Latest Retail News, Strategies, & Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Retail TouchPoints provides the latest retail news and trends focusing on shopper experience, digital marketing, and retail innovation. https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/ 2018-02-22T23:19:06-05:00 RTP MadaLuxe Group Co-Founder Named CEO 2018-02-22T17:30:43-05:00 2018-02-22T17:30:43-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/madaluxe-group-co-founder-named-ceo Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><b><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaadamfreede" src="images/storiesv3/0aaadamfreede.png" height="200" width="200" />MadaLuxe Group</b>, a distributor of luxury fashion products, has named Co-Founder and President Adam Freede as CEO. Sandy Sholl, Co-Founder and CEO emeritus of MadaLuxe Groupe, has been named Executive Chairman and will continue to oversee retail, e-Commerce and marketing.</p> <p>As President, Freede was responsible for driving market demand by forging business deals with global brands and retailers, resulting in the company’s exclusive foothold in the luxury market. Under his leadership, MadaLuxe identified a market opportunity in off-price luxury distribution within the North American wholesale market. Freede later brought off-price luxury directly to consumers through MadaLuxe Timepieces and the MadaLuxe Vault concept, both in-store and online.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>In addition to co-founding and formerly serving as CEO of MadaLuxe Group for eight years, Sholl founded several other successful retail and consumer ventures, including <b>Carlen Enterprises</b>, <b>Focus H.K.</b> and <b>Instinct&nbsp;</b><b>Fashion</b>, and has served as CEO of <b>Haute Hippie</b>.</p> <p>MadaLuxe Group has signed a lease on a 9,000-square-foot office in New York City, where it will open a showroom this spring. Additionally, MadaLuxe Group has identified a second location in Southern California for its new luxury off-price boutique concept, MadaLuxe Vault. The first MadaLuxe Vault opened in December 2017 in Los Angeles.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><b><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaadamfreede" src="images/storiesv3/0aaadamfreede.png" height="200" width="200" />MadaLuxe Group</b>, a distributor of luxury fashion products, has named Co-Founder and President Adam Freede as CEO. Sandy Sholl, Co-Founder and CEO emeritus of MadaLuxe Groupe, has been named Executive Chairman and will continue to oversee retail, e-Commerce and marketing.</p> <p>As President, Freede was responsible for driving market demand by forging business deals with global brands and retailers, resulting in the company’s exclusive foothold in the luxury market. Under his leadership, MadaLuxe identified a market opportunity in off-price luxury distribution within the North American wholesale market. Freede later brought off-price luxury directly to consumers through MadaLuxe Timepieces and the MadaLuxe Vault concept, both in-store and online.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>In addition to co-founding and formerly serving as CEO of MadaLuxe Group for eight years, Sholl founded several other successful retail and consumer ventures, including <b>Carlen Enterprises</b>, <b>Focus H.K.</b> and <b>Instinct&nbsp;</b><b>Fashion</b>, and has served as CEO of <b>Haute Hippie</b>.</p> <p>MadaLuxe Group has signed a lease on a 9,000-square-foot office in New York City, where it will open a showroom this spring. Additionally, MadaLuxe Group has identified a second location in Southern California for its new luxury off-price boutique concept, MadaLuxe Vault. The first MadaLuxe Vault opened in December 2017 in Los Angeles.</p></div> Woot! Launches Free Shipping For Prime Members 2018-02-22T16:30:41-05:00 2018-02-22T16:30:41-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/woot-launches-free-shipping-for-prime-members Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/1e61094d4eb962f5ac4c244719db92ca_XL.jpg" alt="Woot! Launches Free Shipping For Prime Members" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><b>Woot!</b>, a daily deal e-Commerce site owned and operated by <b>Amazon</b>, is offering free shipping to Prime members. Members can log into <a href="https://www.woot.com/prime" target="_blank">https://www.woot.com/prime</a> with their Amazon Prime account and receive free standard shipping on Woot! orders.</p> <p>Prime members also receive free express shipping on all <a href="http://shirt.woot.com/" target="_blank">Shirt.Woot</a> orders.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>The added perk for Prime members is a fit for Woot!, given that Amazon funnels traffic to the site. Roughly one-third of Woot!’s traffic comes from Amazon.com, according to data from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.similarweb.com/website/woot.com#overview" target="_blank">SimilarWeb</a>, which also says the site had 16.8 million visits in January 2018.</p> <p>This is not the first time Amazon has brought one of its subsidiaries into the Prime membership program. In September 2016, Amazon added&nbsp;free audiobooks and podcasts from Audible&nbsp;to its list of Prime perks, and a variety of upgrades and special features for gamers with&nbsp;<a href="https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/30/twitch-announces-twitchprime-loyalty-badges-and-video-uploads/" target="_blank">the launch of Twitch Prime.</a></p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/1e61094d4eb962f5ac4c244719db92ca_XL.jpg" alt="Woot! Launches Free Shipping For Prime Members" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><b>Woot!</b>, a daily deal e-Commerce site owned and operated by <b>Amazon</b>, is offering free shipping to Prime members. Members can log into <a href="https://www.woot.com/prime" target="_blank">https://www.woot.com/prime</a> with their Amazon Prime account and receive free standard shipping on Woot! orders.</p> <p>Prime members also receive free express shipping on all <a href="http://shirt.woot.com/" target="_blank">Shirt.Woot</a> orders.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>The added perk for Prime members is a fit for Woot!, given that Amazon funnels traffic to the site. Roughly one-third of Woot!’s traffic comes from Amazon.com, according to data from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.similarweb.com/website/woot.com#overview" target="_blank">SimilarWeb</a>, which also says the site had 16.8 million visits in January 2018.</p> <p>This is not the first time Amazon has brought one of its subsidiaries into the Prime membership program. In September 2016, Amazon added&nbsp;free audiobooks and podcasts from Audible&nbsp;to its list of Prime perks, and a variety of upgrades and special features for gamers with&nbsp;<a href="https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/30/twitch-announces-twitchprime-loyalty-badges-and-video-uploads/" target="_blank">the launch of Twitch Prime.</a></p></div> Citing ‘Unsustainable’ Debt, Tops Friendly Market Files For Bankruptcy 2018-02-22T13:59:51-05:00 2018-02-22T13:59:51-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/citing-unsustainable-debt-tops-friendly-market-files-for-bankruptcy Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/f8bf40cafbd8e68a9b79d8d42fd43b37_XL.jpg" alt="Citing ‘Unsustainable’ Debt, Tops Friendly Market Files For Bankruptcy" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><b>Tops Friendly Market</b>, a New York-based chain of grocery stores, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As of Dec. 30, 2017, the supermarket had $1.18 billion in liabilities, with $977 million in assets, along with an “unsustainable” debt load, according to a <a href="https://pdf.courtdrive.com/pacer/nysbke/281001/dockets/3.00000/1-A73F7654-1716-11E8-AE1E-B818DC912104" target="_blank">court filing</a>.</p> <p>The supermarket chain is pursuing the financial restructuring in order to eliminate a “substantial portion of debt from the company’s balance sheet,” according to <a href="http://www.topsrestructuring.com/" target="_blank">a company statement</a>. As with many retail bankruptcies, Tops blamed challenging market conditions, such as falling food prices and excess competition, along with an inability to invest further capital into the business for its financial position. But Tops did what most companies have not done: specifically pointing at <b>Amazon</b> as the culprit.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}The Amazon name drop is peculiar. While the e-Commerce giant surely made a splash with its <b>Whole Foods</b> acquisition, other competitors, namely <b>Walmart, </b>have made a bigger impact on brick-and-mortar grocery in recent years. In particular, regional grocers such as Tops have felt squeezed between deep discounters such as <b>Aldi</b> and <b>Lidl</b> at the low end and specialty chains such as <b>Wegmans Food Markets</b> and <b>Trader Joe’s</b> at the high end.