Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Mon, 21 May 2018 14:27:32 -0400 RTP en-gb David’s Bridal Promotes Key To CEO Scott Key DavidsBridalRetail veteran Scott Key will take over as CEO of David’s Bridal, moving up from his current position as EVP and General Manager. Paul Pressler, who has held the CEO spot since the departure of Pam Wallack in September 2016, will remain Chairman of the retailer’s Board of Directors.

In his previous role at David’s Bridal, Key was responsible for the marketing, digital and service teams to drive a customer- and digital-first experience. He has held multiple leadership positions at Gap Inc., including SVP/Brand President of Athleta and SVP of Customer Engagement Marketing, as well as head of Gap Global Customer Experience.

“The Board of Directors and I have the utmost confidence in Scott and his ability to take David’s Bridal forward,” said Pressler in a statement. “He has demonstrated a deep understanding of our customer and our business, with a focus on innovation and digital transformation designed to position the brand as the leader in the bridal space.”

]]> (Adam Blair) Retail Movers & Shakers Mon, 21 May 2018 12:51:24 -0400
Walmart Rebrands Personal Shopping Service Pilot As ‘Jetblack’ Walmart Rebrands Personal Shopping Service Pilot As ‘Jetblack’

Walmart has rebranded Code Eight, a subsidiary of the retail giant’s tech incubator Store No. 8, to Jetblack. In 2017, Code Eight started testing a personal shopping service for “busy NYC moms”, designed to enable shoppers to buy and research products via text messaging.

Rent the Runway Co-Founder Jenny Fleiss is in charge of the service. Fleiss first joined Walmart to lead the initiative in May 2017.

Walmart is currently beta testing the platform in Manhattan. Visitors to are greeted by a landing page that says, “Nice work, you found us!” There is a button on the page enabling users to request early access to the program.

Jetblack is Walmart’s latest go at appealing to new types of consumers, particularly Millennials, as part of its e-Commerce revamp. The target customers for Jetblack are wealthy city dwellers, and the service is designed to offer free delivery of household products within 24 hours. Other purchases are delivered within two business days, and returns can be picked up for free from customers’ homes.

The “Jetblack” name allegedly comes from Marc Lore, CEO and Founder of and Head of Walmart U.S. e-Commerce, according to Recode. Lore apparently had the idea for a high-end personal shopping service for before it was acquired by Walmart in 2016.

Jetblack is one of several projects being run under Store No. 8. Others include Project Kepler, a startup working to build cashierless stores similar to Amazon Go as well as a virtual reality initiative.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Mon, 21 May 2018 11:01:45 -0400
Fresh Produce Modernizes POS And Analytics With Mi9 Retail Fresh Produce Modernizes POS And Analytics With Mi9 Retail

Fresh Produce, a designer, manufacturer and retailer of women’s lifestyle products, has chosen Mi9 Retail as its POS software provider. Fresh Produce will implement the Mi9 Mosaic platform at its 16 company-owned stores and e-Commerce site.

Additionally, Fresh Produce will utilize the software’s analytics suite to gain insights from omnichannel shopper data. Other features include full transaction management on any device and real-time omnichannel inventory visibility.


]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Mon, 21 May 2018 09:35:15 -0400
How To Elevate The In-Store Customer Experience In The Me-Commerce Era

0aaBrendan Morrissey NetsertiveIn the age of e-Commerce, most consumers are used to the notion of instant gratification. With the growing acceptance of ‘on-demand’ options, they’ve become accustomed to quick and easy access to items and services with just the click of a button.

For some small, local businesses, this leaves them shaking in their boots at the thought of this “me-commerce” era that’s become entirely dependent on digital strategies. However, it is possible for brick-and-mortars to survive and — even better — thrive. A recent BrightLocal survey found that 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day.

It’s important to recognize that today, in-store experiences start online. To successfully elevate the customer journey, brick-and-mortars must view their digital presence as an integral part of their in-store strategy. Today’s consumer literally goes through your “digital door” first, and only then — if that experience is satisfying enough — does that consumer enter your physical door. It has become critical to blend these digital and physical experiences together for maximum success. Below are some tips to help better align online and offline experiences to generate improved perceptions of your business, increased foot-traffic and more sales.

