Inventory / Merchandising / Supply Chain

Supply chain challenges are mounting for many retailers, especially those operating in multiple regions of the country and abroad. Consumers expect to be able to order and purchase products via any channel, then have them delivered to their channel of choice – and quickly! New technologies are providing the ways and means for merchants to deliver on the promise of omnichannel excellence. Now retailers must find the best ways to implement new solutions to stay competitive.

Blockchain-As-A-Service: How Brands And Retailers Can Get In On The Blockchain Game

When most hear the term blockchain, the first thing that comes to mind is cryptocurrency. And while it was initially developed to track the exchange of bitcoin, blockchain (also known as distributed ledger technology) has evolved far beyond its financial origins. Now, organizations across every industry are exploring blockchain for its ability to create an immutable, shared record of all business data and transactions. Blockchain has become a hot topic, particularly among consumer brands and retailers. The technology has been projected to impact nearly every aspect of the retail landscape in the coming years, from payment methods and customer engagement to marketing and — perhaps the most promising application — supply chain management.

Food City Pilots Blockchain-Powered Sourcing Solution For Seafood

The Food City supermarket chain will test a solution powered by blockchain that is designed to provide better lines of sight into ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of the seafood sold in its stores. Topco Associates LLC, a U.S. food cooperative, will be testing the Wholechain traceability system from Envisible at its member grocery chains, beginning with Food City. The Envisible system is powered by Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance Solution. “Using Envisible Wholechain, powered by Mastercard, our grocers will be able to stock shelves with confidence and also be able to pinpoint issues in the food chain during any unfortunate events such as recalls,” said Dan Glei, EVP, Merchandising and Marketing at Food City in a statement.

The Now Economy Is Booming. Is Your Supply Chain Ready?

It’s increasingly evident that the customer experience is driving the retail evolution and continuing to create new challenges for businesses across the globe. With consumer expectations at an all-time high, businesses are expected to know exactly who their customers are, what they want, and how to create a competitive experience that will rise above the rest. For instance, services like Amazon Prime, Uber and DoorDash are setting a precedent for immediate communication from merchants, and customers are growing accustomed to lightning-speed service as a result. Operating in what has now been dubbed the “Now Economy,” it’s clear that businesses, and their supply chains, must evolve from traditional practices and reach consumers in a fast and cost-effective manner. 

Lucky Brand Leverages Operations Data To Improve Inventory Visibility Across 200+ Stores

With a network of 200+ stores that fulfills almost half of the denim company’s online orders, Lucky Brand sought new technology to improve its cross-channel delivery operations, starting with inventory visibility. Mike Relich, COO of Lucky Brand, described the previous backend retail operations at the company as “opaque,” prior to working with operations data platform SoundCommerce. Now, Lucky Brand has greater transparency into processes such as: Length of time taken for a specific product to be picked, delivered to the UPS hub and delivered to the customer’s doorstep; Potential profitability of transactions and individual shoppers, and customer lifetime value (CLV); and Specific failures or roadblocks in the delivery process, and where they can be improved.

The Three Essential Tech Tools Every Retail Delivery Fleet Needs

For a retail business running its own in-house fleet, the right tools can make a huge impact on efficiency, margins and customer experience. I’ve talked with thousands of fleets during my four years in this space, as co-founder of Onfleet, and in those conversations some common themes have emerged. The most successful delivery operations all seem to use these three essential tech tools.

BBQ Guys Optimizes Shipping Choices To Streamline Fulfillment Processes

Maintaining clear communication is vital to retail success, but this can be a challenge for fast-growing companies with an expanding roster of suppliers, workers and carriers that need to stay in touch through a range of channels. In the case of BBQ Guys, this has meant continuously connecting hundreds of suppliers while maintaining 15% to 20% annual revenue growth for nearly 20 years. “Whether it's from a customer standpoint, a vendor standpoint or a supplier standpoint, no matter who it is, we always want to be easy to do business with,” said Corey Tisdale, CEO of BBQ Guys in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. "We've grown to over 600 suppliers, and we always did business with these suppliers however they wanted in the past, so we had basically 600 different processes that were all variations of a similar theme. We got to the point where being able to effectively communicate in a timely fashion with all of our vendors and customers was really becoming a struggle because of how fast we're growing.”