</p> <p>In the filing, Chief Restructuring Officer Michael Buenzow said the 2007 purchase of Tops by&nbsp;Morgan Stanley’s&nbsp;private equity arm and subsequent transactions saddled the company with its present debt. A group of Tops managers led a buyout of the grocer in 2013, purchasing ownership in the Tops holding company from Morgan Stanley.</p> <p>The restructuring will have no impact on day-to-day operations. All 169 of its stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont will remain open throughout the process.</p> <p>Tops said it has lined up a combined $265 million of debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing to help operate during the reorganization process, and is in constructive talks with some bondholders.</p> <p>The Chapter 11 filing coincides with the possibility of another grocery bankruptcy. BI-LO, the operator of the <b>BI-LO</b> and <b>Winn-Dixie</b> supermarket chains, is preparing for a potential third bankruptcy filing as soon as March, according to <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-16/winn-dixie-owner-bi-lo-is-said-to-prepare-for-bankruptcy-filing" target="_blank"><i>Bloomberg</i></a>. The retailer is planning to shutter nearly 200 stores as part of the move — either before or after the filing. Like Tops Markets, Bi-Lo is saddled with debt from a private equity acquisition. In this case, Bi-Lo has more than $1 billion in debt following its 2005 buyout by Lone Star Funds.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/f8bf40cafbd8e68a9b79d8d42fd43b37_XL.jpg" alt="Citing ‘Unsustainable’ Debt, Tops Friendly Market Files For Bankruptcy" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><b>Tops Friendly Market</b>, a New York-based chain of grocery stores, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As of Dec. 30, 2017, the supermarket had $1.18 billion in liabilities, with $977 million in assets, along with an “unsustainable” debt load, according to a <a href="https://pdf.courtdrive.com/pacer/nysbke/281001/dockets/3.00000/1-A73F7654-1716-11E8-AE1E-B818DC912104" target="_blank">court filing</a>.</p> <p>The supermarket chain is pursuing the financial restructuring in order to eliminate a “substantial portion of debt from the company’s balance sheet,” according to <a href="http://www.topsrestructuring.com/" target="_blank">a company statement</a>. As with many retail bankruptcies, Tops blamed challenging market conditions, such as falling food prices and excess competition, along with an inability to invest further capital into the business for its financial position. But Tops did what most companies have not done: specifically pointing at <b>Amazon</b> as the culprit.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}The Amazon name drop is peculiar. While the e-Commerce giant surely made a splash with its <b>Whole Foods</b> acquisition, other competitors, namely <b>Walmart, </b>have made a bigger impact on brick-and-mortar grocery in recent years. In particular, regional grocers such as Tops have felt squeezed between deep discounters such as <b>Aldi</b> and <b>Lidl</b> at the low end and specialty chains such as <b>Wegmans Food Markets</b> and <b>Trader Joe’s</b> at the high end.</p> <p>In the filing, Chief Restructuring Officer Michael Buenzow said the 2007 purchase of Tops by&nbsp;Morgan Stanley’s&nbsp;private equity arm and subsequent transactions saddled the company with its present debt. A group of Tops managers led a buyout of the grocer in 2013, purchasing ownership in the Tops holding company from Morgan Stanley.</p> <p>The restructuring will have no impact on day-to-day operations. All 169 of its stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont will remain open throughout the process.</p> <p>Tops said it has lined up a combined $265 million of debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing to help operate during the reorganization process, and is in constructive talks with some bondholders.</p> <p>The Chapter 11 filing coincides with the possibility of another grocery bankruptcy. BI-LO, the operator of the <b>BI-LO</b> and <b>Winn-Dixie</b> supermarket chains, is preparing for a potential third bankruptcy filing as soon as March, according to <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-16/winn-dixie-owner-bi-lo-is-said-to-prepare-for-bankruptcy-filing" target="_blank"><i>Bloomberg</i></a>. The retailer is planning to shutter nearly 200 stores as part of the move — either before or after the filing. Like Tops Markets, Bi-Lo is saddled with debt from a private equity acquisition. In this case, Bi-Lo has more than $1 billion in debt following its 2005 buyout by Lone Star Funds.</p></div> Report: Amazon Go Will Add Up To 6 More Locations This Year 2018-02-22T12:26:58-05:00 2018-02-22T12:26:58-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/report-amazon-go-will-add-up-to-6-more-locations-this-year Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/3aff7a6bf51aedc15e73dd8fa301aec8_XL.jpg" alt="Report: Amazon Go Will Add Up To 6 More Locations This Year" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>Although it took <a href="features/news-briefs/amazon-unveils-totally-checkout-free-grocery-market" target="_blank">more than a year</a> for <b>Amazon</b> to <a href="topics/shopper-experience/amazon-go-store-opens-brings-checkout-free-shopping-to-the-public" target="_blank">open its cashierless, checkout-free brick-and-mortar store to the public</a>, the company is already confident enough to expand the “Amazon Go” project to as many as six more locations this year, according to <i><a href="https://www.recode.net/2018/2/22/17019274/amazon-go-6-new-stores-seattle-los-angeles-the-grove-rick-caruso-cashier-less">Recode</a></i>.</p> <p>Some of the new stores are likely to open in Seattle, home of the first Go location and Amazon’s headquarters, as well as Los Angeles, the report said. It’s not clear if Amazon will open Go stores in any other cities this year.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}In Los Angeles, Amazon has reportedly held “serious” talks with billionaire developer Rick Caruso about bringing a Go store to The Grove, his 600,000-square-foot outdoor shopping locale. Los Angeles already is playing a big role in Amazon’s ongoing expansion: <a href="features/news-briefs/should-fedex-and-ups-fear-amazon-s-new-swa-shipping-service" target="_blank">the e-Commerce giant is launching its “Shipping With Amazon (SWA)” delivery service</a> in the city before expanding it elsewhere.</p> <p>The Seattle Amazon Go store mostly sells fresh food items, including the company’s <a href="features/news-briefs/next-stop-for-amazon-meal-kit-segment" target="_blank">exclusive meal kits</a>. Once a shopper steps inside, the store’s “Just Walk Out” technology — a combination of sensors, computer vision and deep learning — detects what items have been taken off and returned to shelves, keeping track inside a virtual cart. Once finished, shoppers leave the store and are automatically charged on their Amazon accounts.The store uses a variety of scanning technologies and algorithms to monitor patrons and verify purchases.</p> <p>Though there are no cashiers, the Amazon Go store employs workers who prepare fresh food and meals in an exposed kitchen, as well as a greeter at the entrance and an ID checker at the beer and wine section.</p> <p>Despite the report, there is still no sign that Amazon intends to introduce this technology into its <b>Whole Foods</b> stores in the near future.</p> <p>Store No. 8, <b>Walmart’s</b> startup incubator, also is <a href="topics/is-walmart-raising-the-stakes-for-cashier-free-shopping" target="_blank">testing a technology-heavy store experience dubbed “Project Kepler”</a> that uses computer vision and cashier-free checkouts similar to the “Just Walk Out” technology.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/3aff7a6bf51aedc15e73dd8fa301aec8_XL.jpg" alt="Report: Amazon Go Will Add Up To 6 More Locations This Year" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>Although it took <a href="features/news-briefs/amazon-unveils-totally-checkout-free-grocery-market" target="_blank">more than a year</a> for <b>Amazon</b> to <a href="topics/shopper-experience/amazon-go-store-opens-brings-checkout-free-shopping-to-the-public" target="_blank">open its cashierless, checkout-free brick-and-mortar store to the public</a>, the company is already confident enough to expand the “Amazon Go” project to as many as six more locations this year, according to <i><a href="https://www.recode.net/2018/2/22/17019274/amazon-go-6-new-stores-seattle-los-angeles-the-grove-rick-caruso-cashier-less">Recode</a></i>.