Are Online Marketplaces Preying on Your Business?

In the past four weeks, I have presented at three conferences: MCM’s Operations Summit, Lett Direct’s Symposium and the Ability Commerce Symposium. While they had widely differing agendas in operations and marketing and systems, the attendees had one common strategic concern: How do we compete with online marketplaces in terms of breadth and price, time-to-customer, and free shipping? 

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It’s All About Merchandise, Value Price and E-Commerce

Brick & mortar retailing had a disappointing year and holiday season.  We are witnessing a sea retail-shopping-holiday-results.jpgchange in consumer buying which we can learn from.  Shift to e-commerce and specialty store sales weighing heavily on department store results. First, let’s take stock of the announcements made in the past few weeks.

Hudson Bay Co., the Canadian department store giant which owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, suffered its worst stock decline in a year because of dismal holiday results. Same store sales declined 0.7% and lower than expected sales are projected through fiscal year ending Jan 2017. 

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Teach Employees About Your Business to Reduce Expenses and Improve Productivity

Put aside your personal politics for a minute. Does any of the heated dialogue of the past couple months bother you as a business person or the owner of a multichannel company? It bothers me. There is so much misleading dialogue and even fake news.

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Are You Creating Career Paths For Your DTC Fulfillment Employees?

Two weeks ago my blog, “What is Employee Turnover Costing Your DTC Fulfillment Operations?” got a response from a client about their company’s plans to create career paths for all distribution center employees. This is a retailer and wholesaler with $2 billion in sales, 350 stores and more than 1,000 dealers. To service this vast network, they have three large DCs with more than 600,000 square feet of space.

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Conducting a Business-Wide Assessment to Lower Freight Costs

With the continual increases in the costs of oil and its effect on shipping rates, companies need to conduct a business-wide assessment in order to reduce your shipping costs. Here are 15 short- and long-term options
to investigate:

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Can Your Business Sustain a Disaster? Is It Time To Rethink Your Disaster Plan?

This past Fall the results of two surveys showed how important being prepared for a business interruption should be; given an interruption or a major disaster does occur.  Forrester Research conducted a survey of 2,800+ companies on “Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Are the Top IT Priorities For 2010 and 2011”.  Forrester reported 6% of IT operating and capital budgets goes to BC/DR, and 32% of those surveyed planned on increased spending by at least 5% on improving their BC/DR plans.  

CDW, the privately held computer retailer, surveyed 200 IT executives that had actually experienced a business disruption of four hours or more in the past 12 months.  The top causes of business disruption were loss of power, hardware failure and loss of telecom services, in that order. Here is a synopsis of the findings: 

Before their most recent disruption, 82% of the respondents believed their IT resources were extremely prepared to support local business operations effectively from a disruption.  However, the survey showed:

    • 57% reported productivity loss as the top negative disruption.  Productivity loss includes loss of sales and idle or lost time;

    • 51% experienced problems connecting to IT network from other locations;

    • 50% experienced problems connecting from inside their business locations; 

    • 46% had employees that could not access the necessary company resources to do their jobs;

    • 30% said at times unable to operate at all from network disruption and locations shut down completely; and

    • 97% had detrimental effects on their business over the past year. 
Over the past 25 years clients of ours have had call center and fulfillment facilities crippled by ice storms, flattened by hurricanes, demolished by earthquakes, and shut down by viruses. “It can’t happen to me” is dangerous thinking. Our opinion is that many companies have inadequate preparations made for interruption or disaster, especially if they loose their mainframe or server farm.  

Disaster planning does have a cost to it.  But not having plans in place can have a much greater costs for you, your employees, and your business. Is it time to upgrade your business continuity and disaster planning? 

Give us a call today to talk about putting more effective plans in place. Contact Curt Barry via email at  cbarry@fcbco.com.
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Escalate Retail Delivers Landed Cost Capabilities

In a recent press release, Escalate Retail has landed a beta site for its newest release.  And it's the direction the application has taken that will really allow multi channel businesses to reach peak efficiency and profitability.  Here is an excerpt and one of the most important pieces of the press release:

San Diego - July 13, 2009 --- Escalate Retail today announced that Homemakers, Iowa's largest furniture store, will launch as the Beta partner for the latest Enterprise1 version 12.1 this July. Additionally, Homemakers will upgrade its customer-facing solution by moving to the latest release of Customer1 version 4.2.

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