News Briefs

  • 8/9/2022

    Kohl’s Expands Self-Pickup Ahead of the Holiday Shopping Season

    Kohl's online pickup sign in front of storefront

    Kohl’s Self-Pickup is now available at all stores across the U.S. for eligible orders. The expanded service is helping the brand prepare for a pick-up in online orders ahead of the holiday shopping season. 

    More than 1,100 stores across the country will provide the service, which allows consumers to select “in-store pickup” for their online order, which can be ready within two hours. Consumers are then directed to pick up their order within the store through a quick, email-guided process

    The company stated consumers can also take advantage of the Kohl’s App and Kohl’s Pay for shopping on the go:

    • Kohl’s App: Shoppers can scan and store Kohl’s gift cards, Kohl’s Cash coupons and savings offers, and manage and redeem Kohl’s Rewards in the mobile wallet for easy access at checkout.
    • Kohl’s Pay: Shoppers can quickly pay by connecting to a Kohl’s Card account and applying offers and coupons with one scan.

    “Our teams have been working hard to ensure Kohl’s Self-Pickup service was available for all of our customers ahead of the holiday rush,” said Siobhán Mc Feeney, Kohl’s chief technology officer. “At Kohl’s, we’re focused on listening to what shoppers want, and using technology to make it as easy as possible for families to get everything they need quickly, and through a simple experience.”

    “Our customers love the convenience of same-day Buy Online, Pickup In-Store, and now we’re taking the experience to the next level. With some of the busiest months ahead for both customers and associates, we’re excited to offer Self-Pickup at every store for an easier and more efficient omnichannel experience,” added Mc Feeney.

  • 8/9/2022

    Chico’s FAS Takes Next Step in Digital Transformation With Connected Commerce

    Connected commerce concept

    Chico’s FAS has committed to a digital-first transformation by taking its next step to accelerate its IT architecture growth. 

    The company has partnered with fabric and Bounteous to leverage a commerce technology platform and implementation service that will allow the company to make strides toward building out a connected commerce platform. 

    [Read more: Chico's Upgrades Tech Stack With New Partnership]

    As part of Chico’s strategy, the company is focusing on connected commerce, data centricity, and technology enablement, and a streamlined approach will allow the company to offer seamless, personalized integration for in-person and digital experiences.

    Using modular technology, the company is looking to improve its digital touchpoint and create strong experiences in cross-platform shopping, virtual stylist programs, and more. In addition to consumer-facing improvements, Chico’s is also working to bring intelligence and efficiency to post-sale customer service functions to collect insights from the entire commerce journey; elevate product, marketing, experiences, and operations; and ultimately enhance customer conversion, retention and loyalty.

    "Chico's FAS is so attuned to its customer, and its commitment to give her the very best brand experiences has been clear from day one. As a company equally passionate about creating exceptional consumer-centric experiences, this is one of the many reasons we are excited to co-innovate with Chico's FAS and fabric to transform commerce for its brands," said Jen Spofford, EVP, managing director at Bounteous.

    "The partnership between Chico's FAS, Bounteous, and fabric represents the future of commerce, where each party brings their expertise to build innovative and exceptional experiences for customers," said Ben Pressley, chief revenue officer for fabric. 

    As over 40% of all Chico's FAS purchases are made online, the retailer is investing heavily in establishing a digital ecosystem that delivers a modern commerce experience and meets consumers’ evolving needs.

    "We live in a digital-first world, and in continuing to modernize our consumer experience, we are thrilled to debut this collaborative alliance with fabric and Bounteous," said Jay Topper, chief digital officer of Chico's FAS. "This is a three-way partnership that will pay dividends within our digital and customer-first pillars for years to come."

  • 8/7/2022

    The Body Shop Expands On-Demand Delivery Nationwide

    the body shop

    The Body Shop is expanding its partnership with Uber Technologies, Inc. to include almost all the company’s retail stores across the U.S.