</p> <p>Some of the new stores are likely to open in Seattle, home of the first Go location and Amazon’s headquarters, as well as Los Angeles, the report said. It’s not clear if Amazon will open Go stores in any other cities this year.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}In Los Angeles, Amazon has reportedly held “serious” talks with billionaire developer Rick Caruso about bringing a Go store to The Grove, his 600,000-square-foot outdoor shopping locale. Los Angeles already is playing a big role in Amazon’s ongoing expansion: <a href="features/news-briefs/should-fedex-and-ups-fear-amazon-s-new-swa-shipping-service" target="_blank">the e-Commerce giant is launching its “Shipping With Amazon (SWA)” delivery service</a> in the city before expanding it elsewhere.</p> <p>The Seattle Amazon Go store mostly sells fresh food items, including the company’s <a href="features/news-briefs/next-stop-for-amazon-meal-kit-segment" target="_blank">exclusive meal kits</a>. Once a shopper steps inside, the store’s “Just Walk Out” technology — a combination of sensors, computer vision and deep learning — detects what items have been taken off and returned to shelves, keeping track inside a virtual cart. Once finished, shoppers leave the store and are automatically charged on their Amazon accounts.The store uses a variety of scanning technologies and algorithms to monitor patrons and verify purchases.</p> <p>Though there are no cashiers, the Amazon Go store employs workers who prepare fresh food and meals in an exposed kitchen, as well as a greeter at the entrance and an ID checker at the beer and wine section.</p> <p>Despite the report, there is still no sign that Amazon intends to introduce this technology into its <b>Whole Foods</b> stores in the near future.</p> <p>Store No. 8, <b>Walmart’s</b> startup incubator, also is <a href="topics/is-walmart-raising-the-stakes-for-cashier-free-shopping" target="_blank">testing a technology-heavy store experience dubbed “Project Kepler”</a> that uses computer vision and cashier-free checkouts similar to the “Just Walk Out” technology.</p></div> State of Workplace Training in Retail 2018-02-22T10:44:22-05:00 2018-02-22T10:44:22-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/resources/type/white-papers/state-of-workplace-training-in-retail Roman Aguila feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/bc869a9bfedbd1c34226b76ff1444cb2_XL.jpg" alt="State of Workplace Training in Retail" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><h4>Improve Workplace Training In Retail</h4> <p>The recent Ipsos cross-industry workplace survey uncovers 5 ways to improve workplace training in retail environments, including how to:</p> <ul> <li>Engage employees with <strong>on-the-job training</strong> — anywhere, on any device;</li> <li>Provide <strong>continuous learning opportunities</strong>; and</li> <li><strong>Connect training to behavior</strong> and results.</li> </ul> <h4>Explore training that is easy to complete and understand, engaging and fun, personalized and relevant!</h4> <hr /> <script src="//app-ab21.marketo.com/js/forms2/js/forms2.min.js"></script> <form id="mktoForm_2752"></form> <script>MktoForms2.loadForm("//app-ab21.marketo.com", "212-UPB-292", 2752);</script></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/bc869a9bfedbd1c34226b76ff1444cb2_XL.jpg" alt="State of Workplace Training in Retail" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><h4>Improve Workplace Training In Retail</h4> <p>The recent Ipsos cross-industry workplace survey uncovers 5 ways to improve workplace training in retail environments, including how to:</p> <ul> <li>Engage employees with <strong>on-the-job training</strong> — anywhere, on any device;</li> <li>Provide <strong>continuous learning opportunities</strong>; and</li> <li><strong>Connect training to behavior</strong> and results.</li> </ul> <h4>Explore training that is easy to complete and understand, engaging and fun, personalized and relevant!</h4> <hr /> <script src="//app-ab21.marketo.com/js/forms2/js/forms2.min.js"></script> <form id="mktoForm_2752"></form> <script>MktoForms2.loadForm("//app-ab21.marketo.com", "212-UPB-292", 2752);</script></div> Zuant Introduces Custom Skins For Mobile Consumer Engagement 2018-02-22T10:42:59-05:00 2018-02-22T10:42:59-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/zuant-introduces-custom-skins-for-mobile-consumer-engagement Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/0ade2beb7add9ecd4d3f0c6d4d40b8ae_XL.jpg" alt="Zuant Introduces Custom Skins For Mobile Consumer Engagement" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p class="MsoNormal">Zuant, a developer of mobile lead capture solutions for companies seeking to maximize investment in trade shows, has unveiled Custom Skins for mobile apps. The Custom Skins are designed to enable users to incorporate their own brand identity into presentations to prospective customers, for optimal customer awareness and engagement.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Zuant Custom Skins is a new feature bolt-on that opens up the home screen, toolbars and buttons to users for customization. Retailers can take their brand experience to the next level, enabling marketing and sales teams to deliver a heightened level of quality presentation for both in-store POS displays and on the road.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p class="MsoNormal">The addition of the skins to the Zuant Mobile Lead Capture App enables retailers to brand the app with an appropriate corporate identity, as well as with rich graphical backgrounds. This feature allows event marketers and sales reps to both present and capture data at the same time in a highly engaging manner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The quality of today’s iPad and iPhone Retina screens incentivized Zuant to develop this new mobile feature to leverage the visual presentation power of these devices.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Zuant Introduces Custom Skins For Mobile Consumer Engagement</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/0ade2beb7add9ecd4d3f0c6d4d40b8ae_XL.jpg" alt="Zuant Introduces Custom Skins For Mobile Consumer Engagement" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p class="MsoNormal">Zuant, a developer of mobile lead capture solutions for companies seeking to maximize investment in trade shows, has unveiled Custom Skins for mobile apps. The Custom Skins are designed to enable users to incorporate their own brand identity into presentations to prospective customers, for optimal customer awareness and engagement.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Zuant Custom Skins is a new feature bolt-on that opens up the home screen, toolbars and buttons to users for customization. Retailers can take their brand experience to the next level, enabling marketing and sales teams to deliver a heightened level of quality presentation for both in-store POS displays and on the road.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p class="MsoNormal">The addition of the skins to the Zuant Mobile Lead Capture App enables retailers to brand the app with an appropriate corporate identity, as well as with rich graphical backgrounds. This feature allows event marketers and sales reps to both present and capture data at the same time in a highly engaging manner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The quality of today’s iPad and iPhone Retina screens incentivized Zuant to develop this new mobile feature to leverage the visual presentation power of these devices.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Zuant Introduces Custom Skins For Mobile Consumer Engagement</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></div> InBin Launches Parcel Box With IQ 2018-02-22T10:39:59-05:00 2018-02-22T10:39:59-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/solution-spotlight/inbin-launches-parcel-box-with-iq Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/8e045c78f05b7c7d20e2e081e34bb873_XL.jpg" alt="InBin Launches Parcel Box With IQ" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>InBin, a delivery solution for home owners and businesses, launched InBin Parcel Box with IQ, a smart mailbox designed to solve the problem of package theft and misdeliveries. Users can place an&nbsp;InBin&nbsp;on their porch or next to their garage, activate notifications and even connect it to a security camera.</p> <p>InBin Parcel Box with IQ incorporates a specially designed parcel box enabling easy delivery and retrievals. The box includes an encrypted locking mechanism designed to prevent tampering and complete sensor technology to alert users of deliveries, pick-ups, temperature, humidity and other important information.