TECHNOLOGY

Stitch Fix launches a new subscription box—for kids

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Stitch Fix is making its shopping experience a family affair.

On Tuesday, the apparel subscription service expanded its offering with a new box aimed at girls and boys. The box, called Kids Fixes, includes between eight and 12 pieces of clothing and accessories from well-known brands, including Under Armour, Nike and Sovereign Code, as well as exclusive product from Rumi + Ryder, the compa-ny’s private label collection of playwear and essentials.

Merchandise is available in sizes 2T-14, and each box ranges from $10 to $35. Customers that keep all items receive a 25% discount. They are also required to pay a $20 styling fee, which is applied to-ward any item purchased in their child’s box. Unwanted merchandise can be returned with free shipping.

New and existing customers fill out a style profile, and pick the date to receive their first box. Existing customers can manage their child’s profile directly from their own.

“At Stitch Fix, our goal has always been to help our clients discover products and styles they love,” said Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of Stitch Fix. “Stitch Fix Kids is a fun and engaging way for kids to find clothes they love and feel their best in, while saving parents time.”

Stitch Fix is the latest company to compete in the growing children’s clothing subscription segment. Other companies that have found a way to differentiate themselves in the increasingly crowded category include BabyGap, Old Navy, Target and Kidbox, among others.

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TECHNOLOGY

Walmart launches new digital tools, services for back-to-school

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is gearing up for the second biggest shopping season of the year.

The discount giant on Wednesday unveiled new online tools designed to ease the back-to-school shopping experience for parents, teachers and students. Among the new initiatives, Walmart is now featuring dedicated school supply lists within its mobile app. Last year, the discount giant’s website debuted TeachersLists, a centralized location where teachers can upload supply lists. This year, parents can access the lists on Walmart’s mobile app, as well.

By entering their ZIP code, customers can pinpoint their child’s individual classroom list or access a general grade supplies list. The app also pinpoints the store aisle for each item. Customers can also use the app to locate all available school supplies and brands at store-level.

Walmart is also debuting a service that helps teachers stock up on classroom supplies. Walmart’s Teacher Shop, a dedicated section online and in more than 2,100 stores, features classroom décor and supplies, including stickers, reward charts, dry erase boards and markers, among other essentials.

The retailer has also doubled the assortment of back-to-school and college products available during the season, with everything available for buy-online-pickup-in-store. Back-to-school staples are eligible for Walmart’s increasingly expanding Online Grocery Pickup shopping service, and a majority of back-to-class items are also available for free two-day shipping on orders over $35 without a membership fee, according to Walmart.

The discounter kicked off its back-to-school season with the introduction of its newly launched Buy the Room feature, a service that allows customers to add a group of items to their online shopping cart, and buy a complete look. Initially, the service will highlight dorm living, and feature five curated collections. Each room will feature up to 20 of the most popular items college students need to outfit their living space.

Buy the Room is an extension of Walmart’s new digital home furnishings shopping experience. This is one of many elements featured on Walmart’s redesigned website, which was introduced in February.

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‘Mega breaches’ take a big toll on the bottom line

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Hidden costs associated with larger data breaches are putting targeted companies at an even bigger financial risk.

The average cost of a data breach globally is $3.86 million, a 6.4% increase from 2017. However, hidden costs associated with mega breaches are causing additional financial damage, according to “The 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study,” from IBM Security.

According to data, mega breaches – which range from 1 million to 50 million lost records – cost companies between $40 million and $350 million, respectively. One-third of the cost of mega breaches were derived from lost business. This equates to nearly $118 million for breaches of companies with 50 million lost records.

In the past five years, the amount of mega breaches has nearly doubled from just nine in 2013, to 16 in 2017. Due to the small amount of mega breaches in the past, the study historically analyzed these data attacks at around 2,500 to 100,000 lost records.

The vast majority of these breaches (10 out of 11) stemmed from malicious and criminal attacks, as opposed to system glitches or human error. The average time to detect and contain a mega breach was 365 days – almost 100 days longer than a smaller scale breach (266 days).

Costs continue to rise among data breaches of less than 100,000 records, as well. The average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million, compared to $3.50 million in 2014 – nearly a 10% net increase over the past five years of the study.

Costs are also heavily impacted by the amount of time spent containing a data breach, as well as investments in technologies that speed response time. The average time to identify a data breach was 197 days, and the average time to contain a data breach once identified was 69 days. Companies who contained a breach in less than 30 days saved over $1 million, compared to those that took more than 30 days ($3.09 million vs. $4.25 million average total).

The amount of lost or stolen records also impacts the cost of a breach, costing $148 per lost or stolen record on average. The factors which increase or decrease this cost:

• Having an incident response team was the top cost saving factor, reducing the cost by $14 per compromised record.

• The use of an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for cybersecurity reduced the cost by $8 per lost or stolen record.

• Companies that indicated a “rush to notify” had a higher cost by $5 per lost or stolen record.

Organizations that had extensively deployed automated security technologies, such as AI, machine learning, and analytics to augment or replace human intervention in the identification and containment of a breach, saved over $1.5 million on the total cost of a breach, which is $2.88 million. This is compared to $4.43 million for those who had not deployed security automation, the study revealed.

“While highly publicized data breaches often report losses in the millions, these numbers are highly variable and often focused on a few specific costs which are easily quantified,” said Wendi Whitmore, global lead for IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS).

“The truth is there are many hidden expenses which must be taken into account, such as reputational damage, customer turnover, and operational costs,” she added. “Knowing where the costs lie, and how to reduce them, can help companies invest their resources more strategically and lower the huge financial risks at stake.”

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