Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘retail’ Category

I Need A New Toaster!

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I need to order a new toaster.

My old one recently died a premature death.

Where do I find a new toaster?

The last one had been a wonderful wedding gift (which made me all the more reluctant to buy a new one…I’d be getting rid of a precious wedding gift…well, as precious as a toaster can get).

I could cook toast in the oven, but it’s not the same as a toaster, I don’t think. You have to keep a close eye on it, and I have to remove all those pots and pans from the oven first before I can toast anything. It’s just a hassle.

So, I’m now in the market for a toaster. How is that gonna go down?

Well, if it’s anything like the new French Presse coffee maker I ordered due to a crack in the old one (not a wedding gift), it’s gonna a little something like this: I’m going to go to Amazon, do a quick search, and buy the cheapest toaster I can find.

That’s how it’s gonna go.

But just overnight, Walmart and Google announced a new partnership that could change the toaster ordering game….at least for those who use the Google Assistant.

As reported by TechCrunch, the new partnership will enable voice shopping through Google Assistant, and will tap into Walmart’s “Easy Reorder” feature through an integration with Google’s shopping service, Google Express.

Sam Walton would be proud: You can now talk directly to Walmart and order your stuff. Even a toaster.

Furthermore, the story continues, Google Express is ditching its own membership fees (take that, Jeff B!), and is promising free delivery across its retailers in one to three days, assuming the customer orders are above each store’s minimum.

So, this is basically Google and Walmart ganging up to beat up on their friend, Amazon, and working to steal some share from Amazon Echo in the process.

“Okay, Google, but what if I’m already an Amazon Echo man?”

“Google? Google, are you there?!”

Written by turbotodd

August 23, 2017 at 8:47 am

Pets at Home Builds In-Store Digital Experience with iPad App Using IBM MobileFirst Capabilities

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Pets at Home, the UK’s leading pet specialist retailer and IBM today announced the launch of Sales Assist, an IBM MobileFirst for iOS app for iPad which will be used across 440 stores nationwide to make it easier and simpler for customers to purchase the products they need.

Pets at Home offers a unique omni-channel experience for pet owners, including a large network of stores, brand websites, innovative and exclusive products, and pet services through vet practices and grooming salons.

With the Pets at Home website capturing some of the highest levels of web traffic in the pet care retail market, IBM is working with the brand to further evolve the digital experience and bring it to life in stores across the country.

Previously, customers who were unable to secure the right products and services for their pets had to either go online or visit another store. However, the introduction of Sales Assist into Pets at Home stores means that store colleagues now have a fast way to access a wider range of insights and products to be able to convert these enquiries into sales on the spot.

“At Pets at Home, we’re investing in innovative new technology to reinvent the retail experience for our customers. We want our consumers to be able to learn about and order the right products across every channel, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation, “said Chris Holyland, Ecommerce Director at Pets at Home. “By customizing Sales Assist, in collaboration with IBM and Apple, we are providing our consumers with access to an even bigger range of goods regardless of location. The unique tool allows our colleagues to confidently show product information, ratings and reviews from the shop floor, opening up opportunities to foster higher brand engagement and ultimately provide our consumers with the experience they expect.”

Sales Assist is one of over 100 apps in the IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio that are changing the nature of work for retailers and global companies across industries by putting real-time data in the hands of employees.

Using iPad, more than 3,000 Pets at Home store colleagues will have quick access to the retailer’s product databases while assisting customers to provide a more compelling in-store experience.

You can learn more about IBM MobileFirst technology here.

Written by turbotodd

July 11, 2017 at 9:14 am

Amazon Eats The Whole Food

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Since when did Fridays become M&A days? Did I miss a memo?

The big elephant deal in the room is Amazon’s acquisition of Austin’s own Whole Foods Market for a whopping $13.7 billion in an all cash transaction (what, no PayPal??).

Here’s what the two companies’ respective founders had to say:

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.” “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO.
– via phx.corporate-ir.net

Also according to the press release, Whole Foods Market will continue to operate under the Whole Foods Market brand, and John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market. And their HQ will stay here in Austin.

The other deal was Walmart’s announcement that it had acquired Bonobos, a 10-year-old mens clothing brand that started as an online mens pants sales operation but later expanded into brick-and-mortar.

According to Recode, in that deal Walmart is paying $310 million in cash, and is offering $20M golden handcuffs to Bonobos co-founder and CEO Andy, along with other top executives.

Recode speculates that Walmat may end up selling Bonobos apparel less through Walmart stores or Walmart.com, and more through Jet.com, another shopping site it acquired for $3B that is aimed at an upmarket shopper.

At last count, Amazon’s stock was up 3.41 percent on the announcement of the Whole Foods acquisition, while Walmart’s stock was down 4.95 percent.

Written by turbotodd

June 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

Super Triple Discount Double Check

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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Don’t get me started on the weekend’s football games.

