Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints https://www.retailtouchpoints.com Mon, 18 Feb 2019 15:15:19 -0500 RTP en-gb Eddie Lampert Steps Down As Sears Chairman https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/eddie-lampert-steps-down-as-sears-chairman https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/eddie-lampert-steps-down-as-sears-chairman Eddie Lampert Steps Down As Sears Chairman

In the wake of gaining approval to purchase Sears in a $5.2 billion lifeline bid, Chairman Eddie Lampert has stepped down from its Board of Directors, according to a company securities filing. Lampert had already stepped down as CEO of Sears when the company filed for bankruptcy in October 2018, but remained as Chairman to keep the business afloat during the auction process.

Lampert placed the winning bid for the retailer through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, after numerous previous attempts were rejected, so he will still serve as the owner of Sears Holdings as a private company.

His resignation relates to the completion of the transaction and is not the result of any disagreement with Sears, according to the filing. Another board member, ESL Investments President Kunal Kamlani, also resigned from the Board.

There has been no indication of who will serve as the next Chairman, or how Sears will undergo the search and selection process. When Lampert resigned as CEO, the Sears Board created an Office of the CEO, which is responsible for managing the company's day-to-day operations as they search for the next chief executive.

Lampert’s departure may also position Sears more positively in the eyes of critics — namely creditors — if it means that the Board includes more outside influence. Unsecured creditors sought permission to sue Lampert for deals made under his tenure as Sears Chairman and CEO, filing an objection to the $5.2 billion bid in January. 

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Retail Movers & Shakers Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:57:35 -0500
How Out-Of-Home Advertising Will Help Amazon Unify The Customer Experience https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/how-out-of-home-advertising-will-help-amazon-unify-the-customer-experience https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/how-out-of-home-advertising-will-help-amazon-unify-the-customer-experience

0aaaMichael Provenzano VistarMediaAmazon is now one of the top three digital advertising players, overtaking Oath and Microsoft just weeks after it became the second company in history to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization.

The growth of the retail giant’s advertising business has been fueled by innovative technical approaches — header bidding strategies and the development of a proprietary and vertically-integrated advertising platform — that have allowed Amazon to successfully capture customers from its primary competitors Facebook and Google.

To continue its dominance, the company will now look to one of the oldest forms of advertising, billboards and other out-of-home (OOH) media, to shape online retail habits and unify the customer experience online, in-store and at any location along the way.

Why Focus On OOH Media?

To start with, Amazon has won the battle with Google for supremacy in product search.

If a consumer is looking for information about a retail product, more than 50% of the time they’ll go directly to amazon.com, or if on mobile, the Amazon app. The company has changed consumer behavior for retail in the same way that LinkedIn or Facebook have changed the way people search for work and develop the social aspects of their lives.

Despite its massive presence in online retail, Amazon has yet to build a significant footprint in physical retail, outside of grocery with Whole Foods. But that may change fast with Amazon Go stores, which could reach 3,000 locations by 2021.

Most notably, Amazon is locked in a battle with Walmart, still the world’s largest retailer, which is making a strong push to grow its online shopping market share. Amazon, for its part, may seek to differentiate itself through the experience it offers in its physical retail stores.

To this end, Amazon can take a page from Apple in building a successful retail strategy in the physical world. Even though all of its products can be purchased online, Apple has invested heavily in its retail stores. They offer an elegant retail environment, with digital signage, powerful WiFi, solid power infrastructure and a mobile point-of-sale platform that makes it a truly seamless customer experience.

In contrast, Amazon has mass reach with different product sets and brands, allowing customers to make purchases of almost anything in one click, anywhere and any time. This gives the company unparalleled insight into the minds of shoppers based on intent, and where they can easily tie this back to purchasing behaviors both online and offline.

