Here are last week’s top stories in Retail:
- Kroger opens the first Customer Fulfillment center – Kroger & Ocado Group are out of pilot mode and the CFC is officially online to the public. They have been piloting with Kroger employees for the past couple months. This is definitely a game changer. Hopefully the next ones are launched more quickly – this has been 3 years in the making.
- Target is testing a new approach to get packages to customers’ doors even faster – The same day that Kroger’s first Ocado shed goes live Target, announces it is testing a new delivery appoach by cobbling together 3 different companies it has bought – it is using Grand Junction and Deliv, to group packages for the most efficient routes to neighborhoods. Finally, contract workers for Shipt, a same-day delivery service that Target bought in 2017, will deliver packages to customers who live in the same parts of town in addition to traditional carriers.
- Amazon launches owned brand, Aplenty – The snacks category just got even more competitive, again with a retailer brand. This comes off the heels of Target also launching their own brand of snacks “Favorite Day” just last month. Both are master brands on multiple more indulgent categories but both seem to be starting and featuring snacks first – which is not surprising with current trends. Really interesting point is however according to CRC’s past consumer research suggests Amazon private label penetration is still relatively low, particularly in food categories, with only 5% of Prime members reporting purchasing the Happy Belly brand (coffee and snacks) and 5% purchasing the Mama Bear baby food brand.
- Prime subscriber numbers were released – and it’s a doozy. It took 13 years for Amazon to add 100 million customers to its Prime customer loyalty program, but it took just 3 years to add the next 100 million. In his annual letter to shareholders, his final as CEO of the e-commerce giant, Jeff Bezos said Amazon Prime has surpassed 200 million subscribers globally. Even more impressive is that Amazon has added more than 50 million new members since January 2020.
- Another Retail Media Network, feat. Dollar Tree – Dollar Tree unveils this week that it too is launching an Retail Media Network called “Chesapeake Media Group” in partnership with Swiftly Solutions and Aki Technologies. Quickly becoming a fragmented market, brands are going to need retail expertise more than ever.
- Walmart joins a multibillion-dollar investment in self-driving cars – Declaring “it’s no longer a question of if…but when” autonomous vehicles are used in retail, President and CEO of Walmart U.S., John Furner, announced the retail titan’s intention to invest in General Motors’ Cruise self-driving car company.
- Emphasizing opportunity, Walmart moves more associates to full time – Smart move from Walmart pushing towards more full time employees, Walmart set the goal of 67% full-time employees by 2021’s end. While there are incremental benefits / costs associated with full time employees the cost of turnover far exceeds that cost.
- Nike launches refurbishment program – Nike launches a program that both keeps shoes out of landfills and jumps on a hot trend of recycling or upcycling clothing. See also: the Nike Grind program.