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Omnichannel / Cross-Channel Strategies

Cross-Channel Strategies offers readers an inside look at the successful cross-channel promotions, campaigns and programs employed by industry leaders. Retailers across industry segments and regions are adopting unique and innovative approaches to reaching today’s cross-channel consumers. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Beauty Retailer Boots UK Deploys IBM Analytics-Powered Mobile Sales App

  • Published in News Briefs
Boots UK, a pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer that is part of the Walgreens-Boots Alliance, has partnered with IBM to deploy a new app for sales associates. The company is the first retailer to offer IBM’s analytics-powered Sales Assist app, which is designed to help turn every salesperson into a personal shopper for in-store customers. The service is available in more than 2,300 stores. The app uses beacon technology to locate and identify shoppers on the store floor, look up online inventory and suggest products based on previous purchases. Using deep analytics combined with customer data, it can provide real-time product and location information straight to the associate’s mobile device.

Macy's CEO Resignation: Planned Succession Or Response To Recent Results? Featured

  • Published in News Briefs
After 13 years at the helm of Macy's Inc., CEO Terry Lundgren will hand the reins over to Jeff Gennette in the first quarter of 2017. Lundgren will continue as Executive Chairman and will work side-by-side with Gennette, who will take the titles of President and CEO of the iconic department store retailer. While Lundgren's resignation is being framed as part of a long-term succession plan, Macy's (along with other department stores) has had its share of struggles recently as it faces fierce competition from Amazon and a long-term shift in consumer buying behaviors. In Q1, Macy's same-store sales dipped 6.1%, the fifth quarter in a row this figure has declined.

Who Will Buy Neiman Marcus? Featured

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire's recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire, retail industry executives get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a panel of retail industry experts. Neiman Marcus, known for selling the most luxurious and memorable of luxury goods, is putting something else up for sale: itself. The retailer is reportedly seeking a buyer or an investor, since soft sales have made it tough for the department store to pay down debt totaling $5 billion. Neiman Marcus' most recent quarterly results, for the period ending April 30, 2016, revealed a 5% decline in comp store sales compared to the same quarter the previous year. The decline in net revenues was even sharper, dropping from $19.8 million in Q3 2015 to $3.8 million this year. The chain, which was acquired in a leveraged buyout by Ares Management LP…

Online Activewear Retailer Selects RetailNext For Planned Stores

RBX Active, currently an online-only activewear brand, has plans to stretch into brick-and-mortar retailing by opening stores across the U.S. As its first step, RBX has signed a multi-year contract with RetailNext for in-store analytics services. "Integrating RetailNext into our new store locations allows us to test concepts and layouts, similar to what can be done with our online store, in the interest of delivering true inspiration to our community of passionate, active customers," said Adam Hanan, Director of Retail at RBX Active in a statement.

Walmart Seeks Faster China Growth Path In Deal With Alibaba Rival

Walmart has agreed to sell its Chinese online operations to the country's second-largest e-Commerce company, JD.com, as it attempts to compete with retailing behemoth Alibaba. JD.com will take ownership of Walmart's Yihaodian marketplace platform, although Walmart will continue to operate the Yihaodian direct sales business and will be a seller on the marketplace. As part of the deal, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer will take a 5% stake in JD.com. While Walmart's brick-and-mortar stores are not part of the deal, the planned strategic alliance is designed to drive traffic to both these stores and Sam's Club China locations. Sam's Club will open a flagship store on JD.com and offer same- and next-day delivery through JD.com's warehousing and delivery network, which covers a population of 600 million consumers, according to a company statement.

Why Retailers Are Upgrading Their Retail Management And POS Systems

Generally speaking, retailers have three primary objectives in mind when it comes to new technology deployment. The first is to streamline business operations with the goal of increasing management and staff productivity and overall efficiency across the organization, leading to greater cost savings. The second is to drive revenue growth, which is accomplished through improved marketing and sales effectiveness. The third objective is to enhance the customer experience, which should improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and brand advocacy — and, ultimately, of course, increase revenue and profitability.

Manhattan Associates Scales Up Call Center Customer Service Functionality

Manhattan Associates has enhanced its Omni-Channel Customer Service Solution, providing call center customer service representatives with a single app and interface that can service sales across multiple brands, countries and channels. With call centers now supporting multiple brands across many countries and multiple currencies, customer service reps must navigate different screens and interfaces to deliver seamless experiences, frequently logging in and out of multiple customer service applications.