OOH advertising finishes the last mile in the marathon of reaching consumers along the entire customer journey. Digital OOH screens represent a massive opportunity for Amazon and other e-Commerce players, to partner with CPG manufacturers to create more impactful and seamless ad campaigns than ever before. The channel has also enjoyed a renaissance of late as the only traditional form of advertising expected to grow in 2018, up 2% to $8 billion.

The application of online ad marketplace and data analytics capabilities of OOH pave the way for the tech titans to use the medium to their advantage. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the top 10 spenders on OOH advertising include the likes of Apple, Google, and yes…Amazon.

Unifying The Customer Journey With The Right Product At The Right Time

Consumers now have the ability to shop anywhere, so billboards and other OOH inventory can be transformed into virtual, on-demand shelves and venues for targeted product placement. Amazon can now draw on mobile data to showcase the right products at the right time on OOH media to drive in-app activity and purchases.

For example, Amazon might use mobile app location data and purchase history to reach the highest concentration of mothers in a specific area who have purchased baby products like Pampers in the past month, then direct discounts and recommendations for Bugaboo strollers and accessories. Similarly, location data could be used to identify regular Starbucks customers, then show them early Black Friday deals for Nespresso coffee machines.

The contextual relevance of DOOH could also act as a filter for product display. Treating digital displays as “virtual shelves” would allow Amazon to, for example, showcase health-related products on consumer health kiosks and in physical therapy and doctor’s office waiting rooms. Digital out-of-home can help e-Commerce brands extend their physical presence, to engage consumers with advertising for products of interest at the precise moment decisions are being made about their health.

Reinventing Retail Through Data

With the reinvention of retail thanks to proximity marketing and the demands of Millennials in the mobile and e-Commerce era, Amazon has a huge leg up on its competition thanks to the data it already has on file.

Consumers today expect a connected and unified experience in the physical world as well, where brands and retailers communicate with them when and where it makes most sense. And there is a lot at stake, with more than 80% of the total U.S. retail sales still being made in store.

Anything is possible when you pair finely tuned demographic data, based on location, with the specific time and situational conditions to present the right set of products. Further, Amazon would be able to take device ID exposure logs or even deliveries against a product line to see a change in sales for a particular SKU. The added benefit will come in the form of campaign measurement in real time, where creative content decisions can be adjusted for and made on the fly.

It’s just the beginning, but expect to see the unification of the customer experience take another leap in 2019 with digital OOH, led by Amazon, and this will become table stakes for experiential retail over the next several years.


 

Michael Provenzano is the CEO and founder of Vistar Media, a geospatial technology company bridging the space between advertising ecosystems, consumer movement patterns and purchase behavior. Founded in 2012, Vistar created the first and only universal marketplace for out-of-home media, building a programmatic platform that has been widely adopted by buyers and sellers. Vistar provides marketers with unprecedented access to consumers at the right place and right time, through a data-agnostic system for analyzing consumer movement patterns and activating cross-screen mobile and out-of-home media. Previous to Vistar, Provenzano co-founded Invite Media, the first universal demand side platform for online display advertising, which was purchased by Google in 2010. Based in New York, Michael has a BSE in Materials Science Engineering from University of Pennsylvania.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Michael Provenzano, Vistar Media ) Executive ViewPoints Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:38:55 -0500
Revived FAO Schwarz Moves Beyond Toys Into Home Products, Accessories And Candy https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/revived-fao-schwarz-moves-beyond-toys-into-home-products-accessories-and-candy https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/revived-fao-schwarz-moves-beyond-toys-into-home-products-accessories-and-candy Revived FAO Schwarz Moves Beyond Toys Into Home Products, Accessories And Candy

Three months after FAO Schwarz made its triumphant return to New York City with the opening of its new flagship store at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the debut of its first airport location at LaGuardia Airport, the iconic retailer has announced that it will expand its product assortment beyond toys to include candy, and home products and accessories.