As a longtime Dallas Cowboys fan, I’ve become accustomed to getting my heart broken in the postseason over these past 20 long years.

And while I’m very proud of our rookie lead team this year, I do have some sour grapes over Dallas spiking the ball so prematurely there at the end.

You can never…EVER…under any circustances…underestimate the abilities of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Super triple discount double check, game over.

Congrats to the Packers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots, and the Atlanta Falcons. I have a feeling we could be seeing a Pack/Pats SuperBowl in H-town, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Now, on to the world of technology for a moment.

Recode is reporting that Walmart is broadening the roles of two of is key executives and giving them new oversight in the company’s U.S. e-commerce website and its retail stores.

Jeremy King, who was previously the chief technology officer of Walmart e-commerce operations in the US, will now oversee technology teams for Walmart’s physical stores in addition to its online stores.

Similarly, Tony Rogers, who was previously CMO for Walmart U.S. stores, will now also serve as head of marketing for Walmart.com and Jet.com.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement “We were starting to see our store as an e-commerce team solving many of the same problems and now we can remove what might have been become more duplication in the future. I know change isn’t always easy. But I’m certain that our future success is partially dependent on becoming more of a technology company in our stores and clubs and everyone everywhere else the customer sees us.”

I don’t expect this will be the last major retailer to make such moves, and in fact, could start a trend.

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

Posted in 2017, ecommerce, football, NFL, retail

Ermes Group To Use IBM Watson Commerce To Engage Customers With Timely In-Store Sales

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IBM has announced a new partnership with Ermes Group, the largest and most diversified retailer in Cyprus.

Ermes Group will be leveraging IBM’s Watson Commerce pricing optimization solutions to help ensure product markdowns resonate with value-seeking customers while maximizing profits across all its retail locations relating to Debenhams Department Stores, Next Stores, Oviesse Stores, Peacocks Stores, and Uber Stores.

Product pricing mark downs are a common practice for retailers today. The challenge is identifying the ideal price point and timing of these discounts to deliver cost-conscious customers great deals while avoiding the need to sell items at a loss that erodes potential profits.

This was precisely the issue for Ermes Group, which decided to move from a rather manual approach to IBM’s cloud-based Watson Price Optimization capabilities.

Working with IBM, Ermes is now able to automatically determine which specific products in each store should be marked down due to stagnant sales, what the new price should be and when the reduction should take place.

Previously, teams had to manually go line by line for every product to determine how it was performing and if they should put it on sale. Since going live with IBM, Ermes has significantly streamlined its retail pricing strategy while increasing profits. 

“Due to shifts in styles and consumer demands, product markdowns are a reality that all retailers must face. The key is knowing both when to act and what price point will allow the business to still profit on each item left in stock,” said Sophocles Sophocleous, Purchasing Manager of Ermes Department Stores Plc. “With IBM’s cloud offering, our merchandising team can easily and quickly determine which products are lagging in sales and what steps we need to take to get these items moving off the shelf.”

IBM recently released a new study focused on Generation Z, a group that possesses $44 billion in spending power. According to the study, the majority of Generation Z make purchases in the store. Of this group, 66 percent do so because they believe they get good deals and value for their money.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Online Retailer LabelSneak Leverages IBM Smarter Commerce Technologies To Glean Mobile/Social Insights, Bolster Sales

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LabelSneak teamed with IBM and IBM Business Partner CSI Solution to connect with the growing marketplace of consumers who prefer to buy across online, mobile and social channels. IBM Smarter Commerce precision marketing is allowing consumers to choose which sales promotions they want to be alerted to or when their favorite clothing item goes on sale via text, tweet, Facebook post or email. This can be a more effective sales method as smaller retailers can deliver a level of personalization and a more tailored marketing campaign to the individual consumer.

LabelSneak teamed with IBM and IBM Business Partner CSI Solution to connect with the growing marketplace of consumers who prefer to buy across online, mobile and social channels. IBM Smarter Commerce precision marketing is allowing consumers to choose which sales promotions they want to be alerted to or when their favorite clothing item goes on sale via text, tweet, Facebook post or email. This can be a more effective sales method as smaller retailers can deliver a level of personalization and a more tailored marketing campaign to the individual consumer.

There’s some new news on the Smarter Commerce front from IBM.

Earlier today, IBM announced a collaboration with LabelSneak, a small online retailer of discounted designer men’s wear, which is using IBM Smarter Commerce technologies to create a unique shopping experience aimed at the millennial consumer.

As a result, LabelSneak has seen 148 percent growth in revenues, tripling sales in less than a year.

For The Fashion Conscious Male

LabelSneak is an outlet store aimed at brand aware males, and offers discounts of up to 75 percent on fashion and sportswear, alerting its consumers via social channels to personalized, limited-time sales offers.

