Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:03:50 -0400 RTP en-gb ModCloth Taps Customer Feedback To Design Namesake Label ModCloth Taps Customer Feedback To Design Namesake Label

Every shopper wants to feel like her favorite brands and retailers understand her, including her preferred size, and favorite colors and silhouettes. As a result, some retailers are leveraging customer data to craft more relevant assortments. ModCloth takes this concept to the next level by using this information to design its own namesake label.

Offering a versatile line of tops, bottoms, cardigans, coats and dresses, ModCloth relied on feedback from its growing online community to understand the features and design elements that mattered most to customers.

“We’re really proud of what the ModCloth label represents: Collaboration with our community,” said Nicole Haase, Senior Director of Merchandising at ModCloth. “Our shoppers have a really incredible sense of style. We were looking at and being inspired by them, and we had years to look at the analytics to determine what worked and what didn't.”

Leveraging its extensive analytics team, ModCloth dove into data to make informed design decisions. Specifically, the team honed in on everything from total sales to favorite colors and analyzed product ratings, reviews and comments.

{loadposition GIAA}“We went through what she likes, what she doesn’t and what she’s drawn to,” Haase explained. “We looked at the star ratings that focused on fit, product quality and length to make sure we were iterating on things and updating them appropriately.” 

Typically, retailers focus first and foremost on hard sales, Haase noted. However, consumers can provide a lot of contextual insights that can help retailers improve their collections and experiences.

“Usually the numbers dictate what you adopt,” Haase said. “But we focus on the facts and finances and combine it with the commentary. Every time we launch a product on a site, the first review gets delivered to the buyer for that category. We try to turn negative comments into opportunity to make the products better.”

Although the label has only been available for about a month, “it has been very well received,” Haase said. “We offer sizes XS to 4XL and the product assortment truly represents the best of ModCloth.”

This “best of” collection offers all of the design elements ModCloth fans have come to know and love, according to Haase. The products still represent “quirky, fun and happy fashion, but it’s also more feminine and sophisticated.”

ModCloth’s ability to evolve as a brand while still keeping customer feedback in mind reaffirms the retailer’s focus on democratizing fashion.

“There’s a lot of analysis to be had but our DNA has always been community first, and adapting and adjusting,” Haase said. “Something as small as a pocket on a dress can be extremely important, so we want to pay attention to the details our community loves.”


]]> (Alicia Fiorletta) Retail Success Stories Mon, 31 Aug 2015 07:43:04 -0400
Neiman Marcus Expands Visual Search Across Product Categories Neiman Marcus Expands Visual Search Across Product Categories

After the successful limited rollout of a visual product search solution, Neiman Marcus has expanded the offering across all product categories. The upscale department store retailer initially launched the visual search solution powered by Slyce in October 2014, just for shoes and handbags.

"Our customers are excited to have such an innovative new way of finding items instantly without the hurdle of finding the right words to describe an item," said Wanda Gierhart, CMO of Neiman Marcus Group, in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. The program now includes women's apparel, jewelry, home furnishings, children's, pets and men's fashion.

With the solution called Snap. Find. Shop., shoppers can quickly purchase items in three steps:

  1. Send a 3D image of a desired product via the mobile app;

  2. Receive photos and information on the same or closely matching items from the Neiman Marcus product line; and

  3. Purchase the items immediately.

Although Gierhart indicated that she is not able to share specific metrics, she noted: "We have had very positive customer feedback" following the launch of the expanded solution. "When we initially rolled out with shoes and handbags, we found that customers were taking lots of pictures of items in other categories as well.  We always hate to disappoint our customers and realized there was a demand to use this technology across all the products we sell."

In addition to helping shoppers with their own product search, Neiman Marcus store associates also are using the solution to improve the customer experience both in-store and via mobile communication. Gierhart explained: "Beyond making it easy to quickly purchase, customers enjoy using the app to easily connect with their sales associates, find out about great promotions and in-store events, and make payments in-store via the mobile wallet feature."

A Toronto-based startup, Slyce raised $10.75 million in 2014 to kick off its visual search program. More recently, in January 2015 Slyce purchased mobile couponing app SnipSnap, a visual recognition tool that lets users snap a photo and digitize a paper coupon. Slyce also provides visual search capabilities for

]]> (Debbie Hauss) Shopper Experience Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:17:39 -0400
Dairy Queen Ramps Up Payment Security With Netsurion Dairy Queen Ramps Up Payment Security With Netsurion

Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are implementing new tactics to capture customer data. As a result, retailers need to constantly fortify their payment systems in order to ensure data security and PCI compliance.

Due to recent industrywide data breaches, American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) has implemented Netsurion, a provider of cloud-managed IT security services, as its preferred managed firewall solution. The remotely hosted platform is designed to improve security across its chain of nearly 6,500 Dairy Queen stores and corporate locations.