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>When shoppers&nbsp;get a package, the platform can notify them via voice notifications from a smart home assistant such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. InBin also can deliver mobile alerts to shoppers via an iPhone, Android and/or Apple Watch.</p> <p>Unlike a traditional mailbox that only USPS mail carriers can access, InBin works with all delivery carriers, including USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon and private delivery services. It's spacious enough for most standard size boxes and packages, keeping them out of sight of would-be thieves.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/8e045c78f05b7c7d20e2e081e34bb873_XL.jpg" alt="InBin Launches Parcel Box With IQ" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>InBin, a delivery solution for home owners and businesses, launched InBin Parcel Box with IQ, a smart mailbox designed to solve the problem of package theft and misdeliveries. Users can place an&nbsp;InBin&nbsp;on their porch or next to their garage, activate notifications and even connect it to a security camera.</p> <p>InBin Parcel Box with IQ incorporates a specially designed parcel box enabling easy delivery and retrievals. The box includes an encrypted locking mechanism designed to prevent tampering and complete sensor technology to alert users of deliveries, pick-ups, temperature, humidity and other important information.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>When shoppers&nbsp;get a package, the platform can notify them via voice notifications from a smart home assistant such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. InBin also can deliver mobile alerts to shoppers via an iPhone, Android and/or Apple Watch.</p> <p>Unlike a traditional mailbox that only USPS mail carriers can access, InBin works with all delivery carriers, including USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon and private delivery services. It's spacious enough for most standard size boxes and packages, keeping them out of sight of would-be thieves.</p></div> The Future Of Online Shopping, And How Retailers Can Get There 2018-02-22T10:33:05-05:00 2018-02-22T10:33:05-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-future-of-online-shopping-and-how-retailers-can-get-there Ed Kennedy, Episerver feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;"><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaEd Kennedy Episerver" src="images/storiesv3/0aaEd_Kennedy_Episerver.png" />Picture this: you find yourself in need of laundry detergent to finish packing before your big vacation. You ask Alexa to order some while figuring out where you left your passport and, 30 minutes later, a drone delivers your purchase right to your doorstep. No credit cards, no lines and no stress. Just you on your way to some well-deserved time off.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Most shopping experiences will look just like this in a few years’ time. Sophisticated technologies and major advancements in e-Commerce systems have ushered in a new era of online shopping. From multiple easy payment options to virtually real-time fulfillment, technology has enabled new customer capabilities around every turn (or click). Convenience is the norm, and these advancements are making their ways in-store, too. </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/technology/inside-amazon-go-a-store-of-the-future.html" target="_blank"><span style="color: #1155cc;">Amazon Go’s cashier-free store fronts</span></a><span style="color: black;"> and </span><a href="https://www.retaildive.com/news/report-walmart-developing-facial-recognition-tech/447478/" target="_blank"><span style="color: #1155cc;">Walmart’s recent biometric investments</span></a><span style="color: black;"> are just the beginning in terms of how technologies will simplify and enrich your shopping experience.</span></p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">{loadposition GIAA}But nothing will shape the future of commerce quite like improved personalized experiences.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Laundry detergent is just one of the millions of products that will soon be at your fingertips and in your shopping cart before you even knew you needed them. Already, retailers are bringing on advanced, intelligent personalization engines to better understand what, and who, you’re shopping for.</span></p> <h2 style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Three Musts For Future Online Shopping Success</span></h2> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">The most advanced retailers have begun strategizing how to take information like previous purchase histories, web site browsing and other omnichannel shopping behaviors to offer people more personalized recommendations. This goes beyond rudimentary recommendations like “customers also viewed” to anticipating customers’ intentions and needs as they are developing. </span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Web sites now consider distinct browsing sessions to determine exactly what you’re looking for, and they can even differentiate when you’re shopping for yourself versus a friend, parent or sibling. To keep the momentum building around these enhanced digital experiences, retailers must next figure out how to:</span></p> <ul> <li><b><span style="color: black;">See Beyond Demographics</span></b></li> </ul> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">The first step to personalizing online shopping recommendations is to pull in more information about consumers. This can include data like web browsing histories, social media profiles or insights sourced from a third-party partner, but it must always move past demographics.</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Sweeping demographics are a good start to help categorize customers, but relying too heavily on them leads to misguided decision-making that fails to personalize at the individual level. When retailers focus too closely on basics like location or purchase history, they fail to factor in how nuanced and unique every shopper is and how each shopper’s need changes over time. For example, not all 30-year-old men are going to have similar purchasing needs or interests and each person’s preference is going to change over time. Rather, retailers can use product recommendation engines that aggregate all of the shoppers’ interactions and purchases into a single record to predict the products they are most likely to want. </span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Already, </span><a href="https://www.episerver.com/learn/resources/research--reports/experience-driven-commerce-2017/" target="_blank"><span style="color: #1155cc;">38% of U.S. consumers</span></a><span style="color: black;"> believe companies should know about their purchase histories, and a quarter say the same of their personal interests. Both rank higher than demographics like name and age, and this gap will only grow larger as more shoppers begin to realize the benefits of granular personalization.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Personalize In Real Time</b></li> </ul> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;"></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Retailers need to be able to personalize their messages and offers automatically, and at high scale. Customers may deviate from their typical searches when browsing or shopping online for friends and family, and successful retailers will use powerful machine learning algorithms to recognize and react when this is happening. This happens by comparing the user’s previous sessions on the site (for example when she visited the women’s category) and the user’s current session (when she visited the “gifts for him” section).</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Delineating specific browsing sessions and intent ensures retailers don’t target customers with incorrect information or product recommendations that do not match the needs of their current life stage. <br /> <br /> Over a one-year period, Episerver found nearly half of shoppers saw an ad for a product they would never purchase, and 31% reported a retailer made a misguided recommendation. Retailers hoping to build long-term loyalty should take extra care to avoid these scenarios, as the ability to pivot with consumers keeps relationships fresh and relevant.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Help Customers Find What They’re Looking For</b></li> </ul> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;"></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">This seems like a simple ask, but connecting consumers with what they need has taken on a more complex meaning in today’s extended e-Commerce journey. In fact, when visiting a brand’s web site for the first time, Episerver found 92% of shoppers are there to do something other than purchase.