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Shopper Experience

Shopper Engagement delves into the latest trends and strategies retailers are using to cultivate long-term relationships with shoppers. Social media, mobile technology, in-store tablets and more are covered in this section. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Guitar Center Names Whole Foods Exec Chief Customer Officer

Jeannine D’Addario will serve as the new SVP and Chief Customer Officer at Guitar Center. She will oversee the retailer’s strategic marketing, brand vision and customer brand experience, and report to CEO Ron Japinga. D’Addario most recently was the interim Chief Marketing and Culinary Officer at Applebee’s, and prior to that she was SVP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Whole Foods Market. She led brand positioning, digital marketing, and retail marketing and launched the supermarket’s first national advertising campaigns. HotTopics.ht named D’Addario one of the top innovators in retail marketing.

GameStop Merch VP: New Store Concept Highlights Gaming Collectibles

GameStop is testing out a new store concept with sister collectibles retailer ThinkGeek, converting approximately 200 GameStop stores into ‘50/50’ store concepts as part of its ongoing transformation efforts to expand beyond video game sales. The co-branded GameStop/ThinkGeek stores will dedicate 50% of retail space to video game merchandise and the remaining 50% to pop culture and gaming-related collectible items, such as posters, figurines, statues, toys and gadgets. As part of the remodeled experience, GameStop also is doubling the amount of wall space dedicated to its current collectibles section within an additional 1,200 store locations.

M-ND Uses Interactive Displays To Manage Retail Campaigns

M-ND is providing retailers with interactive displays and a content management platform designed to create compelling campaigns for marketers. The solution manages integrated media with actionable touch points that range from mobile integration and social media to sampling and experiential. Currently the solution provider has a deployment at Melissa Shoes. The retailer’s, whose customers are now able to use M-ND's interactive displays to:

Retailers Fail To Capture Consumer Eyeballs Via YouTube Ads

The retail industry has some catching up to do if it wants to engage its audience via YouTube advertisements. Retailers finished with a 15.7% average view rate — dead last among 25 industries and more than 8% behind the next-closest industry — according to the 2017 YouTube Advertising Benchmark Report. View rates on YouTube advertisements average 27.7% across all industries, meaning retail falls 76% below the average.

Vyze Raises $13.1 Million In VC Funding

Vyze has raised $13.1 million in venture capital financing in order to accelerate growth and fuel product innovation and expansion. The Series C round is led by Austin Ventures, with additional investment from Fathom Capital and Starvest Partners. Ken DeAngelis, General Partner at Austin Ventures, has joined the Vyze board of directors. Vyze’s cloud-based, multi-lender platform connects consumers with additional credit options at checkout. During the past year, the company has more than doubled its retail client base and forged new partnerships with lenders. The program is live in more than 2,000 stores throughout the U.S. in addition to e-Commerce sites and call centers.

Amazon Go’s Frictionless Approach Could Be Its Greatest Obstacle

Amazon projected its first Amazon Go store would open to the public some time in early 2017. But more than six months later, the pilot store remains in beta testing, with many skeptics doubting whether the technology could ever work. I’m a bit more optimistic on Amazon’s chances. In fact, I believe it will work — assuming the company addresses the major obstacles facing this revolutionary approach to retail.

Digital Attraction: Engaging Customers In The Brick-And-Mortar Store

The impact of online shopping on brick-and-mortar retailing is not just lost sales — after all, 90% of all retail sales transactions still happen in a physical store. Equally impactful is the extent to which the online experience has radically changed consumer expectations of what shopping should be like. Having got accustomed to the ease, personalization and (by and large) fun of buying online, today’s digital shoppers now expect to find something similar in a real-life store. Retailers must find new ways of engaging with these digital consumers in old style analog stores, many of which have changed little in 20 years.