Top CRM Questions Asked By Marketers For Marketers Featured

Last week I attended the annual Customer Relationship Management Conference (CRMC) in Chicago. With approximately 700 retailers, solution providers and other industry experts in attendance, 2016 was the largest CRMC event to date. Not surprisingly, much of the content at CRMC focuses on loyalty programs, customer analytics and overall CRM. I've found that some of the most compelling content during events comes out of the Q&A portion of the sessions. Following are some key insights from GameStop, Dunkin' Brands, Aveda, Etsy and more as they address questions asked by their fellow marketers.

Attention Entrepreneurs: 5 Tips For Attracting VC Investment Featured

Significant venture capital (VC) investment in retail and its associated technologies traditionally has been the exception rather than the rule. In 2015, VCs invested just over $1 billion in retail and distribution, according to MoneyTree. While that figure represented an increase over 2014's $776.7 million, retail is still far from a VC favorite. By comparison, software attracted $23.6 billion in VC funds in 2015, with biotechnology nabbing $7.7 billion. But there are signs that VCs' interest in the retail industry is on the rise, particularly as emerging technologies lower barriers to entry for new companies. One indication is the number of new forums designed to connect "idea people" with "money people," including:

UPS Study: Online Purchases Top 50% Among Avid Digital Consumers

  • Published in News Briefs
Online purchases have for the first time pushed past the halfway mark among the most avid online shoppers, according to the fifth annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study: More than half (51%) of all these consumers’ purchases are now made online, up from 48% in 2015. While the growth of e-Commerce has become an inescapable reality fed by shifting consumer preferences, it's still true that the overwhelming bulk of monetary spending remains in brick-and-mortar stores. The U.S. Commerce Department revealed that only 7.8% of all retail spending took place online in Q1 2016. However, the proliferation of technologies and more accessible channels for both browsing and buying indicates that e-Commerce will only continue to make a bigger impact.

PureFormulas Bulks Up AOV 25% With Personalized Engagement Featured

PureFormulas makes every effort to match the right health and supplements products with every customer. "In the supplement world you don't like a product based on looks, and it's important to get the one that is right for you," said Lars Furtwaengler, VP of Ecommerce and Merchandising for the online retailer. At PureFormulas, personalization efforts go beyond matching people and products. The brand uses a range of techniques from the moment a customer lands on its site through checkout and beyond. The retailer manages products and promotional offers that it presents based on broad categories like gender and age as well as specific actions taken by users, including their browsing and purchase behaviors.

Digital Passport: Linking In-Store And E-Commerce

A passport is an incredible thing when you think about it. It’s your own universally recognized key that opens you to travel across borders. Right now in the retail world there are borders that are neither easy to cross nor universally recognized. They are the channels retailers offer, particularly e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar. There is a need for some form of “retail passport” that would enable consumers to seamlessly cross these borders between channels.

Don’t Assume — Millennials May Surprise You!

Retail marketers, take note; this is a pivotal time. B2B or B2C, there is an audience challenge everyone has in common. Although Baby Boomers still earn the most, that market is shrinking and with 42% of Millennials earning more than $50,000 annually, they now don’t look so bad (Quad/Graphics, 2014). Millennials have surpassed the Boomer population by more than 7.7 million (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015) and are now the largest workforce of all generations at 53.5 million (Pew Research, 2015). Anyone who sells a product or service must know how to sell to Millennials. While it is true that Millennials spend a lot of time on the Internet and social media, that is not necessarily the best place for advertisers to get their attention. There are plenty of experts advising marketers how they should be spending marketing dollars, but it is important not to rely on assumptions or misguided advice.…

Fully Committed: A One-Man Customer Service Nightmare

The hip-hop musical Hamilton, with its enormous and diverse cast, nabbed all the top prizes at the Tony Awards Sunday night. But a play featuring just one extremely talented actor, Fully Committed, is actually more relevant to retailers. And tickets cost a lot less than the hundreds (or thousands) they are charging for Hamilton seats. Fully Committed is an object lesson in how lack of respect for those on the front lines of a customer-facing organization can easily cascade into wretched customer service. It’s a reminder that first impressions are as important in retailing as they are everywhere else.

Bon-Ton Focuses On Digital User Experience

  • Published in News Briefs
Seeking to improve the customer digital experience and quickly identify web and mobile site performance issues, The Bon-Ton Stores will deploy Catchpoint Systems' Synthetic (Active) Monitoring end-user experience monitoring (EUM) solution. The department store retailer can now track of a wide range of objects — including third-party services — that affect web performance. In addition, Bon-Ton will be able to diagnose localized or ISP-specific issues in real time. Growing IT complexity, including factors such as DNS resolution, third-party technology and last-mile network issues, make it harder for retailers to see and control the factors affecting end-user performance. By providing real-time, object-level insight into these factors, Catchpoint's EUM technology can help companies deliver more engaging customer interactions.
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