</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">The convenience factor of purchasing laundry detergent does not apply to every product and purchase experience. Many shoppers want and need to browse and search for the right product to suit their needs. This includes longer browsing and searching stages to compare prices, find deals, read customer testimonials and more. Helping shoppers find what they’re looking for is no longer limited to products. Making all information easy to locate is a relatively simple way for retailers to delight their target audiences. Again, this information should also be personalized in real time. For example, if a shopper is searching for store hours, the results should be tailored to her specific location and time zone.</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Technologies for site browse and site search have improved dramatically in recent years to automatically personalize the search results to each individual shopper based on their unique behavior. This includes re-ranking search results for a specific keyword to better suit each shopper’s predicted intent.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Retailers should take comfort knowing that they’re not alone when it comes to executing and maintaining these endeavors. Technology providers can help retailers learn more about their customers and give them insights into real-world strategies and next steps for marketers.</span></p> <p>In an e-Commerce environment that’s only growing more competitive, the best prepared retail web sites know exactly what their customers are shopping for and are providing personalized recommendations and offers to suit their needs.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/commerceed" target="_blank">Ed Kennedy</a>&nbsp;is the Senior Director of Commerce at&nbsp;<a href="https://www.episerver.com/" target="_blank">Episerver</a>, a global software company offering web content management, digital commerce, and digital marketing, through the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud software platform.</em></p></div> <div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;"><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="0aaEd Kennedy Episerver" src="images/storiesv3/0aaEd_Kennedy_Episerver.png" />Picture this: you find yourself in need of laundry detergent to finish packing before your big vacation. You ask Alexa to order some while figuring out where you left your passport and, 30 minutes later, a drone delivers your purchase right to your doorstep. No credit cards, no lines and no stress. Just you on your way to some well-deserved time off.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Most shopping experiences will look just like this in a few years’ time. Sophisticated technologies and major advancements in e-Commerce systems have ushered in a new era of online shopping. From multiple easy payment options to virtually real-time fulfillment, technology has enabled new customer capabilities around every turn (or click). Convenience is the norm, and these advancements are making their ways in-store, too. </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/technology/inside-amazon-go-a-store-of-the-future.html" target="_blank"><span style="color: #1155cc;">Amazon Go’s cashier-free store fronts</span></a><span style="color: black;"> and </span><a href="https://www.retaildive.com/news/report-walmart-developing-facial-recognition-tech/447478/" target="_blank"><span style="color: #1155cc;">Walmart’s recent biometric investments</span></a><span style="color: black;"> are just the beginning in terms of how technologies will simplify and enrich your shopping experience.</span></p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">{loadposition GIAA}But nothing will shape the future of commerce quite like improved personalized experiences.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Laundry detergent is just one of the millions of products that will soon be at your fingertips and in your shopping cart before you even knew you needed them. Already, retailers are bringing on advanced, intelligent personalization engines to better understand what, and who, you’re shopping for.</span></p> <h2 style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Three Musts For Future Online Shopping Success</span></h2> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">The most advanced retailers have begun strategizing how to take information like previous purchase histories, web site browsing and other omnichannel shopping behaviors to offer people more personalized recommendations. This goes beyond rudimentary recommendations like “customers also viewed” to anticipating customers’ intentions and needs as they are developing. </span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Web sites now consider distinct browsing sessions to determine exactly what you’re looking for, and they can even differentiate when you’re shopping for yourself versus a friend, parent or sibling. To keep the momentum building around these enhanced digital experiences, retailers must next figure out how to:</span></p> <ul> <li><b><span style="color: black;">See Beyond Demographics</span></b></li> </ul> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">The first step to personalizing online shopping recommendations is to pull in more information about consumers. This can include data like web browsing histories, social media profiles or insights sourced from a third-party partner, but it must always move past demographics.</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Sweeping demographics are a good start to help categorize customers, but relying too heavily on them leads to misguided decision-making that fails to personalize at the individual level. When retailers focus too closely on basics like location or purchase history, they fail to factor in how nuanced and unique every shopper is and how each shopper’s need changes over time. For example, not all 30-year-old men are going to have similar purchasing needs or interests and each person’s preference is going to change over time. Rather, retailers can use product recommendation engines that aggregate all of the shoppers’ interactions and purchases into a single record to predict the products they are most likely to want. </span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Already, </span><a href="https://www.episerver.com/learn/resources/research--reports/experience-driven-commerce-2017/" target="_blank"><span style="color: #1155cc;">38% of U.S. consumers</span></a><span style="color: black;"> believe companies should know about their purchase histories, and a quarter say the same of their personal interests. Both rank higher than demographics like name and age, and this gap will only grow larger as more shoppers begin to realize the benefits of granular personalization.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Personalize In Real Time</b></li> </ul> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;"></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Retailers need to be able to personalize their messages and offers automatically, and at high scale. Customers may deviate from their typical searches when browsing or shopping online for friends and family, and successful retailers will use powerful machine learning algorithms to recognize and react when this is happening. This happens by comparing the user’s previous sessions on the site (for example when she visited the women’s category) and the user’s current session (when she visited the “gifts for him” section).</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Delineating specific browsing sessions and intent ensures retailers don’t target customers with incorrect information or product recommendations that do not match the needs of their current life stage. <br /> <br /> Over a one-year period, Episerver found nearly half of shoppers saw an ad for a product they would never purchase, and 31% reported a retailer made a misguided recommendation. Retailers hoping to build long-term loyalty should take extra care to avoid these scenarios, as the ability to pivot with consumers keeps relationships fresh and relevant.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Help Customers Find What They’re Looking For</b></li> </ul> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;"></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">This seems like a simple ask, but connecting consumers with what they need has taken on a more complex meaning in today’s extended e-Commerce journey. In fact, when visiting a brand’s web site for the first time, Episerver found 92% of shoppers are there to do something other than purchase.