FAO Schwarz has entered into licensing agreements with Britannica Home Fashions, Galerie USA and Uncas International to create a wide array of lifestyle products that will be available in fall 2019. As part of these agreements:

  • Britannica Home Fashions and FAO Schwarz will develop a collection of home fashions including various styles of bedding, bath and soft holiday décor items;
  • Galerie USA and FAO Schwarz will create chocolates, gift sets and bespoke candy offerings that celebrate the seasons, such as Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas confections; and
  • Uncas International will launch a line of new FAO Schwarz accessories including jewelry, hair products and key chains.

Beyond the new product partnerships, FAO Schwarz is expanding its footprint outside New York City, with a second airport store opening at Chicago Midway International Airport in 2019.

Through an exclusive agreement with Hudson Group, an operator of North American travel retail stores, additional FAO Schwarz and FAO Schweetz shops will open throughout the year in airport terminals nationwide, including one at Indianapolis International Airport.

FAO Schwarz Will Go Global In 2019

FAO Schwarz will even expand outside the U.S. later this year in three major markets: the UK, China and Canada.

The company’s European flagship store will open in London on Nov. 1, 2019, located within the Selfridges Oxford Street flagship location. More than 20,000 square feet of space will feature a full collection of FAO Schwarz products and theatrical experiences.

FAO Schwarz also has partnered with Kidsland, China's largest toy distributor and retailer with nearly 300 stores. Additionally, a 27,000-square-foot FAO Schwarz flagship is scheduled to open at China World Mall in Beijing in May 2019.

FAO Schwarz will move into Canada with shop-in-shops at Hudson’s Bay locations, although the company hasn’t revealed how many stores it will have a presence in.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:32:19 -0500
Walmart Launches Traveling VR Entertainment And Shopping Experience https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/shopper-experience/walmart-launches-traveling-vr-entertainment-and-shopping-experience https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/shopper-experience/walmart-launches-traveling-vr-entertainment-and-shopping-experience Walmart Launches Traveling VR Entertainment And Shopping Experience

Spatial&, Walmart’s virtual reality (VR) platform and content studio, will use VR technology at Walmart stores across the country to offer a virtual experience titled, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour.” The retailer and solution provider created the VR-driven retail experience in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation and sponsorship from HP, Intel and Positron.

Participants will don headsets and sit in motion-controlled VR chairs powered by VR backpacks to take a five-minute journey through the world of How To Train Your Dragon, the popular film series that debuted in 2010 and will continue with the release this year of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. They will then have an opportunity to browse related merchandise in an immersive branded gift shop. The experience will travel to 16 cities between Feb. 15 and April 9, 2019.

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“Collaborating with DreamWorks Animation and its iconic How to Train Your Dragon franchise is such an exciting way to bring Spatial&’s first-ever activation to the public,” said Katie Finnegan, CEO of Spatial& in a statement. “Spatial& was founded based on the belief that VR will transform merchandising and retail, and we can’t wait to finally share this uniquely immersive shopping experience with consumers across the country.”

Walmart may devote more of its physical stores’ real estate to VR experiences as more sales move online. Finnegan told CNBC that such a shift could occur “in the five- to seven-year time horizon.”

In the meantime, Walmart is harnessing VR and AR to enhance the online shopping experience. The retailer is offering shoppers the ability to browse a curated 3D apartment that shows off 70 branded and private label products.

The technology is also operational behind-the-scenes, where new associates are training using VR headsets. More than 1 million workers have been taught how to use the headsets, which offer lessons on empathy, customer service, using new technology and compliance.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) Shopper Experience Fri, 15 Feb 2019 12:52:45 -0500
Taking Digital Marketing Strategies In-Store https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/taking-digital-marketing-strategies-in-store https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/taking-digital-marketing-strategies-in-store

0aaaPeter Luff IpsosDespite living in a world of ultra-fast online services, a reported 54% of U.S. shoppers prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

Learning From E-Commerce

While benchmarking your store against others in a similar sector is a great way to measure performance, it can be beneficial to compare with a business completely outside the realm of brick-and-mortar retailing. The longstanding example of learning from another sector or field is that MBA students study how Southwest Airlines applied the quick turnaround of Formula One racing cars in pit stops to their aeroplanes, taking the non-profitable time on the ground from 40 minutes down to 12.

