Stores search for ways to fight the online tide

… instead of acting dumbfounded by customers’ defecting to online sites, retailers have finally put in place technology that links their online stores with their physical stores. They’re also trying to make their stores more fun.

Reference: Stores search for ways to fight the online tide


All in with online, can J.C. Penney get up to digital speed?

I had a few occasions chatting with the IT people of the company in the past few years. They were reluctant to adapt to the on-line trend of the retail market. One year, they wanted to expand their on-line catalog business; the next year, they closed the on-line catalog business and moves the majority of their IT people overseas in the following years. This time, it appears that the new SVP, Mike Amend, hired from Home Depot, is ready to face the on-line retail business challenges.

This article highlights a lot of positive actions for the company to transition itself from a traditional retail business to an on-line one.

  • Recognizing its market strength: Research from comScore tells Penney that its customers have household incomes of $60,000 to $90,000, and they tend to be hardworking, two-income families living both in rural and urban settings. They don’t have the discretionary income to commit to membership fees.
  • Last month, Penney added the ability to ship from all its stores, which immediately made about $1 billion of store inventory available to online customers and cut the distance between customer and delivery.
  • About 80 percent of a store’s existing inventory is eligible for free same-day pickup.
    Last week, it offered free shipping to stores with no minimum purchase. Large items like refrigerators and trampolines are excluded.
  • now stocks four times the assortment found in its largest store by partnering with other brands and manufacturers.
  • More than 50 percent of its online assortment is drop-shipped by suppliers and doesn’t go through Penney’s distribution. Categories added range from bathroom and kitchen hardware to sporting goods, pets and toys
  • now has one Web experience regardless of the screen: phone, tablet or desktop.
  • Its new mobile app and wallet include Penney’s new upgraded Rewards program. Customers can book salon appointments on it. The in-store mode has a price-check scanner.
  • Penney set out to “democratize access to the data,” so that not only the technical staff could understand it, now dashboards and heat maps allow the artful side of the business — the merchants — to measure such things as sales to in-stock levels or pricing to customer behavior.

Reference: All in with online, can J.C. Penney get up to digital speed?

Amazon’s and Walmart’s latest moves confirm the death of the middle class as we know it

Amazon, whose Prime service claims more than 70% of upper-income households in the US — those earning more than $112,000 a year — is suddenly going after customers on government assistance who earn less than $15,444 a year for a one-person household.

The retailer on Tuesday announced it would slash the cost of its monthly Prime membership nearly in half, to $5.99 a month, for customers who have an electronic benefit transfer card, which is used for government assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.

Reference: Amazon’s and Walmart’s latest moves confirm the death of the middle class as we know it

Gartner positions Microsoft as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems

This is the new Gartner magic quadrant for operational (transnational, OLTP) DBMS (Oct., 2015). It appears that Microsoft’s hard work and licensing structure pay off to beat Oracle. I was hoping to see the rankings of big data vendors, such as MapR, Cloudera, Hortonworks, and others, to be a lot higher but they are not. Maybe, big data applications are still limited to a few big name companies such as Google, Amazon, or Netflix, but not the majority of businesses. And, those big data businesses are more related to streaming and internet searches, less about point-of-sales and logistics operations. Or, maybe, traditional DBMS is already sufficient to meet most business needs with reasonable cost.

Reference: Gartner positions Microsoft as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems

An Amazon ‘pick-up’ store may be coming to a college near you

9/14/15 Mailroom by Mei Buzzell Students mail waiting

It makes perfect sense for Amazon to set up physical stores, or join existing Barnes and Noble stores in college campus, due to its shipping convenience and popularity in colleges. This would eliminate the need for those colleges to set up distribution centers in their campus, which is an completely unnecessary infrastructure cost to them.

Some people even suggested Amazon to buy out Postal Services. This is another interesting idea but does not actually solve the package problems to those colleges, because they simply do not have the space and labor to handle those increasing packages.


How Are Organizations Using Amazon’s Cloud? Some Interesting Statistics

With Amazon finally lifting the kimono and admitting to the world that its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division is a massive (and fast growing) part of the business, it is interesting to look into what all of that $6 billion worth of revenue is being spent on.

One thing is for sure, and that is, regardless of posturing by other vendors, AWS is the largest pure-cloud vendor. That is; AWS sells more infrastructure as a service (IaaS) products than its competitors Microsoft, Google GOOGL -0.34%, IBM, and Rackspace.

Reference: How Are Organizations Using Amazon’s Cloud? Some Interesting Statistics

Roundup Of Free Cloud Computing Courses, 2015: Amazon Offering A New Online Course On Big Data

Amazon Web Services is now offering a free online course on Big Data , and is also offering an instructor-led course on Big Data on AWS. The AWS Training site has also includes sections on getting started with AWS, including AWS Essentials and self-paced labs.

Reference: Roundup Of Free Cloud Computing Courses, 2015: Amazon Offering A New Online Course On Big Data