Uniqlo creates plan to embark on digital transformation
In a move to attract more specialized information technology specialists, Uniqlo is renovating its digital DNA.
The fast-fashion giant — which doesn't have a reputation as a “cutting edge” digital company and struggles to attract the best IT talent — will undergo a digital transformation. Its first step in this strategy: to hire an army of experienced information technology specialists who can help improve operational efficiency and create innovative systems, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Once this team is in place, the company plans to focus on big data and artificial intelligence (AI). Specifically, Uniqlo envisions how AI could help factories, distributors and stores understand — with precision — what the customer wants. This insight will also help the chain reduce excessive inventory. Meanwhile, by analyzing big data on consumer behavior, Uniqlo could make recommendations on clothes or deliver the right product at the right time to a specific customer, the report said.
The company is already taking steps to rebrand itself as a digitally-innovative company. Earlier this month, the Japanese retailer announced it would begin rolling out 6-ft.-high vending machines at airports and malls across the United States.
The devices will enable customers to purchase T-shirts and lightweight down jackets. Customers use a touchscreen to select shirt and jacket styles, colors and sizes. Purchases can be made via credit or debit card, and unwanted items can be returned in-store or via mail.
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Delivery wars heat up as two more retailers expand same-day services
Best Buy and Macy’s are stepping up their same-day delivery efforts as they continue to bolster their defenses to compete with Amazon and other rivals.
Best Buy announced on Thursday it is expanding its same-day delivery of online orders from 13 metro areas to 27, with more to come. The retailer expects that customers in nearly 40 cities will be able to take advantage of service for the holiday selling season.
In addition, Best Buy is slashing the fee for the service, dropping the price per order from $14.99 to $5.99. Also, more products are being made eligible for the service.
The retailer said its same-day deliveries will be handled by two companies that use a crowdsourced labor model, including our original partner, Deliv.
Also on Thursday, Macy's announced that, starting this fall, it is expanding its same-day delivery of products purchased online to 15 more markets across the United States, which will bring the program to a total of 33 markets. Bloomingdale’s will expand into two additional markets.
The fee for same-day delivery service is $8 for all online purchases that meet Macy’s ($99) or Bloomingdale’s ($150) free shipping thresholds, and $8 plus standard shipping costs for anything less. Macy’s same-day delivery program is done in collaboration with Deliv.
Best Buy began testing same-day delivery in the Bay Area in late 2015, and expanded it to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C., in 2016. Beginning Sept. 6, same-day delivery will expand to the following cities: Austin, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa.
Macy’s launched its same-day delivery service in 2014. It is currently available in the following markets: Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New Jersey; NYC Metro (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Yonkers); Orange County, California; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
The new markets being added are: Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, Calif; and Tampa, Fla. Bloomingdale’s will expand into two additional markets: Orlando, Fla., and San Diego, Calif.
Target Q&A with its new chief strategy and innovation officer
On Sept. 11, Minsok Pak will step into the role of executive VP, chief strategy and innovation officer, for Target Corp.
In the Q&A below, posted on Target's website, the retailer spoke with Pak about his past work with consumer brands, and the challenges facing retail today.
You’ve worked for consumer brands, including The LEGO Group and LG Electronics, and have two decades of experience as a consultant with McKinsey & Company. How did you get your start in your career and what keeps you going?
I thought I was going to be a PhD in Economics but during my senior year I realized I didn’t have patience for academia. I wanted to be doing stuff – having impact – not just focusing on research. I was fortunate enough to join McKinsey & Company fresh out of college and quickly learned a lot about different business industries and functions. It was fast-paced, intellectually stimulating, and I got to work with some terrific people. Before I knew it, I’d spent nearly two decades there.
I love tackling new challenges and working with great teams to drive growth in a business. I get energy from staying curious and looking for ways to create impact. Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a number of significant transformations. It‘s the idea of being in an environment where there's a lot of change happening and the opportunity to make a difference that excites me.
I‘ve focused on consumer and retail industries because they‘re tangible and real – we’re all consumers and we all shop. And retail today is one of the most dynamic industries, with seismic changes in both competitive and consumer behavior.
What do you think is the biggest challenge retailers are facing today?
Retailing used to be about brick and mortar – having convenient locations, the right products on shelves, and the best prices. That’s no longer the case. With digitization, consumers have a lot more options and access. They have higher expectations when it comes to experiences, personalization, and engagement. In order to succeed, retailers must fundamentally change their business models.
You’re a triathlete. What has that taught you about business?
Training for and competing in long-distance triathlons forces you to have a long-term goal, make difficult trade-offs, execute with discipline, and adapt when variables change. I‘ve also learned not to put boundaries on myself. I believe we are often our worst enemy because we self-impose limits on what we can accomplish. And these lessons apply in my professional life, too.
Your first day is coming up. What’s your top priority once you’re settled in?
Buying a winter coat! In all seriousness, my top priority will be to get up-to-speed quickly. Target is a nearly $70B retailer with 1,800 locations competing in an extremely dynamic retail environment. My goal will be to learn about all of the terrific things already underway and to work with the team to continue building for the future.