Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends Sat, 27 Aug 2016 20:11:43 +0000 RTP en-gb Dollar Stores Play Catch-Up With Walmart On Pricing, But Need To Do More Dollar Stores Play Catch-Up With Walmart On Pricing, But Need To Do More

In the battle for low prices, it appears the biggest competition for discount stores Dollar Tree and Dollar General is not each other, it’s Walmart.

The Q2 comparable store sales increases at Dollar Tree and Dollar General both were lower than Walmart’s 1.6% rise, which marked the retail giant’s biggest comparable sales increase in four years.In the case of Dollar General, the retailer has actively acknowledged that it needs to up its discount game, with CEO Todd Vasos revealing in an earnings call that the company reduced prices an average of 10% on 450 of its best-selling products across 2,200 stores. While Vasos indicated that the pricing move was proactive, Walmart already has made numerous moves into discount pricing, such as instituting lower prices for food offerings and acquiring, which is powered by dynamic pricing software.

{loadposition GIAA}But will these retailers beat Walmart on price competition alone? Not according to some industry experts. “To compete in an omnichannel marketplace, Dollar General needs to differentiate on more than lowest price,” said Chris Petersen, President of Integrated Marketing Solutions in a RetailWire discussion. “One major Dollar General asset is more stores located in neighborhoods and along traffic routes. For busy working parents, convenient availability is as important as price.”

Dollar General increased Q2 net sales 5.8% while boosting comparable store sales 0.7%, but that improvement is miniscule compared to the 2.8% it reeled in from these stores last year. Similarly, Dollar Tree improved comparable store sales 1.2%, representing less than half of the 2.7% increase in Q2 2015. Considering the company’s net revenue increased a whopping 65.9% in large part due to its acquisition of rival Family Dollar, Dollar Tree had to have hoped that its investment would pay off big time within its new stores.

“Dollar Tree is delivering on strong integration synergies and appears to be executing well,” wrote John Zolidis, ‎Director of Equity Research, Retail & Restaurant, at Buckingham Research in a note to Barron’s. “However, top-line weakness is a concern and like Dollar General, we are somewhat at a loss to explain why things appeared to get so much harder in Q2 vs. Q1. This is happening across many different kinds of consumer companies despite rising employment and wages, which is normally the best indicator of consumer spending. We continue to believe the consumer will bounce back after the summer lull, although perhaps not until after the election-related uncertainty goes away.”

Dollar General upped the ante earlier this year when it announced it would add 1,900 store locations in 2016 and 2017. In July 2016, the retailer bought 41 of Walmart’s former Express locations, showing that the company isn’t afraid to enter territory where Walmart has been unable to succeed.

Although Dollar Stores Fail To Impress, Off-Price Continues Success

The underwhelming results of the major dollar stores is in direct contrast to the recent success of off-price retailers. Consumers want to buy quality goods at cheap prices, making brands such as TJX and Burlington Coat Factory more popular spots for apparel.

TJX saw a Q2 net revenue increase of 7%, comparable sales bumped up 4% and net income bumped up 5% to $562 million. Burlington Stores increased net sales almost 10% and same store sales more than 5%, with an 87% net income boost to $20 million.

If anything, the popularity of these brands is a sign that differentiation in low-price apparel may mean a lot more to consumers than cheap stationery or party supplies.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 26 Aug 2016 16:43:27 +0000
Neiman Marcus Debuts Interactive Technology For Sunglass Shopping

1neimanNeiman Marcus has partnered with MemoMi and eyewear distributor Luxottica Wholesale on the launch of a new technology patented by MemoMi that enables sunglass shoppers to try-on, compare and better engage with the product.

The technology, dubbed Sunglass Memory Mirror, allows shoppers to view side-by-side, high-definition video “TryOn” comparisons at the store, and share the videos via email or social media, as well as with sales associates to help with future recommendations.

