OPERATIONS

Amazon opens online 3D printed products store

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com has opened a 3D printed products store, an online marketplace that gives customers access to more than 200 unique print on-demand products, many that can be customized by material, size, styles and color variations, and personalized with text and image imprints. The new store features search tools, interactive 3D preview functionality and a product personalization widget.

Items for sale include jewelry, toys, home décor and fashion accessories. The new store will feature design templates for customers to put their individual style on an item they create and 3D preview capability to enhance the customer experience. With the 3D product preview function, customers will be able to 360 degree rotate a virtual model of a product to tailor the item from every angle. After an item is personalized and the customer has finished the checkout process, the item is 3D printed on-demand by a manufacturing provider and shipped directly to the customer.

“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail — that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience,” said Petra Schindler-Carter, director for Amazon Marketplace Sales. “The 3D printed products store allows us to help sellers, designers and manufacturers reach millions of customers. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own, while providing a fun and creative customer experience to personalize a potentially infinite number of products at great prices across many product categories.”

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Survey: Retail supply chain execs seek seamless customer experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston — The top company initiative among retail supply chain executives is “to enable a seamless customer experience online and in the store.” According to the new 2014 Supply Chain Benchmark Survey from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), this “unified commerce” initiative as the evolution of both multichannel and omnichannel retailing to provide a seamless shopping experience whether in the store, on the Web or anywhere customers choose to shop on their mobile devices.

The 2014 survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current capabilities, planned initiatives, priorities and future trends as identified by each respondent’s top supply chain professionals. Key findings that demonstrate the achievements and/or priorities of retailers in delivering a unified commerce supply chain include:

• Focused on unified commerce: 93% are adopting a unified commerce model with 54% in the planning stages and 39% currently implementing solutions.

• Cross-channel inventory fulfillment: 75% of retailers can fulfill inventory across multiple channels.

• Corporate initiative: 63% identified “enable seamless customer experience online and in the store” as a top initiative.

While unified commerce is a top priority, there is still a significant amount of work to be done to achieve it, as identified by these findings:

• Organizations have silos: 22% of companies indicated that they have merged their channels into a single organization.

• Managing supply chain with spreadsheets: 46% of respondents use static spreadsheets to manage their supply chain planning.

• Limited cross-channel inventory visibility: 40% provide in-store “available to promise” (ATP) visibility to customers yet only 20% have this same visibility for their internal staff.

“Just as technology has provided continuous connectivity and responsiveness to the consumer, it also provides the tools to create a robust, responsive and information-rich supply chain,” said Ken Morris, a principal of Boston Retail Partners. “With advanced networks and sophisticated software and analytics, the technology is readily available to enable unified commerce. Now is the time to align the people and processes with the technology to make real-time retail a reality!”

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News

Hormel Foods bolsters board with three key elections

BY CSA STAFF

Hormel Foods Corporation has elected three new members to its board of directors: Gary C. Bhojwani, chairman of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America; Sally J. Smith, president and CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings; and Steven A. White, president, Comcast West Division.

“We welcome Gary, Sally and Steve to our board and look forward to their valuable input and contributions to the growth and success of Hormel Foods,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Hormel Foods.

Bhojwani is chairman of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and a member of the board of management of Allianz SE with responsibility for insurance in the USA. In this role, Bhojwani is responsible for overseeing both Allianz Life and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. Bhojwani joined Allianz Life in 2007 as president and CEO. He currently serves as a director on the boards of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Teach for America Twin Cities, the American Council of Life Insurers and the Financial Services Roundtable. In addition, he is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

As president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, Smith leads one of the nation’s fastest-growing national restaurant chains, which includes more than 1,030 restaurants in the United States, Canada and Mexico with system-wide revenue of more than $2.8 billion. During the past 10 years, the company has achieved compounded annual revenue growth of 26% and compounded annual net income growth of more than 35%. Smith served as the 2011 chairman of the National Restaurant Association board of directors. She is a director of Alerus Financial Corporation, Allina Health System and is also a member of World Presidents’ Organization and Women Corporate Directors.

White currently serves as the president of Comcast West Division. In this role, he is the senior executive responsible for all Comcast cable operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Texas and Wisconsin. He leads nearly 28,000 employees and serves more than 7 million customers, driving annual revenue of nearly $13 billion. White currently serves on the board of directors of the Comcast Foundation, COMPAC, WICT Northern California and Denver Scholarship Foundation. In addition, he serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), Delta Boulé and Colorado Forum.

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products.

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