Store Operations

Store Operations examines the issues and challenges facing today’s store operators. From workforce management to merchandising and new store openings, this section is designed to help retailers improve the bottom line while holding the line on costs. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Former Express Marketing Exec Joins NRF

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has appointed Cristina Ceresoli, former VP of Marketing and Public Relations at Express, as its new SVP for retail strategy. In her new role, Ceresoli will be responsible for guiding NRF’s product offering and event content strategy.

City Furniture Cuts Shopper Journey Time 50% With Associate-Facing Apps

In conjunction with IBM and Apple, City Furniture has developed new mobile apps to improve the customer experience within its showrooms. The move has significantly enhanced shopper-associate interaction, cutting in half the time required for a customer to select the product, choose services and delivery, then make a payment or apply for credit. To expedite this in-store shopper journey, City Furniture launched three MobileFirst for iOS apps for iPad Pro: ASAP (Accelerating Sale Associates’ Performance), Payment, and Finance. City Furniture is rolling out the apps to 400 store associates across 15 City Furniture showrooms and 12 Ashley Furniture HomeStore showrooms in South Florida.

Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Intensifies Grocery Price Wars

The landscape of the grocery industry is ripe for drastic and dramatic changes in the wake of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market. With the e-Commerce giant making its monumental grocery push, top supermarkets will now be forced to duke it out for pricing superiority, supply chain efficiency and convenient delivery. Additionally, food delivery services such as Instacart will now face off against a fulfillment leader with extremely deep pockets. But despite many reports, the deal doesn’t represent a death knell for grocery, particularly its major players. Unlike categories such as apparel and department stores, grocery remains a relatively stable market since it doesn’t drive discretionary spending — consumers still have to buy food.

Grappling With Mobile: Why Retail Needs A ‘Makeover’

Retailers always seem to be playing “catch-up” when it comes to dealing with the seismic changes that mobile technology continues to generate. Consumers are adapting far more easily than retailers to always-on, always-present devices disrupting the shopping journey. Siloed organizations, legacy technology and outdated thinking are holding many retail organizations back. Stephan Schambach, founder and CEO of NewStore, believes retail needs more than just tweaks to deal with these changes. Retailers need a makeover — which also is the title of Schambach’s new book: Makeover: How Mobile Flipped The Shopping Cart (And What To Do About It!).

Farfetch Unveils Modular ‘Store Of The Future’

Online luxury retailer Farfetch has launched its Store of The Future (SOF) platform, a modular “operating system” for physical retailers. The platform, currently in beta, is designed to tailor technology solutions to each brand, each city and each store, to deliver personalization to customers and empower the store staff. Farfetch has developed a few key applications that drive the platform:

BCBG Sells Assets To Exit Bankruptcy

Fashion retailer BCBG Max Azria Group has reached an agreement to sell most of its assets to brand acquisition and development company Marquee Brands, and apparel and footwear company, Global Brands Group Holding Limited for an undisclosed amount.

Hudson’s Bay Transformation Plan To Cut 2,000 Jobs

A transformation plan that will create dedicated leadership teams for Lord & Taylor in the U.S. and Hudson’s Bay in Canada also will cost 2,000 employees their jobs with the parent company, HBC. The new strategy is the result of a six-month operational review focused on identifying efficiencies in North…

What Drove Mickey Drexler Out? Retail Experts Weigh In

Millard “Mickey” Drexler earned the nickname of “Merchant Prince” for his ability to market apparel that became a lifestyle look for millions of consumers. First at Gap in the 1990s and at J.Crew since 2003, Drexler was renowned for both anticipating and shaping customer tastes. But now the prince has been deposed (or has abdicated) following quarter after quarter of poor performance. Comparable sales at J.Crew fell 6.7% in 2016, following an 8.2% decrease the year before. The company, in which Drexler maintains a 10% ownership stake, has more than $2 billion in debt and less than $150 million in cash.

5 Ways Store Associates Help Retailers Deal With Showrooming

The demise of retail stores seems to be accelerating. What’s been dubbed as the “Retail Apocalypse” has claimed big-box names like JCPenney, Kmart and Sears, with more retailers popping up in headlines every day for closing stores. Experts have pointed out the reasons — online orders are rising, sales floor staff is dwindling and resulting in dissatisfied shoppers, and pricing is much more competitive.

GoECart Rebrands As Pulse Commerce

GoECart, an enterprise order and inventory management platform designed for mid-market merchants, is rebranding itself as Pulse Commerce. The company chose the name to reflect its role in delivering a real-time enterprise-wide perspective, or pulse, on a merchant’s commerce operations across all channels. “Our modern Order & Inventory Platform has…

Online Retailers Teach Personalization, Mobile & Convenience To Brick-And-Mortar Competitors

Recent headlines in both the trade and mainstream press have been full of variations on the same theme: Brick-And-Mortar Retail Is Dying! And these headlines are not just clickbait.  There were more retail bankruptcies in the first four months of 2017 than in all of 2016. A rash of store closures also are making the news, both by some of the largest retailers (Macy’s, Sears, Payless Shoe Source) and smaller players including hhgregg and The Limited. An NBC News report noted that more than 100,000 retail workers have lost their jobs since October 2016. A frequent counter-argument to these stories goes like this: If brick-and-mortar retail is such a terrible business model, why are so many online retailers rushing to open physical stores? (A partial list includes Amazon, Warby Parker, Bonobos, Minted and Casper.) It’s certainly a valid question — but the answer is more complicated than it might appear at first glance.

Payless May Close Another 400+ Stores

Less than two months after deciding to close 389 stores upon its filing for bankruptcy, Payless ShoeSource revealed that it may close another 400+ locations. The retailer is seeking court approval to trim its brick-and-mortar business if negotiations with landlords fail to result in rent concessions, according to a bankruptcy…

Why You Need To Change The Way You Deliver Training To Make Your Associates Smarter

Picture your best business day. Your retail operation is humming right along: customers are pouring in, eager and full of questions, and your associates are right there ready with answers. Shopping carts are full, and you can just feel the sales numbers surging. Your stores are running smooth as silk, welcoming for both customers and associates alike. It’s a pretty satisfying image. The question is, how do you get there? Most would immediately go to things like the right lighting, background music, attractive displays and well-stocked shelves.  But those are just table stakes in today’s competitive retail world.  The real answer is by investing in building the expertise of your retail associates. A workforce that’s engaged and knowledgeable will make smart decisions and be ambassadors for your organization’s brand. And they’ll become your secret weapon, if you give them what they need to be successful.

Data-Driven Personalization Serves 1.2 Million Loyal Fabletics Customers

Many retailers talk a good game when it comes to personalizing interactions with each customer, but Fabletics really walks the walk. The brand is gathering extensive customer data from the 1.2 million members of its continuity-based subscription retailing program; Fabletics supplements this data collection with sophisticated in-store technologies that build comprehensive customer profiles in near real-time. But Fabletics also uses that data, in ways large and small. This continuous feedback loop gives the retailer a competitive edge in a number of key areas, including:
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