The pandemic dramatically accelerated the retail industry’s digital transformation. Large retailers had the technology and processes necessary to respond quickly, but others found their entire business models upended overnight. While some changes may go, what will stay is a renewed focus on building community in retail.
Walmart+, the $98 per year subscription program the company insists isn’t competing with Amazon Prime when it is, will launch Sept. 15, offering free same-day delivery on 160,000 items. Monthly membership is $12.95, similar to Prime, and a 15-day free trial is available. Members of Delivery Unlimited will automatically revert to Walmart+.
Nike is shutting out nine of its retail partners as the company continues a major focus and shift toward direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, according to a note from Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Sam Poser. The nine retailers are Belk, Dillard’s, Zappos, Boscov’s, Bob’s Stores, Fred Meyer, EBLens, VIM and City Blue.
Companies that are resistant or slow to change face real threats from the emergence of a new group of DTC brands, boosted by technology, that can deliver a complete end-to-end customer experience. Laggards need to address their operations urgently, or risk being digitally leapfrogged and left behind by the pack of hungry DTCs.
As e-grocery adoption continues to grow, with 60% saying they had bought online in the past month, up from 52% in March, Walmart has surpassed Amazon as the most-shopped online grocer, according to weekly data published by Coresight Research. There was also a dip in those reporting avoidance of public places and malls.
Kroger plans to launch a marketplace this fall through a partnership with French platform provider Mirakl, adding 50,000 items from sellers initially to its assortment, including toys and household goods in addition to specialty foods, international foods and natural and organic items. The marketplace is an expansion of Kroger Ship.
The uncertainty around schools reopening has made this back-to-school season unlike any before it for retailers, with school supplies lists often unknown as districts work out details, and the normal cadence of discount events and promotions disrupted as well, experts say. Apparel has been hit hardest while tech items are winners.
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