Retailers and brands including J. Crew and bag seller Caraa Sport are increasingly experimenting with Amazon as an online outlet marketplace for last year's styles and off-price merchandise. "Brands already use eBay for liquidation, so Amazon makes sense; it's a self-fulfilling prophecy if you are recognized and on Amazon," Forrester Research principal analyst Sucharita Kodali said.
Hundreds of retailers and restaurants in the Carolinas started closing last Thursday as Hurricane Florence approached, and many of them began reopening Sunday after the worst of the storm's deluges had passed. The storm was forecast to cost retailers about $700 million in lost sales, according to Planalytics.
Google has created new ad formats, including Showcase Shopping ads that incorporate YouTube video content, and Shoppable Images that give advertisers the ability to link shopping content to images on fashion blogs and other sites, Google executive Kirnan Mani said at the Shop.org conference. "Brands are facing a new paradigm called moving from information to assistance," he said. "It's about getting to the point of assistance."
Staples will pay $482.7 million, or $12.80 per share, to acquire office supply company Essendant, topping an earlier offer from Genuine Parts, an office and automotive supplier. Genuine Parts declined to raise its bid and opted to let its acquisition agreement expire, clearing the way for Staples.
Models in baggy styles and neon colors strode the catwalks at New York Fashion Week last week, giving fashion fans their first glimpse of what to expect this spring. New denim styles from brands including Coach and Michael Kors were on display, as were animal prints from designers like Christian Siriano.
Retailers are increasingly embracing augmented reality apps that let customers virtually try out products from accessories to new sofas. Williams-Sonoma said last year it would acquire tech firm Outward, bringing in augmented reality tools that will let customers create rooms using pieces from both Pottery Barn and West Elm.
UK retailer Superdry has named former Tommy Hilfiger executive Brigitte Danielmeyer as its first chief product officer. The appointment comes as Superdry prepares to introduce a series of fast-fashion collections called Superdry Preview.
Amazon has grown its offerings in Australia to include auto supplies and services as well as pet products. The company, which began selling in Australia late last year, now offers more than 60 million products in 24 categories.
Couldn't make it to Las Vegas? Check out the highlights, session materials, presentations, videos and photos from last week's events, including the EXPO, the Innovation Lab and Startup Zone, the Welcome Party with DJ Pauly D and more. See event recap.
Chatbots used by customer service centers should be able to handle imprecise and complex questions, be personalized to the user and ask for help from humans when necessary, writes Ryan Lester of LogMeIn. "It's not about just knowing words, but also patterns so even if the same question is asked a thousand different ways, the chatbot can give a clear and correct answer," he writes.