Global Payments Acquires ACTIVE Network Divisions For $1.2 Billion

Global Payments has acquired the communities and sports divisions of ACTIVE Network, which delivers cloud-based enterprise software that helps Web users find and register for events online. The outdoors division of ACTIVE will be retained by its current owner, Vista Equity Partners. “With ACTIVE Network, we are adding an enterprise software business operating in two new vertical markets that are highly fragmented and underpenetrated with attractive growth fundamentals,” said Jeff Sloan, CEO of Global Payments in a statement. “We also are delighted to enter into a strategic partnership with Vista Equity Partners to provide payment technology expertise to their portfolio of companies.”

What U.S. Retailers Can Learn From Japan’s Co-Op Deli Home Delivery Service

In this exclusive Q&A with Japan’s Co-Op Deli Home Delivery Director, Junichi Nagashima, Retail TouchPoints uncovers the strategies and technologies driving the success of Co-Op Deli Consumer’s Co-Operative Union. With 4.64 million members (30% of households in the areas it serves), Co-Op Deli generated 386.5 billion yen ($3.45 billion) in home delivery sales and another 131.6 billion yen ($1.18 billion) in store sales in 2016. Established in 1992 as a membership organization in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Co-Op Deli has been a global leader in developing the grocery home delivery market. UK businesses kicked off their efforts in the late 1990s; the U.S. has lagged behind, starting in earnest only in the early 2000s.

Belk Invests $40M To Upgrade Store Footprint

  • Published in News Briefs
Bucking the trend among department stores to shrink their brick-and-mortar footprints, Belk will open three new stores and remodel 12 more as part of a nearly $40 million capital improvement plan. The first two new stores, in Evans, Ga. and Bowling Green, Ky., are scheduled to open in October 2017; the…
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ROI Of AI: 5 Ways Retailers Are Embracing The Innovation

“Artificial Intelligence (AI)” is being touted as one of the newest, most promising business technologies of the 21st century — even though its roots go back nearly 80 years. The fact is, the basics of AI can be traced back to Alan Turing and the Theory of Computation in the late 1930s; and the 1950 paper that helped inspire the 2014 film, The Imitation Game: Computing Machinery And Intelligence. But as AI has moved out of the theoretical realm and into the practical, confusion about what AI is — and what it can do — has grown. Even today’s smartest and wealthiest business executives seem a bit stumped by what, exactly, constitutes an AI solution. As recently as July 25, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk got into a social media feud over each other’s understanding of the technology.

AI-Driven Fulfillment Solution Receives $6 Million VC Boost

CommonSense Robotics, which combines robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to support on-demand fulfillment solutions, has raised $6 million in seed funding from Aleph VC and Innovation Endeavors. The company is using the funds to expand its team, drive new product development and build out operations toward its initial deployments. The company creates micro-fulfillment centers that are designed to combine the benefits of local and automated fulfillment and maximize the use of retail space while enabling faster fulfillment and delivery of goods to consumers.

AI Sharpens Promotion Planning For Earth Fare Grocery Chain

  • Published in News Briefs
At the 41-store Earth Fare chain, the food is organic and natural but the intelligence is artificial — at least when it comes to promotion planning. For the past year, the retailer has used an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solution to help its category managers determine which items to feature in weekly…
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Can Discounted Cosmetics Drive Department Store Traffic?

The cosmetics counter has been a rare bright spot in these dark days for department stores — for example, the JCPenney-Sephora partnership has been a win-win for both parties. So it makes sense that other department stores would seek ways to leverage the category’s drawing power as a way to bring foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores. But the tactic chosen by Macy’s and Bloomingdales — offering discounts on products that are rarely involved in promotional sales — is raising eyebrows. Many industry experts note that once a retailer lowers prices, even for a limited time or to a select audience, it’s difficult to push them back up to a “normal” level. Meanwhile, Sephora is not putting all its eggs in one basket. The brand is testing Sephora Studio, a small (2,000 square feet) store concept that will be located outside of mall locations. The first Studio debuted on Boston’s Newbury Street on July 21. The Studios will offer skin consultations and the Sephora Digital Makeover Guide, which captures clients’ product, application and look preferences. Product selection will be limited due to the stores’ small size, but associates will be able to use an “order in store” feature via Sephora.com.
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