In a similar vein, retailers could apply the efficiency of online checkout procedures to their stores, as online shoppers never deal with the hassle of checkout queues since their details are stored in the system. With a simple ‘pay now’ button, online consumers can make a purchase in mere seconds.

I am not suggesting that stores will be as slick as their online counterparts for transactional activity, but they can certainly close the gap. By implementing technology, perhaps in the form of point-of-sale and personal scanners, shoppers will undoubtedly feel the value of the improved in-store experience — helping to increase store traffic as a result.

Playing To Your Advantages

While it is true that online shopping is advancing, there will always be a place for high street retailers in consumers’ eyes. The in-store experience is what gives physical retailers the edge, whether this is social interaction, the instant purchase gratification, or being able to actually see and feel the products before purchasing. Even though online shopping offers the convenience of purchasing whatever you want, wherever you want, there is still the waiting period between deliveries that puts the process at a disadvantage. Convenience works differently for brick-and-mortar, and plays to those who need to test out the products before purchasing.

It is imperative for brick-and-mortar retailers to keep stores updated in order to achieve a stronger ongoing retail experience. Retailers are more competitive on the high street and the slowing consumer demand for physical shopping has left the weakest retailers, who refuse to embrace the technology that delivers experiential shopping experiences, to fade into obscurity.

The Power Of Technology

Advancing technology and software are both obviously increasing popularity for online shopping, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for physical retailers. Technology can be used to drive people into stores through the use of such initiatives as pop-up sales and special offers when consumers actually visit the store. If retailers use digital tools like this, they should make sure to keep the physical store updated as well. You want your customers to enjoy shopping online, but then not feel like they have stepped back in time by 20 years when they walk into the store.

There are a number of methods and technologies that retailers can utilize and implement to improve their stores. When it is used correctly, technology can help you understand how your customers interact with your brand, provide insights into what works and what doesn’t and curate a story for in-store teams based on shopper habits.

In the same way that analysts spend a huge amount of time monitoring what online customers are doing, retailers should pinpoint how many touch points a shopper has as they move through competitors’ web sites. The same principles can be applied to customers in a store, and where possible, look at the emotional journey within your store to create those all-important memorable experiences.

The Benefits Of Facial Profiling

Digital displays and signage can be used to narrate stories for all types of audiences. Think about the demographics of specific shoppers that come into your store, and ask yourself ‘How can I get a message across to multiple age groups and genders?’, or ‘If a man comes into the store, what does he want and how can we help him to get there?’.

If you have a message based on a product that is typically purchased by, for example, women, try to think of how you can tailor it to target other demographics too. Every display and signage should appeal to whoever walks in the store. Allowing digital signage to be controlled by its audience in this way will have a positive impact on every customer, not just one.

Facial profiling is one of the latest trends in in-store digital marketing, allowing retailers to display targeted promotions based on consumer insights. Using data such as gender and age, the software displays adverts and information based on whoever stands in front of the display. Utilizing the data collected on the purchasing habits of similar shoppers, it delivers relevant messages that are designed to drive positive purchasing behavior.

By measuring all marketing efforts and costs, and then overlaying this with the year-on-year traffic for the retail sector, accurate comparisons can be made against a specific store’s performance.

Final Thoughts

Even though online shopping is growing ever more popular, successful retailers are giving consumers a reason to put down their smart devices and visit the stores. As we have seen, investing in the correct technology can deliver tangible in-store results. Keeping up with industry trends and monitoring customer data helps retailers deliver in-store displays and marketing campaigns, allowing a stronger focus on what is proven to drive greater traffic and sales. The in-store experience is what keeps people walking through the doors, but to stay relevant, retailers need to keep an eye on their online counterparts, and keep their approach modern and fresh.