    The expansion kicks in on August 10, making more than 2,000 of the beauty retailer's most popular items available for purchase and on-demand delivery through the Uber Eats app from 75 of The Body Shop’s stores. This expansion brings new locations to the Uber platform and allows consumers in new cities including Illinois, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Hawaii to shop for The Body Shop products through Uber Eats.

    This partnership builds on the 2020 launch that brought six pilot locations to the Uber Eats and Cornershop apps, offering products from across the company’s haircare, body care and skincare lines. Uber One members benefit from $0 Delivery Fee on all The Body Shop orders with $15 minimum purchase.  

    “Two years since The Body Shop pilot program with Uber Eats began, we’re thrilled to expand our partnership to now offer reliable, fast, same-day delivery to all of our US customers, in 75 stores across the country,” said Aliza Birnberg-Perruzzi, AVP, Marketing, US, The Body Shop. “Uber Eats allows us to continue to meet our existing customers changing shopping habits and grow our customer base by meeting the needs of the beauty consumer in the US today.” 

    This expansion marks Uber’s ongoing commitment to the retail and grocery categories. Uber is uniquely poised to meet consumers’ growing desire to get things in an on-demand fashion within hours—if not minutes—rather than days. 

    “When it comes to delivery at Uber, we strive to be able to get consumers whatever they want, when they want it - and that includes their beauty must-haves,” said Christian Freese, head of New Verticals for Uber Eats in the US & Canada. “Beauty is an exciting space for us, and expanding with The Body Shop, a beauty industry staple for over 40 years, will allow us to bring on-demand cosmetic and personal care items to even more people across the country.” 

  • 8/7/2022

    The 2 Companies Walmart and Amazon Are Buying


    Retail giants Walmart and Amazon both announced last Friday they’re acquiring new companies.

    Walmart said it will acquire Volt Systems, a technology company that provides suppliers with enhanced on-demand visibility into merchandising resources. The application delivers current store-level data, actionable analytics, and shelf intelligence for suppliers to plan, forecast, and optimize product assortment. As a result, customers receive a more seamless experience with reduced friction from out-of-stocks. Walmart is acquiring Volt Systems outright, including the company, talent, technology, and customer agreements.

    The deal affirms Walmart’s “continued investment in technology and innovation that enables us to better anticipate customer demand,” the retailer said in a press release.

    Meanwhile, Amazon and iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum since 2002, have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire iRobot.

    iRobot is a global consumer robot company that designs and builds robots and home innovations. Amazon will acquire the company for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion, including iRobot’s net debt. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by iRobot’s shareholders and regulatory approvals. On completion, Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot.

    “We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices, in a press rleease. “Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive—from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin. Customers love iRobot products—and I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”

    “Since we started iRobot, our team has been on a mission to create innovative, practical products that make customers’ lives easier, leading to inventions like the Roomba and iRobot OS,” said Angle. “Amazon shares our passion for building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I cannot think of a better place for our team to continue our mission. I’m hugely excited to be a part of Amazon and to see what we can build together for customers in the years ahead.”

  • 8/4/2022

    Sweetwater Enters Resale With The Sweetwater Gear Exchange


    Sweetwater is getting into resale with the launch of The Sweetwater Gear Exchange.

    The move allows musicians to get equipment and instruments by buying and selling gently used gear in a safe and cost-effective way through a retail partner. Through Gear Exchange, there are currently zero seller fees incurred when the seller chooses a Sweetwater gift card as the form of payment.

    Gear Exchange sellers have the opportunity to create their own customized storefront, including setting a store address, outlining policies for returns, and adding a bio to let people learn more about them. Sellers can create listings that include photos of the instruments and gear they no longer need or want.

    “Being avid music makers ourselves, we know how real the connection can be between the

    musician and their gear,” said David Stewart, CMO at Sweetwater. “It goes beyond just being an instrument and becomes an extension of the artist. Whether it’s someone’s first guitar or an old recording interface, every piece of gear has a story. The Gear Exchange provides music makers and gearheads the opportunity to find a common place to buy and sell items, sharing the remarkable stories behind each unique piece,” said David Stewart, CMO at Sweetwater. “We are excited to provide a new forum for artists to find the perfect equipment to make the music they love.”

