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Discounter ups the ante on hydrogen fuel cells for lift trucks

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is stepping up efforts to drive energy efficiency across its distribution network.

The discount giant is adopting fuel cells and hydrogen stations from provider Power Plug — a move that will bolster its energy efficiency at up to 30 more locations. Walmart already has Plug Power fuel cells installed at 22 distribution centers, according to USA Today.

The fuel cells help replace lead-acid batteries and power devices — such as forklifts — to improve warehouse efficiency. The deal also gives Walmart financial benefits, as the discounter received warrants to acquire up to about 55.3 million shares of Plug Power stock. This includes 5.8 million warrants that were exercised as a result of the latest fuel cell purchasing deal, according to the report.

Walmart’s latest initiative mirrors a similar effort taken on by rival Amazon. In April, the online giant agreed to spend $70 million on Plug Power's vehicles, and also received rights to buy as many as 55.3 million shares in the company, a 19% stake, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Walmart’s initial price will be higher than the online retailer's since Plug Power's stock price has jumped 63% since announcing its Amazon deal. Walmart's potential stake is 17%, the Journal said.

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Walmart marketplace expands breadth of merchandise

BY Michael Johnsen

Walmart is streamlining how its third-party suppliers connect with its marketplace.

Acenda announced Wednesday that it has integrated with Walmart.com's global marketplace, connecting Acenda store owners and third-party sellers with Walmart's significant customer base. Acenda now helps retailers and brands optimize their product listings across major marketplaces including Walmart, Amazon, Google and eBay as well as leading retailers.

"Acenda is fundamentally improving online retail and making it efficient through advanced data analytics, AI and continuous process improvement," stated Gavin Mandelbaum, CEO Acenda. "Our goal is to provide the vendor community with advanced tools to compete in today's retail environment. We are honored to be a strategic solution provider for Walmart.com."

According to comScore, Walmart.com is one of the largest e-commerce sites, with up to 100 million unique monthly visitors. Acenda's integrations with leading marketplaces including Walmart allow sellers to efficiently automate and manage the online selling process across all marketplaces, from a single platform, while customizing content, optimizing listings and analyzing performance.

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Study: Most consumers believe their payment data is at risk

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Consumers across the globe agree that the volume of criminals trying to steal their credit and debit card data is increasing — and retailers aren’t equipped to fight back.

This was according to “Consumer Payment Card Data Security Perceptions, from Transaction Network Services (TNS). The study interviewed 1,037 U.S. adults, 1,002 Australian adults, and 1,010 U.K. adults between May 4-8.

Eighty five percent of adults in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia believe there are more cyber-criminals just waiting to grab their payment card data. More than two-thirds are concerned about the security of their payment card data, and 38% feel their private credit or debit card data has been put at risk by a data breach, irrelevant of whether they subsequently were a victim of fraud.

“While the payments industry has made significant advances in protection in recent years, criminals continue to find increasingly sophisticated ways to target valuable payment card data,” said Lisa Shipley, executive VP and managing director of TNS’ Payment Network Solutions. “One in five respondents in our survey confirmed their credit or debit card data had been used fraudulently in the last two years, so this highlights that we must continue to drive forward with new security measures.”

One of these solutions is encryption. A majority of consumers are in favor of the security measure, with 74% saying they believe this would securely protect their personal data.

“Our survey unveils high levels of concern about the security of payment card data and strong feelings among consumers that banks, retailers and other organizations involved in the payment card industry need to do more to protect their personal data,” Shipley added.

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