 

Peter Luff is the president of IPSOS Retail Performance, a leading global retail and traffic consultant. Alongside his team, Luff collects traffic data for brick-and-mortar stores to help retailers identify consumer trends, habits and insights to improve the general customer experience. Working with some of the world’s largest brands, IPSOS delivers data from across 50 countries, monitoring over 3.1 billion visits every year.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Peter Luff, IPSOS Retail Performance) Executive ViewPoints Fri, 15 Feb 2019 10:15:04 -0500
Retail Has Biggest Monthly Sales Dip In 9 Years — But Did Government Shutdown Skew The Numbers? https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/financial-news/retail-has-biggest-monthly-sales-dip-in-9-years-but-did-government-shutdown-skew-the-numbers https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/financial-news/retail-has-biggest-monthly-sales-dip-in-9-years-but-did-government-shutdown-skew-the-numbers Retail Has Biggest Monthly Sales Dip In 9 Years — But Did Government Shutdown Skew The Numbers?

Retail got hit with a rough — albeit controversial — dose of news indicating that many merchants didn’t have a jolly holiday season after all. Overall retail sales fell 1.2% in December, marking the industry’s biggest monthly drop since September 2009, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. The department also said, excluding gasoline station sales, retail sales fell 0.9% in December.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that retail sales would increase 0.2% during the month.

The December retail sales report was delayed by the 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended on Jan. 25. Additionally, retail industry analysts are questioning whether the shutdown affected the completeness of the government’s data gathering, which could have skewed the numbers downward. No date has been set for the release of the January retail sales report.

“Despite broad expectations that the 2018 holiday season was going to ignite retail sales growth, instead the Grinch stole Christmas,” said Mickey Chadha, VP and Retail Analyst at Moody’s in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “We believe the disappointing results were most likely triggered by the sharp equity market losses, interest rate uncertainties and the looming government shutdown, which spooked consumers. While January sales may also be soft due to the government shutdown, we view the December slowdown as an outlier, not a trend."

December’s dip might also be a result of shoppers exhausting their holiday spending budgets in November, tempted by Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend deals that actually began earlier in the month. Consumers may have gotten fatigued by December, according to Natalie Kotlyar, Retail and Consumer Products Practice Leader at BDO.

“Most promotions and discounts were offered for a week or more before Black Friday, so the promotional period was significantly longer than it has been in years past,” Kotlyar said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

Analysts, Economists Argue That Sales Numbers Don’t Reflect True Spending

While economic and political headwinds, such as rising U.S.-China trade tensions and fears of a possible recession, might have dampened upbeat consumer confidence (and with it holiday spending), analysts and economists alike are questioning whether the government shutdown created inaccuracies in data collection and quality. The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau did admit that the shutdown delayed its data collection measures, but noted that data quality was “monitored throughout and response rates were at or above normal levels.”

One contentious data point was the paltry 3.1% non-store (e-Commerce) retail sales growth during December, which falls well below the growth total for this sector listed by NRF (11.5%) for both November and December.

NRF released a rebuttal to the Commerce Department report, indicating that 2018 holiday retail sales grew 2.9%. While this was still significantly lower than the expected 4.8% increase, it was well ahead of the 1.2% reported by the Commerce Department. The trade association still maintains its forecast that 2019 retail sales will increase between 3.8% and 4.4%, to reach more than $3.8 trillion.

“Today’s numbers are truly a surprise and in contradiction to the consumer spending trends we were seeing, especially after such strong October and November spending,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The combination of financial market volatility, the government shutdown and trade tensions created a trifecta of anxiety and uncertainty impacting spending and might also have misaligned the seasonal adjustment factors used in reporting data. This is an incomplete story and we will be in a better position to judge the reliability of the results when the government revises its 2018 data in the coming months.”