Make Friends With Alexa

When searching for local businesses and products, consumers are frequently turning to voice technology like Amazon’s Alexa. According to new data from NPR and Edison Research’s “The Smart Audio Report,” one in six Americans now own a smart device. Thanks to AI technologies like Alexa and Siri, shoppers can be directed towards exactly what they are looking for with one short command. As this technology continues to become more prominent in our cars, kitchens and cellphones, brick-and-mortars must ensure that their online data is searchable for voice assistants and their owners who are always on the go.

To capture high-intent shoppers, business owners should invest in search marketing geotargeting functions like “Google Location Extensions” to ensure voice searches, such as “dealership near me” or “appliances retailer in my area,” result in their business showing up on page one.

Ensure Your Online Presence Matches Offline Experiences

According to PwC’s 2018 Global Consumer Insights Survey, more than one in three consumers rank ‘trust in brand’ as one of the top three factors that influence their decision to shop at a particular retailer (other than price). The same report found a big contributor to this “trust” factor stems from social networks. That’s why demonstrating shared opinions and user-generated content are key. For businesses, this means cultivating a strong online review platform of shared opinions. Consumers are always seeking insights from their peers — whether it is someone who has tried the product before, a friend or a store employee. Sometimes a simple “this is a bestseller,” or, “I’ve tried it and loved it — here’s why,” is all it takes.

Additionally, take title to your physical location information that is scattered around the digital world. When a would-be buyer gets conflicting address, map or phone contact information because you haven’t maintained your information, they feel friction around your “digital door” and likely won’t end up at your physical door.

Deliver On The In-Store Experience

Consumers today want everything to be an experience and that experience needs to show consistency in the digital touches as well as the physical ones. That’s why the industry is beginning to see brick-and-mortars adopt a more “showroom” feel in-store. For instance, Nordstrom opened “Nordstrom Local” in 2017, which doesn’t include a dedicated inventory, but rather an atmosphere built directly around the customer experience where shoppers can make returns, pick up online orders or meet with personal stylists. Creating centralized locations where customers can easily put products to the test and get customized point-of-views from experienced staff results in personalized experiences for those high-intent consumers seeking a real, interactive experience they can’t get online.

Embrace E-Commerce Giants

Growing a business during the rise of e-Commerce may in turn lead companies to join forces with online behemoths through platforms such as the Amazon marketplace. If your inventory matches that of the products sold in these spaces, it may be beneficial to create an expanded online presence for your company through a third party. However, it is critical that before partnering up, businesses carefully evaluate the impact third-party sales can have on their initiatives. Attracting digital shoppers is key, as long as the process follows the strategic business plan in place.

Aligning in-store strategies with direct consumer engagement is critical to coexisting with e-Commerce giants and creating a successful omnichannel strategy. By incorporating these simple tips, small and local businesses can enhance the in-store experience to ultimately drive traffic, encourage repeat purchases and increase their bottom line.

Brendan Morrissey is the CEO and Co-founder of Netsertive, an award-winning technology company offering a digital marketing intelligence platform that brings brands and local businesses together to win local customers. Morrissey has more than 10 years of experience in mobile/wireless, online, telecom and marketing technology environments. Prior to starting Netsertive in 2009, he was the VP of Business Development for Motricity, a mobile portal services company, where he played a major role in the growth, subsequent sale and integration of venture-backed GoldPocket Wireless prior to Motricity’s acquisition. Morrissey has previously held leadership positions at Nextel Communications, InternetConnect and global consultancies KPMG (BearingPoint) and CSC Consulting. 

]]> (Brendan Morrissey, Netsertive) Executive ViewPoints Mon, 21 May 2018 09:27:31 -0400
More Than One-Third Of Shoppers Would Pay For Enhanced Loyalty Programs More Than One-Third Of Shoppers Would Pay For Enhanced Loyalty Programs

Consumers spend 37% more with brands when they are loyalty program members; 70% of members say they are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs, and 77% say loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a brand.

These are some of the findings from The Loyalty Report 2018, published by Bond Brand Loyalty, an annual report based on a survey of 50,000 consumers in North and South America and Europe.

With the benefits of loyalty programs well known, competition among brands for members and a larger share of their spending is fierce — and consumers know it, so they are expecting more in return for their loyalty.

Simple transactional programs that trade dollars for points are losing ground in the wake of more robust incentives. “Alternative” currencies such as complimentary WiFi access, early boarding on an airplane, late checkout in a hotel or members-only discounts from a retailer are seen as highly valuable by 85% of consumers. For even more benefits, consumers are increasingly willing to pay for enhanced loyalty programs.

