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Boomerang Commerce looks to make e-commerce smarter

BY David Salazar

Boomerang Commerce, a Mountain View, Calif.-based machine-learning tech company’s latest tool for suppliers is aiming to make it easy to maximize e-commerce growth. The company’s CommerceIQ platform is designed to use machine learning to analyze variables in real-time to recommend and automate sales, marketing and operations actions to drive growth on e-commerce channels, the company said.

“We are on a mission to empower our brand manufacturer customers with the technology they need to deliver jaw-dropping, profitable growth,” Boomerang Commerce CEO Guru Hariharan said. “Through our investment in machine learning and data science, we aspire to be the most trusted technology partner for brands – first in the context of e-commerce and eventually for omnichannel retail.”

The company noted that currently, more than half of U.S. retail purchases are made online or influenced by e-commerce, and 67% of millennials prefer online shopping to the brick-and-mortar store. With online sales at the mercy of search ranking, paid media, inventory levels, pricing wars and customer reviews, Boomerang Commerce said companies need a solution that focus on winning strategies while using technology to automate everything else.

The CommerceIQ platform includes three applications – one for sales, one for marketing and one for operations. The sales application takes action to improve search ranking and shopper conversion, the marketing application automates ad bidding on Amazon Marketing Services and balances ad spend with retailer profitability and in-stock levels. The operations application can predict out-of-stock situations to avoid products being de-listed and can provide supply chain teams with solutions targeted at digital-first retail, the company said.

“At Campbell, we are setting the pace to meet the consumer wherever they are – online or in traditional retail locations,” Campbell Soup’s vice president of e-commerce business team Veeral Shah said. “Through Boomerang’s CommerceIQ, we can automate real-time actions rooted in consumer data and insights so a brand like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish can remain the number one cracker on Amazon.com.”

Kimberly-Clark’s Amrit Patil, vice president of customer development, said, “Making data-driven decisions through platforms such as Boomerang’s CommerceIQ helps us drive our e-commerce agenda forward.”

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Walmart names new Jet.com president

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart’s e-commerce arm has a new leader.

Simon Belsham has been appointed president of Jet.com. He will report directly to Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce division (and founder of jet.com) effective Monday, March 26.

In his new role, he will oversee the full scope of operations for the Jet.com business, including driving an integrated customer experience with grocery and general merchandise. He will be based in Hoboken, N.J.

Prior to joining the e-commerce website, Belsham was CEO of venture-backed Notonthehighstreet.com, a curated gifting platform. He also spent seven years at Tesco, leading their grocery online transformation from “tablet to table” across the U.K. and 10 markets across Central Europe and Asia. Belsham also built a general merchandise platform for Ocado, a U.K.-based innovator in online grocery.

“His omnichannel experience and track record of innovation from his time in consumables and durables will help spearhead Jet’s focus to be the leading online retailer for the urban consumers,” Lore said. “With Jet grocery being an integral part of the strategy, Simon brings incredible experience in scaling grocery delivery, and his unique background in converging technology and retail to create amazing experiences for customers.”

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Survey: Price on a purchase-influence downswing

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Other factors are starting to outshine price when it comes to influencing purchase decisions.

The importance of the shopping experience has doubled year-over-year. and the need for variety and speed of fulfillment options also grew, according to “2018 Consumer Trends Report — Engaging the Informed Consumer,” from Kibo.

According to the survey, price is still the top factor influencing purchase decisions for 61% of survey participants, however that percentage is down by more than 12.8% compared with last year. Customers are looking for additional value, including extensive content on branded manufacturer websites, suggesting that product images, videos, reviews, detailed specifications, comparison guides, and other consideration tools are all apt investments.

Buy-online-pickup-in-store is now considered a mainstream offering, with 67% of survey participants having used it in the past six months. Furthermore, shoppers widely recognize that BOPIS offers not only free order fulfillment, but also a degree of flexibility and control not available via home delivery. The ability to inspect items in the store before taking them home was the BOPIS benefit whose importance grew the most year over year, suggesting that stores’ tactile experiences are important brand assets.

Shoppers are also more willing to engage store associates for assistance finding items, with 57% of respondents reporting they’ve done so — an 18.75% increase from 2017. More than two-thirds of respondents said they expected those associates to have access to their order histories, suggesting expectations are high for knowledgeable interactions that draw on shoppers’ past interactions across touchpoints.

Inventory access and availability also remain crucial, with more than half of survey participants reporting that they expect a manufacturer’s site to have items in-stock. Meanwhile, 45% believe they’ll find a greater variety of products available, and 40% believe manufacturers will have more items than retailers.

“As merchants struggle to thrive in the era of Amazon and increasingly look for ways to engage consumers, the key is to understand what factors influence a consumer’s buying behavior,” says Tushar Patel, CMO, Kibo. “It is increasingly clear that while having fair and consistent pricing on all channels is extremely important, merchants have an incredible opportunity to engage shoppers with seamless experiences that include, but are not limited to, flexible fulfillment options like buy online, pickup in store.”

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