Today in Retail: Sleep Number Struggles to Meet Demand; Shopify Invests in Crossing Minds

Retail: Sleep Number Struggles to Meet Demand

Today in retail, Sleep Number struggles to meet demand as supply chain issues continue, while Shopify invests in recommendation platform Crossing Minds. Plus, Carvana continues its disappointing slide, Kroger develops in-house eCommerce fulfillment capabilities, and Tractor Supply continues to show success in eCommerce.

Sleep Number Stock Tumbles as Supply Chain Struggles Persist

Sleep Number reported several downward trends in its fiscal 2022 first-quarter earnings report, including a 7% decline in net sales to $527 million because of the semiconductor chip shortage. Meanwhile, demand dipped 3% in the three-month period that ended April 2, a function of the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the ongoing war in Ukraine, while backlog is up 20% since December to more than $200 million.

Shopify Invests in Recommendation Platform Crossing Minds

Recommendation engine Crossing Minds has secured a strategic investment from eCommerce internet infrastructure platform Shopify that makes the portal available to Shopify merchants looking to leverage individualized recommendations. Shopify’s investment in Crossing Minds is the company’s first in an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered recommendation platform.

Carvana Crashes Into ‘Challenging, Difficult, Deteriorating’ Environment

A perfect storm of both internal production delays and external macroeconomic factors combined to deliver what Carvana referred to as a challenging, uniquely difficult and deteriorating quarter for the buying, selling, financing and delivery of secondhand vehicles. While the retailer’s year-on-year comparisons were still mostly positive, its sequential retreat from a peak set in Q4, including a 7% quarter-over-quarter drop in the number of units sold, is perhaps a better indication of the impact that it and the broader auto industry are facing at the moment.

Kroger Shifts Focus From Third-Party to in-House eCommerce Fulfillment

Grocery giant Kroger has announced it is hiring more than 200 new employees to gear up for the launch of Kroger Delivery in South Florida. The company is looking not only for drivers but also for people to help with the logistics side of the business. Until now, Kroger has primarily relied on Instacart to power its eCommerce delivery business. Bringing delivery in-house allows the company to own the transaction and retain the full share of the profit, among other advantages.

Tractor Supply Company Records Double-Digit Digital Sales Growth for 39th Consecutive Quarter

Rural lifestyle retail brand Tractor Supply Company keeps growing its online business, turning in double-digit growth in its eCommerce segment for the 39th consecutive quarter. Tractor Supply also boasted a quarterly net sales increase of 8.3% to $3.02 billion and comparable store sales growth of 5.2% for the three months ending March 26 — led by an average ticket growth of 6.7% — after a 38.6% comparable store sales increase in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year.

Last-Mile Logistics Key in Amazon vs Shopify eComm Battle Royale

The winner of the war waged online for share of wallet and consumers’ loyalty — and merchants’ loyalty too — hinges on several factors and features. PYMNTS’ data shows that, as estimated in the “Benefits of Membership” survey, 166 million consumers are Amazon Prime members — double other mass merchant memberships logged by firms such as Walmart+ and Costco. A greater percentage of spend across categories from groceries to electronics is going to Amazon, with Shopify showing Amazon’s share at 41% and Shopify’s just above 10%.

BNPL Firm Zip Co Pledges More Conservative Lending

Australian buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Zip Co will be more prudent in its lending and cut $30 million (about $22.5 million) in costs amid a drop in BNPL share prices. While the total year-over-year value of transactions on Zip’s platform increased 26%, this fell short of expectations, as Zip reaffirmed its plans to generate profits earlier than once anticipated.

Retailers Turn to EV Charging Stations for Added Curb Appeal

When drivers park their electric vehicles (EV) at public charging stations, they’re going to have to find a way to pass the time. Suppliers of chargers note that those consumers are likely to go shopping while their EVs are charging. To catch the attention of these drivers and others who walk by public charging stations, Volta offers a range of charging solutions, including some with 55-inch digital screens that can display content that’s customized for the venue at which they are installed. Other suppliers of EV charging networks also promote to retailers the benefits of offering EV drivers a place to charge.