TECHNOLOGY

Report: Fashion dominates a majority of Amazon’s private-label brands

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is on a private-label tear, especially across the apparel category.

The online giant has aggressively expanded its private-label assortment, and now offers 80 Amazon-owned private brands across major categories, according to “The L2 Amazon Intelligence: Private Label Report,” from L2. The report evaluates Amazon’s private label strategy across six categories.

According to the study, the clothing, shoes & jewelry category accounts for 69 of those 80 private brands, signifying the growing importance of fashion to Amazon’s retail strategy, according to a blog on L2’s website.

Among these private-label lines include the launch of its shoe and handbag collection, called The Fix, and apparel that range from basics to designer-influenced women’s lines. Late last year, Amazon also moved into the competitive activewear category with three new sports apparel brands: Goodsport, Peak Velocity, and Rebel Canyon.

Amazon is also investing a significant amount of paid media dollars behind its brands on Amazon’s web site. For example, Goodthreads, Buttoned Down, and Amazon Essentials own 16% of sponsored products on search terms related to wovens (such as dress shirts). For polo-related keywords, they own 13% of sponsored products, the study revealed.

The online giant is also positioned to further expand its reach across the clothing, shoes & jewelry category. Amazon won a patent in April 2017, for an on-demand apparel manufacturing system. The solution includes a textile printer, textile cutter, and a computing device that will work in concert to design apparel once customers place an order.

The solution generates and provides instructions to a textile assembly production line, including aggregating orders for products, organizing orders according to a productivity factor, arranging item panels into an aggregated textile panel template, and directing these panels to various sewing stations, the patent explained.

While there are no details on whether Amazon will open an on-demand textile factory, the patent could support the retailer’s ongoing expansion into private-label apparel.

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Study: Companies hit by payments data breaches step up security efforts

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Payments security is becoming a priority among companies, especially those that have been victimized by a data breach.

More than 70% of organizations that experienced payments data theft intend to increase their payments technology investments in 2018, according to the “2018 Global Payments Insight Survey: Bill Pay Services,” from ACI Worldwide.

According to the study, one in five organizations has experienced payments data theft over the past 12 months, and 36% of organizations across all industries believe they are at a greater risk of data breach than a year ago. Meanwhile, 44% agreed with the view that: “My company would not invest in fraud solutions that add friction to the customer experience.” This sentiment is down from 57% a year ago.

The good news is that more than 80% of organizations that have been impacted by a data breach have introduced a new security framework, especially those related to protecting digital payments. For example, 79% of companies have reduced employee access to customer data.

Another way that companies are fighting back is with real-time payments. In fact, 80% of organizations believe real-time payments will bring cost savings, a jump from 48% the prior year. Meanwhile, 77% believe that real-time will bring improvements in their customer service.

Seventy two percent of respondents expect to move more of their organizations’ payment software into the cloud in the future, an increase of nearly 20% from last year. This reinforces a strong uplift in the popularity of cloud.

Mobile-optimized electronic bills are the biggest current development area, with just under half (49%) of all organizations currently adding new capabilities. Payments from a mobile-optimized website (46%) and text message (42%) are also popular payment methods in development.

Nearly 30% of organizations are developing voice payment features for consumers to trigger payments, with a further 19% are interested in exploring this area in the future, according to the study.

“Security has clearly become a focus for organizations as it relates to billing and payments, and with good reason,” said Steve Kramer, VP, ACI Worldwide.

“The potential reputational and financial costs that could be incurred because of a breach are a major concern,” he added. “Organizations must protect themselves with advanced technologies, such as point-to-point encryption, tokenization and a private cloud.”

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Fanatics uses the cloud to create customized shopper experiences

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Fanatics is changing the way fans purchase their favorite team apparel and jerseys across retail channels.

The online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise enables customers to make purchases online, in-store, via smartphones and in stadiums during sporting events. This complex model forced Fanatics to rethink how it could empower its customer service agents and supervisors to deliver more personalized experiences regardless of the channels its customers visit.

By leveraging the Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud suite, the company is modernizing its call centers, and adding solutions that will transform how it engages with its customers across channels. In addition, the infrastructure is breaking down legacy customer service silos to create a unified, omnichannel experience that combines Web, social and contact center.

To bolster this new model, Fanatics used Oracle’s cloud to launch its Athletes Solutions Kiosk, a tool designed to resolve fans’ questions, drive consistent engagement across channels, and provide a more personalized and friendly customer experience. The cloud also supports Fanatics’ Jersey Assurance program, which features a free replacement jersey if the active pro player switches teams within 90 days of purchase. The cloud’s analytics also monitor customer behavior across channels and devices, helping Fanatics create tailored, engaging and seamless fan experiences.

“We wanted to make sure that whenever [customers] contacted us, whether it’s through voice, chat or email, that we would be able to give them a really world-class experience,” said Carolyne Matseshe-Crawford, VP, fan experience, Fanatics. “We had a very talented group of people, but they were working independently in silos and we knew that had to change. With Oracle, we have been able to bring our team together and deliver a tailored experience so that whenever or however fans contact us, it feels like they are communicating with a friend.”

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