    To maintain safety, Gear Exchange has implemented tight fraud prevention measures including requiring photos of the exact item listed. There will be badges available on the storefront pages showcasing how long Gear Exchange sellers have been verified Sweetwater customers.

    Additionally, there will be a full team of administrators monitoring the marketplace for any potential security risks.

    Shipping labels for sellers can be purchased directly through The Gear Exchange, utilizing Sweetwater’s great rates. The cost of the labels can be subtracted from the payout so sellers don’t have to pay shipping bills until they get paid.

  • 8/2/2022

    Kroger Delivery Expands

    grocery tech

    The Kroger Co. is expanding Kroger Delivery into the Greater Louisville area. 

    The grocer has opened a new spoke location in Louisville, Kentucky. The 50,000 square-foot facility will collaborate with the Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Monroe, Ohio, and will serve as a last-mile cross-dock location that expands Kroger Delivery's ability to serve more customers in the Greater Louisville area.

    "Kroger Delivery is part of our rapidly expanding seamless ecosystem that provides customers with fresh and quality products – anytime and anywhere," said Bill Bennett, Kroger vice president and head of e-commerce. "We are thrilled to expand Kroger's offerings to more Louisville customers with a truly differentiated customer experience. Local Kentucky residents can use or the Kroger app to check the weekly circular, select personalized digital coupons, search products by dietary preference and ultimately place their order. Customers will enjoy receiving their orders directly from our refrigerated trucks and delivered by trained Kroger uniformed associates, giving customers an unparalleled first-class delivery experience."

    The spoke facility will employ up to 161 full-time associates. Also, as part of Kroger's commitment to end hunger and eliminate waste through its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social environmental impact plan, the site will use recyclable bags and is working to partner with local food banks.

    Local shoppers also have access to the newly launched Boost by Kroger annual membership program. For either $59 or $99 per year, Boost provides customers with benefits like unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more and two Fuel Points for every $1 spent on groceries and general merchandise purchases through Delivery, Pickup and in-stores. Kroger estimates the membership can save customers more than $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery.

    "Louisville has long been a driver of innovation in the logistics and in the food and beverage industries, and as such, Louisville is uniquely poised to fuel the workforce and innovation demands necessary to drive these industries into the future," said Mayor Greg Fischer. "I am excited to join our partners at Kroger to celebrate this new dynamic facility that will drive high-quality customer service."

    Kroger Delivery Explained
    The expansion in Louisville represents an extension of a partnership between Kroger and Ocado. In 2018, the companies announced a collaboration to establish a delivery network that combines artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and automation.

    The delivery network relies on highly automated fulfillment centers. At the hub sites, more than 1,000 bots move around giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary control systems. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders. As customers' orders near delivery times, bots retrieve products from The Hive and present them at pick stations for items to be sorted for delivery, a process governed by algorithms that ensures items are intelligently packed. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags, reducing plastic use. Bags are also recyclable, reflecting Kroger's commitment to its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment to rid its communities of hunger and waste.

    Kroger's end-to-end cold solutions keep groceries fresh once loaded into customized refrigerated delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Powerful machine learning algorithms optimize delivery routes, considering factors such as road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency. Vans may travel up to 90 miles with orders from the hub and spoke facilities to make deliveries. Associates at the spoke facility will deliver orders within their service area, adding ZIP codes as demand grows.

    Kroger currently operates customer fulfillment centers in Monroe, OH, Groveland, FL, Forest Park, GA (Atlanta), Pleasant Prairie, WI, Dallas, TX and Romulus, MI (Detroit), with additional customer fulfillment centers slated for California, Frederick, MD, Phoenix, AZ, Cleveland, OH, Charlotte, NC, Aurora, CO (Denver), as well as South Florida and the Northeast.

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