{loadposition GIAA}“At Neiman Marcus, we strive to enhance our customer experience,” said Scott Emmons, Head of the Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab in a statement.  “The Sunglass Memory Mirror adds the whit and whimsy back to eyewear shopping. The ability to see how a frame looks from every angle and instantly share it with one’s social network reiterates Neiman Marcus’ objective to continually surprise and delight.” 

“We saw an opportunity to better engage consumers within Neiman Marcus’ high-touch sunglass retail environment,” added Fabrizio Uguzzoni, President of Luxottica Wholesale in a statement. “The Sunglass MemoryMirror integrates technology seamlessly into the shopping experience, giving shoppers the tools to find their perfect sunglass fit and share their experience with friends across social channels. It’s one of many ways we’re looking to improve the way consumers shop for, and interact with, eyewear.”

Sunglass Memory Mirror initially will be available at five Neiman Marcus locations: Palo Alto, San Francisco, Houston, NorthPark and Fashion Island. 

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:57:45 +0000
Optimove Integrates With Google Ads To Boost Customer Retention

1optimoveCustomer Marketing Cloud Optimove has announced an integration with Google Ads designed to add customer retention capabilities to its customer acquisition solution. By targeting existing customers through personalized ads on and across the Google Display Network, Optimove will enable marketers to increase customer spend, engagement and retention.

{loadposition GIAA} Many marketers struggle to use Google Ads as a customer marketing tool, noting the difficulty of updating audience lists based on customers’ recent and predicted online behaviors. This integration will help marketers automate the management of audience lists for Google Ads.

Through the integration, marketers will be able to: 

  • Update audience lists in real time;
  • Target small customer groups based on behavioral signals; and
  • Analyze spend patterns to optimize future campaigns;

“Google Ads is known as a great user acquisition channel, but there has not been a scalable and effective way to use it to target existing customers based on their personal preferences and activity patterns,” said Pini Yakuel, CEO of Optimove in a statement. “Now, retention marketers can easily target any number of individual customers with hyper-personalized conversion, upsell/cross-sell and retention campaigns through Google Ads, to improve retention and increase customer lifetime value.” 

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:24:46 +0000
Emarsys Enlists Antavo To Bring Behavior-Based Rewards To Online Retail Emarsys Enlists Antavo To Bring Behavior-Based Rewards To Online Retail

0emarsysantavoCloud marketing software provider Emarsys has partnered with Antavo, an e-Commerce reward program developer, to provide its e-Commerce customers with loyalty programs based on rewarding behaviors and engagement.

With this partnership, Emarsys clients in the U.S., UK, Canada and Ireland can take advantage of Antavo’s loyalty programs within their online stores.

The Antavo software is designed to increase repeat purchases and customer lifetime value. While many retail loyalty programs are designed based on rewards or “points” that are based primarily on spending, Antavo bases its programs on factors such as:

  • Type of purchases;

  • Friend referrals;

  • Social sharing;

  • Content consumption; and

  • Contest entries, among other behaviors and engagements.

Emarsys selected Antavo based on numerous differentiators in the company’s loyalty programs, including real-time reporting via its dashboard or email, and the addition of a dedicated account manager for each client who helps with loyalty program management and adjustments as clients' business needs change.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:03:06 +0000
Logility Acquires AdapChain Logility Acquires AdapChain

1- logility-logoLogility, the UK-based provider of collaborative supply chain optimization and advanced retail planning solutions, has acquired the privately held U.S.-based AdapChain, a developer of advanced integration solutions. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Logility and AdapChain have partnered for several years on developing template-based integrations that have helped companies accelerate their SCM-ERP integrations. 

“Acquiring AdapChain extends Logility’s ability to deploy innovative supply chain and retail optimization solutions more quickly and at a lower total cost of ownership than our industry peers,” said Allan Dow, President of Logility in a statement. “Many Logility customers around the world have already realized significant benefits through the use of Voyager AdapLink. And we have identified additional investment areas to deliver new efficiencies and harness the exponential growth of data that will drive tomorrow’s hyper-responsive supply chains.”

