Tech Bytes: Three Developing Trends in Online Delivery
Online delivery is a retail technology niche undergoing active evolution. Consumers are expecting a wider range of goods available in a shorter period of time than ever before. Here are three ways providers are responding:
Eliminate the Middleman
Reducing the number of supply chain players standing between the product and the consumer is a time-honored business technique for increasing efficiency and reducing cost. In the online delivery arena, third-party delivery providers are starting to realize they can fulfill from manufacturers and wholesalers as well as from retailers.
This trend is still in its very early stages, but is most prevalent in delivery of online perishables purchases. Start-up Wholeshare bases its entire model on fulfilling consumer orders for natural and organic grocery items direct from the same wholesalers who supply specialty chains, at a significant savings to the consumer.
In addition, Amazon Fresh includes local farms and farmers markets among the produce providers it uses in some markets. Going direct to the source poses its own challenges, such as fewer supply outlets and a possible need to buy items in bulk, but inevitably should become more common as online delivery continues growing in popularity and service providers look for a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market.
Buddy Up to the Middleman
At the other extreme from cutting the retailer out of the online delivery equation altogether is forging close ties with retail partners to take the arrangement beyond simply outsourcing the fulfillment of online orders.
The most publicized recent example of a third-party online delivery provider and retailer entering an advanced collaboration is the partnership between Instacart and Whole Foods Market. The two companies will launch in several new markets in the coming year. More significantly, they intend to create new e-commerce and delivery solutions, with the first pilots launching in 2016.
In addition, the strengthened partnership will increase the number of Whole Foods Market stores with embedded Instacart shoppers by up to 50% nationwide by the end of 2016.It is possible other Instacart retail partners may have competitive concerns about this agreement, although the delivery provider has announced deals with other retailers in the meantime.
This agreement is another piece of evidence showing that online delivery is becoming a more established omnichannel retail niche with growing profit potential. Inevitably, similar partnerships between online delivery providers and retailers will pop up the months ahead.
New Kids on the Block
Whether they want to delve deeper into retail partnerships or become the direct consumer point of access to products, a slew of organizations are offering online delivery services. In addition to dedicated service providers such as Deliv and Delivery.com, shared ride networks like Uber, social platforms such as Foursquare and online deal providers like Groupon are all online delivery participants.
Moving forward, it only makes sense that companies from even more industries will at least investigate the online delivery space. This could include (but is not limited to) moving companies, vehicle rental providers, and repair and home services specialists.
In this age of crowdsourcing, there is also the opportunity for independent contractors to offer smaller-scope online delivery services. However online delivery ultimately evolves, the market does not show any signs of shrinking in the near future.
Jo-Ann names former Walgreen exec CFO
Former Walgreens and Tyson Foods executive Wade Miquelon was named CFO at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.
Jo-Ann said as CFO Miquelon would oversee the retailer’s finance organization, real estate, information technology and general counsel.
“I am thrilled to have an executive of Miquelon’s deep and broad experience join the Jo-Ann team during a transformational time in our brand’s rich history,” said Jill Soltau, president and CEO of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. “Miquelon is a highly-respected and effective leader with a track record of driving retail changing strategies. Fueled with a career of significant accomplishments, he will play a key strategic role in creating value for our organization and stakeholders while serving our customers through an exciting shopping experience.”
Miquelon most recently served as the executive VP, CFO and president of international for Walgreens. Prior to working for Walgreens, Miquelon held the position of executive VP and CFO at Tyson Foods and prior to that he served in multiple roles of progressing responsibility at Procter & Gamble.
”I feel very excited and fortunate to join such a wonderful company that engages a loyal and passionate customer in an enthusiast category filled with future opportunity,” said Miquelon. “I am convinced that under Jill’s leadership and in partnership with the entire Jo-Ann team we will delight our customers, create value for all of our stakeholders, and have a lot of fun in the process.”
Yankee Candle unveils the perfect summer collection
SOUTH DEERFIELD, Mass. — The world's largest manufacturer of premium scented candles is taking consumers on a trip to Margaritaville.
Yankee Candle Company has teamed up with the fast-growing lifestyle brand in the United States to launch the Margaritaville Collection. Candles including Jamaican Vacation, Lime & Sea Salt, Pineapple Breeze, and Mother Ocean await shoppers at retailers nationwide.
"Our partnership with The Yankee Candle Company makes perfect scents. Each unique fragrance transports you to an island state of mind, regardless of your current latitude," said Tamara Baldanza-Dekker, Chief Marketing Officer at Margaritaville.
Yankee Candle is also hosting a #MyMargaritaville sweepstakes to launch the collection. The #MyMargaritaville sweepstakes is now open to all, with prizes including a Margaritaville home party pack and a trip to Margaritaville's new Hollywood Beach Resort in Florida. To enter, fans are invited to build their own version of Margaritaville by swiping through a selection of backdrops and beach essentials to create a custom scene. Each Margaritaville scene will be paired with a fragrance and a Jimmy Buffett quote to complete their personalized paradise. Participants are encouraged to share their Margaritaville moment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accompanied by the hashtag #MyMargaritaville.
"Our fragrances often connect to good memories and new experiences," said Geoff Medeiros, VP brand and product development for Yankee Candle Company, Inc. "It was a natural fit for us to have the opportunity to create the Margaritaville experience with our product line up."
The new candles are available at retailers nationwide and priced at: $26.99, Large Square Candle, $14.99; Small Square Candle, $16.99; Square Tin Candle, $17.99; Pillar Candle, $9.99; and Scented Tea Light Candles, $2.99.