ECOMMERCE

Walmart marketplace expands breadth of merchandise

BY Michael Johnsen

Walmart is streamlining how its third-party suppliers connect with its marketplace.

Acenda announced Wednesday that it has integrated with Walmart.com's global marketplace, connecting Acenda store owners and third-party sellers with Walmart's significant customer base. Acenda now helps retailers and brands optimize their product listings across major marketplaces including Walmart, Amazon, Google and eBay as well as leading retailers.

"Acenda is fundamentally improving online retail and making it efficient through advanced data analytics, AI and continuous process improvement," stated Gavin Mandelbaum, CEO Acenda. "Our goal is to provide the vendor community with advanced tools to compete in today's retail environment. We are honored to be a strategic solution provider for Walmart.com."

According to comScore, Walmart.com is one of the largest e-commerce sites, with up to 100 million unique monthly visitors. Acenda's integrations with leading marketplaces including Walmart allow sellers to efficiently automate and manage the online selling process across all marketplaces, from a single platform, while customizing content, optimizing listings and analyzing performance.

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FINANCE

Michael Kors snags luxe shoe brand for $1.3 billion

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Michael Kors expects its newest acquisition to give it a stronger hold in the luxury sector.

The brand, which built its reputation on lines of high-end apparel, handbags, shoes and fashion accessories, has acquired luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for approximately $1.350 billion (USD). The transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, has been approved by the boards of directors of both Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo.

Through the agreement, Pierre Denis will continue in his role as CEO of Jimmy Choo. He has led the company since 2012, during which time brand experienced compounded sales growth of 11% annually. Denis brings more than 25 years of experience, and a strong track record with global fashion luxury brands.

“Jimmy Choo is known worldwide for its glamorous and fashion-forward footwear,” said John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors. “We believe that Jimmy Choo is poised for meaningful growth in the future, and our company is committed to supporting the strong brand equity that Jimmy Choo has built over the last 20 years.”

The brand is a natural fit for Michael Kors’ luxury group. Besides offering high-end footwear, it also features luxe handbags and other accessories. The deal also marks the first time that Jimmy Choo has been owned by a company with expertise in fashion, according to The New York Times.

“We are convinced that there is so much more that can be delivered in the years ahead,” said Jimmy Choo’s Denis.

“We look forward to working closely with the leadership and team at Michael Kors Holdings Limited to further develop our iconic brand. Our two companies share the same vision of style and trend leadership,” he added. “Our luxury heritage is the foundation of Jimmy Choo and we will continue to bring our brand vision to consumers globally.”

Michael Kors’ acquisition of Jimmy Choo also coincides with its efforts to rebuild its brand and transition to long-term growth. Among the most recent initiatives the company has taken to achieve its goal includes shuttering between 100 and 125 of its full-price retail stores over the next two years. The company operated 827 stores as of the end of the fiscal first quarter.

“Looking ahead, as we expand the fashion innovation in our accessories assortments, right-size our store fleet and elevate our store experience, fiscal 2018 will be a transition year in which we establish a new baseline before returning to long-term growth,” Idol reported.

The deal comes on the heels of Coach’s recent announcement that it will acquire Kate Spade & Company. The acquisition, which has a total transaction value of $2.4 billion, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017 and add to adjusted earnings in fiscal 2018.

Similar to the expanded exposure that Michael Kors’ deal will deliver in the luxury customer base, Coach’s agreement gives it the opportunity to fuel momentum among younger consumers.

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ECOMMERCE

Walmart amps up strategy for upcoming Chinese e-commerce festival

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is making big moves to ensure that it can serve Chinese shoppers efficiently during a crucial timeframe.

The discounter is further integrating its platform, supply chain and customer resources in China with partner JD.com — efforts that will prepare the companies to serve shoppers during the launch of the first JD-Walmart 8.8 omnichannel shopping festival on Aug. 8. The event will offer savings across all the different JD and Walmart channels, and reward customers for shopping multiple touchpoints.

The shopping festival will also help Walmart extend its reach to the 99% of the country’s population that JD’s delivery network covers. The new initiatives were designed to ensure that shoppers throughout China would get faster and more convenient access to merchandise through multiple channels, according to Walmart.

These new initiatives will include:

Inventory integration. The companies will deploy a jointly-developed supply chain and backend system to integrate inventory management. When a customer places an order on JD.com, JD’s proprietary order management system will analyze data from both companies’ stock systems to determine whether a JD warehouse or Walmart store is closer to the customer, and dispatch a JD courier accordingly.

The integration will improve delivery efficiency, optimize delivery routes for JD, and increase Walmart’s inventory turnover rate. The partners will pilot the program in six cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Wuhan.

Customer integration. Customers can scan a QR code at more than 400 Walmart stores in China to earn coupons that can be used at the Walmart online stores on JD.com during the 8.8 shopping festival. The event will also feature a live stream broadcast from Walmart's first U.S. store and an 8.8 Reunion during the day, where multichannel customers can share their experiences to earn additional rewards.

Store and platform integration. As part of its ongoing omnichannel push, JD.com recently set up its first JD Home store inside a Walmart store in Shenzhen. (JD Home sells electronic products that complement Walmart’s product categories.) JD is also establishing JD pick-up stations in Walmart stores to provide more procurement options for JD digital customers.

Walmart teamed up with JD.com in June 2016, investing in a 5% stake in the company. That investment has since increased to more than 12% in February.

Since teaming up with JD.com, Walmart has launched five online stores on JD platforms — move that enables Chinese consumers to shop the Walmart, Sam’s Club and ASDA brands. In addition, 134 Walmart stores across 18 cities have also joined the JD Daojia platform, offering shoppers one hour deliveries.

“Since forming our strategic partnership with JD.com in June of last year, we have continued to expand our omnichannel strategy to better serve customers and grow our business in China,” said Ben Hassing, senior VP of Walmart China e-commerce and technology.

“Our ability to tap into JD.com’s advantages across logistics, big data, technology and customer service gives Walmart a huge advantage in reaching China’s rapidly expanding consumer class,” he added. “We look forward to further bringing together our strengths in digital and physical retail to take the customer experience in China to the next level.”

Walmart has already seen its synergies with JD.com pay off in a big way. During JD’s June 18 Anniversary Sale this year for example, Walmart’s international products sales on JD.com increased four times compared to sales during JD’s Single’s Day (November 11) shopping festival in 2016.

By July 2017, the number of fans “following” the Sam’s Club Flagship Store on JD had reached nearly 700,000. In addition, Walmart’s sales on the JD Daojia platform increased by more than four times in June 2017 as compared to January 2017, according to the retailer.

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