TECHNOLOGY

Holiday shoppers have no patience for bad in-store experiences

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Consumers are ready to spend this holiday, but not necessarily at the same places they shopped last year.

This was according to A.T. Kearney’s “2018 Holiday Shopping Survey: How Retailers Can Capitalize on Last Year’s Lessons,” in which 40% of respondents plan on buying from different retailers, on and offline, than they did in 2017. And 23% of those surveyed indicated a willingness to shift their primary buying online, or to mobile, as a result of bad in-store experiences.

The survey polled 1,000 shoppers about how their 2017 experience would influence their 2018 spending. It found that consumers—battle-scarred by last year’s memories of long lines, aggressive crowds, out-of-stock items, and poor service—are more than ready to seek out stores and websites prepared to give them what they want, how they want it. Over 60% of holiday consumers said they are willing to change where they shop based on their negative experiences last year.

Holiday shoppers are clearly intent on getting the best deals, but avoiding the holiday rush has become their second most important objective, according to the survey. Long checkout lines and out-of-stock issues are the top drivers of switching behavior.

Retailers can attack long lines and out-of-stocks through a combination of both human and operational remedies, advised A.T. Kearney. To do this, retailers hope to hire about 10% more holiday workers than in 2017, but the market for experienced seasonal labor is tight, competitive, and expensive.

There are non-labor-based solutions available as well. Automation and supply chain efficiencies can help offset the impact of labor shortages. For example, retailers are making self-checkouts more available and investing in technologies like automated solutions for detecting out-of-stocks.

“Whatever the remedy, the message to retailers is clear: consumers are going to be more impatient and less forgiving than they were in past years. And, in a year when those shoppers have more money in their wallets and are more open to spending it, not giving them what they want could be a very expensive mistake,” the study said. Read more about

For A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Holiday Shopping Survey, click here.

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R.Baker says:
Nov-27-2018 11:34 am

If I have to check out at a local store myself, I might as well order from Amazon. There is always a problem with self checkout. Want to see great customer service at a supermarket, visit a Harris Teeter. Or Market Basket in MA. Market Basket is humming on a Saturday night, 25 registers are there, and 20 open. Walmart has 20 registers, with 3 open.

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TECHNOLOGY

Costco ends meal kit pilot

BY CSA STAFF

Costco has become a victim of Blue Apron Holdings’ many recent operational cuts.

Mere days before the holiday season officially kicks off, Blue Apron has indefinitely ceased its pilot program with the warehouse club retailer. The program initially launched in May, according to MarketWatch.

This was one of many announcements that the meal kit company made during its earnings call last week. Others included that the company will restructure its business, a move that will cut 4% of its workforce, or 100 positions.

To read more, click here.

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Bezos has a new key adviser

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon’s CEO has a new technical adviser — the second woman to hold the position in the company’s history.

Wei Gao has been named VP, technical advisor to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, a position she has held since July, according to her Linked In profile.

Internally, the position is described as Bezos’ “shadow” adviser, a highly coveted role because it involves following around the billionaire founder for a year or two and learning all aspects of the business, according to CNBC.

Gao, a female of Chinese descent, replaces Jeffrey Helbling, who was named technical adviser in early 2017. Gao is only the second female to shadow Bezos, according to the report.

Gao, who was most recently a VP of forecasting, has filled various roles during her 13 year tenure at Amazon, including senior positions on the Kindle, inventory planning and software development teams. Prior to Amazon, she was a senior software developer at Hyergroove Engineering.

The adviser’s role often paves the road for more opportunities. Maria Renz, who served as technical advisor to Bezos for two years, was named to the newly created role of VP of delivery experience in February 2017. She was the first woman to hold the adviser position.

Other high-profile shadows from the past include Andy Jassy, now CEO of Amazon Web Services, Greg Hart, VP of Prime Video, and Dilip Kumar, VP of Amazon Go, according to CNBC.

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