]]> (David DeZuzio) Mergers & Acquisitions Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:55:23 +0000
Groupon Goods Boosts Sales 12% With Competitive Pricing Tools Groupon Goods Boosts Sales 12% With Competitive Pricing Tools

0aDN GrouponGroupon Goods, a unit of Groupon that offers tangible goods rather than local experiences or travel deals, has boosted sales at a rate of 12% since enlisting the services of competitive pricing technology provider Boomerang Commerce.

To examine its pricing strategies, Groupon Goods tested a control group of SKUs against another SKU group priced using Boomerang’s data insights. The Boomerang system monitors millions of items weekly, including both private-label products and SKUs that can be found on other retail sites, as well as items that are comparable to the private-label products that Groupon Goods sells.

{loadposition GIAA}As Groupon started to move away from manual price optimization to a more centralized algorithmic approach in 2015, the company needed a solution that could provide insights and actionable recommendations to both employees and consumers. After consulting reports from industry experts and running benchmark tests, Groupon selected Boomerang Commerce’s Retail Analytics Suite, which features both the Price Optimization and Competitor Intelligence modules.

“Monitoring price moves was primarily manual and managed by our internal buying organization.” said Nikhil Sagar, VP of Supply Chain Inventory Planning, Pricing and Analytics at Groupon. “The volume of products and the constant turnover of product resulted in buyers only being able to monitor competitive pricing on all their top deals that were being featured or promoted.”

The Groupon Goods site typically only offers each product SKU for 25 to 30 days, which can be quick compared to many online retailers that stock SKUs for six months or more. This makes dynamic pricing even more important, as items are expected to sell quickly.

“Quicker turnover means more SKUs/deals needing to be analyzed and priced over a period of time, hence the need for a systemic solution that is easily scalable,” Sagar said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Short lifespan of product also creates the need for managing inventory risk and markdowns by staying competitive on price at all times, in a very proactive manner.”

The Boomerang analytics suite implementation was completed in less than a month, in two phases. First, the Boomerang team integrated the Competitor Intelligence module into the e-Commerce site without Groupon engineers’ involvement. Instead, Groupon engineers could spend their time building custom APIs that would enable Boomerang’s data to be shared among other systems. As for deployment of the Price Optimization module, six Groupon engineers collaborated part-time with the Boomerang support team to complete the installation. The system went live in November 2015.

Sagar said the Groupon team learned valuable lessons from the partnership: “Adoption is key, so staying focused on continuous training and collaboration with the merchandising team to ensure the tool is being understood correctly and used frequently is very important,” said Sagar. “Integrity of measurement is really important. This includes setting up clean, easy-to-communicate measures of impact from price changes that remove the noise of all the other levers we move as a retailer.”

With dynamic pricing in place, Groupon Goods is expanding plans to invest in this area by building pricing strategies for merchandise that has no market equivalent, such as unique or unbranded products. The retailer is presently collaborating with Boomerang on this new initiative, as well as options for adding greater elasticity to its pricing.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Retail Success Stories Thu, 25 Aug 2016 08:00:00 +0000
From $900 Million To $30 Million: One Kings Lane Shows Why Adaptation Is Necessary From $900 Million To $30 Million: One Kings Lane Shows Why Adaptation Is Necessary

When Bed Bath and Beyond purchased e-Commerce brand One Kings Lane in June for what was an undisclosed, all-cash sum, one fact was assured: the flash sales site was not worth anywhere near the $912 million valuation it held in early 2014.

But it appears Bed Bath And Beyond labeled the initial purchase price as “not material” for a reason; the retailer ended up purchasing One Kings Lane for less than $30 million, according to Recode.

At the time One Kings Lane had its valuation in January 2014, the retailer already raised $225 million in venture capital funding. While One Kings Lane’s had a fall from grace that didn’t deviate significantly from the rest of the flash sales vertical, the dive from valuation to final purchase value turned out to be much more dramatic than that of any of its contemporaries.

{loadposition GIAA}For example, Hudson’s Bay acquired Gilt Groupe for $250 million in January 2016, slightly less than one quarter of its initial $1.1 billion valuation. By a similar token, QVC purchased zulily for $2.4 billion in August 2015, for more than half the initial $4 billion valuation zulily received in 2014.