{loadposition GIAA}Throughout the selection process, ADQ sought out a solution designed to handle PCI compliance complexities within its complex franchise environment. Netsurion's proprietary SAQuick application, paired with its managed security solution, is designed to simplify the compliance process and can save franchisees significant time by filling out as much as 75% of their annual PCI Security Assessment Questionnaire.

“Netsurion took the time to understand the specific environments and security needs our franchisees have and created custom service offerings designed specifically on those needs,” said Chuck Eicher, Director of Restaurant Technology for American Dairy Queen. “We were impressed with Netsurion’s attention to detail in the security space coupled with a comprehensive service offering and competitive rates.”

When the ADQ team tested the Netsurion solution, they noticed numerous benefits that eventually led to the selection and implementation. For example, ADQ is able to monitor credit card traffic volume through the firewall, which helps prevent firewalls from being circumvented.

“A drop in this volume might indicate a problem with the payment system,” Eicher said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Or that someone at the location is bypassing the electronic security that Netsurion puts into place.”

ADQ also is now able to detect and lock out unauthorized devices attempting to connect to the network. When customers’ credit card information leaves the network, Netsurion can help ensure that it is only transmitted only to authorized locations.

“Netsurion provides us with a variety of alerts that specifically pertain to rogue equipment being plugged into the network unexpectedly, whether they are wireless or wired,” Eicher explained. “The solution has a full set of alerts on suspicious traffic, whether that is outbound traffic to known dangerous sites, or hackers on the Internet trying to break into the firewall.”

The firewall remains compatible with virtually every POS system, enabling the service to meet the PCI compliance needs of every individual franchise, Eicher explained. Netsurion reps operate the solution remotely, allowing franchise owners to focus on other parts of the business rather than constantly monitoring the security. Because the solution is fully managed, it doesn’t require any experience or special on-site training for franchise staff.

“Netsurion offers around-the-clock, centralized remote management of firewalls and wireless access points,” Eicher stated. “This is critical for us as a franchisor, our franchisees, as well as any other SMB that lacks IT resources on site. With managed services, we benefit from enterprise-class network security and the always-on availability of highly trained and experienced engineers who can expertly manage and maintain firewall defenses.”

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Security / PCI Compliance Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:02:26 -0400
A&P Sells Pharmacy Assets, Inventory To Rite Aid For $8.1 Million A&P Sells Pharmacy Assets, Inventory To Rite Aid For $8.1 Million

APGreat Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) received approval from a U.S. bankruptcy court to sell pharmacy assets and inventory from 12 of its 25 in-store pharmacies to Rite Aid for $8.1 million. Rite Aid will pay $5.73 million for pharmacy records and up to $2.31 million for store inventory. The Rite Aid sale will close no later than September 10, according to court documents.

As part of the deal, Rite Aid will notify customers in writing that their prescription information is being moved.

A&P received seven bids for pharmacy assets at 22 of the 25 stores it is immediately closing, with the Rite Aid deal being the only one that exceeded the $5 million threshold that required judicial approval.

A&P filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in July for the second time in five years, which included plans to sell 120 stores and close 25 stores. The supermarket retailer is continuing to attempt to sell approximately 150 other locations. The stores that do not sell will likely be closed.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:18:54 -0400
Target Tests New Dining Concepts In 14 Stores Target Tests New Dining Concepts In 14 Stores

4target cafeTarget will roll out new dining concepts in 14 test stores starting in October 2015, according to a report from USA Today.

The big box retailer will open fast-casual chain Freshii in nine stores, while Pizza Hut will open restaurants in three stores featuring a limited menu of artisan pizzas. Two stores in Minneapolis, Minn., will roll out a local Italian restaurant chain, D’Amico & Sons.

{loadposition GIAA}The new venues will replace the standard cafes already present in 1,700 of the retailer’s nearly 1,800 stores. The exact locations for the Freshii and Pizza Hut concepts have not yet been announced.

The test is the first major change to Target's food strategy since hiring a new Head of Grocery, former PetSmart and Safeway executive Anne Dament, in April. Target’s food reinvention campaign has been underway since CEO Brian Cornell took the helm in August 2014, and is designed to emphasize six key categories: healthy snacks, coffee and tea, premium sauces and oils, specialty candy, wine and craft beer, and yogurt and granola. The program also will expand the availability of natural, organic, locally grown and gluten-free choices to fit guests’ wellness-focused lifestyles.

Currently, approximately 40% of Target customers visit the in-store cafes while shopping, according to Tina Tyler, Chief Stores Officer at Target. The test is less about driving shoppers to the cafes, and more about showing customers that the brand is serious about health and wellness, Tyler indicated.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:06:00 -0400
Sherwin-Williams Launches In-Store Color Selection System Sherwin-Williams Launches In-Store Color Selection System

Sherwin-Williams, a specialty retailer of painting supplies, has introduced ColorSnap, a new color system designed to help consumers and professionals select appropriate paint colors. The ColorSnap experience includes an in-store display, enhanced online and offline tools, and a collection of new paint colors.

