ECOMMERCE

Furniture e-retailer debuts live delivery tracker

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new service is increasing Wayfair’s customer service — and keeping its delivery drivers accountable.

In effort to transform what is considered a time-consuming, even frustrating process, Wayfair launched a new feature, called Day of Delivery Tracking. The live tracking service pinpoints delivery driver locations in real-time through an interactive GPS map.

On the morning of delivery, customers in available markets receive an email and text message linking them to a GPS map that illustrates the location of their Wayfair driver, and an arrival countdown once their driver is nearby. By tapping on a “click-to-call” smart link, customers will be automatically routed to either their local Wayfair delivery center or customer service, depending on their delivery status.

“With Day of Delivery Tracking, we’ve added a new level of transparency into exactly where items are and when they will arrive, so that our customers are free to relax, complete tasks, or run errands without the anxiety of missing their scheduled delivery,” said James Savarese, COO, Wayfair. “Day of Delivery Tracking is one of the many ways we are transforming the experience of shopping for home, not only through our unmatched selection, technological innovation and exceptional service, but additionally through our sophisticated proprietary logistics network, which is designed and optimized for furniture items.”

The feature is currently available in 10 markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. Wayfair will continue rolling out the service to new markets throughout the year, including Denver, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, Cleveland and Richmond, the company said.

To see the live tracking feature in action, click here.

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ECOMMERCE

Walmart in ‘brand’ new move against Amazon

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is about to debut a new initiative to bolster its defenses against its biggest rival.

The discounter's Jet.com site is launching a higher-end private-label brand of household and grocery essentials. The new brand, called Uniquely J, will launch in the coming months with a curated selection of products that include such essentials as coffee, olive oil, laundry detergent, paper towels, and more. Additional items will be added.

The new brand is designed for "metro Millennial consumers," said Meredith Klein, director of PR for Jet.com. It will feature custom-packaging illustrations by artists.

"Uniquely J brings together everything our customers care about — from quality to design and beyond — without tradeoffs," she said. "Instead of focusing in on any one aspect of product development, we’ve created a uniquely valuable brand experience that will speak to the metro Millennial lifestyle."

The initial launch will include more than 60 items, according to the New York Post. It reported that the products will be available exclusively on Jet.com for the first year, but will later be sold on Walmart's e-commerce site as well.

The new brand is seen as broadening the discounter's appeal to the type of younger, more affluent customer that is likely to shop at Whole Foods Market. The move comes as Amazon has been ramping up its own private-label food offerings. Its efforts took a bit step forward with the online giant's purchase of Whole Foods Market, whose 365 Everyday Day private-label line has been very well received. Amazon wasted no time to incorporate the Everyday brand into its own platforms, including Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry, and Prime Now.

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ECOMMERCE

Specialty menswear retailer is introducing a new stylist — her name is Alexa

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new Alexa skill is helping Perry Ellis’ customers dress for any occasion.

The menswear brand is assisting its shoppers with the “Ask Perry Ellis” Amazon Alexa skill. Called the first-of-its-kind, voice-activated skill, the technology supports a modern, frictionless shopping experience that enables customers to use their voice to find the right look, and shop for merchandise.

By saying, “Alexa, Ask Perry Ellis what I should wear to &hellip,” the device searches approximately 150 programmed occasions, taking into account the venue, weather and dress code. Alexa then replies with an appropriate look. Selections are sent to the user’s Alexa app and email, where they can click through to PerryEllis.com to add items to their cart to purchase.

To access the Alexa personal stylist, shoppers simple enable the “Ask Perry Ellis” skill on their Alexa-enabled device.

The voice-activated skill is helping the brand speak directly to the end consumer, and evolve its marketing strategy and consumer engagement, the retailer said.

“We are always looking for ways to meet the fashion and performance needs of our customers, and evolve the way we engage them with our brand,” says Oscar Feldenkreis, CEO and president of Perry Ellis International. “We are confident our Alexa personal stylist will appeal to our tech-savvy consumer by using voice activation to address a real need men have when it comes to dressing and enabling a seamless shopping experience.”

The solution solves a pain point for Perry Ellis’ customer base, as nearly three-quarters (73%) of men admitted to having arrived at an event, occasion or location feeling inappropriately dressed, according to “Men’s Dressing Habits,” a survey conducted by Perry Ellis.

In fact, 84% of men care about being dressed appropriately for an occasion. They don’t want to stand out, and hate the feeling of being underdressed (the most common reason they feel they’re dressed inappropriately).

One-third of men admitted to having skipped an event because they didn’t have the right clothes to wear. But when dressed appropriately, 72% of men report feeling confident, 42% feel attractive, 39% feel respected and about one-quarter of men feel powerful.

To see Alexa in action, click here.

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