Latest Retail News - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints https://www.retailtouchpoints.com Tue, 22 Jan 2019 09:49:40 -0500 RTP en-gb Storr Unveils Online Peer-To-Peer Mobile Marketplace https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/storr-unveils-online-peer-to-peer-mobile-marketplace https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/storr-unveils-online-peer-to-peer-mobile-marketplace Storr Unveils Online Peer-To-Peer Mobile Marketplace

Storr has launched an online marketplace designed to give shoppers the tools to open their own mobile store. Instead of shopping at retailer-operated web sites or online marketplaces, consumers can buy new, brand-name products directly from their friends or through people they follow on social media.

The digital marketplace app has a big-name believer in its corner: former Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz is part of a group that led the company’s $4 million seed funding round.

Storr already includes more than 150 brands, including Adidas, RE/DONE Denim, Solid & Striped, La Ligne, Jonathan Simkhai, Spiritual Gangster, Rothy's, Alex Mill, Pop & Suki, Galvan and DL1961, as well as products from online retailers including Naadam and Hill House Home.

There’s no charge to “open a store.” Shoppers can buy from each other directly within existing channels like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, as well as on the web and on the Storr app. Brands handle shipping and returns, but Storr revealed that individual sellers can make a 15% to 25% commission on a purchase. 

"Airbnb and Uber democratized hospitality and transportation by empowering the average person to use their personal assets to generate income,” said Eric Senn, Founder and CEO of Storr in a statement. “Storr falls into this category too. Anyone with a phone can create a store. Storr accelerates the transition from centralized, channel-first commerce to decentralized, people-first commerce."

To set up a Storr account, users can simply download the Storr app, name their “store,” add products from any of Storr's brand partners and share the link.

Storr already has launched to a limited number of sellers on iOS, Android and web. The company will be adding more users from the waitlist in the coming weeks, and plans to open the platform to anyone in the next one to two months.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 18 Jan 2019 14:10:33 -0500
AdoreMe Rolls Out Smart Display-Enabled Fitting Rooms https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/adoreme-rolls-out-smart-display-enabled-fitting-rooms https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/adoreme-rolls-out-smart-display-enabled-fitting-rooms AdoreMe Rolls Out Smart Display-Enabled Fitting Rooms

AdoreMe has partnered with StoreAdvise to improve the privacy, service and convenience of its fitting rooms. The new system integrates IoT, RFID labels and smart displays to let shoppers interact with stylists without needing to open the door.

Shoppers can now request a different size, style or color garment using a smart display in the room, which immediately sends a notification to a stylist’s mobile device. These devices also carry information on what garments are already in the fitting room; which SKUs have been purchased; and which items are top sellers among garments that are tried on, to empower associates and give managers an improved view of customer behavior.

RFID tags are used to collect movement data, tracking both when shoppers bring merchandise into a fitting room and when they request a new item. AdoreMe will use this capability to track SKU popularity, allowing the retailer to optimize inventory levels down to the individual store. The data also will be shared with designers to help them understand which items are most popular with shoppers.

“Creating a positive customer experience is essential as we expand into physical stores and, as a digital native, we recognize the importance of using data to understand and appeal to shoppers,” said Stephanie Maes, VP of Retail Performance at Adore Me in a statement. “With StoreAdvise, we’ve found a way to deploy technology that supports our brand promise — we make shoppers comfortable, we personalize the experience and we give them confidence in the experience.”

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 18 Jan 2019 09:55:06 -0500
Shopko Files For Chapter 11, Will Close 100 Stores And Auction Off Pharmacy Business https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/shopko-files-for-chapter-11-will-close-100-stores-and-auction-off-pharmacy-business https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/shopko-files-for-chapter-11-will-close-100-stores-and-auction-off-pharmacy-business Shopko Files For Chapter 11, Will Close 100 Stores And Auction Off Pharmacy Business

Shopko has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of a reorganization plan. The retailer, already in the process of closing more than 60 stores, revealed 38 additional store closures with its bankruptcy announcement. Shopko did not confirm how many of its 18,000 employees may be affected by the closures.

The retailer has until March 14 to reorganize or it must liquidate its assets, according to bankruptcy court documents.

The company is relocating more than 20 Shopko Optical centers to freestanding locations and conducting an auction process for its pharmacy business. All pharmacies will remain open throughout this process.

Shopko has obtained up to $480 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from some of its lenders, led by Wells Fargo, to help fund and protect its operations during the Chapter 11 process.

