As retailers strive to create experiences for their customers in their brick and mortar stores, providing an eating outlet is becoming more and more the norm. The concept is not old: Macy’s opened its first restaurant inside a department store back in 1907. Nordstrom has cafes in all of its stores, and have now expanded the concept to “hubs” with a café, nail salons and personal shoppers. Wal-Mart has McDonald’s and Target has Starbucks and food courts. Whole Foods has always had a restaurant inside their stores. Retailers are watching their holiday traffic patterns as they decide what to offer in their stores next. October retail store traffic was down, as was restaurant traffic. The next possible phase for restaurants in retail? Using the food to reflect the branding of the retailer and make “Instagramable”, attractive and unique food items to promote the social media experience. Outdoor malls that are part of master planned residential communities are incorporating living, eating and shopping as an all-in-1 experience, allowing customers to eat, take their beverage out into the mall and shop while hearing live entertainment, making it a social experience.
Allure Magazine kicked off the holiday season by announcing its top 19 beauty gift ideas. Out of the thousands of possible gifts, many standouts are products from Accelerated Analytics beauty customers. These brands utilize the sales and inventory reports provided by Accelerated to drive their business through their retail accounts and manage the day to day sales and goals that are so prevalent and critical within beauty industry sales, especially during the peak holiday season, which accounted for double-digit sales for the category the past two Decembers. Deloitte US’s holiday survey reported that the number of consumers who plan to buy beauty products this holiday will grow from 18% to 29%. So, which of our customers made the list?
Estee Lauder’s MAC snowball false eyelashes dotted with roots of gold glitter
L’Oreal’s Urban Decay Naked Vault Vol IV ultimate makeup palette
Beautyblender Blender for All Seasons egg-shaped, revolutionary makeup sponge
T3 Micro’s Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand – this also won Allure’s Best of Beauty of the Year prize!
WalMart announced a series of holiday-time strategies on Wednesday, primarily focused on battling the threat of Amazon taking away from their sales. Their holiday strategy includes three themed parties between now and December 16, across 7,000 stores, for a total of 20,000 in-store parties. The parties will give shoppers the opportunity to play with toys, take pictures with Santa, see product demonstrations and taste goods. In the stores, WalMart will have extra staff on hand to assist with checkout and grab additional items for shoppers. In addition, the retailer has also tripled its inventory and expanded its assortment of brands. WalMart will also offer price rollbacks on thousands of items.
As far as online strategies, WalMart is offering more than 2 million items with free 2-day shipping on orders over $35. Also new is a “pickup discount” when shoppers order online and pick up in store. They have also doubled their grocery pick up locations, where they bring the groceries out to the customers’ cars.
WalMart is also going after Amazon’s helm as the low-price leader. A study was released this week showing that Amazon’s prices are typically 11% lower than WalMart, Target and Jet, but WalMart is closing in, being only 3% higher than Amazon across all products . The retailer is especially price competitive with Amazon in the beauty category, with products being 1% lower than Amazon on average. Experts state that going into the holiday season, the price war will continue to heat up across all of the categories of products WalMart sells.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) annual holiday spending survey results were released, with a promising outlook for the holiday retail spending season. Consumers surveyed reported they expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from last year. Online shopping was listed by consumers as the #1 shopping destination for the first time ever, listed so by 59% of those surveyed. The NRF also noted it expects retail sales in November and December to be up by almost 4% over last year, for a total between $678 billion and $682 billion.
The survey also reports that gift cards remain the #1 popular item on wish lists. This is followed by clothing and accessories at 55%, which is the highest level that category has seen in over a decade. Other popular categories include consumer electronics at 33%, home décor at 24% and home improvement items at 18%. While 59% will shop online, 57% say they will shop at a department store, 54% at a discount store and 35% at a clothing or accessories store.
The survey showed that with regard to holiday spending only 27% are concerned about the impact of the nation’s economy, which is down 32% from last year.
Canadian Tire posted its second quarter results this week, beating analyst expectations. Revenue rose 2% to $3.4 billion from $3.3 billion last year. The DIY retailer’s shares rose from $2.46 per share to $2.81. April and May results did not help the quarter, mainly due to weather and the effect on seasonal products. However, Canadian Tire used analytics to diversify their product assortment and plan effective promotions.
The retailer also invested in its website and mined customer data and data insights to respond to activity based on facts rather than intuition. Using these analytics, they better planned for flyers, loyalty strategies and promotional events. Same-store sales were up 1.4%. They also drove their private label products, which now is responsible for 1/3 of the retailer’s revenue. Sales of private label merchandise grew by almost 8%. Private label brands for them include Mastercraft tools, Norma lights and Canvas home goods. These products are performing so well that the retailer is considering selling them outside of Canada.
Luxury retailers have historically been considered immune to the challenges of mass-market chains, like declining foot traffic and endless price wars, but that no longer appears to be true. High-end retailers are learning that even wealthy customers are hunting for better deals and selection empowered by the pricing and supply transparency of an omni-channel marketplace.
“In the past, women had loyalty to a particular department store, and they would come in with a page torn from the retailer’s catalog and say, ‘I want that look,” said Robert Burke, the former fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman who now runs his own consulting firm.
According to global management consulting firm Bain & Co., sales of personal luxury goods such as apparel and handbags fell 1% last year, the first decline since 2009.
Few are feeling the heat like luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, which holds nearly $5 billion in debt. When Neiman Marcus opened its first store in Dallas in 1907, they built their brand catering to the wealthy.
“Our mantra had always been, ‘There is nothing too expensive for our customer,” one former executive said.
Neiman Marcus routinely increased average prices by 7% – 9% annually until 2015. But the model of lifting profits by simply raising prices has fallen out of fashion. The same strategy has been common among many luxury retailers giving consumers little choice because distribution of high-end goods was tightly controlled by the brands. And until recently, few luxury goods were sold online giving brands tighter control of pricing.
“One of the tricks to luxury is price discipline,” said Aaron Cheris, the head of Bain’s retail practice for the Americas. Shoppers pay full price, he said, when they can’t “get stuff for less.”
But competition from online and discount retailers, where prices change rapidly to remain competitive, is forcing discounts and forcing change to remain competitive.
In today’s WSJ Logistics Report, author Paul Page wrote that luxury retailers need to “look for ways to lower production and distribution costs, use data in a more sophisticated way and follow their customers in displaying a new kind of discipline in pricing.”
Accelerated Analytics provides POS reporting and analysis for several luxury brands like Bvlgari, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and more, who sell through luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman. You can learn more about our expert data and analysis solutions for fashion and beauty vendors on the solutions pages of our website.
Vendors know an out of stock or empty peg is a very bad thing, so it’s hard to understand why most vendors are not managing their retail sales at a store and item level. Here is what we calculated for a vendor this week to estimate their lost sales due to out of stocks. The results were pretty eye opening.
This vendor has 4 retail customers. Retailer 1 has 3,600 stores, retailer 2 has 2,500 stores, retailer 3 has 1,800 stores and retailer 4 has 950 stores. Total retail stores = 8,850. Average in-stock % across all four retailers = 98% so approximately 177 stores are out of stock each week. Weekly unit sales for their top selling items average 6 per week so approximately 1,062 unit sales are being lost each week, which is roughly $15,000 in lost sales per week.
In other words this vendor is loosing over $750,000 per year in sales.
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