ColorSnap starts rolling out this month and will be available in all 4,000 Sherwin-Williams stores across the U.S. and Canada by the end of January 2016. To develop the in-store display and simplify the color-selection process, Sherwin-Williams collaborated with IDEO, a design and innovation consultancy.

{loadposition GIAA}"With the ColorSnap system, we've created a completely new way to navigate color,” said Jackie Jordan, Director of Color Marketing of Sherwin-Williams. “Whether in their neighborhood Sherwin-Williams store, at home or on the go, ColorSnap provides a solution to easily explore and find color any way the consumer chooses.”

The interactive ColorSnap Studio display groups color by family, (red, yellow, blue, etc.) and then by saturation level (bright to neutral). Each color family is set on one of 24 rotating panels, each including a curated selection of approximately 50 paint chips. The displays will serve as the centerpiece of every store, and will feature color chips that are approximately three inches in size. Consumers can take these chips home to see how specific colors will look in their space.

During the initial in-store testing phase, customers were empowered to find the paint color of their choosing in approximately 60% less time than with the previous display. Stores will include a central work area for customers to arrange and review their color choices, explore Sherwin-Williams color tools and interact with store experts. Customers also will be able to browse and take home nine new color guides and 12 postcards that are designed to inspire, educate and simplify color selection.

While in-store or on the go, consumers can consult the ColorSnap Visualizer app for iPhone, iPad and Android. With the app, consumers can use their phones to scan color chips and immediately access room scenes featuring that color, options for coordinating colors and more. ColorSnap Visualizer also can match a color in a photo to a specific Sherwin-Williams color, allowing users to virtually paint a room or simply browse details on the full range of Sherwin-Williams colors.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:46:45 -0400
Sephora Makes Strides Towards The Store Of The Future Sephora Makes Strides Towards The Store Of The Future

Over the past few years, Sephora has implemented a variety of innovative technologies in stores that make the shopping experience more compelling. Now, the cosmetics retailer is moving towards a new store of the future concept designed to make the brick-and-mortar store more relevant for shoppers.

“Components of our store of the future outlet include enhanced digital signage, as well as dynamic in-store and in-mall promotional items,” explained Peter Chow, Lead IT Project Manager for Sephora. “We’re leveraging the data we have on our customers and providing them with an enhanced shopping experience.”

For example, if an opted-in consumer is roaming the first level of a shopping mall, Sephora can use geo-location technology to send a targeted text message or email, encouraging them to visit the store upstairs. Additionally, if consumers are in a store, “we can see whether they’re a Beauty Insider member, then use data from their accounts to create offers, and keep them informed on new products and promotions,” Chow said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Although this is all going on now, it will be expanded in our store of the future outlet.”

Because Sephora uses so many different technologies in stores, and these environments are going to become more complex in the future, Chow’s team needs to ensure optimal Internet connectivity and speed.

{loadposition GIAA}“We deploy products such as traffic counters and in-store metric monitoring devices from a number of different vendors,” Chow said. “They’re all real time and going over the Internet, and various teams want up-to-the minute or even second metrics, and they check these systems multiple times a day. So you can’t have flaky connection; you need to have a solution that allows the store and all solutions to be online at all times.”

Each Sephora location has a primary circuit and a secondary circuit that connect to the same network port, running simultaneously and supporting different services. Both circuits have failover support, so if one has an issue, all services on the failing circuit switches to the other within a five-second period.

“Serious issues are now few and far between, so solution metrics are available at all times,” Chow noted. “Teams responsible for all the reporting in the retail environment now have their fingertips inside the store all day, every day.”

Using the Grid from Granite, and leveraging the company’s managed services, the retailer has reliable Internet connectivity for its broadband circuit, as well as an added layer of monitoring, quality assurance and uptime. Granite also integrates with Sephora’s Enhanced Service Request (ESR), “which we use for the provisioning and management of our circuits,” Chow said. All these elements combined “give us stronger support in our stores.”

In order to support new software and hardware tools in stores, shopping malls and other retail environments will need to develop a strong infrastructure, Chow advised. “That’s a major benefit of Granite. I can go to them in a mall they service, they know the infrastructure and they build ours parallel to it. It provides a more robust solution.”



]]> (Alicia Fiorletta) Retail Success Stories Thu, 27 Aug 2015 07:55:04 -0400
JCPenney, Bluemercury Execs To Speak At Texas A&M Retailing Summit in Dallas JCPenney, Bluemercury Execs To Speak At Texas A&M Retailing Summit in Dallas

1tamuThe Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School will host its 30th annual Retailing Summit Conference on Oct. 8-9, 2015 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas. Executives from JCPenney, Bluemercury, GameStop, Neiman Marcus and several others will speak during the two-day event.

