TECHNOLOGY

Footwear retailer uses artificial intelligence to optimize fulfillment

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Aldo is streamlining ship-from-store orders through a real-time analytics solution.

Canadian footwear and accessory retailer The Aldo Group operates two brands, Aldo and Call It Spring, and a multi-brand retail concept, Globo. By adding an analytics-based solution from retail-focused AI and optimization provider Celect, Aldo is optimizing the fulfillment of online orders from all corporate stores across its global network.

Celect Fulfillment Optimization solves issues that often arise with traditional order management systems (OMS) that cannot balance multiple, and often conflicting business objectives. These issues are exacerbated by outdated systems, including an unnecessary increase in costs, a decline in key metrics, a marked decrease in a retailer’s margins and, most importantly, a negative impact on the customer’s overall experience with the brand.

Celect’s ability to make dynamic optimization trade-offs across orders – as opposed to processing one order at a time – improves key performance metrics, including reduced split-shipments, lower shipping costs and improved delivery times. It also accurately predicts customer demand in real-time and subsequently determines which stores have more inventory than demand requires.

Since deploying the solution, Aldo fulfills online orders from the most profitable location. This provides the company with the ability to intelligently avoid selling from locations that are more likely to sell out, while targeting stores more likely to experience a lower demand for a particular item, according to the company.

“Retail is in a transformational phase and we are excited to continue our growth through advanced analytics and optimization,” said Jennifer Maks, senior VP of omnichannel, Aldo Group. “The fulfillment optimization initiatives put into place have proven extremely successful to date, and have produced strong results for our company. We look forward to continuing this positive trend in the coming years.”

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Zulily
TECHNOLOGY

Fast-growing online retailer boosts experience with the cloud

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Zulily is banking on the cloud to enhance its online shopping experience.

The fast-growing online retailer launches over 100 events a day, each featuring 9,000 styles for 72 hours, and serving a personalized experience for every customer — all while holding minimal inventory. To uphold this rigorous business model, Zulily moved business critical workloads, including its store, mobile application, and supply chain, to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Zulily is using AWS services, including databases and analytics, to manage every part of the business, from marketing and merchandising, to vendor operations, security, and supply chain. The solutions will enable it to make real-time decisions and continuous improvements.

The company is gaining a scalable architecture that will save Zulily “thousands of dollars a month,” and deliver the performance needed to provide shoppers with a reliable experience. Since moving operations to the cloud for example, Zulily has seen a 30% to 40% performance improvement per request made across its website and mobile application.

In addition, the company’s IT team pushes code multiple times a day across a variety of applications and services, and tests and verifies system functionalities every five minutes, which cuts down the code-to-production push time by over 30%, according to the company.

“With AWS’s highly scalable and flexible infrastructure, Zulily is able to store and analyze large volumes of data and deliver enhanced experience to customers without taking away from key business operations,” said Luke Friang, CIO, at Zulily. “Our strategic relationship with AWS gives our team the tools they need to maintain our culture of constant and nimble innovation.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon expands free ultra-fast grocery delivery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon and Whole Foods Market are adding four more markets to their two-hour grocery delivery program.

Starting June 12, the online giant launched free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods through Prime Now in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Richmond. The service first launched in February, and was available in seven cities by April.

With the additional markets, the service is now available in 14 cities. Amazon plans to continue expanding the service across the United States throughout the rest of the year, the company said.

The service extension comes on the heels of another program expansion across the Whole Foods Market chain. Starting this week, Amazon will introduce its Prime discounts program to Whole Foods stores across 10 additional states, a move that gives members an extra 10% off sale items.

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