OPERATIONS

Amazon scores important win in huge foreign market

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon has won the right to sell groceries in India.

The online giant currently sells groceries in India through a local partner. But it recently secured government approval to stock and sell its own food items, reported the Nikkei Asian Review.

Amazon was given the green light to invest as much as $515 million in food retailing in India, according to the report, which will be spread over a five-year period. Last year, the Indian government relaxed rules to allow foreign firms to sell groceries and food items directly to the public.

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OPERATIONS

Study: Retailers should incentivize use of BOPIS drive store traffic

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Shoppers are buying more goods than ever online, but they also are increasingly picking the items up at — and returning them to — brick-and-mortar store.

That's according to JDA Software's third annual “JDA Consumer Survey,” in which 50% of respondents used BOPIS services in the last 12 months, up 44% from JDA's 2015 consumer survey. In-store returns of goods purchased online is also way up: Nearly one in three shoppers took advantage of buy online return in store (BORIS) services this year, up from only 20% in 2016.

“While there has been speculation of a ‘retail apocalypse,’ that doesn’t seem to hold true for consumers," said Jim Prewitt, VP of retail industry strategy at JDA. "No longer the only channel for shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are still a key cornerstone for a quick and easy shopping experience and the facilitator for popular fulfillment options, like BOPIS and buy online return in store (BORIS).”

The JDA survey revealed that by offering incentives, retailers could significantly increase the number of shoppers who take advantage of BOPIS. Eighty percent of shoppers said they would consider using BOPIS if retailers offered price discounts or incentives. (In April, Walmart announced it would start offering a discount on select BOPIS items.)

"While some retailers are already testing out ways to incentivize consumers to choose BOPIS services over home delivery, our research found that this could be a successful way to capture shopper attention in today’s competitive marketplace and further validate the role that BOPIS will play in the success of retail stores,” said Prewitt. “By offering incentives to shoppers to use BOPIS, like discounting, retailers are driving more foot traffic into stores, and potentially, buying more than they intended to, once they arrive at the store, boosting store sales.”

In addition to leveraging existing store inventory and streamlining shipping logistics, BOPIS provides a sales opportunity for retailers. Of the respondents that use buy online pickup in store services, 40% “sometimes” made additional purchases in-store.

BOPIS adoption remains tied to consumers’ desire for convenience. Avoiding home delivery (40%) and wanting the product sooner (33%) remain the top reasons for selecting the fulfillment option, similar to findings in 2016 and 2015. And with more retailers successfully implementing the service, 58% respondents did not experience a problem with the service during the last year.

But problems still exist, and they continue to be associated with mismanaged staffing. Twenty-three percent of respondents found that store staff took a long time or were unable to find the shopper’s order in their store system, and 16% found that there were no dedicated in-store staff for BOPIS purchases. This is consistent with 2016 results, and showcases the need to refine workforce management for new fulfillment channels, according to JDA.

In other findings from the report:

• Forty-four percent of respondents who returned goods purchased online in stores did so because the item was not what they expected it to be. Over 30% used BOPIS because they did not want to deal with the hassle of return deliveries, and 17% did so because they believed they would receive their refund/exchange faster.

• Twenty-six percent of respondents have leveraged social media to purchase an item online, with those ages 18-29 years old more likely to do so (35%) than other age groups. Facebook (81%) and Instagram (26%) were the most widely used social media channels for online purchases.

“Social media continues to be a channel for consumers to browse, but is still emerging as a path-to-purchase,” Prewitt said. “That means retailers need to continue refining these channels as shoppers begin to embrace them, particularly as the Gen Z generation of shoppers increases.”

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Accessories retailer readies for international expansion

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

With plans to triple its store portfolio in six years, Parfois needs to expertly anticipate demand and gain global visibility into its inventory.

By partnering with Oracle, the accessories retailer is one step closer to scaling its operations. Parfois added the Oracle Retail Merchandise Operations Suite and the Oracle Retail Warehouse Management System — two solutions that will support the company’s high growth and international expansion plans.

Parfois designs and develops 3,500 SKUs each season, and adds new items and merchandising in every store, each week. However, the company’s previous merchandising processes couldn’t scale to support these introductions or new business models. In fact, several core processes were supported by Excel-based tools that were often prone to human error and a lack of consistency, according to the retailer.

By using the new platforms, the retailer now has a modern interface and persona driven dashboards that deliver a holistic vision of demand, and inventory status. The solutions also provide a consistent and reliable core operations engine.

"Our transformational initiative allowed us to evolve and efficiently prepare for growth opportunities today and tomorrow,” said Frederico Santos, CIO and CFO, Parfois. “By gaining visibility into inventory and adopting industry best practices, we can better anticipate demand and plan inventory placement.”

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