How much electricity is all of retail's e-commerce, big-data analytics and mobile shopping devouring? No one has calculated that, but a report out this month argues that all IT now consumes about 10 percent of the world's electricity.
Offering customers free same-day delivery has long been an elusive goal for e-tailers. Their motivation is simple: If e-tailers can give customers the near-instant gratification of buying in a store, they can eliminate one of the most powerful advantages held by their bricks-and-mortar competitors. Alas, costs and complexity have largely kept same-day delivery (defined here as delivery between sunup and sundown on a weekday) out of reach and, at best, a niche offering.
Walmart's second quarter sales climbed 2.1 percent to $68.7bn, driven by omnichannel investments in ecommerce logistics, updated mobile applications, expanded online inventory, products available for pick-up in store and rolling out fulfillment capabilities to an increasing number of supercenters.
As populous countries such as Brazil, China and India develop increasingly acquisitive middle classes, opportunities for online sales to these countries are growing. Except for small mom-and-pop outlets, the brick-and-mortar retail sectors are poorly developed outside of major cities. Consumers in these and many other developing countries are looking online for more choices in apparel, electronics, and luxury goods.
Lowe's Companies announced its acquisition of the majority of assets of Orchard Supply Hardware has been approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Lowe's will acquire 72 Orchard stores for approximately $205m in cash, plus the assumption of payables owed to nearly all of Orchard's supplier partners. Lowe's expects to close the transaction by the end of August.
Retail has an $800bn problem, according to research firm IHL Group. That is the collective cost of inventory distortion in out-of-stocks and overstocks among retailers today, and it could increase same-store sales by 9.2 percent if completely fixed.
Despite a slowdown in U.S. retail and consumer merger + acquisition (M+A) activity in the second quarter of 2013, consumer sentiment and retail sales trends remain positive, along with strong corporate balance sheets and availability of private equity "dry powder," which should help trigger M+A activity during the second half of 2013, according to PwC's U.S. retail and consumer deals insights Q2 2013 report.
As merged channels (also known as omnichannel) become the default for an increasing number of retailers, the challenge of efficiently handling the supply chain and managing inventory becomes exponentially more complex.