Blog

August 7, 2013
Cargo loaders
Cargo loaders at the Port of New York.

 

Shipping delays  at the Port of New York are now causing concern among shippers and retailers before the start of the pre-holiday peak shipping season. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) recently sent a letter to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York Shipping Association expressing concern about the two month hold up.

The initial cause of the congestion was the integration of new software by Maher Terminals, which handles a third of the port’s volume. Delays spread throughout the port as ships were diverted to other terminals, including Bayonne, NJ which itself is undergoing major construction. The Port of New York is the largest container shipping port on the U.S. East Coast.

Maher responded that service had now returned to acceptable levels during the past several weeks, albeit at reduced volume.” Maher had scaled back some of its software installation to effect delays. Ironically, the delay was caused by software intended to improve port efficiency. Instead, the software sometimes closed down terminals, sometimes for hours at a time.

Some retailers may turn risk averse at the thought of empty shelves during the Holidays while the nation is undergoing a slow economic recovery.The congestion at the Port of New York has led some retailers to consider using other ports, such as Baltimore and Norfolk, VA.

 

August 5, 2013
English: Logo of TJ Maxx
Low-price retailer T.J. Maxx is taking another stab at e-commerce.

Low-price retailers like T.J. Maxx and Off Fifth, owned by Saks, Inc., have a difficult time with e-commerce. Since they’re dealing with odd-lots and sometimes limited quantities the online retail process can be complex and expensive. E-commerce is not for the weak of heart and not the weak of wallet if you’re doing it on your own.

T.J. Maxx is one of a number of low-price retailers are now weighing the costs against potential profits and deciding it’s time to make the investment. Analysts at Avondale Partners believe that T.J. Maxx can quickly reach annual sales of $1 billion. That’s a lot of odd lots. The computer upgrades are not cheap. Last year, T.J. Maxx spent $200 million to acquire online Sierra Trading for its tech and experience in e-commerce. Saks is spending $95 million over three years to upgrade Off Fifth’s retail capabilities.

Hudson’s Bay Co. saw the potential e-commerce value in Off Fifth last year when it bought the larger company for $2.9. That’s a serious investment. T.J. Maxx hopes that the market is more mature and that the technology is better this time around. It gave up its last attempt in e-commerce in 2005 having lost $15 million in the process.

If you don’t have the odd $95 million in your coffers to build your own system, Capacity LLC is there to help. We can apply our capabilities not only to resolve your challenges but also to take advantage of the opportunities that can get you to the next level. We can walk you though it and help you to fly over the potentially painful patches.

 

 

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July 31, 2013

 

iPhone Packaging
The iPhone’s packaging is intended to build customer engagement.

Customer engagement is the name of the game in e-commerce. At a minimum customers expect that their orders will be fulfilled correctly and on-time. We spend a lot of time making sure that that happens at Capacity LLC, and that’s really what it takes to stay in the game. There are a few things that retailers can do to engage their customers and to make sure that they keep coming back again and again. Continue reading E-Commerce and Customer Engagement

July 25, 2013

A stomach virus that has sickened 285 people in 11 states has been linked to food shipments of contaminated produce. The exact cause of the outbreak has yet to be determined by the Center for Disease Control, but the cyclospora infections, have thus far been clustered in the Midwest.

This is just the latest reminder of the ease of contamination as food shipments rapidly make their way across countries and around the world. Continue reading Stomach Virus Tied to Food Shipments

July 24, 2013
Kuwaiti Instagram
Sheep are a hot commodity on Instagram in Kuwait

Entrepreneurs in Kuwait have turned Instagram into an on-line storefront. That must have come as big news to Facebook, Instagram’s owner, and the social photo site’s team. But in Dubai, everyone is doing it. Even grandmothers who have their own Instagram storefronts.

The use of Instagram is so widespread that Kuwait even had a Kuwait Instagram Expo. The photos are great, obviously, as are the social applications. However, there’s no way to process financial transactions. Entrepreneurs post a WhatsApp or Kik number for low cost texting and and email address.

Kuwaitis it seems have developed an appetite for selling things other than oil. Many of the goods are things that you might see in other markets on eBay or Etsy. What’s strictly Kuwaiti is sheep. Yes, you heard it. Kuwaitis are doing a brisk business in the sale of sheep on line. Talk about order fulfillment. Just why is there such a brisk trade in sheep. It seems that sheep sacrifices are an integral part of Kuwaiti life.

The largest site seems to be @sheep_sell which looks like it’s selling a wide range of sheep and has over 2,500 followers.

 

Kuwait Instagram Sales
The make up company Sondos is one of the companies doing big business in Kuwait on Instagram.

 

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