In early December 2018, Bloomberg reported that Shopko might pursue court protection from creditors after efforts to find a buyer stalled. Shopko currently has four loans with a combined outstanding balance of $439.8 million. All are due by 2020. 

“This decision is a difficult, but necessary one,” said Russ Steinhorst, CEO of Shopko in a statement. “In a challenging retail environment, we have had to make some very tough choices, but we are confident that by operating a smaller and more focused store footprint, we will be able to build a stronger Shopko that will better serve our customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders through this process.”

The filing comes after a 12-month period of serious challenges for Shopko, including:

  • A $35 million loan from its main landlord;
  • The closure of at least 45 stores;
  • Pharmaceutical supplier McKesson Corp.'s lawsuit over $67 million in unpaid bills; and
  • The sale of select pharmacy operations to Kroger, Hy-Vee and CVS in the last 60 days.

Sun Capital Partners, a private equity firm, acquired Shopko for approximately $1.1 billion in 2005. The Green Bay, Wisc.-based retailer presently operates 363 stores in 24 states under varying formats (including Shopko, Hometown, Shopko Express and Shopko Optical), according to its web site.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:41:07 -0500
RTP Editor Named To Top 100 Retail Influencer List https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/rtp-editor-named-to-top-100-retail-influencer-list https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/rtp-editor-named-to-top-100-retail-influencer-list RTP Editor Named To Top 100 Retail Influencer List

Debbie Hauss, Editor-In-Chief of Retail TouchPoints, has been named as one of Vend’s Top 100 Retail Influencers for 2019. The list recognizes the retail industry’s thought leaders and includes analysts, consultants, association executives and journalists.

"It's always an honor to be recognized along with such an impressive group of retail leaders," said Hauss. "We all work hard every day to stay on top of industry trends. It's a fast-moving industry and it's challenging to keep up with new technologies, new brands, store closings and the latest innovative strategies. Kudos to all the influencers!"

Some of the other retail influencers honored include:

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:33:04 -0500
Click-And-Collect Solution Doddle Launches In The U.S. https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/click-and-collect-solution-doddle-launches-in-the-u-s https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/click-and-collect-solution-doddle-launches-in-the-u-s Click-And-Collect Solution Doddle Launches In The U.S.

Doddle, a click-and-collect services and technology provider with retail customers that include Amazon and Asos, has launched in the U.S.

The solution is designed to enable large-scale retailers to launch an in-store click-and-collect offering. Doddle offers benefits to both omnichannel retailers and pure-play e-Commerce companies, empowering them to provide pickup points for online brands and pull digital traffic into stores.

“We notify customers when their order is on its way, and this is where we can re-engage them about opportunities to earn points or to shop further,” said Tim Robinson, CEO of Doddle in an interview with Retail TouchPoints at the 2019 NRF Big Show. “As they get into the physical environment like the supermarket, we use that technology to re-engage on behalf of the host. That might be discounts for today, or benefits for coming back on Tuesday or trying out another pickup location. We’re trying to get as much value as we can at both ends of that supply chain.”

The company already has built a retail partner network in the UK that includes Debenhams and Morrisons. Each store allows shoppers to pick up purchases from other partners, such as Amazon.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers have been scratching their heads for years about how to navigate online competition, while online has been doing the same about how to get into physical retail,” said Robinson in a statement. “We’ve created a solution that’s mutually beneficial for everyone, including customers, that solves these challenges. In fact, 58% of customers collecting or returning a package at one of Doddle’s partner locations made an in-store purchase.”

Doddle also can enable digital returns at its retail partner locations. Shoppers prepare their returns online by filling out a short questionnaire, then drop off the items at an unmanned machine without needing to wait in line. This capability can simultaneously reduce friction for shoppers returning items and help retailers gather information about the reasons for the return.

“It keeps the process digital while recognizing that the customer needs the physical environment to do it,” said Robinson. “The more consumers can self-serve, the lower the cost of service for the retailer, and by keeping it digital you can gather much richer data about why the consumer is returning the item.”

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 17 Jan 2019 10:32:28 -0500
$5.2 Billion Lampert Bid Could Reportedly Save A Slimmed-Down Sears https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/5-2-billion-lampert-bid-could-reportedly-save-a-slimmed-down-sears https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/5-2-billion-lampert-bid-could-reportedly-save-a-slimmed-down-sears $5.2 Billion Lampert Bid Could Reportedly Save A Slimmed-Down Sears

UPDATE: Unsecured creditors of Sears Holdings filed an objection to Chairman Eddie Lampert’s $5.2 billion winning bid to save the company through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, requesting a public hearing to air their grievances.

