFID chip tracks the item’s expiration date and, using software, detects the appropriate price for the item to be sold. Newer products may cost retail price, while soon-to-expire products may be discounted by a few dollars.

The “Internet of Groceries” Startup


Tech Startup

This Dutch startup has been flying under the radar. The company turns activity data  from devices made by Strava or Garmin, and combines this with photos you’ve taken to create 3D animated videos.

Relive lets you create a more personal 3D video story of your outdoor adventures. It crunches your activity data and combines it with the GPS and timestamped photos from your phone or digital camera. The resulting video gives you a 3D fly-through of the route highlighting landmarks, including relevant images you’ve taken, pinned to a map.

The startup is still looking for investors but with almost a half a million users creating 100,000 videos a day, that shouldn’t be a problem

Relive – The Tech Startup


Ideas To Doors

The Ideas To Doors (I2D) conference, hosted by the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at The University of Arizona, is about the stories of retail entrepreneurs and Innovators. It is about the passion, the determination, the belief that they could take their ideas – as crazy as they may have seemed at the start – and get them into the doors of their retail stores and of their customers.

You will get a great deal whether you are a young student or professional or an industry veteran.  This conference is about getting an intimate peek into some amazing retail stories and innovations that are beginning to build their own legacy like many of the household names of retailing did in the decades and centuries past.  This is about feeling the energy and passion of entrepreneurs who don’t just go along but are finding their niche in the market and charging through it.

I2D is not your typical industry conference.  It isn’t about listening to speakers but about sitting in on a conversation.  It is about hearing the oftentimes gut-wrenching but always inspiring and head-shaking stories of real innovators as they navigate the startup challenge.  Learn more –> http://ideastodoors.com/

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Acquisitions

PetSmart has fetched the biggest e-commerce acquisition to date, even larger than Walmart’s $3.3 billion deal for jet.com last year. The nations’s largest pet-supplier has acquired Florida-based Chewy.com, the markets No. 1 online pet retailer.

According to Recode’s sources, the deal in place is valued at $3.35 billion. Chewy’s active e-commerce customer and culture centered around a love of pets is the ideal partner for PetSmart’s large store footprint.  Chewy has seen explosive growth after being founded by Ryan Cohen and Micheal “Blake Day” in 2011. The privately held company registered $26 million in sales during its first full year in business and logged more than $900 million in sales in 2016, the company said. Although it was not yet profitable, Cohen said in February Chewy was projected to increase revenues to nearly $2 billion this year — nearly a 7,600 percent growth spurt in just six years.

Chewy will operate as an independent subsidiary of PetSmart run by Cohen and will remain focused on its current business strategy, while PetSmart will continue to execute its strategic initiatives across the combined company, PetSmart said.

PetSmart Acquires Chewy.com


Fashion Technology

Amazon has released the new, echo look. A $200 gadget that uses its depth-sensing camera and LED lights for style selfies and fashion advice. It lets people take full-length photos and videos of their outfits using just their voices, so they can more easily compare looks and share their fashion pictures with friends.

The new device, which will include the same Alexa voice assistant as other Echo devices, is available by invite only to US customers. Invites will be granted on a rolling basis.

Amazon’s Echo Look


Mobile Ordering

MealPal, a meal subscription plan, is attempting to resuscitate the workday lunch break, while giving it a makeover. One in five employees take a lunch break during the work day, and 28% rarely or never take a lunch break. Due to the monotony of eating the same thing day after day, MealPal are looking to give employees the motivation to duck out of work for a few minutes.

Mary Biggins, the cofounder of MealPal, thinks that a similar subscription-based model to her fitness service ClassPass will reinvent the lunch break. Biggins said MealPal was created to help meet the demands of both customers and restaurant owners by offering both parties a subscription-based plan designed to encourage office workers to cash in on their lunch breaks. Members choose a 30-day subscription plan, which costs around $6 per meal

Starting the day before pickup, members can choose the restaurant they want to visit between 5:00 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. the next day. The MealPal website and app displays an image of each restaurant’s designated MealPal meal, including the ingredients, and the customer can select the meal and schedule a pickup time. When lunchtime rolls around, they can skip the line when they arrive for pickup, and their meal will be waiting for them.

MealPal, The Subscription-based Meal Plan


Supply Chain

Amazon just won the patent for “on-demand apparel manufacturing,” in which machines only start snipping and stitching once an order has been placed.

The computerized system would include textile printers, cutters and an assembly like, as well as cameras designed to snap images of garments that would provide feedback on alterations needed. In order to increase efficiency, the goods would be manufactured in batches based on factors such as the customer shipping address.

By aggregating orders from various geographic locations and coordinating apparel assembly processes on a large scale, the embodiments provide new ways to increase efficiency in apparel manufacturing.

Amazon applied for the patent in late 2015 and it is yet to be determined if such a facility is being built. The e-commerce giant has its sights set on being a giant player in the clothing industry.

On-Demand Apparel Manufacturing Warehouse


 

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.