“This year, the data shows that loyalty programs continue to heavily influence advocacy, retention and spend,” said Bob Macdonald, President and CEO of Bond Brand Loyalty in a statement. “But the loyalty game is changing, as evidenced by new players, evolving experiences and increased customer expectations. Regardless of sector, brands need to rethink their current loyalty strategy in order to increase customer engagement and build loyalty.”

The report also cautions retailers to avoid the four most common sources of loyalty member frustration:

  • Having points expire;
  • Not having desired awards available (because of blackouts, catalog changes or out-of-stocks);
  • Representatives who aren’t knowledgeable about the program; and
  • Receiving an “overwhelming” volume of emails.

Paid Programs Strengthen Their Grip

By bundling a compelling entertainment subscription, a faster “free” shipping program and numerous members-only perks into its Prime program, Amazon has amassed 100 million U.S. members and transformed the way consumers perceive paid loyalty programs. In the Bond loyalty survey, the share of respondents willing to pay for enhanced loyalty programs spiked to 37% in 2018 from 30% in 2017.

Paying for loyalty programs has even greater acceptance with early technology adopters (69%), Gen Z (47%), Millennials (46%) and households with children (44%).

As compared to non-paid programs, paid programs are associated with even higher spending and brand advocacy, as well as greater retention. In addition to Amazon Prime, the report cites two examples of successful paid loyalty initiatives in retailing.

GameStop offers two tiers of paid membership within its PowerUp Rewards program — PowerUp Pro for $14.99 per year and PowerUp Elite Pro for $29.99 per year. GameStop reportedly sees three times higher sales among Power Up Pro members as compared to free members.

Membership to Restoration Hardware’s RH members program costs $100 annually. Since the program was introduced in spring 2016, RH members have become responsible for a whopping 95% of sales, while the retailer boasts reduced return rates and increased inventory accuracy as a result.

Consumers Will Trade Data For Personalized Benefits

The adoption and evolution of technology is having a positive impact on loyalty programs, according to a strong majority of consumers.

In spite of privacy concerns well documented in the press, a vast majority of survey respondents (87%) indicated they are open to having various details of their activity and behavior watched, monitored and tracked by brands in return for access to personalized rewards or engagements. This willingness is even higher among up-and-coming Gen Z consumers at 91%.

Loyalty program members also are eager to engage with brands through new and emerging technologies, with 95% of respondents indicating an interest in such features as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), chatbots, 360° video and biometrics:

  • Among respondents who have redeemed rewards with their mobile phones, 85% said technology enhanced their experience;
  • Technology that enabled members to instantly redeem points for purchases improved the experience for 84% of those who had used it;
  • Among consumers who had received automatic, location-based offers when inside a store, 83% said technology enhanced the experience; and
  • Engaging with a loyalty program using AR improved the experience for 63% of participants who had done so.

Retail’s Top Loyalty Programs

In general, loyalty program members spend 37% more with a brand than non-members, but the impact can be much higher. The five sectors in which loyalty program members outspend other shoppers by the greatest amount are gas/petrol station programs (99%), hotels (82%), drug stores (63%), movie theatres (61%) and grocery stores (57%).

U.S. consumers were asked to identify their favorite loyalty programs within various business verticals and product categories. Here are some of the top picks in retail based on member satisfaction:


  • Grocery


  1. Giant Eagle fuelperks!
  2. Smith’s (Food & Grocery) Fuel Program
  3. H-E-B Points Club Rewards
  • Drug Store
  1. Walgreens Balance Rewards
  2. Rite Aid wellness+ rewards with Plenti*
  3. CVS ExtraCare
  • Health & Beauty
  1. Sally Beauty Club
  2. ULTA Ultamate Rewards
  3. Sephora Beauty Insider
  • Department Stores
  1. Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards
  2. JCPenney Rewards
  3. Nordstrom Rewards
  • Apparel
  1. Express NEXT
  2. American Eagle Outfitters AEO Connected
  3. Foot Locker VIP Program
  • Specialty
  1. Barnes & Noble Membership
  2. Cabela’s CLUB REWARDS
  3. Bed, Bath & Beyond Beyond+

* On July 10, 2018, the American Express-created Plenti, a coalition loyalty program in which members could collect points from several different companies, will cease operation.

