E-tail news roundup: It’s omnichannel or die

We’re looking at news from leading retailers using e-commerce and seeing who’s having success with omni-channel strategies. In fact, based on this collection of news stories, you might say retail needs to go omni-channel yesterday – or die. The New York Times featured a look at retail’s “tipping point” including e-commerce impact, store closures and the layoffs of more than 89,000 US retail workers since October. NPD Group analyst Marshall Cohen says some successful retailers are growing their e-commerce business quickly but it may be coming at the expense of in-store sales.

Total Retail released its first Top 100 Omni-channel Retailers list including DSW, UGG, Urban Outfitters, and Zumiez tied with perfect scores of 100. The Atlantic examined the current state of the retail industry and three main causes for the “Retail Meltdown of 2017” including: the rise of online shopping; far too many malls; and a shift in how consumers are spending. In-store digitization or “augmented commerce” is one way retailers can compete using technology according to Ashok Narasimhan, CEO of Omnyway.

Adobe predicts revenues from app stores and in-app advertising could exceed $188.9 billion by 2020. Walmart  may acquire online menswear leader Bonobos which had revenue between $100 million and $150 million in 2016. Starting April 19, Walmart will give discounts to consumers who buy online and pick up in-store. By year-end, McDonald’s will have mobile ordering and payment at all 14,000 US restaurants.

Online menswear retailers Indochino and Untuckit are both taking a page from Amazon by opening bricks and mortar stores in the US. PetSmart opened 30 new stores in the first quarter of 2017 as well as refreshing its website for better mobile and e-commerce performance. JCPenney postponed the closure of 138 stores because customers have come out in strong numbers to take advantage of sales. While Walmart still plans more layoffs, 65% of 18,000 employees laid off last year actually were reassigned. Gymboree children’s retailer, with 1,300 stores, gets ready for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after running up more than $800 million in debt.

Retail at a Historic Tipping Point?

Along the cobblestone streets of SoHo, Chanel handbags and Arc’teryx jackets are displayed in shops like museum pieces, harking back to the height of the neighborhood’s trendiness. But rents there are softening, and the number of vacant storefronts is rising.

Today, some of the most sought-after real estate by retailers is not in SoHo, but five miles away in Red Hook, a gritty Brooklyn enclave with a shipbuilding past. E-commerce merchants are vying to lease part of a huge warehouse space, spanning 11 acres, that would allow them to deliver goods the same day they’re ordered online. The profound reordering of New York’s shopping scene reflects a broad restructuring in the American retail industry.

Between 2010 and 2014, e-commerce grew by an average of $30 billion annually. Over the past three years, average annual growth has increased to $40 billion. Via nytimes.com

How Retailers Are Thriving Despite the Supposed Death of Their Industry

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/292661Financial struggles, tech experiments and the rise of online shopping — those are the dominant narrative elements of today’s retail industry. But just because people are less likely to walk through the doors of certain stores today does not mean they’re not interested in stores in general.

The problem, many analysts argue, is that certain retailers are not interested enough in their customers. They’re interested in what their customers end up buying from them, sure. But they have a harder time determining what those customers want in the first place. “Big stores try to be something for everyone,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry retail analyst of the NPD Group, “and they end up being nothing for anyone.”

It’s an oversimplification to suggest that the reason big-box stores are closing is because people are shopping online. The truth is more complicated. For one, a group of traditional retailers is actually growing its ecommerce business faster than the U.S. retail ecommerce market is growing overall, according to the 2016 Deloitte Retail Volatility Index report. Via entrepreneur.com

Total Retail’s Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers

http://www.mytotalretail.com/resource/top-100-omnichannel-retailers/This report serves as a supplement to Total Retail’s annual Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers list, which ranks the fastest-growing public retailers based on year-over-year sales. We’ve taken that list of fastest-growing retailers and scored them based on the omnichannel experiences they offer to their customers.

The report answers the question, “What is omnichannel retail?” by scoring the retailers on seven criteria — does it offer buy online, pick up in-store; does it offer the ability to search for in-store products on its website; does it offer a shared cart across channels (e.g., mobile to desktop); are loyalty points able to earned and redeemed across channels; are products able to be returned across channels (e.g., return online purchases in-store); does it offer customer service in three or more channels; and is product pricing consistent across channels. Via mytotalretail.com

The Great Retail Apocalypse of 2017 – The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/retail-meltdown-of-2017/522384From rural strip-malls to Manhattan’s avenues, it has been a disastrous two years for retail.

