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Generative AI Data Privacy Risks Need to be Weighed, Experts Say

| Mike O'Brien

While generative AI is unquestionably a transformative technology being applied virtually everywhere, companies would do well to consider their potential for sharing sensitive personal information that could cause them to run afoul of privacy regulations both here and abroad. A cautious approach and careful attention to things like the structuring of contract agreements is advised, experts said.

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Simon Property Group Expands Dropit Partnership

| Mike O'Brien

Simon Property Group has expanded a partnership with retail technology provider Dropit to offer its tenants the ability to optimize functions like ship from store, inventory management and returns, powered by AI, initially at 60 Simon locations. Dropit’s technology sits on top of a company’s OMS, WMS and inventory management systems, augmenting order sourcing, fulfillment, delivery and returns.

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Retail Cyber Threats: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business

| Anas Hassan Mallick

Retail cyber threats are numerous, from altering gift cards to deceiving self-checkout systems through swapping barcodes. It moves on to hijacking customers’ accounts and stealing their personal information, to digital skimming to steal credit card numbers. Here are five different ways retail cyber threats can impact your business, and some tools you can use to combat them.

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Retail Sales Up 0.6% in August, Fifth Straight Month of Gains

| Mike O'Brien

Retail sales, adding in gasoline, restaurants and automotive, rose 0.56% in August vs. an adjusted 0.5% in July, the Commerce Department reported, the fifth consecutive month of modest gains after a period of retreat. Excluding those categories, retail sales rose 0.6% last month, adjusted for seasonal variations, down from 1.47% in July, as rising fuel prices impacted spending in other areas. Compared to August 2022, it was up just 1%.

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A Conversation with REI On Its Approach to Recommerce, Returns

| Mike O'Brien

Outdoor gear retailer REI has been at the forefront of recommerce, creating a successful channel by viewing returns not as a cost center but a revenue driver. It also helps REI achieve its sustainability goals while also spurring growth. Matthew Bergerson, REI’s DVP of returns and circular economy, talks about the company’s views on reverse logistics, circularity, sustainability and its customer ethos.

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Consumers Don’t See Categories Like Retailers, Survey Finds

| Mike O'Brien

U.S. consumers are sending out mixed signals on their spending habits and financial self-assessments, according to management consulting firm Kearney, with over 50% saying they’re living check to check, even as retail sales rise, inflation is down and mall traffic is up. The firm also found consumers views are often at odds with the kinds of fixed categorizations endemic to the retail industry.

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Shein, Forever 21 Parent Sparc Group Strike Major Deal

| Mike O'Brien

Fast fashion retailers Shein and Forever 21 struck a major deal aimed at cross-promoting brands to a similar audience of younger apparel shoppers heading into a closely-watched holiday season. It’s a marriage of mall, retail and brand experience with a production and distribution machine driven by tech and social savvy. But there’s a shadow cast by concerns over Shein’s business practices.

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Your 2024 Back-to-School Campaign Planning: Too Soon? Nope

| Karla Crawford Kerr

The back-to-school shopping rush is hectic for retailers, ranking just behind the holiday season on the marketing calendar. But now that kids in grades K-12 have returned to class and college students are heading back to campus, it’s time to start planning your back-to-school 2024 marketing campaign. Too soon? Not if you want to make the most of a huge opportunity.

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Amazon Charging Non-FBA Sellers, Offers Pittance to Influencers

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon will start charging a 2% per-item fee to merchants using Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) starting in October, Bloomberg reports, while the company is offering influencers the equivalent of $25 a video to populate content promoting its listings as it seeks a bulwark against Chinese social giant TikTok.

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Who Is Leading in GenAI Readiness and Projected Business Impact?

| Mike O'Brien

It’s undeniable that artificial intelligence is having a major impact across industries. But what does that mean in dollars and cents? IHL Group has estimated the business impact of AI, GenAI and machine learning on the retail and restaurant sectors through 2029 at $1.5 trillion. IHL also ranks companies on AI readiness and projected business impact. IHL president Greg Busek breaks down their findings.