]]> (Marie Griffin) CRM / Loyalty Mon, 21 May 2018 09:12:13 -0400
Nordstrom, JCPenney Disappoint In Q2, But For Different Reasons Nordstrom, JCPenney Disappoint In Q2, But For Different Reasons

Although Macy’s successfully maintained its holiday season momentum in Q1, fellow department stores JCPenney and Nordstrom weren’t as fortunate in their earnings results.

Same-store sales at Nordstrom rose 0.6% in Q1, below estimates of 1.1%, while JCPenney same-store sales rose 0.2%, well short of analysts' forecasts for roughly 2% growth. JCPenney saw total revenue dip 4.3% to $2.58 billion, but narrowed its net losses from $187 million to $78 million. The most unfortunate result for JCPenney is its expectations for the year: 2018 guidance initially ranged between earnings of $0.05 and $0.25 per share, but the retailer has cut the outlook range down to a loss of $0.07 to a gain of $0.13 per share.

Nordstrom’s Q1 miss on same-store sales was enough to overshadow better-than-expected revenue and earnings for the first quarter. It didn’t help that its Nordstrom Rack off-price business also disappointed in same-store sales, generating only 0.4% growth. Traditionally, Nordstrom has seen better gains from its off-price stores, so the shift in consumer demand is a bit of a surprise.

However, digital sales were up 18% year-over-year at Nordstrom, and digitally-enabled sales were up 29%.

The results from both companies disappointed investors, with Nordstrom stock dipping more than 10% and JCPenney dropping more than 15% since their respective earnings reports. But both tell different stories of disappointment.

JCPenney has been in worse shape than its contemporaries for years and has tried to crawl back to profitability via store closings, job cuts and the introduction of Sephora beauty boutiques in stores. The retailer still has more than $4.1 billion total debt, a huge problem that is unlikely to go away any time soon.

Nordstrom has been in a far better position than other department stores, avoiding the store closings that JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears have struggled with over the past two years and floating closest to consistently positive sales numbers. But the retailer is fresh off an internal struggle for its future, in which members of the founding family sought to buy the entirety of the company’s shares and take it private. A committee called off the talks after being unable to reach a buyout agreement, leading the company to remain largely in the hands of shareholders.

Both retailers’ Q1 results post significant but different questions that each will have to handle, before they can quell any shareholder concerns about the future direction of their businesses.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Fri, 18 May 2018 17:42:39 -0400
PayPal Adds In-Store Solutions With iZettle Acquisition PayPal Adds In-Store Solutions With iZettle Acquisition

PayPal will acquire iZettle, a small business commerce platform operating in Europe and Latin America, for $2.2 billion. The deal will combine iZettle’s in-store solutions with PayPal’s global scale and mobile and online payment systems.

PayPal will gain in-store capabilities in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden, where iZettle works with nearly 500,000 merchants. Additionally, the deal will open near-term in-store expansion opportunities in some of PayPal’s other markets, and accelerate the growth of its omnichannel commerce solutions in Australia, the UK and the U.S.

“iZettle and PayPal are a strategic fit, with a shared mission, values and culture — and complementary product offerings and geographies,” said Dan Schulman President and CEO of PayPal. “In today's digital world, consumers want to be able to buy when, where and how they want.”

The move toward omnichannel could be beneficial for PayPal, as 81% of retailers are expected to deploy unified commerce platforms by 2020, according to a survey by Boston Retail Partners (BRP). As of February 2018, 28% of respondents were already using a single platform to support commerce for stores, mobile and the web.

Jacob de Geer will remain CEO of iZettle after the deal closes, reporting to PayPal COO Bill Ready. The rest of iZettle’s leadership team will remain in place as well.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Mergers & Acquisitions Fri, 18 May 2018 16:13:25 -0400
Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following

Lulus, an e-Commerce fashion retailer, has closed a $120 million investment from IVP, a venture capital and growth equity firm, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a global investment management firm.  

With the funding, Lulus plans to support growth initiatives like building out its East Coast fulfillment center, entering new categories such as shoes, and increasing its headcount.

Mother-daughter team Debra Cannon and Colleen Winter founded Lulus in 1996 to cater to shoppers in their twenties, but more than two decades later the company has thrived on its ability to attract Millennials, particularly through social media channels.

"It would be very hard to go out to Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest — look for fashion in our demographic — and not find something from Lulus," said Winter, CEO of Lulus, in an interview with CNBC.