There have been nine retail bankruptcies in 2017—as many as all of 2016. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Sports Authority has liquidated, and Payless has filed for bankruptcy. Last week, several apparel companies’ stocks hit new multi-year lows, including Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle, and Ralph Lauren announced that it is closing its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, one of several brands to abandon that iconic thoroughfare.

A deep recession might explain an extinction-level event for large retailers. But GDP has grown for eight straight years, gas prices are low, unemployment is under 5 percent, and the last 18 months have been quietly excellent years for wage growth, particularly for middle and lower-income Americans. Via theatlantic.com

Omnyway Digitizes Brick-and-Mortar Shopping

http://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2017/omnyway-digitizes-brick-and-mortar-shopping/Enter a big retail store, and no one knows who you are. Sales associates aren’t aware of your interests, personal needs and what you plan to look for. The prices of items are fixed, barring coupons and promotions; and if the store doesn’t have your size, preferred color or style, tough luck.

This brick-and-mortar experience, compared to the ease of eCommerce, leads to in-store shoppers treating physical locations like showrooms, whether or not that’s part of the retailer’s strategy.

“They’ll scan items with the Amazon app,” Narasimhan said. “If the price tag says 52 but Amazon has it for 45, they’ll order it on Amazon and walk out. Amazon changes its prices on average four to five times a day on most of their products. In physical retail, forget about it.”

Combating this is, of course, not as simple as closing down shop and shifting operations to an eCommerce model — especially for large brands with major real estate holdings and long-term leases. The key for brick-and-mortar retailers has become in-store digitization, a movement we’ve covered more than once. But Narasimhan’s conception of it — as ‘augmented commerce’ — puts a new spin on what technology can actually do for physical stores. Via pymnts.com

How Mobile Apps Will Change E-commerce

http://www.asianentrepreneur.org/mobile-apps-will-change-ecommerce/Thanksgiving and Black Friday mobiles sales were over the top, with top online retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart releasing numbers that mobile has opened a new era of online shopping, with its tumultuous contribution on their online sales via exclusive mobile app deals.

2016 was indeed the year of mobile ecommerce began taking over ecommerce websites.

They added that, “in 2020, mobile apps are projected to generate 188.9 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising.” Via asianentrepreneur.org

Walmart is in advanced talks to acquire online men’s retailer Bonobos

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/15/walmart-is-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-online-mens-retailer-bonobos.htmlWalmart’s acquisition streak under new e-commerce chief Marc Lore continues.

The world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer is in advanced discussions to acquire Bonobos, a 10-year-old men’s fashion retailer based in New York City. Sources say the two sides have agreed on a price — which couldn’t immediately be learned — and that the deal is in its final due diligence stages.

The deal would mark at least the fourth e-commerce acquisition by Walmart digital chief Marc Lore since Walmart acquired his company Jet.com seven months ago. Those include women’s online retailer ModCloth, outdoor gear seller MooseJaw and online shoe site ShoeBuy. Lore also bought online furniture retailer Hayneedle while Jet.com was still independent. Via cnbc.com

Walmart introduces discounts for in-store pickup of web orders

http://www.retaildive.com/news/wal-mart-introduces-discounts-for-in-store-pickup-of-web-orders/440339/Beginning April 19, Walmart will offer discounts on some items sold online and picked up in stores, the president and CEO of its U.S. e-commerce unit Marc Lore wrote in a company blog post Wednesday.

The so-called “Pickup Discount” will be available on about 10,000 items at first, expanding to a million by the end of June, Lore said. Items eligible for the discount will be marked as such online, and the discount will vary. Pickup Discount is only available for online orders picked up at Wal-Mart stores within the lower 48 states.

Lore — who joined Walmart last year when it acquired his e-commerce startup Jet for a record-breaking $3.3 billion — said Walmart’s fleet of more than 6,700 trucks enables the retailer to deliver products from fulfillment centers to stores cheaply and efficiently to stores, and that it is passing on the last-mile savings to its e-commerce customers. Via retaildive.com

Buy McDonald’s because mobile ordering will drive sales, analyst says

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/17/buy-mcdonalds-because-mobile-ordering-will-drive-sales-analyst-says.htmlMcDonald’s says it will have new digital ordering and payment functionality at all 14,000 McDonald’s domestic restaurants by year-end.

