Skip to content Blog

Commerce chronicles: July 8, 2024

Jul 08, 2024 - Alyssa Wolfe
Share this on

Related Fulfillment Posts

Dedicated fulfillment site takeover white paper

Learn how to streamline commerce operations with a dedicated fulfillment site takeover

Read more

More from

Draper James selects as its omnichannel fulfillment partner’s proprietary software, nationwide network of omnichannel fulfillment centers and apparel expertise to support leading Southern lifestyle brand

Read more
July 8 Commerce Chronicles | News about Target, Tractor Supply & more

Target’s new chatbot aims to help employees, Tractor Supply uses Revionics to deliver on pricing expectations and both Lowes and Home Depot invest in community. Plus, CAMP to open two new locations and the supply chain invests in transportation technology.

In this week’s news, see how Makeup by Mario is boosting the customer experience with AR, which programs Lowe’s and Home Depot are contributing to and how CAMP makes its locations interactive. Plus, shippers and logistics services are eyeing transportation technology and Tractor Supply looks to meet customer pricing expectations. Visit our blog every week for a roundup of the latest commerce news.

Target rolling out GenAI “Store Companion” chatbot to help store employees

Target Corporation is set to revolutionize its store operations with the rollout of a new generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tool called Store Companion.1 This GenAI-powered chatbot is designed to assist team members with on-the-job questions, new team coaching and store operations management. Scheduled for rollout to hundreds of thousands of employees across nearly 2,000 stores by August, Store Companion aims to enhance job efficiency and customer engagement, ultimately improving the shopping experience.

The initiative is part of Target’s broader strategy to leverage GenAI for operational innovation and long-term growth. "We know technology will continue to play an outsized role in the future of retail — for our team members, our guests and our business. With that in mind, we're continually experimenting with new tools to make it even easier for our team to do their jobs and to bring more of what guests love about shopping at Target to life," said Brett Craig, executive vice president and chief information officer, Target. "The transformative nature of GenAI is helping us accelerate the rate of innovation across our operations, and we're excited about the role these new tools and applications will play in driving growth."

Currently piloted in about 400 stores, Store Companion has received positive feedback for streamlining tasks and improving guest interactions. Employees can ask questions such as how to restart a register after a power outage or how to sign-up guests for a Target Circle Card. "Generative AI is game-changing technology and Store Companion will make daily tasks easier and enable our team to respond to guests' requests with confidence and efficiency," said Mark Schindele, executive vice president and chief stores officer at Target. "The tool frees up time and attention for our team to serve guests with care and to create a shopping destination that invites discovery, ease and moments of everyday joy." In addition to Store Companion, Target plans to launch more GenAI tools and enhance its digital consumer experience, demonstrating its commitment to embracing advanced technology.

Tractor Supply partners with Revionics for advanced pricing capabilities

Revionics, an Aptos Company specializing in retail pricing and analytics, has announced that Tractor Supply Company will implement its intelligent pricing platform to enhance loyalty-driven pricing across its extensive network.2 As the leading rural lifestyle retailer in the U.S., Tractor Supply operates over 2,200 stores and an ecommerce site, serving a diverse customer base. With the adoption of Revionics' Base Price and Markdown applications, Tractor Supply aims to streamline and automate pricing decisions in response to shifting market conditions and consumer demands. Matt McGrath, Tractor Supply's VP of Pricing, said, “Our collaboration with Revionics plays an important role in our ability to offer customers the most attractive prices. The scale and sophistication of Revionics, along with the ability to price at a localized level, have been extremely strategic for our business. We look forward to the continued benefits from their technology platform.”

Revionics, a partner since 2010, continues to support Tractor Supply's use of AI and analytics to meet customer expectations and drive business success. Scott Zucker, General Manager of Revionics, praised the retailer's customer-centric approach and innovative use of AI for pricing and service enhancements. “With its deep understanding of its customers, convenient neighborhood locations and investments in customer-centric pricing, Tractor Supply is doing all the right things to continue to serve its customers with legendary service and earn their sustained loyalty. This retailer has done an excellent job leveraging AI in meaningful ways across its enterprise for functions including customer service, inventory availability and, of course, pricing. We are proud to be Tractor Supply’s longstanding partner for pricing excellence and innovation,” Zucker said.