“Instagram captured an impressive 96% of total social media interactions for retailers over the last year alone,” said Alizah Farooqi, Content and Marketing Associate at Gartner L2 in a blog post. “Through the platform, Lulus gains another advantage. More than 85% of the brand’s online clothing is Lulus-branded. When the Lulus Instagram handle shares these items using the hashtag #LoveLulus, 1.3 million followers become increasingly loyal to the brand.”

The California-based fashion brand began as a brick-and-mortar boutique in California before fully shifting online in 2010. The company has no short-term plans for brick-and-mortar stores, but Winter isn't ruling that out, revealing that “core outlets” are a possibility in the future.

Lulus also prides itself on being data-driven to help it more efficiently order clothes, sidestepping the burdensome costs of unused merchandise.

IVP has a history of investing in innovative consumer companies like Glossier, HomeAway, The Honest Company, Snap and Twitter, making Lulus a fit for the firm. As part of the company's investment, Eric Liaw, General Partner at IVP, will join the Lulus Board of Directors.


"Lulus' business is exposed to a number of long-term growth drivers that align with CPPIB's Thematic Investing strategy,” said Poul Winslow, Managing Director, Head of Thematic Investing and External Portfolio Management, CPPIB. “Lulus' proven track record as a successful retailer targeted to Millennial women and as an early participant in the e-Commerce space demonstrates their ability to thrive in the rapidly changing retail segment where customers are increasingly shopping online.”

Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following


]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Fri, 18 May 2018 13:32:52 -0400
Buoyed By Digital Transformation, BJ’s Launches IPO Buoyed By Digital Transformation, BJ’s Launches IPO

BJ's Wholesale Club has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BJ.” The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

The IPO follows a rapid e-Commerce expansion by the retailer, which  (BOPIS) service and a wish list feature on its mobile app earlier in May 2018. Additionally, BJ’s expanded its partnership with Instacart in March 2018, providing same-day delivery from all 215 of its East Coast clubs.

BJ’s was taken private in 2011, when current owners Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners acquired the club retailer for $2.8 billion. The firms tried to sell the company for approximately $4.5 billion in 2017, according to New York Post. Amazon had expressed interest at the time, though the e-Commerce giant ultimately made its push into grocery through its acquisition of Whole Foods.

The retailer’s focus on its digital offerings is based on what it calls the “5 S’s,” which stand for Speed, Simplicity, Scalability, Support and Security. The emphasis on e-Commerce development included the appointment of executives to newly created roles: Naveen Seshadri was named VP of Digital Commerce and Experience in February 2018, while Rafeh Masood joined BJ’s as SVP, Chief Digital Officer in May 2017.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 18 May 2018 12:42:47 -0400
UNTUCKit Continues Physical Expansion With 25 New Stores In 2018 UNTUCKit Continues Physical Expansion With 25 New Stores In 2018

UNTUCKit plans to open 25 stores in 2018, including seven at Simon shopping centers. The formerly pure play e-Commerce retailer has been rapidly expanding its physical presence since opening its first physical store in 2015.

Earlier in May, UNTUCKit opened locations at The Galleria in Houston and Ross Park Mall in Pittsburgh. Other stores slated to open at Simon properties include:

  • The Fashion Mall at Keystone (Indianapolis)
  • St. Johns Town Center (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • Town Center at Boca Raton (Boca Raton, Fla.)
  • The Shops at Clearfork (Fort Worth, Tex.)
  • Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto, Calif.)

The retailer’s goal is to reach a total of 50 stores in 2018 and 100 stores by 2022. The brand has been expanding its offerings as it grows, introducing performance wear, shoes, and both children’s and women's lines. UNTUCKit has been experimenting with its brick-and-mortar footprint, including a test of an IoT and RFID platform from SATO Global Solutions in the flagship 5th Avenue New York City store.

UNTUCKit started opening stores after its online presence had “primed the market” for its brand, according to Aaron Sanandres, Co-Founder of UNTUCKit, speaking at the Retail Innovation Conference 2018. The retailer believes that physical retail isn’t going anywhere, and that omnichannel shoppers are more valuable than customers who shop only in-store or online.

“We knew early on in our company’s history that we’d have a retail presence, simply because our customers were asking us for it,” said Sanandres. “They wanted to touch and feel, they wanted to try something on. Implicit in their request for stores was a shared vision that retail platforms provide a level of trust that an online-only company has a really difficult time matching.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 18 May 2018 12:31:01 -0400