“I’m looking forward to sharing key insights from this rapid growth period and learning from some of the Industry’s leading executives,” said Barry Beck, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bluemercury, a luxury beauty and cosmetics chain recently acquired by Macy's for $210 million.

{loadposition GIAA}Touting the theme, "Redefining Retail," the conference is designed to educate more than 300 executives in discussions about macro-industry trends, disruptive retail models and future industry predictions.

Retail industry keynote speakers at the summit include (in alphabetical order):

  • Barry Beck, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bluemercury;

  • Michelle Bogan, Partner at Kurt Salmon;

  • Steve Brill, VP of Global B2C Strategy at UPS;
  • Craig Ceccanti, CEO and Co-Founder of Pinot’s Palette;

  • Jeff Donaldson, SVP of GameStop Technology Institute at GameStop;

  • Marvin Ellison, CEO at JCPenney;

  • Scott Emmons, Enterprise Architect and Innovation Lab Manager at Neiman Marcus;

  • John Foley, Pilot of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels;
  • Gautam Gupta, CEO of NatureBox;

  • Karyn Maynard, Recruiting Director at The Container Store;

  • Bryan McCormick, VP of Human Resources at PetSmart;

  • Erik Medina, VP and Head of U.S. TRU Youth Monitor at The Futures Company;

  • Sarah Quinlan, SVP and Head of Market Insights at MasterCard;

  • Chris Valletta, Co-Founder of Mission Athletecare; and

  • Karla Waddleton, Division VP at ALDI.

“As a university-hosted event, the Retailing Summit is about genuine sharing knowledge, not sales pitches. The conference gathers retail leaders who are willing to discuss best practices (or lessons learned from failures) that improve business,” said Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies. “Attendees will hear stories from the trenches of retail about improving the customer experience, elevating the role of the store, rewarding loyalty and leveraging technology to drive sales.”

The conference raises funds to support retail curriculum and scholarships for students pursuing retail studies at Mays Business School.

BDO, Brierley + Partners, Kurt Salmon, PetSmart, Reflect Systems and Salesforce will serve as corporate sponsors of this year’s event; and Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief of Retail TouchPoints will moderate a retail panel discussion. For more information, click here to access the event web site.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:20:50 -0400
The Finish Line Partners With Puma To Offer Unique Brand Experience The Finish Line Partners With Puma To Offer Unique Brand Experience

Finish LineThe Finish Line is collaborating with PUMA on a new in-store concept, titled the PUMA edge. The concept enhances shopper experiences by featuring expanded product offerings and content that connects PUMA to Finish Line shoppers. The brands are initially launching the PUMA edge in 10 targeted retail locations and online at

“We are incredibly thrilled to share this exciting partnership opportunity between Finish Line and PUMA with our customers,” said Jeff Morrell, SVP and General Merchandise Manager at Finish Line. “We believe that the PUMA edge will heighten the customer experience by bringing together the edge of sport and style with unique and distinctive products.”

{loadposition GIAA}The Finish Line and PUMA will support the launch of this new concept with initiatives that include digital paid media, email marketing with a mobile focus, geo-targeted Facebook and Twitter posts, and blog and web site placements. The two brands also will host three VIP events that will preview the new concept for members of Finish Line's Winner's Circle loyalty program and key influencers in Philadelphia, Atlanta and southern California.

"These shops bring PUMA a unique opportunity to partner with a leader in the athletic specialty space with an exciting brand experience connecting us to the Finish Line consumer," said Jay Piccola, President of PUMA North America. "We look forward to bringing new and exciting products to these shops that push the boundary of sport and style."

]]> (Rob Fee) News Briefs Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:18:58 -0400
Ahold Unveils Small Format ‘Bfresh’ Store Ahold Unveils Small Format ‘Bfresh’ Store

bfreshAhold has unveiled a new store in Boston under the brand bfresh, which is expected to open in the near future, according to Supermarket News. Fresh Formats LLC, a division of Ahold that built the Everything Fresh grocery store in Philadelphia in December 2014, developed the store concept.

The bfresh store was initially developed as a solution for neighborhood shoppers — particularly younger shoppers — frustrated by compromises they need to make regarding grocery quality, price and overall shopping convenience.

In order to promote the store and brand promise, the bfresh web site includes a message stating that “high prices,” “lame foods” and “bad attitudes” will not be welcome in the location.

In June, Ahold acquired Delhaize to create the fifth-largest grocery chain in the United States. Ahold operates brands such as Stop & Shop and Giant, as well as online grocer Peapod.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:02:51 -0400