Jessica Needle

Recent Posts

A Quick Thanksgiving Retail Recap: 5 Facts That Might Surprise You

With the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday shopping stint behind us, it’s time to dig into the much-anticipated figures around retail’s performance from the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Here are 5 interesting facts on what really went down – with all the data and figures to prove it:

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Topics: holidays, e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail, holiday shopping, data

3 Practical Reasons Retailers Should Adopt AI in 2019

In the world of retail, the goal is simple: sell product. 

However, reaching that goal is a completely different story. When you throw competition, customer expectations, stores, inventory, logistics, and fulfillment into the mix, things reach a whole new level of complexity. The challenge is really two-fold:

  1. ) First, demand is seemingly unpredictable, with a multitude of factors influencing a consumer’s desire to want to buy something. 
  2. ) Secondly, there’s the issue of optimization – how can retailers leverage their inventory more productively? 

Overcoming these challenges requires retailers to better predict demand and optimize their inventory decisions more effectively to ultimately maximize every opportunity for a sale. Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics technologies are growing to be the tools of choice for retailers when it comes to optimizing inventories as customer expectations force retailers to invest heavily in digital capabilities.

Many retailers, according to Gartner, are “simply not optimizing their most significant assets.” What asset is more important than a retailer’s inventory? Here are three reasons retailers should adopt AI for inventory optimization in 2019:

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Topics: allocation, merchandise planning, inventory, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, brick-and-mortar retail, data, advanced analytics, order fulfillment, demand prediction, markdowns

3 Retail Inventory Management Challenges for the 2018 Holiday Season

As the sugar high from Halloween subsides, retailers are shifting their focus to the next holiday spending rush this season: Black Friday. The dangerous combination of pumpkin-spiced lattes, a strong economy, and product deals and discounts will fuel consumers into the eagerly awaited shopping period for retail.

The outlook on holiday spending this year is optimistic. Retailers are getting holiday ready and pulling out all the stops, such as Target and Walmart's free two-day holiday shipping rollout and Wayfair's holiday pop-ups

However, the difficulties in achieving success during the holidays always fall back on how effectively a retailer can manage their inventory. Are you providing the right product, in the right amount, at the right time and place? Here are some of the biggest inventory management challenges retailers must overcome this holiday season:

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Topics: holidays, merchandise planning, product assortment, inventory, e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail, holiday shopping, data, advanced analytics, order fulfillment, demand prediction, merchandise assortment

Lessons from Amazon's 4-Star Store, GH Lab, & Fashion Pop-Up Boutique

It’s easy to gloss over the timeworn Amazon headlines, but media coverage of the e-commerce titan’s recent physical retail strategies incited us to dig a little deeper to share some key learnings for you today:

1). First, Amazon’s partnership with Good Housekeeping magazine to create a new pop-up shop and digital boutique, GH Lab, at the Mall of America beckons a unique approach to the physical shopping experience using technology and a thoughtfully crafted, limited assortment.

2). Secondly, the opening of Amazon 4-Star — a new physical store where everything for sale is rated 4 stars and above, is a top seller, or is new and trending on Amazon.com— signals a new level of data-driven curation and transparency that only seemed possible online. 

3). Lastly, the introduction of Amazon’s first fashion-focused pop-up shop in London further affirms the 'brick-to-clicks' phenomenon driving many digitally-native brands to embrace offline despite the 1,773 store closures so far in 2018. 

Amazon has been dabbling in physical retail since its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, but its bold experimentation with these new store models clearly reveal the company’s ambitions across multiple physical retail verticals – from fashion to furniture to wellness and more.

These moves signal a future in retail where the power of data drives curated assortments, transparency, and more pleasant, stress-free shopping experiences.

Retailers, take note!

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Topics: merchandise planning, product assortment, inventory, amazon, e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail, data, merchandise assortment

The Flux Capacitor of Retail

What if you could travel into the future?

In the 1980s sci-fi classic trilogy, Back to the Future, Marty McFly brings back from the future the Sport's Almanac, a compilation of sports statistics and scores, with the intention of gambling his fortune on games with a 100% accuracy. 

What if you could fast-forward to next season? What would you bring?

If I had to guess, as a merchant, you’d probably gather all of the transactions across each store. With that knowledge, you could make the best use of inventory by knowing exactly where each product was going to sell.  

If only it were as easy as time travel. While nothing will be as easy as time travel, it can get pretty close with advanced analytics.

Here's why advanced analytics is the flux capacitor of retail. 

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Topics: allocation, merchandise planning, fulfillment, brick-and-mortar retail, machine learning, advanced analytics, merchandise buy, demand prediction

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