OPERATIONS

Amazon opens ‘Wearable Technology’ shop on its site

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Amazon has opened a Wearable Technology store on its website, which it describes as a one-stop shop where customers can discover the latest in wearable technology and research wearable devices including activity trackers, smart watches and wearable cameras.

“Wearable technology is an exciting category with rapid innovation and our customers are increasingly coming to Amazon to shop and learn about these devices,” said John Nemeth, director of wireless and mobile electronics at Amazon. “We’re thrilled to bring our customers a store with the largest selection and great prices that helps eliminate the guesswork when deciding which wearable devices best fit their needs — whether that is tracking activity, staying connected through smart watches or capturing their next adventure with wearable cameras.”

To help customers learn more about wearable technology, the store features a “Learning Center” that includes product videos and detailed buying guides. These resources provide information about device compatibility, product comparisons and use-case suggestions to help customers find the right device for them. Customers can also take advantage of the “Editor’s Corner” to find information about wearable technology industry news and device reviews.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Walmart and CEOs meet to accelerate supply chain innovation

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart on Tuesday joined with CEOs from more than a dozen global companies to sign new commitments that accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture and recycling. The pledges kicked off Walmart’s first-ever Sustainable Product Expo, a three-day collaboration to expand the availability of products that sustain people and the environment. Together, the participating suppliers represent more than $100 billion in sales at Walmart.

Eight of the largest food companies announced pledges to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is affordable and sustainable for the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. The commitments aim to drive more collaboration and efficiency across the current food system. In total, this work is expected to bring eight million acres of farmland into sustainable agriculture programs and eliminate six million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Additionally, companies joined with Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in announcing plans to launch a groundbreaking recycling initiative called the Closed Loop Fund, with the goal of making recycling available to all Americans. The Fund aims to invest $100 million in recycling infrastructure projects and spur private and public funding for transforming the recycling system in the United States.

“Walmart and our suppliers recognize that collaboration is the key to bringing sustainable solutions to all of our customers,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Stores. “A great deal of innovative work is happening every day, but there are still too many gaps and missed opportunities. Today’s commitments are about creating real systems change from one end of the supply chain to the other — meaning how products are grown and made, how they’re transported and sold, and how we touch the lives of people along the way.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

NRF: Consumers to spend less on Mother’s Day

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Consumers this year will celebrate Mother’s Day keeping practicality in mind. According to NRF’s 2014 Mother’s Day Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on Mother’s Day in 2014, down 3.5% from a survey high of $168.94 in 2013. Total spending is expected to reach $19.9 billion.

Most consumers will purchase a greeting card (81.3%), and two-thirds (66.6%) of those celebrating will buy flowers, spending a total of $2.3 billion, and 33.5% will spend a total of $1.7 billion on apparel and accessory items. Other popular items include books and CDs ($480 million), housewares or gardening tools ($812 million), personal experience gifts like a day at the spa ($1.5 billion), jewelry ($3.6 billion), and special outings like brunch or dinner ($3.8 billion).

About 13% of survey respondents say they will buy a consumer electronic item and will spend a total of $1.7 billion, down 26% from $2.3 billion last year. Spending on gift cards will rise 5% to $2.1 billion from $2 billion in 2013, with 43.3% of consumers purchasing a gift card, up from 41.5% the prior year.

Most shoppers will head to specialty stores to find gifts (33.5%), but others will shop at department stores (32.4%), discount stores (24%), and online (29%).

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