Target’s start-ups make their pitch
Eleven retail tech startups took the stage at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall on Tuesday in front of nearly 1,000 people. The goal? Deliver the pitch of a lifetime.
The start-ups were part of the first-ever Target + Techstars accelerator program. They made their pitch at the program’s Demo Day, the culmination of an intense 14-week program. In rapid-fire, five-minute sessions, each startup pitched their hearts out to sell venture capitalists and retail and tech influencers on their business.
A recap of the outcomes can be found here on A Bullseye View. Some highlights:
• Inspectorio, the Hong Kong-based company bringing transparency to global supply chains, will begin a six-month pilot with Target this fall and open its U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis.
• MakerBloks, which creates interactive, app-connected STEM games for kids, announced it will be available in more than 700 Target locations nationwide.
• Branch Messenger, the mobile app that lets hourly workers easily swap shifts, view schedules and message one another, ran a successful pilot in 10 Target stores and announced it is moving its U.S. headquarters to Minneapolis.
• DIY flower kit startup ItsByU announced it will be an affiliate on Target’s wedding registry starting this fall.
• AddStructure, whose technology helps guests use voice search to search for products, told the audience it’s gearing up to run pilots with six of the nation’s biggest retailers, including Target.
Deloitte: Holiday sales to increase 3.6% to 4%, smaller niche players increasing share
Retailers should see a modest uptick in holiday sales this year. But the news isn’t all positive for big chains or even major online retailers.
Total holiday sales will exceed $1 trillion this holiday (November through January), representing a 3.6% to 4% over last year, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast. E-commerce sales are forecast to increase 17% to 19%, reaching $96 billion to $98 billion during the 2016 holiday season. But big retailers — both physical and online — are likely to face increased competition for a share of those sales as smaller- to mid-sized niche companies continue to take market share.
“We anticipate that marketplace fragmentation – more than e-commerce – will be the major disruptor this holiday season,” said Ron Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader. “Retail competition will not only come from the big box down the street or major e-commerce players. It is also likely to come from the small- and mid-sized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences. This group has been collectively taking share from large, traditional retailers to the tune of $200 billion in annual sales over the last five years.”
Sides added that retailers who compete on differentiated products and experiences should be well positioned to outperform other competitors during the holiday season.
Additionally, Deloitte forecasts that digital interactions will influence 67%, or $661 billion, of in-store sales this holiday season, fueled by shoppers’ use of digital devices including desktop and laptop computers, tablets and smartphones.
“The trend to watch is the way that online, mobile and store channels influence each other,” said Sides. “Large e-commerce players and digital platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest are shaping what people think a great shopping experience is – a fast, highly-curated assortment with access to visuals, information and buying sources. Since these bigger platforms are more connected to the customer, retailers should consider including them as part of their digital marketing campaigns this holiday season.”
As for the upcoming presidential election, Deloitte does not think it will have any impact on total holiday sales.
“While attention toward presidential elections may be a temporary distraction in the early part of the holiday shopping season, it should not have a negative impact on sales, and retailers may benefit from a pickup in postelection consumer spending,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist.
Helzberg strives for multichannel VIP customer experiences
Helzberg Diamonds is committed to “making people feel loved.”
By adopting a set of multichannel customer experience management solutions, the jeweler is taking the next step to “wowwing” its shoppers with more personalized customer service cross-channel.
A company founded on the core values of embracing innovation and change; driving productivity, and working smarter to exceed customer expectations, Helzberg Diamonds is leveraging NextGen Agency’s cross-platform support across contact center and social experiences.
The platform’s multichannel contact center solution includes technical support, customer care, sales and lead generation capabilities. Meanwhile, social and multimedia management solutions will help Helzberg manage social strategies and transformation. This includes using monitoring tools to gain insight into details that will drive personalized social media marketing and sales.
Helzberg is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.