Makeup by Mario debuts lifesize AR mirror at Sephora Times Square

Makeup by Mario has introduced a lifesize AR Mirror at the entrance of Sephora Times Square, enabling customers to virtually try on makeup and receive tutorials from founder and celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic.3 The one-minute demonstration showcases seven bronzer shades, with a virtual hand tool mimicking Dedivanovic applying the selected shade to the user's face. This innovative AR mirror, created in partnership with tech company Ffface.Me, is part of a broader promotional installation that includes a photo booth and product testing stations. The installation, running through July 17, aims to enhance customer engagement by making shade selection an enjoyable experience. The initiative reflects a growing trend among retailers using AR technology to boost brand loyalty and offer immersive shopping experiences. According to Nika Mantyka, creative director at Ffface.Me, the goal is to provide a seamless and accurate digital representation of the bronzers, ensuring reliable and convenient shade matching for customers.

text reading the ecommerce platform for selling b2b, image of person shopping ecommerce clothing store on laptop

Both Lowe’s and Home Depot invest in communities, supporting skilled trades and housing for veterans

It’s not just socially conscious consumers that believe brands should give back. According to Harvard Business School, 73% of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place. This makes Lowe’s and Home Depot’s recent charitable investments valuable to driving brand loyalty and boosting brand reputation.

On June 24th, Lowe’s announced its partnership with Metallica's All Within My Hands and its Metallica Scholars Initiative, donating $500,000 to support skilled trades training at community colleges.4 This donation will benefit hundreds of students at five community colleges by funding critical training, equipment, recruiting and wraparound services. The initiative addresses the significant demand for skilled workers, as nearly 90% of contractors report difficulties finding qualified personnel, with an estimated half a million new tradespeople needed in 2024. Colleges such as San Juan College and Western Dakota Technical College will use the funds to support students in construction and automotive programs. Pima Community College, College of Lake County and Milwaukee Area Technical College will also benefit from this support, focusing on HVAC, carpentry, electrical and manufacturing careers. This investment is part of the Lowe's Foundation's $50 million commitment to training 50,000 people for skilled trades careers over five years, demonstrating a significant effort to strengthen the skilled trades pipeline and positively impact local communities.

The Home Depot Foundation also announced that it is investing $9 million to provide housing solutions for over 3,400 veterans battling homelessness.5 This funding will support the construction of more than 300 new housing units and repairing nearly 200 additional units, addressing the rise in veteran homelessness. The initiative involves collaborations with national nonprofits like Volunteers of America, Housing Assistance Council and Tunnel to Towers, as well as local nonprofits in Georgia, Ohio and Massachusetts. Additionally, the grants will aid in securing existing housing for 3,000 veterans, with landlord incentive programs playing a crucial role. The Foundation's pilot programs have seen success in cities like Los Angeles, Honolulu and Chicago, and recently launched the LOVE Fund in Atlanta. Beyond housing, the Foundation will support research and training on the specific needs of aging, rural, low-income and disabled veterans. This investment is part of The Home Depot Foundation's broader commitment to veteran causes, aiming to invest $750 million by 2030.

CAMP, the interactive toy retailer, to open two new locations

CAMP, the Family Experience Company, and Simon®, a premier real estate investment trust, have announced a strategic partnership to expand CAMP's unique blend of play, product and performance to more families nationwide.6 Since 2018, CAMP has created immersive retail experiences like Bluey x CAMP and Encanto x CAMP, engaging kids and adults alike. Currently operating in seven locations, including a Simon center in Boston, CAMP plans to open new locations at Simon's King of Prussia in 2024 and The Galleria in Houston in 2025. These new locations will feature over 10,000 square feet of rotating immersive shows.

"We are excited to embark on this strategic collaboration with Simon," said Jenica Myszkowski, CAMP's CEO. Simon's Vice President, Zachary Beloff, emphasized the partnership's goal of enhancing the shopping experience with innovative, family-friendly attractions. CAMP's investors have also made an additional equity investment to support this expansion, aiming to bring more fun to families nationwide. This collaboration highlights CAMP and Simon's commitment to redefining "retailtainment."

40% of Shippers and logistics services providers plan to invest in transportation technology to address industry changes

Descartes Systems Group released its 8th Annual Global Transportation Management Benchmark Survey, revealing that 40% of shippers and logistics services providers plan to invest in transportation technology to meet industry and regulatory changes.7 Among top financial performers, this figure rises to 44%, compared to 32% for poorer performers.

For the seventh consecutive year, real-time transportation visibility was the top transportation IT investment priority, cited by 36% of respondents. Order management followed closely at 35%, with fleet routing jumping to third at 29%, up from eighth in 2023. Carrier sourcing continued its decline, noted by only 20% of respondents.

“This study highlights the correlation between strategic transportation management and financial performance," said Mike Hane, Director of Product Marketing at Descartes. Top performers prioritize technology investments, while poorer performers focus on cost-cutting and are less likely to expect significant growth. The survey included over 630 participants from the logistics and shipping industries in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. logo, Sell Everywhere title, woman smiling, global icon