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MOBILITY

Report: Fast-food giant enters mobile ordering race

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

It’s easier than ever for McDonald’s customers to order a Big Mac — and avoid long lines at service counters.

The fast-food chain began testing mobile ordering and payment functionality within its app at 29 restaurants in Monterey and Salinas, California, on Wednesday, March 15. Another 51 restaurants in Spokane, Washington, are slated to launch the service on March 20, according to Reuters.

A move that it expects to bring “greater control, convenience and personalization” to its customers, McDonald’s said the app lets customers digitally place orders and then come into a restaurant to pick them up. Shoppers can also use in-store kiosks that can connect to their app profile, which holds customized favorites and preferred payment methods.

The result is a more stress-free, personalized experience, enhanced by technology and world-class hospitality that puts customers in control, the chain added.

By the end of the year, McDonald’s expects mobile order and pay will be available in 20,000 restaurants in its largest markets, including the U.S.

McDonald’s may seem like a latecomer in the mobile ordering race, but its late entry gave the chain ample time to learn from competitors’ challenges, including Starbucks’ recent struggle with getting completed orders to mobile shoppers in a timely manner.

“It's better to be right than to be first to market,” McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said in the Reuters report, which added the project is expected to cut transaction times, reduce errors and free up workers to do things like deliver food to tables or cars in spots designated for mobile orders.

Overall however, the mobile app is taking on a bigger role: to be the catalyst that wins back customers after four straight years of traffic declines, Reuters reported.

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REAL ESTATE

Off-pricers in big expansion push

BY CSA STAFF

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.

Click here to read more.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

DHL expands its breadth to accommodate omnichannel retailers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

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.

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