How Retailers Can Compete With Amazon At Its Own Supply Chain Game

While few things remain constant in retail, the customer always comes first. And in today’s Amazon Prime world, customers demand faster, cheaper and more convenient fulfillment options than ever before. Retailers are scrambling to keep pace, offering everything from pre-selected delivery slots and buy online, pick up-in-store (BOPIS) to two-hour delivery windows in an effort to provide the seamless, channel-less experience customers expect. Yet retailers are struggling to accurately determine what, when, where and how much customers will buy. To beat this real-time “last mile” supply chain challenge and successfully compete with Amazon, retailers must take a page from the retail giant’s own playbook and leverage their stores as one unified distribution center to achieve massive margin gains. 

Boutique La Vie en Rose Implements Unified Systems To Fuel International Growth

Earlier this year, executives at Boutique La Vie en Rose realized that its backend systems weren’t capable of supporting the retailer’s plans for growth. While the technology infrastructure for the Canadian lingerie, loungewear and swimwear retailer had been adequate for decades, healthy omnichannel growth required replacing legacy systems with more modern tools.

TrueCommerce Acquires Supply Chain Management Platform Provider ecUtopia

TrueCommerce has acquired fellow cloud-based supply chain collaboration and visibility platform ecUtopia for an undisclosed sum. With the acquisition, TrueCommerce gains a strategic technology service that strengthens its commerce network in several market segments, specifically home furnishings and apparel. The TrueCommerce solutions are designed to help retailers connect their business across the supply chain under one global network, integrating processes including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), inventory management and fulfillment, as well as e-Commerce hubs such as digital storefronts and marketplaces.

How Retail Inventory Efficiency And Accuracy Impacts The Customer Experience

As omnichannel retailing requires greater and greater precision, the stakes surrounding inventory accuracy — or the lack thereof — are increasing dramatically. According to a report from the International Council of Shopping Centers, an estimated 151 million people visited a mall or shopping center over 2018’s Black Friday weekend. The vast bulk of spending volume for the weekend — 88% — went to omnichannel retailers, i.e. brands with web sites the consumers at least had the opportunity to shop before entering the store.

Why The Retail Supply Chain Demands Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is at the top of the agenda for many retailers; however, this is only the beginning of the retail industry’s efforts to embrace digital change. According to a 2018 report by SAP, only 22% of retailers investing in digital transformation were within the planning stage, and 55% were still running pilot schemes. Evidently, there was still a long way to go, as only 3% of retail businesses had completed digital transformation projects. Consumer demand has shifted, with fast-changing preferences seeing consumers demanding the products they want, when they want and where they want them. Today’s consumer lives in an ‘always-on’ world, driven by connected technologies centered around convenience. The retail sector has been slow to keep pace with this changing consumer demand, and unless it can accelerate the pace of digital transformation, the gulf between consumer demand and satisfaction will only grow wider, placing customer loyalty at risk.

Establishing Zero Distance Supply Chains – A Survival Necessity For CPG

(Left: Takshay Aggarwal, Middle: Manish Varshney, Right: Kishor Gummaraju) The key mission of every CPG company is to deliver its brand promise. The Baby Boomer generation drove the growth of packaged goods and made companies like Kellogg’s, P&G and Kraft Heinz household names and darlings of Wall Street. While the growth in the last three decades has been good, this engine has been slowing and has come to a grinding halt in the last five years, in the range of 0.6% to 1.0% growth. In addition, stocks of major CPG companies hit 52-week lows in a roaring stock market.

Kroger Says: Houston, We Have Autonomous Delivery

Kroger is expanding its self-driving delivery pilot to two Houston stores in spring 2019. Kroger and robotics company Nuro have operated a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Ariz. for a Fry Food Stores location since August 2018, serving a single zip code with an autonomous vehicle fleet and completing thousands of deliveries, according to a company statement. Customers in four Houston ZIP codes served by the new program will be able to place orders for same-day or next-day delivery via or the Kroger mobile app, based on time slot availability. The service, to be available seven days a week, will carry a $5.95 flat fee, with no minimum order requirement.
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