TECHNOLOGY

Wholesale club operator expands same-day delivery service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

BJ’s Wholesale Club now offers same-day delivery across all of its locations.

The wholesale club operator is expanding its partnership with Instacart, a move that enables the company to offer its members same-day delivery in cities along the east coast. The service will be available across all BJ’s clubs by the end of April.

As shoppers log into a dedicated website, they can choose from “thousands of items,” including premium deli meats and cheeses, produce, meat and frozen foods, as well as household items like diapers, paper goods, nutritional supplements and pet products. Items from BJ’s full-service deli are also eligible for same-day delivery in as little as an hour, the company said.

The service also offers a simplified fee model on groceries that equates to savings up to 25% or more compared to supermarket prices.

“We’re thrilled to bring same-day delivery to BJ’s shoppers,” said Rafeh Masood, senior VP and chief digital officer, BJ’s Wholesale Club. “BJ’s expanded partnership with Instacart gives members a new and easy way to shop the club without leaving their home.”

The company currently operates 215 clubs and 133 BJ’s Gas locations in 16 states.

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TECHNOLOGY

Ikea rolling out furniture assembly services

BY Marianne Wilson

Ikea is looking to take one of its customers’ major pain points away.

The home furnishings giant announced it is expanding its furniture assembly service nationwide. Ikea debuted its TaskRabbit At-Home Assembly Service in a pilot in 2016, introducing it online in select markets and in six stores in the San Francisco and New York City area. The retailer said additional stores will add the service in 2018, including those in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Boston, Washington, D.C., and more.

Ikea’s furniture assembly service is offered through TaskRabbit, an on-demand services platform company that connects customers with workers, called “taskers,” that handle everyday needs such as furniture assembly, moving and packing, general handyman repairs, and home improvements. Ikea acquired TaskRabbit in September 2017.

“We are always looking at ways we can innovate and help make our customers lives at home easier,” says Jackie DeChamps, COO & executive VP, Ikea U.S. “We are excited to participate in the on-demand, sharing economy and give our customers access to a flexible, convenient and affordable service solution with the new TaskRabbit At-Home Assembly service.”

Ikea said it has updated its e-commerce site so that users can check the availability of the TaskRabbit At-Home Assembly service – based on their location and product choice – as they shop online. The price for assembly with a TaskRabbit starts at $36 and is based on a flat rate per type of item. Select products, including Ikea kitchens and bathrooms, are not included as part of this at-home assembly/mounting service program.

In addition to the furniture assembly service, Ikea announced several other initiatives, including the expansion of its “click and collect” service to additional locations in 2018. Also, in January, Ikea began rolling out a new, lower-priced shipping and delivery option starting at $29. Customers can purchase all that they want – the charge is the same regardless of weight and size.

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Report: An unlikely partnership hints at Amazon’s next move

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Instagram posts from Khloe Kardashian might have revealed Amazon’s next business quest.

Khloe Kardashian threw a baby shower last weekend, one that came to fruition through a sponsorship deal with Amazon, according to Business Insider.

According to the reality star’s Instagram posts, she is a member of Amazon’s baby registry, a service that features “millions of products” ranging from bottles and strollers to cribs and swings. Users can manage the registry on any device, and Amazon offers free 90-day returns on most items, according to Amazon’s website.

The partnership could be a hint that Amazon is pursuing a bigger investment in the baby and toy category. By leveraging the Kardashian family’s social media following and reality television series, the online giant could create sponsored content that could bolster its traction across the category, according to Business Insider.

The online giant dominated the online kids’ market with $2.16 billion in online sales in 2016, according to data from ecommercedb.com.

This eclipsed both Walmart and Toys “R” Us, which reported approximately $1.3 billion, and $912 million in online sales, respectively, during the same period.

Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy in September, continues an upward battle to compete with Amazon. The company announced last month that it planned to shutter an additional 200 stores and lay off a significant portion of its corporate staff. This came after a court filing in January in which the chain said it was planning to shrink its U.S. store portfolio by as much as 20% — about 180 locations — as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy before the 2018 holiday season.

Last week, the company reported it was making preparations to liquidate its operations in the United States.

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