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JimBrownell

Partner, GreyOrange
35+ years retail experience. COO/CIO - Commerce technology and supply chain operations.
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  • Posted on: 02/11/2022

    Walmart inventory bots flopped. Will Sam’s succeed?

    Robotics provide for a more dynamic response to these types of situations, i.e. as stores re-merchandise, change layouts, move floor displays, adjust lighting, respond to environmental situations - robots are much more adept at adjusting dynamically to the new playing field. Fixed mounted scanners or cameras require adjustments and tuning individually for each store no matter how consistent in design, so these solutions will become less effective over time. Robots can take any shape or form, work any hours, and require very little supervision when implemented correctly. Whether it be inventory analysis, planogram adherence, shrink or shortage, etc., robots can adjust through software to changing requirements - remotely managed to require very little on-site support. I would contend here it wasn't a well-thoughtout implementation of robotics that doomed the pilot vs the technology used. You can't just "pave the cow path" when it comes to technology implementations. You need to start over targeting the problems, not the symptoms. Plus, this information could automatically feed planogram-based replenishment models to a fulfillment or distribution center or, in many new cases, the back of the store, where robotics can automate the replenishment process into any form factor (totes, cartons, even pallets) to move product to the front of the store where an associate just needs to put them on the shelf. This is the future of retail. It has to be.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2021

    Will five banners work better than one for Wayfair as it begins to open stores?

    My first answer was that they don't need the five but, as I read further into the detail, it does sound like it makes sense. The overriding consideration is that all Wayfair product is available regardless of store to anyone at anytime, seamlessly. Which sounds like the case. Each brand has a point of view that should be represented in the store experience to give the customer what they expect, all sitting on the Wayfair infrastructure.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2021

    Will Toys ‘R’ Us become an American comeback story?

    What does Toys "R" Us bring to this new toy equation? Toys "R" Us used to be the place to go for selection, breadth of categories, immediate availability and for exclusives which no other toy channel could match. I could walk in (browse) today and have what I (my kids ) wanted today - that was the value of the brand. What is it today? This will be a tough hill to climb.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2021

    Will Macy’s curated marketplace distinguish it from online rivals?

    I agree with the sentiments here regarding Macy's being late to a game that is declining in value. Amazon's experience with marketplaces is arguably worse for the consumer -- shipping times, returns, and customer service, but I understand why Amazon went this way, Walmart, Target, and now Macy's -- saves money per order: no inventory, DC operations, shipping, returns, or cost of obsolescence. All get transferred to the merchants and the customer suffers under the guise of an "Amazon" experience -- sounds like a bad tradeoff to me.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2021

    What’s driving shoppers to Amazon?

    Consumers will change if there are comparable options -- not apparent today. Others are a distant second when it comes to the top 4 reasons to shop Amazon. I'm still waiting for this to get better. Many reasons for this -- we'd be here all day!
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