In today’s top retail news, Ikea is testing a furniture resale program in Pennsylvania, while retail platform Leap sets its sights on helping open over 200 retail storefronts by the end of 2022. Also, Zebra Technologies is adding to its retail software portfolio, and brands are discovering that consumers’ friends, family and peers may be the most useful influencers to tap into.
Home furnishing retailer Ikea is joining the growing list of companies testing U.S. demand for a secondhand market, announcing Monday (Aug. 30) that it will be piloting a furniture buyback and resale program in the Philadelphia suburb of Conshohocken through Sept. 19. The company’s goal is to make the resale program a permanent fixture at stores nationwide; Ikea already has similar programs running in nearly two dozen countries.
Two in five consumers say that friends, family, peers and wider networks are now among the most trusted sources for authentic content, according to research by Bazaarvoice, and 56 percent of consumers say that the everyday social media user has become the preferred influencer to follow. Keith Nealon, CEO of Bazaarvoice, said this presents brands with “a huge opportunity” to utilize user-generated content in their marketing efforts.
Retail platform Leap on Monday said it plans to grow its store count by 300% this year, aiming to have 50 stores open by the end of 2021 and 250 by the end of 2022. Leap Platform partners with brands to assist them in opening stores in highly desirable locations using Leap’s existing infrastructure. The company has raised $15 million in capital to develop its technology and add more employees, brands and stores.
Front-line business firm Zebra Technologies intends to acquire Antuit.ai, a retail and consumer packaged goods-based artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Antuit.ai helps retailers with their omnichannel strategies, with focus on prices and promotions, inventory allocations and order fulfillment. Zebra’s retail software portfolio also includes Workforce Connect, a communication and collaboration solution for front-line workers, and SmartCount, a self-directed solution for physical inventory and cycle counts.
Amazon’s partnership to bring buy now, pay later (BNPL) more broadly to its hundreds of millions of customers across the U.S. is yet further evidence of nod to the fact that consumers want some control and visibility into how they can conserve cash flow and improve credit along the way. For Walmart and Amazon, the Affirm partnership represents some strategic thinking, too, as they eye each other warily across in-store and online sales channels. Walmart and Affirm announced their own omnichannel pact back in 2019.