Investors should buy McDonald’s shares because it will be the first major fast-food chain to have mobile order and pay functionality for all its U.S. restaurants, according to Wells Fargo, which raised its rating on the stock to outperform from market perform.

“Restaurant consumers are aggressively gravitating toward concepts that offer the greatest level of convenience and control across ordering, payment and distribution,” analyst Jeff Farmer wrote in a note to clients Monday. “Among the hamburger players, we believe that MCD is establishing a first-mover advantage with digital that can drive sustainable share gains in late 2017 and beyond.” Via cnbc.com

Online menswear retailers growing offline

http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/online-menswear-retailers-growing-offlineTwo menswear brands founded online are growing their brick-and-mortar operations.

Made-to-measure men’s clothing maker Indochino, which was founded in 2007, plans to open eight new locations in 2017. Three are slated to open in the brand’s home territory of Canada, and five in the U.S.

“This year, we’re almost doubling our showroom network as we focus on significantly expanding our experiential retail model,” stated Drew Green, CEO, Indochino. Looking further ahead, Indochino plans to open 100 stores in the next five years. Via chainstoreage.com

PetSmart expands physical presence and digital offerings

http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/petsmart-expands-physical-presence-and-digital-offeringsPetSmart is growing its brick-and-mortar footprint along with its digital one.

The retailer opened 30 stores across the U.S. and Canada in the quarter ending January 29, 2017, for a total of 70 new stores opened in fiscal 2016 to 73.

In addition to expanding its brick-and-mortar locations, PetSmart also recently launched the new PetSmart.com, which now includes a responsive design optimized for mobile devices and new tailored home delivery options, among a range of additional features. Via chainstoreage.com

JCPenney postponing store closures and liquidation sales

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/13/jc-penney-postponing-store-closures-and-liquidation-sales.htmlMaybe it’s the memories that are bringing shoppers out to the closing JCPenney stores.

No matter the reason, customers are showing up.

As a result, the retailer has postponed the liquidation sales and closure dates for the 138 stores it plans to shutter this year, the company told CNBC exclusively. Via cnbc.com

Wal-Mart reportedly cutting hundreds of jobs to slash costs

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/11/wal-mart-reportedly-cutting-hundreds-of-jobs-to-slash-costs.htmlWal-Mart is eliminating hundreds of jobs in its latest attempt to cut costs as it invests in online. The layoffs span the company’s international, technology and Sam’s Club divisions. They follow Wal-Mart’s decision to eliminate some 1,000 corporate positions earlier this year, including 200 in its e-commerce division.

In total, Wal-Mart has eliminated roughly 18,000 jobs since early last year, Hargrove confirmed. However, many of the affected employees have been reassigned, he said.

Roughly 6,000 of the 7,000 employees who had their back-office positions eliminated were reassigned, Hargrove said. Nearly 65 percent of the 10,000 of the store employees who lost their jobs due to last year’s store closures were also retained, Hargrove said. And the company will hire 10,000 workers through new store openings, he said. Via cnbc.com

Report: Gymboree prepping Chapter 11 filing as debt comes due

http://www.retaildive.com/news/report-gymboree-prepping-chapter-11-filing-as-debt-comes-due/440322/Weeks after credit rating agency Fitch listed Gymboree on its “Bonds of Concern” list of retailers in danger of default, the children’s apparel retailer is preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing ahead of a scheduled June 1 interest payment, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

Gymboree is controlled by private equity firm Bain Capital, which is mulling transfer of that control to lenders including Searchlight Capital, Brigade Capital Management and Oppenheimer Holding, according to Bloomberg’s report. The retailer didn’t immediately return a request from Retail Dive for comment.

Gymboree CEO Mark Breitbard stepped down in January amid reports that a group of its lenders hired financial advisory Rothschild to guide a possible restructuring of some $1 billion in debt. Last month, Gap Inc. re-hired Breitbard to lead its Banana Republic brand. Via retaildive.com

Need for speed?

If you’ve got the need for fast business intelligence, you can get the Cashback Industry News weekly report in your inbox for free by subscribing at the top of the page.