“ESL’s bid to ‘save the company’ is nothing but the final fulfillment of a years-long scheme to deprive Sears and its creditors of assets and its employees of jobs while lining Lampert’s and ESL’s own pockets,” the creditors wrote in a note. The creditors have been long critical of Lampert for selling off some of Sears’ most valuable assets in recent years.

A hearing to approve the deal is set to take place on Feb. 1.

Sears has reportedly received another chance at life after Chairman Eddie Lampert’s $5.2 billion bid succeeded in a bankruptcy auction, people familiar with the matter told Reuters and CNBC. The deal will keep up to 425 stores open and preserve 45,000 jobs.

Lampert boosted his earlier $5 billion bid by adding more cash and assuming more liabilities, according to the sources. Even so, the bid could still fail, as it must be approved by a U.S. bankruptcy judge before becoming official.

Additionally, a group of creditors is still objecting to the deal, according to one of the sources. The creditor group has been calling for Sears’ liquidation, claiming they would recover more through such a process than if the retailer remains a going concern.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 18 Jan 2019 08:41:16 -0500
Bloomingdale’s Rotating ‘Carousel’ Concept Launches Thematic Video Walls https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/bloomingdale-s-rotating-carousel-concept-launches-thematic-video-walls https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/bloomingdale-s-rotating-carousel-concept-launches-thematic-video-walls Bloomingdale’s Rotating ‘Carousel’ Concept Launches Thematic Video Walls

Bloomingdale’s has added two high-definition floor-to-ceiling video walls within its“Carousel @ Bloomingdale’s” store-within-a-store Manhattan boutique. The Carousel debuted as a fixture in the 59th Street flagship store in fall 2018 and is designed to rotate themes every two months. Float4, a Montreal-based design studio, developed the video walls to provide shoppers with a unique, curated visual landscape.

The Carousel’s inaugural theme was titled Urban Explorer and featured carefully curated products including stylish bicycle helmets, electronics, personal care items, luggage and more. To encapsulate the aesthetic, Float4 captured live footage throughout New York City of “urban explorers” wearing and using some of the theme’s stand-out products.

“As the retail landscape changes, we continually seek innovative ways to engage our customer,” said Frank Berman, EVP and CMO at Bloomingdale’s in a statement. “The Carousel allows Bloomingdale’s to regularly offer up new products, new brands and an original immersive experience, all tied to a timely and engaging theme. The engulfing screens create a cocoon-like feel, virtually transporting guests to new destinations, while the combination of unexpected product, unique shopping environment and engaging experiences makes the Carousel like no other pop-up shop in the world.”

Float4 will develop six pieces of content for the Carousel’s first year, mixing live action footage and real-time graphics. Each piece will be approximately 10 minutes long, allowing customers to experience an entire storyline while shopping. Guest experts will curate the accompanying product selections.

The present experience, themed around Valentine’s Day, debuted on Jan. 10. The department store has turned to Darcy Miller, author and Founding Editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, to create a limited-edition “Celebrate Love” collection of her own designs as well as a selection of pieces from other companies.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:39:18 -0500
Whole Foods Halts Expansion Of Lower-Price 365 Stores https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/whole-foods-halts-expansion-of-lower-price-365-stores https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/whole-foods-halts-expansion-of-lower-price-365-stores Whole Foods Halts Expansion Of Lower-Price 365 Stores

One dozen Whole Foods 365 stores is apparently enough for the retailer. Whole Foods will not build any additional 365 stores, which are designed to offer lower prices in a smaller physical footprint, beyond the 12 locations that are already open. CEO John Mackey informed employees of the decision in an internal memo earlier in January, according to Supermarket News.

The Amazon-owned retailer opened the first 365 store in May 2016 in Silver Lake, Calif. The concept was designed to provide lower prices and a more local flavor, delivered in a 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot format offering approximately 7,000 SKUs. Conventional Whole Foods stores average 38,000 square feet, carry more than 20,000 SKUs and typically offer full-service departments such as deli or bakery. The two most recent 365 store openings, in Atlanta and Decatur, Ga., took place in December 2018.