Amid Bankruptcies And Store Closures, Retailers Must Prepare For Possible Market Correction

Even if this month’s data turns out to be an anomaly, retailers still have realistic concerns to address, especially considering the sales growth miss that has been reported by NRF. In the past few months, the industry has still seen its fair share of bankruptcies, from Sears to Shopko, indicating that numerous companies are still struggling to adapt to changing customer preferences.

On top of the bankruptcies, a recent report from Coresight Research described the 2019 outlook for store closures as “no light at the end of the tunnel.” Retailers have already announced 2,187 new store closures since Jan. 1, a 23% jump from the number of announcements documented at the same time last year, according to Coresight.

Even amid economic uncertainty, most retailers haven’t quite prepared themselves for a downturn —only 44% of retailers are actively planning for a market correction, according to a survey from BDO. What worked to keep businesses afloat in 2018 may not be enough if that correction hits, and retailers that are just breaking even could find themselves in trouble.

“There’s still a need for store rationalization…for retailers to view their suite of stores and ensure that it’s at the appropriate level for their business operations,” Kotlyar said. “That’s one of the reasons we are seeing a lot of these bankruptcies. Many of them file for Chapter 11 and then come back out with a plan, but we’re seeing some retailers that had plans that weren’t good enough the first time, and they’re going into bankruptcy again. It seems as if retail is in some level of flux.”

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Fri, 15 Feb 2019 10:09:17 -0500
Recess Opens First CBD-Infused Beverage Shop In New York City https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/recess-opens-first-cbd-infused-beverage-shop-in-new-york-city https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/recess-opens-first-cbd-infused-beverage-shop-in-new-york-city Recess Opens First CBD-Infused Beverage Shop In New York City

Recess, an e-Commerce cannabidiol (CBD)-infused drink retailer, has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City, according to CNBC. The brand sells sparkling beverages made with hemp extract and L-theanine that come in flavors such as blackberry chai. Recess plans to expand its product selection in the future.

While the company’s lease only lasts for a few months, Recess CEO Ben Witte told CNBC that the company is likely to extend its stay. The retailer already is looking to expand its physical presence, with a second store planned for Los Angeles and vending machines that can be rolled out across the country.

The New York location is set up to host events in addition to selling drinks, and includes a lounge area where shoppers can relax. The goal is to create a space where customers can feel like they are “walking into Instagram…or walking into a billboard,” according to Witte.

A majority (56%) of U.S. consumers would try cannabis if it were legal, according to a survey by A.T. Kearney. The use of CBD, which is non-intoxicating, is a particular lucrative proposition: 82% of U.S. consumers are aware of the health and wellness benefits of CBD, and 78% suggested they would try products with the compound.

Mainstream retailers are already embracing the potential, with luxury retailer Barneys New York and mall operator Simon Property Group launching cannabis-based retail pilots. Barneys New York will open The High End inside its Beverly Hills, Calif. flagship in March, where it will sell accessories made in partnership with cannabis products manufacturer Beboe. Simon is partnering with Green Growth Brands to open 108 shops in its malls.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 14 Feb 2019 17:36:39 -0500
Amazon Cancels Plans For New York City Headquarters https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/amazon-cancels-plans-for-new-york-city-headquarters https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/amazon-cancels-plans-for-new-york-city-headquarters Amazon Cancels Plans For New York City Headquarters

Amazon is pulling out of its plans to build one of its HQ2 headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. The retail giant doesn’t plan to reopen its search, but will proceed as planned with its Northern Virginia and Nashville campuses. In a process that took more than a year, the company narrowed 238 interested cities and metropolitan regions down to a list of 20 finalists in January 2018 before selecting the winning bids in November 2018.

“For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term,” said a company spokesperson in a statement. “While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

The move doesn’t mean Amazon is leaving New York City: it currently employs 5,000 people at offices in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and the company plans to continue growing these teams alongside its other existing offices.

