Report: Walmart testing kiosks to create ‘an endless aisle’
The retail giant just made another move in its battle against online rival, Amazon.
Walmart is testing a touch-screen monitor in its toy aisle at select stores in Texas. The solution connects shoppers to available inventory at store-level, and if it’s not on-hand, the device enables them to order it online, according to The Street.
Defined in the report as an "endless aisle-type concept,” the kiosk enables shoppers to choose from a list of toys it currently sells. If customers are unsure what to purchase, the device can suggest best-sellers by prompting users to answer a selection of questions, such as is it a gift, the gender of the child, and the child’s age.
If their choice is unavailable, shoppers can order it from the Walmart website and have it delivered to their home, Walmart CFO Brett Briggs said during a presentation at the Raymond James Investor Conference on Wednesday, March 8.
The endless aisle kiosk coincides with Walmart’s mission to become a more digital enterprise, as well as “making everyday easier for busy families,” Briggs explained, adding that the company has $15 billion in e-commerce sales, and more than 35,000 SKUs in its online assortment in the United States.
The solution is also the company’s latest competitive move against Amazon. Recently, the chain took on its rival by ending its ShippingPass program, a fee-based, two-day delivery service, in favor of a free two-day shipping program. Amazon’s Prime program charges $99 annually for unlimited two-day shipping.
Ulta Beauty to continue aggressive store expansion
Ulta Beauty on Thursday reported a stellar fourth quarter that shows why many consider it one of the hottest retailers in the United States.
The beauty products retailer also said it would open approximately 100 net new stores in 2017, and remodel 13 locations.
Ulta Beauty’s net income for the quarter, ended Jan. 30, surged 30% to a better-than-expected $140.2 million, from $107.8 million in the year-ago period.
Net sales jumped 24.6% to $1.6 billion, also better than expected.
Total same-store sales, which include online commerce, rose 16.6%, driven by 10.9% growth in transactions and 5.7% growth in average ticket.
E-commerce sales grew 63.4% to $154.9 million from $94.8 million last year, representing 380 basis points of the total company comparable sales increase of 16.6%.
“The Ulta Beauty team delivered outstanding fourth quarter results, capping an exceptional year of sales and earnings growth while investing to drive market share gains and create sustainable long term shareholder value,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty, which had 974 stores at the end of the fourth quarter. “We are confident in our outlook for continued success in 2017 … Our new brand pipeline is very healthy and we are particularly excited to announce the addition of the Estée Lauder Companies’ MAC brand, which will launch on Ulta.com and begin to roll out to stores this spring.”
The retailer offered a light forecast for its first quarter, saying it expects revenue in the range of $1.24 billion to $1.26 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $1.28 billion.
For the full year, Ulta Beauty’s net income increased 28.0% to $409.8 million and net sales increased 23.7% to $4.9 billion. Same-store increased 15.8%, driven by 10.7% growth in transactions and 5.1% growth in average ticket. Retail comparable sales increased 13.4%.
First Look: Target Open House’s New Redesign
Target Open House in San Francisco has opened its doors after a seven-week renovation inspired by feedback from visitors and entrepreneurs.
In a post on the company’s web site, Gene Han, VP of Consumer Internet of Things and head of Target’s innovation office, said the redesign has helped the space better fulfill its purpose: to demystify connected home technology for consumers and give entrepreneurs a space to showcase their products. To see a video of the redone space, click here. '
Among the new elements are a Garage space that serves as an area for companies to showcase or launch their products on a retail shelf, get valuable quantitative and qualitative feedback on their products and have direct visibility to Target buyers.
The retailer has added a new arrangement of rooms and experiences to the signature acrylic house inside the store space.
Click here for more.