General Bern it all down 2020 edition

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MC Gusto

Freeloading Rusty
Jan 11, 2016
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Retailers chasing Amazon with secret technology tool, expert says
Is "Big Brother" watching your shopping habits?

More retailers Opens a New Window. , including Walgreens, Kroger, Guess, and Ralph Lauren are turning to facial recognition technology Opens a New Window. in order to connect with customers. The software can detect age, gender and even a shopper's mood.

But according to Kurt Knutsson, the Cyber Guy, these companies are also using it as a secret weapon with one particular in mind.

“All these retailers are embracing technology because they’re trying to figure out, ‘how do we beat the beast?’ How do you beat Amazon Opens a New Window. ?” said Knutsson to FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo Opens a New Window. on Wednesday.

Australian shopping centre company, Westfield Group, is just one of many businesses embracing this technology. According to Knutsson, it’s has been a good long-term investment.

“They went from, essentially, a landlord of retailers and became a partner,” he said.

So how does the technology work?

According to Knutsson, it learns patterns to predict how a customer may behave to utlimately keep them shopping longer.

"The whole goal behind this is how do you win back the customer at a traditional brick and mortar mall space?" he said.

Chasing Amazon: The store of the future is already here as retailers up their tech game
Retailers ramped up the tech this holiday season, offering mobile checkout and apps that pinpoint the exact spot to find the toy you were looking for. But the bells and whistles are more than a seasonal perk.

From holograms that greet shoppers at the door to a robot that alerts workers when products are running low, technology has become a prime battleground in the fierce fight to woo shoppers year round.

"How do you create a shopping experience in store that Amazon created as a precedent online?" says Justine Santa Cruz, senior vice president of retail and enterprise at Satisfi Labs, a software technology company. "Now every consumer expects a certain type of ease when they're shopping, so I think retailers are implementing new technology to be able to remove any and all sort of friction from the shopping experience."

Home Depot customers can type an item into the store app and call up a map that leads them to where they can find the light fixture or cabinet they need.

Retailer Fred Segal partnered with Mastercard in April to enable customers visiting its West Hollywood flagship to shop for clothing by tapping the storefront window. To pay, they could tap out their phone number on the glass to receive a text containing a payment link.

Meanwhile, in November, Nike debuted its new flagship store dubbed Nike NYC. There, customers can scan the QR code on a mannequin with an app to find out the various sizes and colors the outfit comes in. And with another click, they can have the top or jacket taken to a dressing room or brought right to them.

Satisfi provides retailers with technology that enables shoppers to get answers, or even make a complaint, through a variety of platforms, from "a mobile website that the customer opens on a mobile device," says Santa Cruz to "an SMS number that they text."

Shoppers at some stores and malls can also get the information they need from a robot named "Pepper." And the Mall of America has enlisted a hologram named Ellie the Elf as a virtual greeter.

Pepper's not the only robot on the retail scene. Tally, created by Simbe Robotics, is in 10 Schnuck grocery stores, and the chain will have more than 15 by next spring.

Tally is dispatched three times a day to check shelves, alerting store employees if a product needs to be replenished and also making sure items are properly tagged and priced.

"The immediate customer benefit ... is the item is on the shelf," says Dave Steck, Schnuck Markets vice president of IT infrastructure and application development. "Accuracy is a big part of it as well. That does drive customer satisfaction, (seeing) that the price that they see on the shelf is the price that they're charged."

Grocers will continue to try out new concepts Steck says.

There are "going to be innovations all along the chain in the supermarket industry, and some of them are going to stick and some of them aren't," he says. But he believes that Tally gives Schnucks a leg up.

"There's not too many stores that can say they've got a robot in there," he says. "That's definitely a big part of the store of the future. All the data that (Tally is) collecting is going to give us more capability than the traditional grocer that doesn't have a robot."

AMAZON TO CONTINUE BEING A GAME CHANGER

Amazon.com can lay claim to having done more in the past two decades to elevate e-commerce—and by extension disrupt physical retail—than any other company. Now, with the launch of its Amazon Go store of the future last January, Amazon's impact on brick-and-mortar retail may be even more direct.

The core of the Amazon Go experience is simple: no lines or checkout required. Instead, customers enter the store and scan the Amazon Go app they've downloaded on their iPhone or Android handset, and from then on, they're good to go even if the battery on the device dies.

Amazon says the Just Walk Out technology used in Amazon Go stores is similar to the technology found in self-driving cars: incorporating computer vision, sensors and "deep learning."