Comparatively, One Kings Lane was purchased at approximately 3% of its valuation, signaling that the company suffered from many more internal issues beyond its inability to make a profit. For one, the retailer’s flash sales model wasn’t apparel-based; as a home furnishing company, it had a hard time quickly turning around bulky items at a seasonal pace. Now, One Kings Lane functions as one of Bed Bath & Beyond’s numerous e-Commerce offerings, operating as an alternative to the home brand.

As successful e-Commerce brands continue to get scooped up for massive prices, whether it is Dollar Shave Club getting acquired for $1 billion or Walmart taking a $3.3 billion chance on, One Kings Lane’s fall shows that brands must remain disruptive if they want to compete online in the long term. While One Kings Lane’s business model certainly felt disruptive when it was founded in 2009, right in the middle of a global financial crisis where shoppers preferred discounts wherever they could find them, the retailer failed to differentiate as the economy bounced back.


]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:21:57 +0000
Walgreens Becomes First Retailer To Integrate Loyalty Program With Android Pay Walgreens Becomes First Retailer To Integrate Loyalty Program With Android Pay

Walgreens has integrated its Balance Rewards loyalty rewards program with Android Pay, making it the first retailer to support the feature through Google’s NFC-integrated payments service.

Balance Rewards members can add their card information to the Android Pay app if they have an Android device, and use it at checkout at any of the 8,200 Walgreens locations in the U.S. Customers can hold the device near the PIN pad at the payment terminal and tap twice: once to scan their specific rewards information, and then again to check out.

{loadposition GIAA}Customers can pay for purchases with most standard credit and debit cards, EMV chip credit cards and other mobile wallets.

“We want to make in-store payments simpler for everyone, so we've worked with Walgreens to implement Balance Rewards with Android Pay in their stores nationwide — giving customers instant, frictionless access to their loyalty card when they pay,” said Pali Bhat, Senior Director of Product Management at Google in a statement. “Now, Walgreens customers can speed through the entire checkout process in as few as two taps with their Android phones.”

Walgreens has made a habit of getting out in front of the pack when it comes to integrating mobile payments options. The drugstore chain already has integrated Balance Rewards with mobile payments competitor Apple Pay, and actually began to support the payments service in October 2014, just as then-competitor Rite Aid renounced its support for it.

Although Rite Aid and other Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) members ended up accepting Apple Pay at a later date even as they attempted to launch the failed CurrentC mobile payments app, the mobile payments industry as a whole remains quite fragmented. Retailers such as CVS and Walmart have begun offering their own payment systems integrated into the retailers' mobile apps.


]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:22:40 +0000
Stein Mart’s New Web Site Fuels Online Sales, Omnichannel Growth Stein Mart’s New Web Site Fuels Online Sales, Omnichannel Growth

1-steinmart3National fashion retailer Stein Mart wanted to improve its overall omnichannel retailing strategy across its web site. With growing tablet and mobile phone traffic, Stein Mart sought a responsive site with simplified checkout processes. The retailer also wanted to highlight additional visual merchandising capabilities, to better represent its evolving assortments in apparel, accessories and home goods. 

After reviewing a number of solutions, the company selected the Kibo e-Commerce platform. Stein Mart launched the site in June 2016 and now has a feature-rich and responsive destination that allows shoppers to have the same experience across all of its touch points, giving customers a more personalized shopping experience overall.

New features on Stein Mart’s redeveloped web site include:

  • Expanded visual merchandising capabilities for all categories;
  • Responsive design to accommodate differentscreen sizes and orientation on various devices;
  • Optimized SEO for improved organic search;
  • Easier navigation for searching and shopping;
  • Simplified, one-page checkout; and
  • Customer ratings and reviews.

