Off-pricers in big expansion push
Forget about online. The biggest threat to Macy’s and other department store retailers is coming from bricks-and-mortar.
Speaking at a recent conference in New York City, Macy's CFO Karen Hoguet said off-price retailers have proven a bigger long-term challenge to the company than the Internet, CNBC reported.
Three leading off-price brands — TJX Cos., Burlington and Ross — plan to open a combined total of nearly 300 U.S. stores this year, according to the report.
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DHL expands its breadth to accommodate omnichannel retailers
DHL is helping high-volume retailers speed up “the last mile” of their omnichannel shopping experience.
DHL eCommerce, a division of logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group, is expanding the functionality of its fulfillment centers in Columbus, Ohio, and Riverside, California. Specifically, the logistics company is investing in storage and mechanization to support the growing needs of its U.S.-based e-commerce retail partners that ship between 300 and 15,000 orders per day. They will also manage both B2C and B2B transactions.
The two facilities, which are operated in conjunction with DHL Supply Chain, are located near major urban centers. This allows merchants to position their inventory closer to their customers, improving their time to market while reducing shipping costs.
These gains will be achieved through an order management system operated by IBM Sterling. The solution provides fast customer integration, seamless access and visibility to the network, and allows customers to optimize the placement of inventory and orchestrate orders across the facilities.
The warehouses are engineered as shared-use fulfillment centers, allowing customers to share space and assets within the warehouse. Customers are charged only for the transactions they have within the warehouse with fees for receiving, storage, and outbound pick and pack. Given the volatile and seasonal nature of e-commerce, removing the fixed cost burden is a huge relief for retailers.
“The e-commerce market in the U.S. is estimated to have grown by 15.6% in 2016 with sales topping $531 billion, and increasingly e-tailers are seeking fulfillment solutions to enable an omnichannel experience for end consumers,” said Lee Spratt, CEO, DHL eCommerce Americas.
“We see a huge demand from U.S. e-commerce players needing best-in-class e-commerce logistics solutions and we’re expanding our capabilities to support these growing demands,” Spratt said. “Besides doubling our existing U.S. fulfillment centers in Columbus and Riverside and enhancing them with greater automation, we also plan to add an additional center in New Jersey.”
The project coincides with the company’s July 2016 announcement of a $137 million investment to expand infrastructure and capabilities to expand the company’s leading role in e-commerce logistics and better serve U.S. customers within the booming e-commerce industry, DHL said.
Home decor brand bolsters offering through predictive analytics
With increased competition in the home furnishings category heats up, Pier 1 Imports wants to feature better assortments and pricing decisions to attract and retain shoppers.
The retailer is adopting a new predictive analytics solution from First Insight, which is designed to help it make quicker and more accurate design, buying and pricing decisions, as well as evaluate opportunities for new product launches.
Using online social engagement tools to gather real-time pricing and sentiment data on potential product offerings, the new solution applies this incoming data to its predictive analytic algorithm to determine which products present the greatest opportunity. Armed with these real-time results, Pier 1 will be able to evaluate a greater number of designs or products quickly, increasing speed to market; calibrate inventory buys, and optimize pricing and allocation strategies to maximize its returns on investment.
“First Insight’s expertise will complement our identification and analyses of new product and category offerings, and enhance informative decision making based on direct feedback from consumers, including Pier 1 Imports customers,” said Cathy David, executive VP of merchandising for Pier 1 Imports. “By working with First Insight, we will gain a more comprehensive understanding at the beginning of our product selection and development process of what customers perceive as distinctive products at a great value, thereby helping maximize our sales and profit potential.”