TECHNOLOGY

Denim specialty retailer helps shoppers find the ‘perfect fitting jeans’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Silver Jeans Co.’s newest service solves one of female consumers’ most dreaded tasks — shopping for jeans.

By partnering with Fitcode, a fashion-data company that specializes in women's denim, Silver Jeans Co. now has a way to deliver a personalized, fit-focused shopping experience. Integrated on the retailer’s e-commerce site, the service allows consumers to take a fit quiz, and then shop personalized style recommendations tailored to their unique body types.

The denim-focused retailer pursued the project after seeing the positive results it delivered through a program with Jag Jeans — a company also operated by its parent company, Western Glove Works. Jag Jeans went live with the solution in February.

"After seeing the results from the Fitcode integration on the jagjeans.com site, this decision was simple," says Mike G. Girardin, director of e-commerce at Silver Jeans Co. and JAG Jeans. “Fitcode took care of all the heavy lifting, and of all the technical integrations we've done to date, this was by far the easiest.”

Silver Jeans has high expectations for the service. For example, since Jag Jeans launched the service, users are converting at four times their normal rate. Other results showed that consumers are at least three times more likely to make a purchase while using Fitcode, according to the company.

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TECHNOLOGY

AmazonBasics defines online giant’s private-label efforts

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Private-label introductions are increasing on a seemingly daily basis, but Amazon-owned products are transforming the marketplace.

This was according to “AmazonBasics Spearheads Amazon Private Brands,” research from One Click Retail.

While most consumers are familiar with the online giant’s proprietary Amazon Echo and Echo Dot (the two bestselling items of both Prime Day 2017 and the 2016 Holiday shopping season), the company’s other private-label merchandise, such as Wickedly Prime snacks, Lark &amp Ro apparel and Happy Belly snack foods, also pack a punch.

However, it is AmazonBasics that leads the charge — a line that contributes to 85% of Amazon’s private brand sales. This collection is also cannibalizing other Amazon brands.

For example, sales of bedding and bath label Pinzon have fallen by 50% so far this year (about $8 million in lost sales), while AmazonBasics has moved into those same categories. Specifically, it has seen a growth of about 50% (or nearly $10 million in sales), primarily in bedding. This indicates an intention on the part of Amazon to reinvest in the broader — and more successful — AmazonBasics brand and move away from niche labels, One Click Retail said.

Amazon’s private-label strategy has been so successful that AmazonBasics is now the third best-selling brand overall on Amazon.com, and ranks highly in many product groups (fourth overall in both electronics and wireless). Originally known for its flagship product — a range of affordable household batteries — the brand has now made an impact across a wide range of categories. The bulk of sales are in accessories for electronics (approximately $35 million), including wireless, camera and PC. One unexpected success is paper shredders, the brand’s third-largest category overall. This category also features the best-selling paper shredder on Amazon.

Nineteen of the top 20 bestselling private brand items on Amazon fall under the AmazonBasics label, with an Apple-certified USB cable being the top item in the U.S., Canada, Germany and the U.K. (In fact, this item has generated approximately $10 million in sales in 2017, year-to-date [YTD].)

Outside of AmazonBasics, the best-selling private-label item is Amazon Elements Baby Wipes, Sensitive, 480 Count, which has earned $2.5 million in sales YTD. This ranks only third behind Huggies and Pampers in the Baby Wipes space.

The bestselling product group among the 45 remaining private labels is apparel (by a significant margin) with more than $20 million in sales. Amazon’s portfolio features a variety of labels, including Lark &amp Ro, Amazon Essentials, Buttoned Down, Mae, and Goodthreads. The next leading product group is Home, with sales that can be almost entirely credited to the shrinking Bedding &amp Bath brand Pinzon.

With its recent acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is also positioned to make a huge impact on private-label grocery. At the end of August, Amazon made over 2,000 Whole Foods items available in the marketplace (initially in the U.S. alone), which resulted in an unprecedented $500,000 in sales in a single week.

It’s too early to quantify the full impact of the Whole Foods acquisition, but as a major (and instantly successful) new addition to Amazon private brands portfolio, it will provide competition to brand manufacturers now in the platform’s grocery space, One Click Retail said.

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TECHNOLOGY

Traditional grocers gaining ground with click-and-collection programs

BY CSA STAFF

The nation's supermarket retailers are positioning themselves to capture a significant majority of online grocery sales over the next decade or so.

That's according to Joe McKeska, president of Elkhorn Real Estate Partners. He made his remarks during a panel discussion at Marquette University’s annual commercial real estate conference.

“The prediction is for a significant portion of grocery sales to move online — from roughly 2% today to upwards of 20% by 2025,” said McKeska during “The Last Mile and Urbanization,” a panel discussion at the Milwaukee University’s Real Estate Strategies Conference on Sept. 18. “The ready assumption is that Amazon or other e-commerce players will take the lead, but this assessment may fail to weigh the significant progress U.S. chains have already made in developing their e-commerce capabilities, including bringing click-and-collect to their stores.”

A 25-year grocery industry veteran who previously headed real estate operations for Southeastern Grocers, and Supervalu, McKeska formed Elkhorn earlier this year in partnership with Melville, N.Y.-based real estate firm A&ampG Realty Partners.

McKeska noted that click-and-collect programs tend to be relatively affordable investments for traditional grocers.

“This is not the same thing as retailers having to spend significant capital to build a competitive e-commerce platform from scratch, or having to rely heavily on uneconomical home delivery services for the majority of their e-commerce sales,” he said. “In other words, traditional grocers have begun to identify ways to leverage their brick-and-mortar stores. They are rolling out more rational e-commerce business models as a bulwark against Amazon and other online companies.”

McKeska cited the impressive progress at both Walmart and Kroger, in particular, in rolling out click-and-collect programs.

“Walmart announced earlier this month that it rolled out click-and-collect to its 1,000th store,” McKeska told the audience. “That is out of roughly 4,200 stores if you factor in Walmart’s Supercenter and Neighborhood Market formats.”

For its part, Kroger aims to bring click-and-collect capability to its 1,000th store, out of approximately 2,800 in total, by the end of this year.

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