TECHNOLOGY

Rue21 creates new tech roadmap to pursue consumer-centricity

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A teen apparel retailer has a new plan when it comes to delivering a more consumer-centric shopping experience.

Through a partnership with Columbus Consulting International, rue21 delved into how to keep the consumer at the center of its operations, and prioritized initiatives around how to best serve its shoppers. The consultant outlined key milestones, including achieving real-time inventory visibility across all channels to enable buy online, pick-up in store services; gaining more consumer data and leveraging analytics to target assortment, and balancing inventory across the supply chain in order to respond to shifting consumer trends.

During the assessment, Columbus found that Rue21’s existing data was reliable, and many of its current systems were functionally sound. Furthermore, the retailer’s executive team members were in alignment when it came to their goals and priorities.

After evaluating Rue21’s current system capabilities, Columbus developed an IT roadmap that includes both foundational and analytical components, and the short-term and long-term benefits they would deliver to the business. Additionally, infrastructure, cloud and security strategies were considered. Finally, IT processes and organization were also examined to ensure an ongoing alignment between business and technology.

“I found Columbus’ outside opinion and knowledge essential to validating parts of our approach and contributing insight into the future vision,” said Mark Chrystal, chief analytics officer, rue21 “The unified commerce and data analytics projects we’re now focusing on will provide us with a customer-centric view of our business, allowing us to better serve our shoppers.”

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Is Microsoft developing the next Amazon Go?

BY CSA Staff

Microsoft could be working on a strategy to take on Amazon’s cashierless convenience stores.

The software giant is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, an effort that could challenge Amazon’s evolving Amazon Go concept, according to Reuters.

Sources told Reuters that Microsoft is developing systems that track what shoppers add to their carts. In addition, the software company has shown samples of the technology to retailers around the globe, and has discussed a potential collaboration with Walmart.

The effort would take a direct stab at Amazon Go, which allows shoppers to launch an app on their mobile device as they enter, and take the products they want off of store shelves. Amazon’s “walk out” technology automatically detects when products are taken off (or returned) to the shelves, keeps track of them in a virtual cart, and electronically bills the customer’s stored payment card.

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Whole Foods Market CEO: ‘I’m not afraid to get fired’

BY CSA Staff

The CEO of Whole Foods Market isn’t afraid to challenge the grocer’s powerful parent company.

Ten months after into Whole Foods’ $13.7 billion acquisition by Amazon, John Mackey describes the company’s sales increases as being “far greater than I anticipated, and it’s continuing,” he said during a town-hall-style companywide meeting, according to Business Insider, which obtained an audio of the meeting.

Whole Foods’ relationship with Amazon has also come with many challenges, an issue that has sparked disagreements with Mackey, the report said.

While he didn’t go into detail about the nature of the companies’ disagreements, “I ultimately am not afraid to get fired, so … that gives me a position of strength to speak truth to power when it’s necessary to do so, and I’ve done it many, many times. And that’s been a good thing because Amazon has listened, and they have been very respectful, and they have backed off,” Mackey said, according to the report.

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