POS Software Point of Sale Software Hardware GPS Security Camera
Bar Code

Industry News - February 19, 2008



Wal-Mart Strikes Back at Amazon to Regain Its Mojo
Recent moves make it clear that Wal-Mart is taking notice of Amazon’s 39 percent growth rate in 2007. This comes at a time when Wal-Mart announced disappointing results for 2007 and offered guidance to investors about not meeting expectations in 2008.

To regain its mojo, Wal-Mart plans to go on the offensive with three major online initiatives, according to Brian Osborn, Walmart.com vice president of marketing. Osborn spoke to a gathering of online retail executives at last week’s eTail conference in Palm Springs, California, about a vision to make Walmart.com “the most valued and visited Web site, and to make it easier for customers to shop online and offline.”

Osborn’s vision involves focusing on three initiatives:

• Site to Store, an online purchase and in-store pick-up program.
• Customer ratings and reviews that allow the retailer to learn about products and customer satisfaction in real time.
• Find in Store, which allows customers to determine if products are available in local stores.

“These three initiatives bring the stores together with the Web,” says Osborn. “Site to Store customers are already in the stores once a week, so picking up products is a natural thing to do. Customer reviews increase velocity of purchase, click-throughs and conversion rates. And Find in Store serves customers who come to the store one week to look around and prepare to buy something on their next trip.”

A fourth initiative was recently reported in The Financial Times, which noted that “Wal-Mart aims to emulate Amazon’s global online expansion” by investing heavily in a “global e-commerce platform.” The intent, according to the story by Jonathan Birchel on January 31, is to seize “a multi-billion dollar opportunity over the next three to five years.”

Are these initiatives enough to match Amazon and contribute materially to Wal-Mart’s bottom line?

Wal-Mart doesn’t break out online sales figures, but industry experts estimate its revenue to be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2007. Amazon’s revenue was $14.8 billion in 2007. Walmart.com grew by 20 percent last year, while Amazon grew by 39 percent.

Of course, Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer with revenue of $348 billion in 2007. But its massive revenue masks an area of weakness: net profit was flat in 2007 at $11.3 billion. Amazon’s profit doubled to $476 million.

Worth noting is that Wal-Mart’s growth is largely based on opening 500 or more new stores per year, which means a large portion of year-over-year growth is due to having more units in the chain.

Although Walmart.com’s initiatives are significant, they are not innovative, which is a major focus for Amazon. Recent innovations by online giant include Fulfillment by Amazon, third-party product offerings on search pages, the Amazon Prime class of customers, and an Amazon tool kit offered to developers.

Another speaker at last week’s eTail conference was Larry Freed, president of the customer satisfaction firm Foresee Results, who announced that Amazon was one of the highest rated online merchants among the 40 his company tracked during the recent holiday season. Walmart.com was near the bottom.

Customer satisfaction is the foundation upon which merchants build their futures. Wal-Mart has a great deal of building to do if it wants to catch Amazon.

– Joe Skorupa



Meijer Uses Virtual Warehouse to Fulfill Online Operations
Meijer selects e-commerce distribution software from CommerceHub. The e-commerce virtual inventory distribution model enables meijer.com to represent a more expansive product line than its 181 Meijer supercenters. The supplier-direct distribution center features online exclusive products and pricing. The CommerceHub single-connection for network integrations enables meijer.com to fulfill orders directly to the end customer, eliminating the need to physically stock and warehouse inventory for its online operation.

Cabela’s Chats and Connects With Customers Online
Cabela’s uses RightNow On Demand customer relationship management (CRM) to chat and connect with customers online. The outdoor retailer uses CRM to assist customers during their online shopping experiences. As a result, the company has reduced the amount of abandoned shopping carts. Cabela’s also has built and continuously refines a searchable online knowledge foundation that helps customers easily find the information they need 24 hours a day on the company’s website. The retailer uses RightNow to reply to most customers emails within 2.5 hours.

Winn-Dixie Uses New Software to Hire DC Associates
Winn-Dixie Stores expands its use of Kronos’ selection and hiring platform to meet the hiring needs of six of its distribution center throughout the southeast. The food retailer uses Kronos for Retail to broaden its applicant pool, automate, manage, pre-screen and asses its candidates. Winn-Dixie optimizes it workforce by hiring effectively for all environments that support retail operations, including distribution centers. Currently, the food retailer operates 521 stores in the United States.

Crate and Barrel Gains Tools to Ensure On-Time Delivery
Crate and Barrel deploys Descartes’ On-Demand Logistics Management software. The software supports approximately 80 percent of its delivery volume across the United States. The On-Demand Routing and Visibility software provides the retailer with real-time access to delivery information. The hosted software eliminates the need for Crate and Barrel to install software at every site or continually update maps as the retailer expands to new markets.

More Technology News


JDA Software Upgrades E3 Replenishment and Allocation
JDA Software releases an upgraded version of its E3 Replenishment and Allocation Solution Suite. JDA’s Replenishment and Allocation solution suite by E3 manages a comprehensive and synchronized view of demand and global sourcing programs. In addition, new innovations to the solution suite are underway, building upon previous capabilities. The new system helps enable customers increase margins, reduce inventory levels and recover from lost sales.

Reflexis Announces Retail Execution Platform
Reflexis Systems introduces a new Retail Execution Platform which synchronizes previously isolated corporate planning, store-level execution and vendor management systems. The platform helps facilitate better alignment and execution by merchandising, store operations and vendors. Software in the platform coordinates planning, which helps ensure consistent store-level execution. The Reflexis Retail Execution Platform includes solutions for merchandising operations, store operations, vendor operations and execution support.

News Archives:



[ [ Home ] . [ POS Hardware ] . [ POS Software ]. [ Security & ID]. . [ News ]. [ About Us ] . [ Clients ] . ]