Optimism and resilience were on display at Retail's Big Show this week, as retailers celebrated a strong holiday season and looked ahead with an eye on further integrating digital and physical retail. "The next frontier is trying to figure out how to replicate the in-store experience online and really try to bring a human touch to online, so they feel they have a connection," Neiman Marcus Group CEO Karen Katz said.
Abercrombie & Fitch's Abercrombie Kids brand has launched a unisex fashion line dubbed the Everybody Collection. The line includes gender-inclusive T-shirts, hoodies and other apparel and accessories priced from $19 to $69.
Panera Bread has adopted technology based on how new innovations can support the restaurant chain's main business, President and CEO Blaine Hurst said at Retail's Big Show. "It's the food. It's the experience. It's that total integrated experience that makes the difference," he said.
Amazon employed 541,900 people worldwide at the end of the third quarter, up from less than 100,000 in 2013, and the payroll is expected to grow further after the e-commerce giant picks a city for its second North American headquarters. Amazon's annual sales are on track to surpass $275 billion by next year, up 55% from 2017.
In an effort to expand in China, Google has agreed to license patents with Chinese firm Tencent. Google has struggled to expand in China's restrictive market, and working with Tencent, which boasts nearly 1 billion users on WeChat, could offer a way in.
Kroger is actively recruiting managers, with an emphasis on the technology and digital field, as part of its Restock Kroger initiative, having plans for a $500 million investment in staffing. The grocer has also partnered with omnichannel solutions provider Myxx to offer shoppable recipes that are connected to 1,300 of its stores.
Walmart has applied for a patent for a system called Fresh Online Experience, which would give online customers the option of seeing and approving fresh food choices over the internet, according to data and analytics firm CB Insights. Meat, produce and bakery items would receive a visual stamp to assure shoppers they are receiving the item they saw.
Online grocery sales are expected to reach $100 billion and account for 25% of the total market by 2025, according to a Nielsen study commissioned by FMI. Amazon's current share of that market is 18%, according to data from One Click Retail.
Sephora revamped its influencer strategy about 18 months ago, creating a hierarchy headed by in-house makeup artist Helen Phillips. The program, which also includes brand ambassadors and micro-influencers, takes a long-term approach versus the previous strategy of short-term influencer partnerships around specific product launches and campaigns.
The sale of robots in North America was up 14% in the first nine months of 2017, but automation additions to manufacturing are not the only trend. Robots such as Adam, which autonomously travels through the warehouse and accurately selects products from the shelves, are getting smarter and offering more mobility.
- Page 1