Target revs up efforts to transform supply chain with acquisition
Target Corp. has acquired a transportation technology company that will help it expand more quickly in same-day delivery. The deal will also bring a new talent to the discounter’s technology team.
Target Corp. has agreed to acquire Grand Junction to improve Target’s delivery capabilities and accelerate its investments and ongoing efforts to transform its supply chain. Upon the close of the deal, Grand Junction founder and CEO Rob Howard will become a VP of technology at Target.
"Grand Junction’s technology and algorithms will help Target deliver to guests faster and more efficiently,” said Arthur Valdez, executive VP, chief supply chain and logistics officer, Target. “This acquisition is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Target’s supply chain to provide greater speed, reliability and convenience for guests.”(For more by Valdez on the acquisition, click here.)
San Francisco-based Grand Junction has a software platform that is used by retailers, distributors and third-party logistics providers to manage local deliveries through a network of more than 700 carriers. Currently, Grand Junction is working with Target on its same-day delivery pilot at the Target store in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. Upon deal close, Grand Junction’s employees will become Target team members.
“Target is seizing a tremendous opportunity to leverage local delivery as a retail differentiator,” said Grand Junction's Howard. “We’re thrilled about helping to pursue this opportunity, and to join Target at this unprecedented time in retail.”
New Oregon law impacts employee scheduling in stores
Oregon has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation that puts an end to on-call scheduling by guaranteeing hourly employees advance notice of their work schedules.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law the Fair Work Week Act, which imposes predictive scheduling requirements on large employers in certain industries, including retail and food service. Most provisions of the law will take effect on July 1, 2018.
The Oregon legislation comes on the heels of similar measures that have been enacted in such major cities as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco.
The law applies to Oregon employers that employ 500 or more employees worldwide who provide services relating to “retail trade,” “hotels,” “motels,” or “food services." It requires these employers to give hourly workers at least seven days advance notice of their work shifts. In three years, the lead time is extended to 14 days.
Employers also have to pay additional compensation for any violation of the advance notice requirement (to be calculated based on the type of schedule change) and provide a minimum of 10 hours of rest between shifts, or pay the employee time and a half.
For more on the bill, click here.
Study: One in four retailers feel paralyzed by Amazon
Retailers are eager to combat the force of Amazon, but they lack the strategy, marketing dollars and digital resources to do so.
Specifically, 44% of retailers do not know how to respond to the power of Amazon, according to “A New Path for Retail: Co-Existing with the Force of Amazon.” The report is from Bluecore, a commerce decision platform provider.
According to the study, 60% of retailers consider Amazon at least somewhat of a competitor. These companies also continue to grapple with free shipping, email communications and better access to customer data to mimic what Amazon does best: provide highly personalized and convenient experiences for customers.
Specifically, 63% of retailers believe free shipping for loyalty program members is one of Amazon’s most impactful consumer-facing technology initiatives. Yet, only 10% of retailers have significantly increased investment in technology to better compete with Amazon. Meanwhile, 29% of retailers haven’t even changed their data collection and analysis processes as a result of Amazon’s influence.
“Amazon exceeds at listening to its customers. Coming anywhere close to Amazon’s success in this area will require retailers to capture data on customer behaviors and preferences and analyze that data to fuel more intelligent decision-making and more personalized experiences,” said Jared Blank, senior VP of data analysis and insights at Bluecore. “The intent is fantastic, but many brands are severely limited in their abilities to obtain and digest this level of data. Even with an exceptional data and customer experience team, the risks are just too high.”
While better data and experiences are important, Bluecore’s experts have an achievable solution: accept Amazon as friend, not foe, and use the online giant as a distribution channel.
Some retailers have already embraced this opportunity and are selling products through Amazon — but not a majority. To date, only 30% of the retailers surveyed currently sell their products through Amazon. However, for 9%of those retailers, 50% of their sales come from this channel.
“Brands are at a crossroads. The choice is: compete against a company that spends more than $10 billion annually in R&D or leverage that incredibly powerful distribution channel,” said Blank.
With an increasing number of Amazon Prime customers and more consumers beginning their product searches on Amazon, “it’s simply ridiculous to think you’re going to succeed alone, Blank added.
According to Bluecore, the world’s largest brands are using Amazon as a distribution channel, and their revenue and earnings reports are seeing a sizeable uptick. “It’s not about failing to go it alone, it’s about learning to co-exist with this e-commerce behemoth – and embracing the right strategies for your own digital properties to continue to build brand awareness and loyalty,” he added.