online shopping cover photoEarly results from 2017 holiday shopping show big increases in spending. As of this writing brick and mortar results are still preliminary with Cyber Monday and weekend online purchases still not tallied. But a survey conducted by Voxware indicates this year’s shoppers have higher expectations than in previous years. And they want flawless delivery in record times. Will the increased activity and inflated expectations dampen shoppers’ confidence in online ordering when they count on expeditious delivery the most?

returned goodsIt’s the 4th quarter of the year when retailers are finalizing their stock in anticipation of the holiday season. Historical trends set the stage for quantities, locations, and pricing but a major shift in how consumers consider their own purchase strategies will play havoc with retailers. The problem is with product returns and how consumers now consider their purchases to be temporary.

online-shoppingOmni-channel has become a dated term. In this age of digital information available anytime and anywhere there are precious few shopping decisions being made without fact based information. A MasterCard report from 2015 shows that 8 out of 10 purchases made by retail shoppers are informed by some kind of digital information. With 80 percent of purchase decisions influenced by shopper research, their decisions about just where to buy is likely to come down to convenience and timing rather than loyalty. Omni-channel shopping is now just plain shopping.

retail appsRetail drives a big portion of the EDI traffic along the supply chain. Whether it’s online retail or brick and mortar retail, the issues are the same. But let’s face it… sometimes it’s just easier to find the product you’re looking for by using a search engine online rather than wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a big box store. Increasingly, retailers are supplementing the in-store experience with apps on shoppers’ mobile devices.

big data posPoint of sale (POS) data has long been the domain of the retailer that collects it. It hasn’t always available – in detail, anyway – to manufacturers and suppliers that could use the data for such things as demand planning, improving supply chains to avoid stock outs and to better understand and act on buying habits so they can more accurately allocate advertising dollars. Of course, all those benefits would in turn benefit the retailers, which could improve planning and forecasting, reduce (or eliminate) stock outs, and even have leverage to enact and enforce service level agreements with suppliers.