The differentiation between 365 and the standard Whole Foods brand has dissipated as the retailer has lowered its prices, according to the Mackey memo. He claimed that the retailer has been successful in achieving its goals of creating “a more value-focused and streamlined shopping experience that maintained the integrity of Whole Foods’ quality in a convenient format that’s less expensive to build and operate.

“However, as we have been consistently lowering prices in our core Whole Foods Markets stores over the past year, the price distinction between the two brands has become less relevant,” wrote Mackey. “As the company continues to focus on lowering prices over time, we believe that the price gap will further diminish.”

Whole Foods plans to integrate the existing 365 stores into its regional structure and place their employees into new roles.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Adam Blair) News Briefs Wed, 16 Jan 2019 12:31:57 -0500
Gymboree Reportedly May File For Bankruptcy This Week https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/gymboree-reportedly-may-file-for-bankruptcy-this-week https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/gymboree-reportedly-may-file-for-bankruptcy-this-week Gymboree Reportedly May File For Bankruptcy This Week

Gymboree is expected to file for bankruptcy protection as early as this week, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. The company expects to close most of its 900 stores as part of the process, but is seeking to sell off the 139 Janie and Jack locations.

Gymboree already had been planning to shutter its 265 Crazy 8 locations and some of its 380 Gymboree stores in 2019 as part of a strategic review. At the time, the retailer noted that the review could ultimately include a sale or other transactions at the brand level.

If the bankruptcy takes place, it will be Gymboree’s second filing in two years. The retailer spent four months in a liquidation process that ended in October 2017, eliminating more than $900 million of debt and closing 330 stores.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Wed, 16 Jan 2019 09:46:03 -0500
Eileen Fisher, Coyuchi: Sustainability Sells, But Only When Products Have Strong Appeal https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/eileen-fisher-coyuchi-sustainability-sells-but-only-when-products-have-strong-appeal https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/eileen-fisher-coyuchi-sustainability-sells-but-only-when-products-have-strong-appeal Eileen Fisher, Coyuchi: Sustainability Sells, But Only When Products Have Strong Appeal

Sustainability and environmental consciousness can be powerful forces in cementing customer loyalty, but the first step for retailers is offering attractive, high-quality products — particularly in the apparel and textile verticals.

“Our customers, who are typically women in the their 50s and older, don’t come in to Eileen Fisher explicitly looking for something sustainable,” said Amy Hall, VP of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher. “They are looking for style, fit, and certain kinds or shapes of fabrics. But when they do find that there’s a ‘cool’ sustainability factor, they feel better about the purchase, and they often become a loyal customer.”

Hall and Eileen Mockus, CEO of Coyuchi, an organic home textiles brand, spoke at an NRF session on Jan. 13 titled Is Sustainable The New Sexy?

Mockus agreed that although there has been an increased interest in sustainable textiles, “at the end of the day the customer is drawn to a great product. And if the product also has a great backstory, it binds people to it.”

Both Coyuchi and Eileen Fisher promote sustainability not only with how their products are initially produced, but with programs that recycle and repurpose them.

“There are big issues around waste, because 85% of all textiles end up in landfills,” said Hall, “I’ve even seen statistics that 40% of the clothing we buy doesn’t even get worn before it’s donated or thrown away. We have maxed out our landfills, and many of these items seem like they are compostable, but they are actually full of toxins.”

Eileen Fisher takes back its own used clothing at all of its stores, and the garments are resold or remade if possible. “It’s one of the two fastest-growing areas of our company, along with e-Commerce,” said Hall.

The Coyuchi For Life subscription and replenishment program is designed with a sustainable and circular component, with customers returning items after a set period. “It all coincides with what we’re doing on the production side, in the fibers we use, the blends and the finishing elements,” said Mockus. “The products are recycled and remade into something else, although renewed and resold is also an option.”

Both executives agreed that it’s a mistake for consumers to assume that organic and sustainable means uncomfortable or frumpy. In fact, “sustainability is the new luxury, because it’s a positive association for consumers that can drive brand loyalty,” said Mockus. “From the standpoint of innovation, there’s quite a lot happening in textiles with cleaner processing and better fibers. However, luxury is not the only segment of the market where this is supported. You can have sustainability at all price points.”

There’s another key requirement, according to Hall: “If it’s not beautiful, you won’t make the sale.”

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Adam Blair) News Briefs Mon, 14 Jan 2019 13:40:39 -0500