The news follows a poor quarterly report for the retail giant: while net sales grew 20% during Q4 2018, this was the slowest growth rate since the 15% recorded in Q1 2015. Additionally, Amazon is expected to raise prices on hundreds of items at Whole Foods stores due to increasing packaging, ingredient and transportation costs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 14 Feb 2019 13:00:21 -0500
Macy’s Promotes Company Veteran To Chief Merchandising Officer Role https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/macy-s-promotes-company-veteran-to-chief-merchandising-officer-role https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/macy-s-promotes-company-veteran-to-chief-merchandising-officer-role Macy’s Promotes Company Veteran To Chief Merchandising Officer Role

Macy’s has named Patti Ongman Chief Merchandising Officer, effective March 1. She will succeed Jeff Kantor, who is retiring from the role.

Ongman has been with Macy’s for several decades, and currently serves as EVP and General Business Manager for Macy’s Home. Her new role will put her in charge of merchandising, private brands and planning for the company’s five “families-of-business”: Ready-to-Wear, Center Core, Beauty, Men’s and Kid’s and Home.

“Patti is a world-class merchant with a stellar reputation in the market,” said Hal Lawton, President of Macy’s in a statement. “As a 33-year veteran at Macy’s, she’s a trusted leader to our colleagues and a valued partner to our vendors. I am confident that Patti is the right person with the right experience to continue transforming our merchandising organization to move faster and be more flexible.”

Macy’s has been bucking some of the troubles faced by its department store rivals, managing 3.3% same-store sales growth in the fiscal quarter ended Nov. 3, 2018. The company reported strong growth for its digital offerings and continued improvement at its brick-and-mortar stores. The retailer also saw positive results after opening up its loyalty program to all shoppers: Macy’s added 2 million new members between May and November 2018.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) Retail Movers & Shakers Thu, 14 Feb 2019 12:17:18 -0500
CVS Health Pilots 3 HealthHUB Stores In Houston https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/cvs-health-pilots-3-healthhub-stores-in-houston https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/cvs-health-pilots-3-healthhub-stores-in-houston CVS Health Pilots 3 HealthHUB Stores In Houston

CVS Health has opened three pilot locations in Houston with more than 20% of the store space dedicated to health services. The HealthHUB locations feature a broad range of health care services, additional product categories, digital tools and on-demand health kiosks, advice and personalized care.

Each store employs a Care Concierge to educate shoppers about the location’s offerings, help them navigate services and events, and connect them with in-store providers. Customers have accepted help from Care Concierges in 95% of recorded interactions, and 50% went on to engage with another HealthHUB provider or offering.

The new format also includes one-on-one and group counseling with an in-store licensed dietitian and a free weight loss app. Wellness Rooms are available for hosting events, while Learning Tables have iPads that let shoppers explore other health and wellness apps.

Early response to the HealthHUB stores has been positive, and CVS Health plans to continue piloting the Houston-area locations. The retailer is trying to determine the right mix of products and services for this new format.

“We believe that transforming the consumer health care experience begins with creating a new front door to health care,” said Alan Lotvin, Chief Transformation Officer at CVS Health in a statement. “Our new HealthHUB locations are just that — helping to elevate the store into a convenient neighborhood health care destination that brings easier access to better care at a lower cost.”

CVS Health first announced its plans for a new health care-focused concept after its acquisition of Aetna in November 2018. At the time, the retailer laid out several goals for its new format:

  • Managing five common chronic conditions: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma and behavioral health;
  • Extending primary care, including expanding the scope of services available at CVS MinuteClinics to help identify and manage chronic diseases;
  • Reducing hospital readmissions by combining Aetna clinical programs with the CVS community presence to support patients during and after the discharge process; and
  • Developing comprehensive programs to better manage complex diseases such as kidney disease or cancer.
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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 14 Feb 2019 12:13:28 -0500