BoR Daily Digest | JC Penney Survival, Big Data to Boost Sales, Retail / Designer Collaborations, Walmart’s Restocking Struggles, Facebook & Ads

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Will J.C. Penney Survive? – blogs.hbr.org

“This week J.C. Penney released its fourth quarter earnings results and they were dismal. Comparable store sales nosedived by 31.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012 versus the prior year. Internet revenue sank by 34.4%, and gross margin dropped from 30.2% to 23.8%.  […] In January 2012, Ron Johnson, Penney’s CEO, announced that instead of offering weekly sales, the retailer was reducing prices across the board. Johnson’s pitch to consumers was in essence, “Why wait for a sale? We have low prices all of the time.” To be clear, Johnson was not claiming that Penney’s everyday prices are the lowest, simply “fair.” The problem with this strategy is that when a retailer sells fairly commoditized products in a generic selling environment — as Penney currently does — it needs sales to motivate consumers to visit a store.”

IBM Smarter Commerce Gives LabelSneak Big Data Boost – eweek.com

“IBM announced a collaborative arrangement with LabelSneak, a small online retailer of discounted designer menswear that is using IBM Smarter Commerce technologies to create unique shopping experiences aimed at the millennial consumer. Essentially, LabelSneak is using big data to glean insight into what millennial men are looking for in terms of clothing, and the company has seen 148 percent growth in its revenue, tripling its sales in less than one year since beginning to work with IBM’s technology. […] ‘With consumer behavior so volatile, marketers need to know what consumers want, before the consumers do themselves,’ said Ade Shannon, CEO of LabelSneak, in a blog post about his company’s work with IBM. ‘Besides analyzing their own data to learn how they have performed in the past, businesses need to be able to look forward and change before the market does.’ ”

Retailer/Designer Collaborations: The Missing Link – forbes.com

“[…] In the first half of 2013, several new partnerships have been announced including Duro Olowu, Nanette Lepore, Marchesa and more for JC Penney; Derek Lam for DesigNation atKohl’s; and Keds for Kate Spade New York.  Joe Fresh, a Canadian designer, also just announced they are launching into 700 JC Penney stores starting March 15th.  […] Do retailers and designers measure the success of these collaborations purely on sales results? Not necessarily.[…] In fact, their success is not measured in dollars, but in overall media impressions. In my opinion, there are other more productive ways a retailer and designer can gain media exposure.  Creating and investing in a new line of products is a very expensive form of advertising, and I think both the retailer and brand do want to measure success in sales dollars, not media impressions.”

Wal-Mart Struggles to Restock Store Shelves as U.S. Sales Slump – bloomberg.com

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT), already struggling to woo shoppers constrained by higher taxes, is “getting worse” at keeping shelves stocked, the retailer’s U.S. chief told executives, according to minutes of an officers’ meeting obtained by Bloomberg News. Once a paragon of logistics, the world’s largest retailer has been trying to improve its restocking efforts since at least 2011, hiring consultants to walk the aisles and track whether hundreds of items are available. It even reassigned store greeters to replenish merchandise. The restocking challenge emerged as Wal-Mart was returning more merchandise to shelves after a previous effort to de-clutter its stores.”

In Atlas Deal, Facebook Gets Serious About Measuring Ads – adage.com

“Facebook today formally announced a long-rumored deal to acquire Microsoft’s Atlas Solutions division today and that its interest in the technology stack boils down to measurement. […] Facebook has been steadfast that the effectiveness of its ads shouldn’t be gauged by clicks alone. Owning an ad server will allow the social network to track actions after a user is exposed to an add, so-called “attribution.” Atlas can help Facebook prove that exposing users to its ads does spur them to take an action – whether it’s providing their email address or making a purchase – even if they’ve never clicked on a Facebook ad.”

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