When a product is lifted off a store shelf, it is automatically added to a virtual cart. Put it back, and it's removed. When customers are finished shopping, they can just walk out of the store with their items. Their Amazon account is charged automatically, and Amazon will send a receipt later.

Though a key point is to be able to avoid long check out lines, there are still Amazon employees in the store, should shoppers need any kind of help.

There are questions about whether the concept can work in stores that sell bigger ticket items than the bread, milk and other meal and snack options that are found in the Go stores.

"It doesn't necessarily work in every retail segment," says Mark Bunney, director of go-to-market strategy at Ingenico, a company that helps merchants with payments solutions. "I think it's going to be an evolution for retailers, and you're not going to see it overnight change from the current format."

For now, Amazon has opened four stores in its Seattle backyard, including a small freestanding one with restricted access inside a Macy's. Three more Amazon Go stores have opened in Chicago and one in San Francisco, with more planned in those cities, and elsewhere. Bloomberg has reported, citing unnamed sources, that Amazon is considering opening as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores by the end of 2021.

Gap Inc. has also rolled out the tech. It's placed price checkers primarily in its Old Navy stores so shoppers can scan an item's barcode to find out the cost. And when a product is dwindling on the shelves, employees at Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and, increasingly, Old Navy stores receive alerts on their mobile devices through an app.

Previously, 40 percent of the time items believed to be out of stock were actually still available in the back of the store, the company says. Thanks to the app's ability to better track inventory, the out-of-stock rate has fallen to 1 percent.

"To make a trip to the store, there needs to be a reason beyond what you can experience just sitting on your couch," says Sebastian Di Grande, Gap Inc.'s executive vice president of strategy and chief customer officer. "It's not just technology for technology's sake There's a tremendous amount of opportunity for us ... so we've been addressing and exploiting that opportunity as much as we possibly can and as quickly as we possibly can."

THE FUTURE

Industry observers and players agree that there is much more change to come.

"I think we are in the beginning stages," says Santa Cruz, noting that tech innovations are often tested in just a handful of markets or locations. "For technologists like us and also retailers to be able to learn the most from what customers want, it has to be rolled out at scale."

But the more shoppers get used to experiences like paying for purchases with their mobile phones, she says, the bigger the push will likely be for more tech innovations.

By the end of this year, 60 percent of all retail locations in the U.S. will support Apple Pay, Apple says. Some of the newest chains to accept it are Costco and Neiman Marcus where shoppers can now use Apple Pay at more than 40 stores.

The growing number of online retailers opening up physical storefronts should also usher in new concepts.

"I think that will elevate the entire retail landscape," Santa Cruz says. "I think in the next two years we'll see a lot of retail change."

Among the concepts on the horizon: more use of virtual and augmented reality.

Mastercard has worked with Saks Fifth Ave. on a prototype in which customers can stroll around a store wearing smart glasses and digitally dress a mannequin with items they see and like. If they decide to buy, their identity is verified with a scan of the iris. Then they make their purchase through Masterpass, Mastercard's digital payment service.

"It's about finding the right experience," says Stephane Wyper, Mastercard's senior vice president for new commerce partnerships and commercialization. "I think we're going to see more demand and adoption in the next year or so in the augmented reality" space.

Retailers have only just begun, says Di Grande of Gap Inc.

"We're not done," he says. "These (concepts) are the tip of the iceberg."
Chasing Amazon, Retailers Spend More and Incur Investors’ Wrath
For many U.S. retailers, sales growth is back. But it’s coming at a cost.

Companies from Walmart Inc. to Macy’s Inc. have made heavy investments to keep pace with the likes of Amazon.com Inc. It showed in the retailers’ bottom line last quarter, sending shares slumping despite strong sales.

“It’s short-term pain for long-term gain for these retailers. That’s the mantra,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “There’s a lot of cost pressure on retailers at the moment,” he said, pointing to the need for more labor, store refurbishments and of course, the all-important shift to online.

Taking on Amazon -- and its two-day delivery model -- doesn’t come cheap. In order for old-school brick-and-mortar stores to go digital they have to build out logistics, determine warehousing, manage functions to cope with the online demand and figure out fulfillment plans.

Investors were willing to tolerate such expenses this year as long as they showed quick results amid robust consumer spending in an economic boom. Now shareholders of big retailers are beginning to wonder if the heavy investments will be sustainable when demand inevitably subsides.

‘Massive Battle’
“Online often isn’t as profitable as selling in the store. There is a massive battle to give free or discounted delivery to customers,” Saunders said. “So not only is the spending on fulfillment going up, but retailers are making a lot less money because of shipping and handling fees.”


Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, saw its third-quarter profit margin squeezed as it pumped money into building out its online unit, which is still in the red. The retailer’s 3.4 percent gain in comparable sales -- a key performance metric -- did beat Wall Street’s estimates. But it wasn’t enough for investors, who sent the shares lower after the results. With five consecutive declines, Walmart’s stock is headed for its worst week in almost nine months.

The stock decline echoed a similar reaction to Macy’s better-than-expected sales the day before. After an initial gain, the department-store chain sunk 5 percent over concerns over the gross margin.


Macy’s has been pushing promotions and in-store pop-up shops while also delving into virtual reality and investing in its e-commerce business. It now expects to hit $1 billion in mobile sales this year.

There’s skepticism about Macy’s ability to return to strong earnings growth as it balances its investment with efforts to improve its balance sheet, RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Tunick wrote in a Nov. 14 note.

“Investors do not seem excited enough,” said Tunick, who rates the stock sector perform.

Over at Nordstrom Inc., digital sales now make up 30 percent of the total. In the third quarter, delivery and logistic expenses contributed to compressed margins at the department-store chain.

Creative Initiatives
The retailer has been one of the more creative department chains, experimenting with initiatives including a men’s store that also allows in-store pickup at any hour, even if the store is closed. Same-store sales rose for the fourth straight quarter, although the 2.3 percent gain fell short of estimates.

Shoppers aren’t as interested in the company’s full-price chain, instead mostly flocking to the discount Nordstrom Rack chain, where sales rose a better-than-expected 5.8 percent. The stock sank 13 percent after the results, and RBC’s Tunick cut his price target by $2 to $60.


Nordstrom’s position relative to peers has historically been seen as enviable, according to Tunick, thanks to the variety of its store formats and ability to innovate. But recent quarters started to put into question its ability to ride industrywide challenges, he said.

That pessimism was reflected in the company’s share decline on Friday. The stock plunged as much as 16 percent, the most intraday in more than two years.

Holiday Season
Don’t expect the pressure to let up anytime soon. With holidays around the corner, stores have to ramp up staffing -- and in the tight labor market, that talent comes at price. The new year may bring with it higher tariffs against China and added costs if supply chains need to be revamped. Not to mention, there’s rising gas prices and higher transportation costs. Even amid a robust economy and strong consumer confidence, these pressures can weigh heavily on a traditional retailer.

J.C. Penney Co. may be in the worst state of all. Sales have been dismal at the struggling department-store chain, which has ramped up discounts to get rid of unwanted inventory. While the recent appointment of a new chief executive after months of searching was seen as a positive, there are still some real challenges ahead for J.C. Penney, said Saunders of GlobalData Retail.

“It has to almost go through more pain to in order to come out the other side as a streamlined business,” he said. “Whereas a company like Macy’s has already taken some of these harsh decisions -- it’s shut stores, it’s reduced inventories, so it’s taken these corrective hits -- J.C. Penney hasn’t really started doing that yet."
 

Hwoarang

TMMAC Addict
Oct 22, 2015
3,613
5,554
Sounds like Bernie is already long gone out of this race. Looks like he doesn't even want to be competitive anymore.
 

Never_Rolled

First 10,000
Dec 17, 2018
5,799
6,339
To all you dems I have to ask a serious question. When these pols offer all kinds of free stuff to illegals does this really move your needle? I don't get it but I'm not one of you so I am just trying to understand. I can see how the brainwashed low wage youth with sleeves, gauges, blue hair, with no hope of ever being successful could think this is great idea. I am talking to you adults. If you think this is a good idea and makes you want to vote for someone with these ideas make me understand.
 

Le Chat Noir

Le Chat Noir ©
Jan 28, 2020
830
1,170
LOL, to be a grown man and support a socialist/communist like Bernie is just amazing.
A century of complete economic failure, murder, imprisonment, etc... proving it's a cancer,
and our leftists are like "yeah, but let's just have a little cancer, it's a good balance!"

Le Chat Noir
©
 

Fingers

File 404 not found
Nov 14, 2019
4,484
5,027
LOL, to be a grown man and support a socialist/communist like Bernie is just amazing.
A century of complete economic failure, murder, imprisonment, etc... proving it's a cancer,
and our leftists are like "yeah, but let's just have a little cancer, it's a good balance!"

Le Chat Noir
©

Because things are perfect now.

No suffering. No greed

It's utopia for everyone. Why change?

Amirite?
 

Le Chat Noir

Le Chat Noir ©
Jan 28, 2020
830
1,170
Because things are perfect now.

No suffering. No greed

It's utopia for everyone. Why change?