</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">The convenience factor of purchasing laundry detergent does not apply to every product and purchase experience. Many shoppers want and need to browse and search for the right product to suit their needs. This includes longer browsing and searching stages to compare prices, find deals, read customer testimonials and more. Helping shoppers find what they’re looking for is no longer limited to products. Making all information easy to locate is a relatively simple way for retailers to delight their target audiences. Again, this information should also be personalized in real time. For example, if a shopper is searching for store hours, the results should be tailored to her specific location and time zone.</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; margin-left: 30px;"><span style="color: black;">Technologies for site browse and site search have improved dramatically in recent years to automatically personalize the search results to each individual shopper based on their unique behavior. This includes re-ranking search results for a specific keyword to better suit each shopper’s predicted intent.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0in; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: black;">Retailers should take comfort knowing that they’re not alone when it comes to executing and maintaining these endeavors. Technology providers can help retailers learn more about their customers and give them insights into real-world strategies and next steps for marketers.</span></p> <p>In an e-Commerce environment that’s only growing more competitive, the best prepared retail web sites know exactly what their customers are shopping for and are providing personalized recommendations and offers to suit their needs.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/commerceed" target="_blank">Ed Kennedy</a>&nbsp;is the Senior Director of Commerce at&nbsp;<a href="https://www.episerver.com/" target="_blank">Episerver</a>, a global software company offering web content management, digital commerce, and digital marketing, through the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud software platform.</em></p></div> Wall Street Wakeup: New Business Metrics Define Retail Success 2018-02-22T09:26:54-05:00 2018-02-22T09:26:54-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/financial-news/wall-street-wakeup-new-business-metrics-define-retail-success Glenn Taylor feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/dc5f729631c6524efbcf989e82f85301_XL.jpg" alt="Wall Street Wakeup: New Business Metrics Define Retail Success" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>The host of the NPR business show <i>Marketplace</i> often asserts that <b><i>Wall Street is not the economy</i></b> (usually before he shares the day’s Dow Jones gains or losses). For retailers, particularly publicly held companies, Wall Street valuations definitely are part of <b>their</b> economy — even though those valuations don’t always correspond with today’s retail realities.</p> <p>For example, on Feb. 20, <b>Walmart</b> reported that it <a href="features/news-briefs/walmart-s-online-growth-slows-during-holiday-2017" target="_blank">had only half the online sales growth in Q4 that it had in Q3</a>, sending the company’s stock down more than 10% before market closing — the company’s biggest one-day decline since Jan. 8, 1988. The dip accounted for nearly one-third of that day’s Dow Jones 255-point drop, revealing a short-term lack of confidence in Walmart’s long-term strategy — despite a sustained record of e-Commerce success since Walmart’s acquisition of <b>Jet.com</b> in August 2016.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Concerns about whether the financial industry is using metrics that are no longer relevant in today’s retail industry, when a store visit is likely to be just one stop along a multi-touch point shopper journey, are becoming more critical as retail continues to transform at an unprecedented pace. Retailers may need to make the case to customers, shareholders, the media and Wall Street that more accurate and up-to-date measurements should define their financial well-being moving forward.</p> <p>But some industry experts stand by the way things always have been done. “The classic metrics are still the key metrics,” said Simeon Hyman, Head of Investment Strategy&nbsp;at ProShares in an interview with <i>Retail TouchPoints</i>. “Same-store sales and various margins and returns on capital are still your building blocks.”</p> <p>Based on the classic assessments, those fundamentals of the industry as a whole seem strong. Retail sales <a href="features/trend-watch/does-5-5-holiday-sales-increase-signal-a-2018-retail-rebound" target="_blank">climbed <b>5.5%</b> during the 2017 holiday season</a> and are expected to grow <a href="features/news-briefs/retail-sales-projected-to-grow-between-3-7-and-4-4-in-2018" target="_blank">anywhere between <b>3.7%</b> and <b>4.4%</b> during 2018</a>. E-Commerce is projected to grow <b>16%</b>, according to eMarketer.</p> <h2>Same-Store Sales May Become ‘Same Trade Area’ Sales</h2> <p>While the same-store sales metric has continued to serve as a baseline indicator of retail success, a number of industry analysts have questioned <a href="features/trend-watch/are-same-store-sales-still-a-meaningful-metric">whether the metric is appropriate to measure modern retailing</a>.</p> <p>Stores don’t always serve the same function that they did in the past, when they had one job — to complete the sale. Now stores have taken on a number of new roles, including <a href="features/special-reports/the-blueprint-for-attracting-and-retaining-high-roi-shoppers">marketing to boost brand awareness</a>. That could mean the store <a href="features/trend-watch/new-retail-stores-from-nordstrom-zachys-don-t-sell-merchandise">no longer sells products</a>; or it could become an experiential destination center, <a href="features/special-reports/revenue-rescue-playbook-embracing-next-gen-store-formats">showroom and/or a distribution center</a>. So, judging quarterly performance primarily based on how much stores sell may be outdated, especially if the sale eventually is completed in another channel. This is a reality many Wall Street investors and shareholders must get used to, especially as more retail companies shutter stores or convert them into something else entirely.</p> <p>“With this understanding, same-store sales performance may still have some utility, but <b>‘same trade area’ performance</b> — which accounts for all sales regardless of purchase channel within the influence area of a store — becomes a far more interesting and useful metric,” wrote Steven Dennis, President of SageBerry Consulting, in a blog post on <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevendennis/2017/04/03/same-store-sales-is-retails-increasingly-irrelevant-metric/#57f3f5057d59"><i>Forbes</i></a>. “Critically, it also provides the basis for understanding the drivers of customer segment level performance at a more granular and actionable level.”</p> <h2>A New Index For Today’s Retail Environment Emerges</h2> <p>When it comes to measuring modern retail performance, one company has made an effort to provide investors with a new way to understand where today’s merchants fit. ProShares, a provider of exchange-traded funds (ETF), <a href="features/financial-news/brick-and-mortar-financial-index-dips-4-54-year-to-date">designed its own indices to reflect changes in retail</a>. In November 2017, the company launched three indices, including:</p> <ul> <li>The Solactive-ProShares Bricks and Mortar Retail Store Index;</li> <li>The ProShares Online Retail Index; and</li> <li>The ProShares Long Online/Short Stores Index.</li> </ul> <p>“The bifurcation of performance between online and brick-and-mortar retailers makes you see an opportunity,” said Hyman. “We know that retailers are increasingly moving online and that’s a significant headwind for brick-and-mortar players. Since that trend will be with us for a long time, a benchmark and an ETF that can track the performance of brick-and-mortar retailers just makes a whole lot of sense to us. We think it’s something that we’re still in the relatively early innings of. We launched the indexes and the ETF just before Thanksgiving, and we think they’re reflecting what’s going on in the market appropriately.”</p> <p>As of Feb. 12, the <i>Bricks and Mortar Retail Store Index</i> has experienced Net Asset Value (NAV) returns of&nbsp;<b>12.67% since inception (11/14/17)&nbsp;</b>and&nbsp;<b>-4.54% year-to-date (YTD)</b><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #222222; background: white;">, </span>coinciding with the U.S. Commerce Department’s report that January 2018 retail sales decreased&nbsp;<b>0.3%</b>, the largest such dip in 11 months.