Keeping up with the latest store closures, emerging tech, and what Amazon is doing could easily be a full-time job. Luckily for you, it’s ours.
Ahead of the long holiday weekend, we’re looking at the biggest retail and logistics headlines from the past few weeks, including:
- What the latest tariff news means for retailers and brands
- How warehouses are using perks to attract employees
- Why Amazon will be competing with Target, Walmart, and eBay this Prime Day
Let’s talk logistics
Which way is the wind blowing?
As of this week (seems to change by the hour), the U.S. won’t be going through with Round 4 of tariffs, which would have affected $300B worth of Chinese imports and raised prices by “10% to 21%” according to industry analysts.
That’s great, but there’s already another proposal for $4B in tariffs on European Union goods. This would include “olives, Italian cheese, Scotch whiskey, and some 86 other tariff sub-categories” and would come in addition to the already proposed $21B of EU products.
With things so up in the air, we expect many businesses to continue taking precautionary measures like forward-deploying imported inventory in case the wind changes … again.
Via Retail Dive
Warehouses get perks
Is that a warehouse or an Apple store? As the demand for warehouse workers continues to rise and the national unemployment remains at a low 3.6%, warehouses are having to raise the bar in order to attract new employees. Taking a cue from startups, warehousing and logistics companies are rolling out new perks like gyms, outdoor areas, dining, and coffee bars to stand out.
Unfortunately, a lot of companies are missing the mark. Maricarmen Molina, a union shop steward at a New Jersey distribution center, questions, “Why would you waste your money on that when you can give [workers] health insurance for their whole life instead of a coffee shop or gym?”
One firm that is taking the time to consider and improve the work environment is Prologis Inc, which built a “Tacoma, Wash., warehouse that features advanced air ventilation and water filtration systems, more natural light than traditional warehouses and large murals of ocean life.” It may not be as flashy as a gym or coffee bar, but these types of perks make for a working environment that will actually attract and keep qualified workers for the long haul.
Instagram is everywhere
Instagram has proven to be an important channel for retailers and brands, but not necessarily the most profitable one. Even with new features like shoppable posts, savvy retailers are finding that repurposing and reusing their Instagram content is the best way to monetize the social platform.
Instagram posts can be featured on product pages to show how real customers use the product, in paid social ads, on websites as a “fanreel” feed of user-generated content, and even in emails. Joie, a women’s clothing retailer, has taken things one step further, creating a comprehensive Instagram strategy where “an influential woman is profiled on the site via a Q&A, plus she’s featured in social posts and emails. She posts about the feature in her own channels, and she often hosts a Joie Instagram takeover.” By doing this, they extend their reach far beyond the platform, and get the most out of their influencer deals.
What’s Amazon up to?
Gearing up for Prime Day
‘Tis the season... for Amazon Prime Day! Yes, retail deal-seekers’ favorite invented holiday returns July 15th and will span a record 48 hours this year. According to a recent report by RetailMeNot, “84% of retailers say Prime week is the most important time for driving online sales during the entire back-to-school shopping season” and 250 retailers are predicted to participate in Prime Day this year.
Unfortunately for Amazon, other retailers like Target, Walmart, and eBay are having their own competing sales during the same time frame—the retail equivalent of throwing a party on the same night. The press release for Target’s sale, “Target Deal Days”, explicitly states that there will be “No membership required.” A not-so-subtle jab at the exclusiveness of Amazon’s sale. eBay’s version, the “Crash Sale”, is also poking fun at Amazon—reminding everyone of their website crash during 2018’s Prime Day. Meanwhile, Walmart is jumping the gun on all of them, starting their sale a day ahead on July 14th. Will Target, Walmart, and eBay manage to put a dent in Amazon’s massive sales? Stay tuned.
FLEXE news & events
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