Amirite?

So you hold the current system up to a "perfect" standard and since it falls short,
we should change to a system that has proven to cause more human suffering
and total economic collapse in one century than any other philosophy in human history?

Tell us, why can't you see the suffering and the greed in the Marxist system you advocate?
Does it fill some emotional need to appear virtuous? Do you use it as an excuse for why others have more than you?

Because objectively speaking, it's intellectually devoid of reason. There is no debate, it holds a proven track record of complete failure.

Le Chat Noir
©
 

Fingers

File 404 not found
Nov 14, 2019
4,484
5,027
So you hold the current system up to a "perfect" standard and since it falls short,
we should change to a system that has proven to cause more human suffering
and total economic collapse in one century than any other philosophy in human history?

Tell us, why can't you see the suffering and the greed in the Marxist system you advocate?
Does it fill some emotional need to appear virtuous? Do you use it as an excuse for why others have more than you?

Because objectively speaking, it's intellectually devoid of reason. There is no debate, it holds a proven track record of complete failure.

Le Chat Noir
©

The problem with having a sensible debate with someone like yourself is you do not see shades.

Sanders is not Marxist. He's not Communist.

He is a socialist.

You can have a working socialist outlook with a capitalist economy.

Thousands of cultures have existed with a socialist style outlook. It's only been in the last 100 years that the greed is good culture has been all pervasive. The trickle down effect is a prison erected by the elite to deny the masses their fair share of the spoils.

And stop ending your right wing bollocks with the copy-write tag. It isn't funny and it wouldn't stop anyone using something you have posted on a public for their own means. Not that anyone would.

It makes you look a prick
 

Le Chat Noir

Le Chat Noir ©
Jan 28, 2020
830
1,170
The problem with having a sensible debate with someone like yourself is you do not see shades.

Sanders is not Marxist. He's not Communist.

He is a socialist.

You can have a working socialist outlook with a capitalist economy.

Thousands of cultures have existed with a socialist style outlook. It's only been in the last 100 years that the greed is good culture has been all pervasive. The trickle down effect is a prison erected by the elite to deny the masses their fair share of the spoils.

And stop ending your right wing bollocks with the copy-write tag. It isn't funny and it wouldn't stop anyone using something you have posted on a public for their own means. Not that anyone would.

It makes you look a prick


Funny, because he's supported every communist leader in South America for the past 40 years, honeymooned in the USSR, etc..
Seems you may just be naive.

So in your upside down world view, people keeping the result of their labor is greed, but people like you wanting a portion of it,
or deciding how it should be used is not greed? Makes no sense, you're just parroting silly left wing talking points.

These cultures with a socialist view have never had the prosperity of capitalist, have not had the advances in tech, medicine, etc...
Oh and once again, horrible records on human rights and functional economies.
You are simply advocating a return to serfdom...which is just silly.

If you really want that I can help you with a one way ticket to Venezuela or Cuba and you can thrive on the rain water and meat rations.

The copyright symbol is a joke, and if it irritates you then that means the joke is working.

Le Chat Noir
©
 

KWingJitsu

ยาเม็ดสีแดงหรือสีฟ้ายา?
Nov 15, 2015
10,332
12,701
The problem with having a sensible debate with someone like yourself is you do not see shades.

Sanders is not Marxist. He's not Communist.

He is a socialist.

You can have a working socialist outlook with a capitalist economy.

Thousands of cultures have existed with a socialist style outlook. It's only been in the last 100 years that the greed is good culture has been all pervasive. The trickle down effect is a prison erected by the elite to deny the masses their fair share of the spoils.

And stop ending your right wing bollocks with the copy-write tag. It isn't funny and it wouldn't stop anyone using something you have posted on a public for their own means. Not that anyone would.

It makes you look a prick
And even at that he's not a socialist - He's a Democratic Socialist, as is much of America - as it has been since the 1930s, but extremists gonna extreme....
 

Fingers

File 404 not found
Nov 14, 2019
4,484
5,027
And even at that he's not a socialist - He's a Democratic Socialist, as is much of America - as it has been since the 1930s, but extremists gonna extreme....

Yeah.

But it's impossible to reason with these alt folk.

He doesn't understand that if everyone was given a fair share of the profits everyone would benefit.

Even the billionaire or multi millionaire will benefit as society becomes more equal.

If you argue against this and you aren't the billionaire or multi millionaire you are either dumb or completely brainwashed.


Humans are not born greedy. You have to learn it.

But it's really not worth arguing with people who are being taken advantage of and advocating it's their right for this to happen to.