</p> <p>In the same time frame, the <i>Online Retail Index</i> saw bigger returns than its brick-and-mortar counterpart, experiencing NAV returns of&nbsp;<b>18.20% since inception</b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b>10.24% YTD</b>.</p> <h2>Tax Reform May Boost Retail Capital And Get Wall Street’s Attention</h2> <p>Although the methods by which investors and analysts measure industry success is changing, there’s another factor set to alter the relationship between retail and Wall Street: recent federal tax reform. The National Retail Federation <a href="features/news-briefs/nrf-calls-tax-bill-a-victory-for-retailers">has been a major proponent of the reform</a> bill, particularly since it cuts the corporate tax for retailers from as high as <b>38%</b> to approximately <b>25%</b>.</p> <p>With their tax rates cut, many retailers are likely to see a cash windfall in 2018. As a result, investors have become bullish on retailers with more capital to spend and the ability to seize opportunities for new growth.</p> <p>Where retailers will spend that money remains to be seen, but signs are pointing to reinvestments in employees and technology. <b>CVS Health</b> will use the tax cuts to raise starting wages to $11, while <b>Best Buy </b>plans to pay one-time bonuses of&nbsp;$1,000 to full-time workers and $500 to part-time employees. Going ahead, more retailers must put their money where their mouth is to impress investors.</p> <p>“It seems to me that they [retailers] want to invest the money rather than just offer buybacks and dividends,” said Brian Nagel, Managing Director and Senior Analyst, Hardlines Retail and E-Commerce at&nbsp;Oppenheimer &amp; Co. Equity Research, in an <a href="features/trend-watch/nrf-2018-recap-positive-economic-forecast-the-roi-of-ai-china-s-fast-growth">NRF session</a>. “The effective use of technology when evaluating <i>Retailer A</i> vs. <i>Retailer B</i> for investment opportunity is what Wall Street is looking at. I believe the growth of <b>Amazon</b> is making traditional retailers much better companies.”</p> <p>Nagel said that Amazon’s investments have essentially pushed retailers to buck conventional wisdom and invest in ideas that can future-proof their business, instead of the traditional route of giving back to shareholders. While these types of technology investments, which generally don’t accrue to the bottom line immediately, may not be as impressive to investors in the short run, the business as a whole is likely to benefit further down the line.</p> <h2>Long-Term Bottom Line Benefits Temper Wall Street Expectations</h2> <p>Hyman of ProShares noted that the tax cuts likely helped retail stocks rally through Christmas, but also indicated that retailers must understand that the immediate benefits of tax cuts are generally passed on to consumers — and don’t always show up in the retailer’s bottom line. This means that investors should temper their excitement and understand that the Wall Street reaction over time may underwhelm.</p> <p>“Think about it this way, more than 100% of Amazon’s cost efficiencies are tied&nbsp;to consumers,” Hyman said. “Any time they have some sort of advantage, it shows up in lower prices. In the retail industry as a whole, why would that not be true for tax cuts? You’re starting to see margin pressure and higher input costs. Those are two leakages that&nbsp;may prevent tax cuts from making&nbsp;it to the bottom line.&nbsp;While the explicit benefits of the tax cuts may not make it to retailers’ bottom line, tax cuts may spur economic growth, and of course that’s a positive.”</p> <p>With the results of tax reform set to play out over the next few quarters, retailers will gain a better idea of how Wall Street is responding to their spending habits. With the combination of tax reform and the retailer’s changing role, merchants in 2018 will need to communicate with shoppers, investors and Wall Street analysts alike to ensure that their success is measured correctly.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/dc5f729631c6524efbcf989e82f85301_XL.jpg" alt="Wall Street Wakeup: New Business Metrics Define Retail Success" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p>The host of the NPR business show <i>Marketplace</i> often asserts that <b><i>Wall Street is not the economy</i></b> (usually before he shares the day’s Dow Jones gains or losses). For retailers, particularly publicly held companies, Wall Street valuations definitely are part of <b>their</b> economy — even though those valuations don’t always correspond with today’s retail realities.</p> <p>For example, on Feb. 20, <b>Walmart</b> reported that it <a href="features/news-briefs/walmart-s-online-growth-slows-during-holiday-2017" target="_blank">had only half the online sales growth in Q4 that it had in Q3</a>, sending the company’s stock down more than 10% before market closing — the company’s biggest one-day decline since Jan. 8, 1988. The dip accounted for nearly one-third of that day’s Dow Jones 255-point drop, revealing a short-term lack of confidence in Walmart’s long-term strategy — despite a sustained record of e-Commerce success since Walmart’s acquisition of <b>Jet.com</b> in August 2016.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>{loadposition GIAA}Concerns about whether the financial industry is using metrics that are no longer relevant in today’s retail industry, when a store visit is likely to be just one stop along a multi-touch point shopper journey, are becoming more critical as retail continues to transform at an unprecedented pace. Retailers may need to make the case to customers, shareholders, the media and Wall Street that more accurate and up-to-date measurements should define their financial well-being moving forward.</p> <p>But some industry experts stand by the way things always have been done. “The classic metrics are still the key metrics,” said Simeon Hyman, Head of Investment Strategy&nbsp;at ProShares in an interview with <i>Retail TouchPoints</i>. “Same-store sales and various margins and returns on capital are still your building blocks.”</p> <p>Based on the classic assessments, those fundamentals of the industry as a whole seem strong. Retail sales <a href="features/trend-watch/does-5-5-holiday-sales-increase-signal-a-2018-retail-rebound" target="_blank">climbed <b>5.5%</b> during the 2017 holiday season</a> and are expected to grow <a href="features/news-briefs/retail-sales-projected-to-grow-between-3-7-and-4-4-in-2018" target="_blank">anywhere between <b>3.7%</b> and <b>4.4%</b> during 2018</a>. E-Commerce is projected to grow <b>16%</b>, according to eMarketer.</p> <h2>Same-Store Sales May Become ‘Same Trade Area’ Sales</h2> <p>While the same-store sales metric has continued to serve as a baseline indicator of retail success, a number of industry analysts have questioned <a href="features/trend-watch/are-same-store-sales-still-a-meaningful-metric">whether the metric is appropriate to measure modern retailing</a>.</p> <p>Stores don’t always serve the same function that they did in the past, when they had one job — to complete the sale. Now stores have taken on a number of new roles, including <a href="features/special-reports/the-blueprint-for-attracting-and-retaining-high-roi-shoppers">marketing to boost brand awareness</a>. That could mean the store <a href="features/trend-watch/new-retail-stores-from-nordstrom-zachys-don-t-sell-merchandise">no longer sells products</a>; or it could become an experiential destination center, <a href="features/special-reports/revenue-rescue-playbook-embracing-next-gen-store-formats">showroom and/or a distribution center</a>. So, judging quarterly performance primarily based on how much stores sell may be outdated, especially if the sale eventually is completed in another channel. This is a reality many Wall Street investors and shareholders must get used to, especially as more retail companies shutter stores or convert them into something else entirely.</p> <p>“With this understanding, same-store sales performance may still have some utility, but <b>‘same trade area’ performance</b> — which accounts for all sales regardless of purchase channel within the influence area of a store — becomes a far more interesting and useful metric,” wrote Steven Dennis, President of SageBerry Consulting, in a blog post on <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevendennis/2017/04/03/same-store-sales-is-retails-increasingly-irrelevant-metric/#57f3f5057d59"><i>Forbes</i></a>. “Critically, it also provides the basis for understanding the drivers of customer segment level performance at a more granular and actionable level.”