News Briefs

Staying on top of breaking news in the retail industry is a commitment Retail TouchPoints editors take seriously. Each day, we publish the latest information in this News Briefs section. Up-to-the-minute stories cover retail implementations, new product announcements, financial updates, executive appointments and overall global updates affecting every aspect of the retail industry.

American Apparel Deploys Performance-Based Scheduling Chainwide

American Apparel is rolling out the StoreForce performance based scheduling platform in all of its 202 stores. The StoreForce platform is designed to enable retail managers to schedule associates based on in-store traffic patterns and to measure performance against goals that can be communicated across a retailer’s organization. American Apparel can use the solution to schedule appropriately qualified associates at peak sales opportunity times throughout the week.

Mobivity Partners With Ad Agency To Enhance Data-Driven Marketing

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Mobivity, which provides technology to capture customer data at the point of purchase, has partnered with the retail agency Zimmerman Advertising. With access to real-time customer purchase data, as well as spend and basket-level data, Zimmerman's retail clients will be able to create data-driven media and marketing, including next-generation mobile programs.   The Mobivity SmartSuite offers POS-independent technology designed to capture purchase behavior. Mobivity's data-driven, closed loop marketing solutions are used by thousands of retail and restaurant clients.   "Zimmerman has been a true disruptor in retail advertising and strategy, forging innovative solutions that drive big results for major brands," said Dennis Becker, CEO of Mobivity. Zimmerman's clients include Party City, hhgregg, Five Below, Tire Kingdom, Boston Market and Dunkin' Donuts, and the agency recently hosted the Retail 20 20 Conference.

Martin’s Super Markets Adopts Food Safety Compliance Solution

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Martin’s Super Markets has chosen ReposiTrak’s Compliance Management and Track & Trace solutions to manage regulatory and business documentation compliance within its supply chain.  “Providing safe food for our customers is a top priority for Martin’s,” said Rob Bartels, President and CEO of Martin’s Super Markets in a statement. “With FSMA compliance beginning in September, we were looking for an automated system to scale and effectively manage our growing list of required documents. We know that if it’s not documented, it didn't happen.”   

AmazonFresh Expansion Capitalizes On UK Online Grocery Growth, Demand For Cheaper Food

Amazon is expanding its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service to new markets, including Boston and the UK in 2016, according to a report from Re/code. The expansion will be the first in the past 18 months for Amazon, which has slowly rolled out the service in parts of Washington State, California, New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia. The e-Commerce giant had plans to launch the grocery service in the UK as early as July 2015, according to The Times. In March 2016, Amazon partnered with UK-based supermarket chain Morrisons to deliver groceries via its Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Prime Pantry services, further indicating that the retailer has serious plans for its grocery offerings in the country.

Minted Joins E-Commerce Pure Plays Opening Brick-And-Mortar Stores

As successful as e-Commerce is, having a brick-and-mortar presence is increasingly a rite of passage for retailers that began as online-only players. Even the mighty Amazon sees value in opening stores. Now, stationery and home décor retailer Minted has joined its e-Commerce-only counterparts Birchbox, Warby Parker and Casper by opening Minted Local, a pop-up shop in San Francisco.

Neiman Marcus Seeks To Keep Shoppers In-Store With Phone Charging Stations

As department store retailers regroup from their disastrous Q1 results and adjusting to the continued growth of digital commerce, they are seeking innovative ways to draw customers into their brick-and-mortar stores — and to keep them there as long as possible. Neiman Marcus has an answer that provides a much-needed service to customers: complimentary phone charging stations. An added bonus for the retailer is that while the phones are charging, customers can't use them to check prices at competing retail outlets. Neiman Marcus installed the ChargeItSpot kiosks the week of May 16 in its Washington, D.C. and Tysons Corners, Va. stores. The custom-designed units reflect the Neiman Marcus aesthetic, from the design exterior to the digital onscreen capability to the lights in each kiosk’s eight secure lockers. The planned rollout will continue through September, totaling 37 charging station across 30 locations. 

Coborn's, Foodtown Prioritize Personalization As Next Big Loyalty Driver

Many supermarket retailers are turning to personalization to bolster consumer engagement. Regional grocers Coborn’s and New Jersey-based Foodtown have selected the Birdzi platform to leverage personalization tactics both online and in brick-and-mortar locations. Minnesota-based Coborn’s launched the beta of its loyalty program on May 1. With the Birdzi solution, Coborn’s will deliver the loyalty program to guests via a mobile app, a dedicated web site and in-store beacon technology.

Retail Business Students Graduating With Virtual Reality Certification

Virtual reality could soon be a normal consumer experience in retail, and the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is preparing their students with the tools they need to excel with this technology. The college has announced that 50 of its seniors are graduating with a certification in ShopperMX, a proprietary software that allows retailers to ideate, evaluate and activate new concepts using 3D virtual store simulations. This is the first class of graduating virtual reality-trained students.

Walmart Bucks Gloomy Q1 Trend

Walmart delivered a glimmer of hope to retail as its Q1 results included net sales of $31.6 billion, an increase of 4.3%. But the good news for Walmart only highlights further the trouble for Target, Macy’s and other big box and department stores. The retail giant’s U.S. comparable store sales rose 1%. Walmart's profit amounted to 98 cents a share, beating the 88-cent estimate of analysts, and it was followed by further promising news, including: Globally, on a constant currency basis, e-Commerce sales and GMV increased 7.0% and 7.5%, respectively; Operating cash flow was $6.2 billion and free cash flow was $4.0 billion, both higher than last year due to solid operating performance and improved working capital management; and Consolidated operating income declined 7.1%, as planned investments in people and technology, as well as currency exchange rate fluctuations, impacted results. Excluding currency, operating income decreased by 4.6%. “We’re improving our… Adopts Real Time Personalization Solution

Online fashion portal is working with IBM to provide an enhanced personalized shopping experience tailored to Millennial shoppers. In the process, it is also increasing conversion rates and bringing its return rate close to zero. With the goal of offering the latest style tips, fashion content and trends, the retailer needed an e-Commerce solution that would help it create an interactive online platform to better target consumers and increase brand loyalty., which stands for All About Fashion, decided to team with IBM, which delivered customer engagement and order fulfillment capabilities that allow it to continuously refresh the e-Commerce experience and seamlessly add new content.

Amazon Restaurants Launches One-Hour Delivery In NYC, Dallas

Days after announcing its own private label food brand, Amazon expanded its Prime Now restaurant delivery business to include Dallas and New York City, offering services featuring more than 350 local Big Apple eateries. The move, sure to generate new Prime members and dramatically increase Amazon’s long reach, puts pressure on restaurant delivery providers such as GrubHub, Seamless and UberEATS, which already offer their services in New York. For now, Amazon Restaurants will service Manhattan, though not the outer boroughs of New York. Participating restaurants are in neighborhoods such as Chelsea, Harlem and the Financial District. Orders should be delivered in one hour or less, according to Amazon.

NCR Integrates With Clear Demand To Optimize Pricing For Retailers

NCR Corporation has announced an agreement with Clear Demand, a retail operations software and services provider, to integrate NCR’s merchandising solution NCR Power HQ with Clear Demand’s price and promotion optimization solutions. The agreement will help retailers optimize their pricing strategies, plan traffic-boosting promotions and compete more effectively based on shopper feedback.
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