With new deals updated regularly, the site generates tremendous amounts of data, including Tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook comments on popular sales items and conversations between consumers on favorite brands through social channels, mobile and tablet devices.

LabelSneak’s challenge was this: To capture and glean insights from all this big data to better understand what consumers were saying about the latest promotions, which items were the most popular and at what time and in what circumstances sales were most effective.

They also needed analytics to better target and mold online sales campaigns and to decide which social channels effectively communicated its message to attract new customers.

LabelSneak teamed with IBM and IBM Business Partner CSI Solution to connect with the growing marketplace of consumers who prefer to buy across online, mobile and social channels.

With access to IBM Global Financing within minutes, the small retailer is now using IBM Smarter Commerce technology to handle high volumes of transactions as well as the large volumes and variety of data, CSI’s RapidCommerce Cloud Managed Service Solution has helped LabelSneak create a site to more effectively target the digitally savvy millennial consumer with an integrated brand experience across all devices.

To date, the platform is supporting a rapid pace of growth, enabling the client to focus its time and resources on growing the business such as conducting sales promotions, gleaning insights from Facebook comments or tweets.

The Competitive Challenge

Fashion companies of every size and style are vying for a slice of the men’s wear market. To compete with more established retailer brands, LabelSneak needed to better understand men’s online consumer behavior, create a more tailored marketing campaign and deliver the right merchandising mix.

Not only is LabelSneak gleaning insights from data analyzing which brands to carry, but they also are seeing how consumer preferences for certain brands in men’s wear are connected to a favorite sports teams or music.

Background On IBM Smarter Commerce

IBM Smarter Commerce precision marketing is allowing consumers to choose which sales promotions they want to be alerted to or when their favorite clothing item goes on sale via text, tweet, Facebook post or email.

This can be a more effective sales method as smaller retailers can deliver a level of personalization and a more tailored marketing campaign to the individual consumer.

IBM Smarter Commerce provides intelligent automation of marketing, sales, customer service and procurement to help chief marketing officers, chief procurement officers, sales, e-commerce, supply chain and customer service executives do their jobs more productively and efficiently.

Go here if you’d like to do some shopping on LabelSneak.

Not Back In Davos

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It’s that time of the year.

The year when all the smart, rich, famous and well-connected show up in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

I’m sure it’s nothing personal, but once again for as many years as I care to remember, my invitation never showed.

That’s okay, as things are pretty busy around here as we get off to a fast start in 2013.

However, I did really enjoy Alison Smale’s big picture set up piece for Davos this in The New York Time’s DealBook.

And if I were in attendance, that’s the type view I would be eagerly seeking — What are the general macroindicators and movements that smart peeps think are going to shape the year?

Some will be currents we can’t yet see, and as Smale observes, “Our footing is uncertain, as on this ski resort’s slithery streets, and we have steep slopes to climb, as the Magic Mountain will remind the global elite this week.”

Troubles in north Africa, the challenge of free information in China, anemic growth in Germany, the averted fiscal cliff but once again looming U.S. debt ceiling…”Crisis, in short,” writes Smale, “is the new normal.”

Speaking of Germany, also increasingly normal is the threat of cyber intrusion, according to a panel at the DLD conference ending today in Munich.

In coverage by Frederic Larinois from TechCrunch of Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, the Internet security firm, and F-Secure’s chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, it became readily apparent that cyber intrusion sophistication is reaching new levels.

Kaspersky spoke of recent cyber attacks like Stuxnet and Red October, suggesting such efforts have reached the equivalent of the “space station” in terms of their sophistication and impact, while Hypponen said the “happy hacker” of the 80s and 90s was long, and that instead “we now have to deal with criminals who try to make money from their malware and botnets, hacktivists who try to protest and governments attacking their own citizens and other governments for espionage and full-scale cyber warfare.”

The cyber genie, in other words, is well out of the virtual bottle.

So, let’s forget about all these woes for a few, shall we, and go shopping instead?

IBM’s new study of 26,000 global consumers will be coming out soon, and the early skinny has it revealing some interesting insights, including the fact that 35 percent of shoppers are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online.

Talk about a confused consumer!

It also revealed that nearly half of online purchases result from “showrooming,” a growing trend whereby consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online.

You’ve done that before, haven’t you?  You just didn’t know there was a fancy name for it!

Ultimately, consumers are seeking an integrated shopping experience.  So, in response, retailers need to connect their online and physical stores, blending the benefits of each — from research to purchase to building brand loyalty, to that ultimate golden chalice of retail, repeat sales.

IBM is helping through its analytics capabilities, helping retailers measure sales metrics across digital channels to spot consumer buying patterns and visualizing product display, promotions, and even coupons in new ways.

Visit the IBM Smarter Retail web site to learn how your organization can create an integrated shopping experience.

Me, I’ve got to run down to the Amazon store for some new typewriter ribbons. 😉

Written by turbotodd

January 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

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