SUPPLY CHAIN

Walmart to boost sourcing from U.S. suppliers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Walmart plans to significantly boost its sourcing from domestic suppliers over the next decade. The plan was announced during an address by Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York. Simon also announced the company is committed to helping part-time associates who want to be full time, make that transition.

“We want all of our associates to find the career opportunities they want with Walmart," said Simon. "We will make sure part-time associates have full visibility into full-time job openings in their stores and nearby stores, and that they always have first shot at those jobs. We will also bring more transparency to our scheduling system so part-time workers can choose more hours for themselves."

On domestic sourcing, Walmart and Sam’s Club will buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products over the next 10 years. The company will grow U.S. manufacturing on two fronts: by increasing what it already buys here – in categories like sporting goods, apparel basics, storage products, games, and paper products, and by helping to onshore U.S. production in high potential areas like textiles, furniture and higher-end appliances.

"At the heart of our national political conversation today is one issue: creating jobs to grow the economy," said Simon. "We are meeting with our suppliers on domestic manufacturing and are making a strong commitment to move this forward."

To help achieve this commitment, Walmart has created a senior team within the company to lead this effort and it will sign longer term purchase agreements to give suppliers more certainty.

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FINANCE

NCR in deal with PayPal

BY Marianne Wilson

Duluth, Ga. — NCR Corp. and PayPal, an eBay subsidiary, have entered into an agreement to integrate NCR’s mobile solutions for hospitality and retail with PayPal’s digital payment technology.

The combination provides restaurants and retailers an easy, powerful way to offer consumers a rich mobile and digital payment experience when buying the goods and services they want.

"Combining NCR’s broad hospitality and retail footprint with PayPal’s global customer base enables restaurants and retailers to redesign the consumer experience with mobile-enhanced shopping and payments while materially improving business processes and creating seamless consumer experiences across touch points, locations, and channels," said John Bruno, CTO and EVP at NCR.

Starting out, NCR and PayPal will integrate PayPal mobile payment options into NCR’s new Mobile Pay application and NCR Aloha Online Ordering. Designed for the more than 60,000 restaurant sites using NCR Aloha point-of-sale technology, NCR Mobile Pay enables restaurant patrons with a smartphone to browse their bill, re-order menu items, alert their server, complete surveys and pay. With the new integration, PayPal appears as a payment option. Consumers will also be able to use the PayPal mobile application to locate and "check in" at participating NCR Mobile Pay merchants to access the same functionality.

The companies are also working to integrate PayPal mobile payment options into NCR’s Convenience-Go (C-Go) application for petroleum and convenience stores. C-Go is a store-branded mobile application that allows shoppers to purchase fuel, food, car washes and other items right from the application.

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FINANCE

IBM Study: Shoppers open to online and in-store shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Shoppers diversifying the way they shop for and acquire goods, becoming increasingly open to buying both online and in-store depending on their needs at time of purchase. While more than 80% of shoppers chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase, only half are committed to returning there next time they buy. These are among the findings of a new IBM study of global consumers.

IBM’s research finds that consumers are in a transitional state. According to the study, 35% are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online. Nine percent are ready to commit to making future purchases online. Of all eight product categories tracked in the survey, the two most popular categories chosen by consumers for an online shift are consumer electronics and luxury items, including jewelry and designer apparel.

"Today’s consumer is sophisticated and opportunistic, navigating between store and online environments interchangeably to meet their shopping needs of the moment," said Jill Puleri, Global Retail Leader, IBM Global Business Services. "To satisfy clients, retailers must deliver a consistent, convenient shopping experience across each consumer touch point, extending from the store to online and back again. The key is using data and analytics to better understand the behavior and preferences of shoppers to close the sale."

The IBM study also found that nearly half of online purchases in studied categories resulted from "showrooming." Significantly, nearly a quarter of these online shoppers intended to buy their item in the store, but ultimately purchased online – primarily due to price and convenience.

Retailers must better connect their store and online presence to capture the sale to showroomers, according to IBM. Today, online-only retailers account for one-third of showroomer purchases.

Younger, male and affluent shoppers are most likely to showroom. Although a global phenomenon, there is a higher incidence of showrooming in China (26%) and India (13%) than the U.S. (7%), for example.

The IBM study reveals that consumers are seeking a truly integrated shopping experience. Retailers must better connect their online and physical stores, blending benefits into both at various points in the shopping cycle — from research to purchase — to build brand loyalty and repeat sales.

In the store, retailers must infuse digital experiences, enable store associates with the technology to save the sale and embrace consumer-owned technology. Online, retailers most optimize their websites for various devices. The IBM Digital Analytics benchmark found that 70% more consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site on Cyber Monday in 2012 than 2011. However, today’s study found that only 3% of shoppers are using retailers’ mobile apps.

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Consumer confidence is high. Is that reflected in your stores’ revenues?

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