</p> <h2>A New Index For Today’s Retail Environment Emerges</h2> <p>When it comes to measuring modern retail performance, one company has made an effort to provide investors with a new way to understand where today’s merchants fit. ProShares, a provider of exchange-traded funds (ETF), <a href="features/financial-news/brick-and-mortar-financial-index-dips-4-54-year-to-date">designed its own indices to reflect changes in retail</a>. In November 2017, the company launched three indices, including:</p> <ul> <li>The Solactive-ProShares Bricks and Mortar Retail Store Index;</li> <li>The ProShares Online Retail Index; and</li> <li>The ProShares Long Online/Short Stores Index.</li> </ul> <p>“The bifurcation of performance between online and brick-and-mortar retailers makes you see an opportunity,” said Hyman. “We know that retailers are increasingly moving online and that’s a significant headwind for brick-and-mortar players. Since that trend will be with us for a long time, a benchmark and an ETF that can track the performance of brick-and-mortar retailers just makes a whole lot of sense to us. We think it’s something that we’re still in the relatively early innings of. We launched the indexes and the ETF just before Thanksgiving, and we think they’re reflecting what’s going on in the market appropriately.”</p> <p>As of Feb. 12, the <i>Bricks and Mortar Retail Store Index</i> has experienced Net Asset Value (NAV) returns of&nbsp;<b>12.67% since inception (11/14/17)&nbsp;</b>and&nbsp;<b>-4.54% year-to-date (YTD)</b><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #222222; background: white;">, </span>coinciding with the U.S. Commerce Department’s report that January 2018 retail sales decreased&nbsp;<b>0.3%</b>, the largest such dip in 11 months.</p> <p>In the same time frame, the <i>Online Retail Index</i> saw bigger returns than its brick-and-mortar counterpart, experiencing NAV returns of&nbsp;<b>18.20% since inception</b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b>10.24% YTD</b>.</p> <h2>Tax Reform May Boost Retail Capital And Get Wall Street’s Attention</h2> <p>Although the methods by which investors and analysts measure industry success is changing, there’s another factor set to alter the relationship between retail and Wall Street: recent federal tax reform. The National Retail Federation <a href="features/news-briefs/nrf-calls-tax-bill-a-victory-for-retailers">has been a major proponent of the reform</a> bill, particularly since it cuts the corporate tax for retailers from as high as <b>38%</b> to approximately <b>25%</b>.</p> <p>With their tax rates cut, many retailers are likely to see a cash windfall in 2018. As a result, investors have become bullish on retailers with more capital to spend and the ability to seize opportunities for new growth.</p> <p>Where retailers will spend that money remains to be seen, but signs are pointing to reinvestments in employees and technology. <b>CVS Health</b> will use the tax cuts to raise starting wages to $11, while <b>Best Buy </b>plans to pay one-time bonuses of&nbsp;$1,000 to full-time workers and $500 to part-time employees. Going ahead, more retailers must put their money where their mouth is to impress investors.</p> <p>“It seems to me that they [retailers] want to invest the money rather than just offer buybacks and dividends,” said Brian Nagel, Managing Director and Senior Analyst, Hardlines Retail and E-Commerce at&nbsp;Oppenheimer &amp; Co. Equity Research, in an <a href="features/trend-watch/nrf-2018-recap-positive-economic-forecast-the-roi-of-ai-china-s-fast-growth">NRF session</a>. “The effective use of technology when evaluating <i>Retailer A</i> vs. <i>Retailer B</i> for investment opportunity is what Wall Street is looking at. I believe the growth of <b>Amazon</b> is making traditional retailers much better companies.”</p> <p>Nagel said that Amazon’s investments have essentially pushed retailers to buck conventional wisdom and invest in ideas that can future-proof their business, instead of the traditional route of giving back to shareholders. While these types of technology investments, which generally don’t accrue to the bottom line immediately, may not be as impressive to investors in the short run, the business as a whole is likely to benefit further down the line.</p> <h2>Long-Term Bottom Line Benefits Temper Wall Street Expectations</h2> <p>Hyman of ProShares noted that the tax cuts likely helped retail stocks rally through Christmas, but also indicated that retailers must understand that the immediate benefits of tax cuts are generally passed on to consumers — and don’t always show up in the retailer’s bottom line. This means that investors should temper their excitement and understand that the Wall Street reaction over time may underwhelm.</p> <p>“Think about it this way, more than 100% of Amazon’s cost efficiencies are tied&nbsp;to consumers,” Hyman said. “Any time they have some sort of advantage, it shows up in lower prices. In the retail industry as a whole, why would that not be true for tax cuts? You’re starting to see margin pressure and higher input costs. Those are two leakages that&nbsp;may prevent tax cuts from making&nbsp;it to the bottom line.&nbsp;While the explicit benefits of the tax cuts may not make it to retailers’ bottom line, tax cuts may spur economic growth, and of course that’s a positive.”</p> <p>With the results of tax reform set to play out over the next few quarters, retailers will gain a better idea of how Wall Street is responding to their spending habits. With the combination of tax reform and the retailer’s changing role, merchants in 2018 will need to communicate with shoppers, investors and Wall Street analysts alike to ensure that their success is measured correctly.</p></div> Toshiba Tec Names Roberge CIO Of 2 U.S. Companies 2018-02-21T15:20:30-05:00 2018-02-21T15:20:30-05:00 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/toshiba-tec-names-roberge-cio-of-2-u-s-companies Adam Blair feed@retailtouchpoints.com <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/d9c445b4b33c23b1f179759f9bd75bc6_XL.jpg" alt="Toshiba Tec Names Roberge CIO Of 2 U.S. Companies" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><a href="http://www.toshibatec.com/" target="_blank">Toshiba Tec Corp.</a><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="Leon Roberge Toshiba" src="images/storiesv3/Leon_Roberge_Toshiba.png" /> has promoted Leon Roberge to the post of CIO at its two U.S.-based companies, Toshiba America Business Solutions and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. Roberge had been responsible for the IT departments at the two companies since being named VP of IT in 2016, and had served 16 years in senior IT roles at other Toshiba companies.</p> <p>Roberge will be responsible for developing global IT strategy and information security policies and standards, along with establishing the organizations’ IT architecture, managing vendors and suppliers and developing staff.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>As VP of IT at Toshiba America, Roberge adopted initiatives standardizing, consolidating and reducing costs through the development of shared service centers servicing multiple Toshiba companies.</p> <p>Toshiba Tec Corp. is a Toshiba group company headquartered in Japan with more than 80 subsidiaries worldwide. The company provides technology solutions across multiple industries including retail, education, business services, hospitality and manufacturing.</p></div> <div class="K2FeedImage"><img src="https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/media/k2/items/cache/d9c445b4b33c23b1f179759f9bd75bc6_XL.jpg" alt="Toshiba Tec Names Roberge CIO Of 2 U.S. Companies" /></div><div class="K2FeedIntroText"><p><a href="http://www.toshibatec.com/" target="_blank">Toshiba Tec Corp.</a><img style="margin: 8px; float: right;" alt="Leon Roberge Toshiba" src="images/storiesv3/Leon_Roberge_Toshiba.png" /> has promoted Leon Roberge to the post of CIO at its two U.S.-based companies, Toshiba America Business Solutions and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. Roberge had been responsible for the IT departments at the two companies since being named VP of IT in 2016, and had served 16 years in senior IT roles at other Toshiba companies.</p> <p>Roberge will be responsible for developing global IT strategy and information security policies and standards, along with establishing the organizations’ IT architecture, managing vendors and suppliers and developing staff.</p> </div><div class="K2FeedFullText"> <p>As VP of IT at Toshiba America, Roberge adopted initiatives standardizing, consolidating and reducing costs through the development of shared service centers servicing multiple Toshiba companies.</p> <p>Toshiba Tec Corp. is a Toshiba group company headquartered in Japan with more than 80 subsidiaries worldwide. The company provides technology solutions across multiple industries including retail, education, business services, hospitality and manufacturing.</p></div>