OPERATIONS

Report: E-commerce spreads across the enterprise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. – Retailers increasingly see e-commerce as a cross-channel or omni-channel functions, rather than as a standalone process. According to the new RSR Research E-Commerce Benchmark Report 2013, 68% of retailers strongly agree or agree that the future of online commerce lies more with cross-channel or merged capabilities, with another 21% having neutral feelings and only 11% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

In addition, 66% of retailers strongly agree or agree that their e-commerce platform will become their digital platform across all channels. Twenty-five percent are neutral, and only 9% disagree or actively disagree. Other notable findings include:

  • Retailers see uncertain consumer demand (47%) and maintaining growth rates (46%) as the top business challenges to e-commerce.
  • Cost-effective shipping and fulfillment (51%), understanding how different consumer segments engage (49%) and optimizing inventory deployment across all channels (45%) are the most popular operational e-commerce challenges.
  • Retailers identify the top three opportunities to overcome e-commerce challenges as improving search and browse capabilities (48%), improving fulfillment processes (36%) and providing richer product detail such as photo and video (35%).
  • Twenty-one percent of respondents have already implemented their e-commerce platform as the company’s POS system and as the mobile platform.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Amazon has best price 80% of the time

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ottawa, Canada – Amazon.com has the best price on products in its assortment about 80% of the time. However, the new “Amazon Holiday Pricing Insights” analysis from pricing technology provider 360pi shows that Amazon does have weak spots, and that retailers can compete with the online giant, especially if they can beat Amazon on other non-price purchase factors.

For example, once Home Depot decided to be price competitive on Oct. 26, they were instantly and dynamically able to beat Amazon prices on power drills. Meanwhile, tablets and televisions are the categories where a majority of retailers are either price competitive or closer to the mark than other categories, such as printers and video games, which show the least amount of price competitiveness.

Top retailers such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Sears and Costco are less than 5% more, or better priced, than Amazon in televisions, for example. During the Oct. 16 – Nov. 14 period, Amazon had the lowest-priced tablets 68% of the time, which means retailers are currently beating Amazon with lower tablet prices 32% of the time.

“Given that our holiday reports are based on products drawn from Amazon’s own assortment, you would expect them to be price competitive,” said Alexander Rink, CEO, 360pi. “What is interesting is that when you factor in different retail competitive strategies like carrying a different assortment, leveraging private label, delivering targeted customer promotions, and creating unique customer experiences in addition to price leadership, it certainly appears that retailers are learning how to compete with Amazon.”

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OPERATIONS

Tiffany CFO resigns

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Patrick F. McGuiness, CFO of Tiffany’s, has resigned his position effective Nov. 27, 2013. James M. Fernandez, 58, executive VP and COO of Tiffany’s, will assume the position of CFO on an interim basis.

Fernandez has been with Tiffany’s since 1983. The board of Tiffany’s has authorized a search for a new CFO.

McGuiness received a severance package worth $899,000 and will also receive a prorated performance bonus for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2014. McGuiness will release any claims he might have against Tiffany as part of the severance agreement.

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