{loadposition GIAA}

“E-Commerce is a significant sales-growth opportunity for us, driving brand awareness and traffic to our stores,” said Dawn Robertson, CEO of Stein Mart. “In looking for a new business partner, we wanted an agile platform that would be the foundation for our current and future omnichannel business needs. Our online sales increased by 70% in 2015 and we expect to continue that trend with the launch of our smart, responsive web site. Kibo’s cloud-based e-Commerce solution allows us to scale and evolve our omnichannel business, while also giving our customers an easier path-to-purchase.”

The Path To A New Provider

The path to Stein Mart’s move to a new platform was sparked by its previous provider's decision to move to the back end.

“We were looking for a new ‘front end’ platform partner when Radial (formerly eBay Enterprise/GSI Commerce) decided to move away from this part of the business to focus on the back end,” said Sara Meza, Director of e-Commerce, Stein Mart, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Radial has been a good partner with us on the ‘back end technology’ and continues to lead our order management, fulfillment, customer service and drop ship services.”

With that, the search was on, beginning with an extensive checklist of requirements for the new e-Commerce site. Stein Mart used an RFP process, viewing demonstrations of platforms that best matched its needs. Kibo offered a flexible, cloud-based platform that met both Stein Mart’s current and future needs. The best part? The project took only six months to implement from establishing Stein Mart’s requirements to its June launch.

“Not only is Kibo a good fit culturally, but our omnichannel road map is in line with the capabilities that Kibo offers now and will be enhancing in the future,” Meza said. “We have already started seeing improved sales, conversions and customer service since launching on the e-Commerce platform.”

Stein Mart currently operates 283 stores across 31 states and has plans to expand over the next year. As for any retailers looking to focus on their e-Commerce efforts, Stein Mart offers the following advice:

“Finding a partner that best suits your growing business and stays current in this fast-paced industry is key,” Menza explained. “Having a solid set of requirements up front to discuss with your platform partner and developing the detailed requirements together is important.”

For Stein Mart and its customers, the future is here.

]]> (David DeZuzio) Retail Success Stories Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:05:49 +0000
Mapping Macy’s Biggest Market Share Losses Mapping Macy’s Biggest Market Share Losses

In preparing to close another 100 stores in the U.S., Macy’s has been the poster child for the difficulties that have plagued department stores in 2016. With the retailer aiming to optimize store space, it must narrow down which stores aren’t performing up to par, as well as monitor the climate surrounding the stores.

Between 2014 and 2015, Macy’s lost the most market share in two cities: Milwaukee, Wisc. (14%) and Pittsburgh (12%), according to a study from business analytics platform provider 1010data. 1010 data used its Local Marketing Intelligence (LMI) product to research metrics such as basket size, trip frequency and market share to identify potential problem areas within Macy’s locations.

The data indicated that out of the rest of the top 10 cities where Macy’s experienced the most significant negative changes, five were located in the Midwest, including:

  • Hartford, Conn. (9.4% market share loss);

  • Philadelphia, Pa. (9.1%);

  • Detroit, Mich. (8.2%);

  • Cincinnati, Ohio (7.5%);

  • Daytona Beach, Fla. (7.4%);

  • St. Louis, Mo. (6.2%);

  • Columbus, Ohio (5.9%); and

  • Cleveland, Ohio (5.7%).

Macy’s performance in these cities may be reflective of a larger trend — that Midwestern shoppers may have grown disenchanted with traditional and department store shopping, particularly in malls.

{loadposition GIAA}At least in the case of Pittsburgh, the 1010 data revealed that Macy’s appears to be cannibalizing its own sales efforts, lending further credence to the idea that more store closures may be necessary for the brand. Although Macy’s had nine stores within the Pittsburgh area while Nordstrom had only one during the monitored time frame, Nordstrom actually held 44% of the market share in the region and even had an increase in basket size, despite 37% fewer store trips.

The dip in traffic and juxtaposed basket size increase indicates that shoppers are still spending a money at these locations, but are picking their spots of when to do it. With that in mind, Macy’s and other traditional brands with similar market share issues are going to have reassign their resources to other channels as well as focus on getting the customers into the store and keeping them there beyond the purchase.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:29:05 +0000