In today’s top retail news, Car IQ teams with Discover on in-car banking, Walmart unveils a new store design and Salesforce predicts the holiday season will see high levels of eCommerce that may cause shipping woes. Also, H&M plans store closures.
By 2025, it is estimated that $86 billion will be spent on in-car commerce. That number assumes that human beings would be the ones giving the commands. But what if humans were removed from the in-car Commerce process — just as they have been removed from the autonomous driving process? It could happen. In fact, if the California-based FinTech Car IQ has its way, it will happen soon. The company recently closed a deal with Discover to collaborate on an automotive machine banking system that takes the human out of the equation and puts the payment system front and center.
As major retailers get ready for a wave of October holiday shoppers, store design and safety is still top priority. Both Walmart and Target have announced new configurations and pandemic-inspired changes to keep shoppers safe. Walmart announced its design yesterday (Sept. 30), and already it has been criticized by some media outlets. In a missive from Janey Whiteside, EVP and chief customer officer of Walmart, the company outlined a fairly radical redesign that aims to direct shoppers’ movements in preparation for more in-store traffic than it has seen since the pandemic took hold in March. The new Walmart store design starts with an invitation to a digital experience. The company has updated all signage to include the Walmart app icon, as well as encouragement to download it. Then come the foot traffic changes: There is “bold” in-store signage throughout the store, directing customers to the exact section they are looking for, while aisles are marked with letter and number combinations to guide shoppers from their phones to their desired products.
The highs will be high and the lows will be low. That in a nutshell is Salesforce’s take on Holiday 2020, which it delivered in a press event on Wednesday (Sept. 30). The company’s quarterly outlook predicted huge numbers for eCommerce, which will result in serious negative ramifications for shipping and returns, with customer satisfaction hanging in the balance. “The combination of Amazon’s Prime Day event in mid-October and consumers eager to ensure their packages arrive on time will lead to an earlier start in the holiday shopping season,” according to the company’s report. “This is expected to shift up to $6 billion of November’s Cyber Week volume in the U.S. and $26 billion globally to the month of October. Despite this, Cyber Week digital traffic is still expected to grow by 28 percent year-over-year — a trend accelerated by nearly ubiquitous access from mobile phones and the fact that fewer people will be rushing to stores on Black Friday.”
As the coronavirus health crisis has moved more consumers online, H&M has indicated that it intends to reduce its worldwide brick-and-mortar footprint by 250 shops. The closures for the second-largest fashion retailer around the globe will occur in 2021, BBC reported. The retailer can reportedly conclude or rediscuss leases on approximately 25 percent of its retail locations each year. It said it intends to make a “net decrease of around 250 stores” in 2021. H&M has 5,000 brick-and-mortar retail locations globally, but the BBC indicated that the number of closures that will occur in Britain is unknown. To contend with increasing digital demand, H&M said it would increase its efforts to bolster digital investment. The Swedish company said it had engaged in “rapid and decisive action” to handle the effects of COVID-19, including modifications to purchasing, financing, staffing and property-related processes.