Next Gen Solutions: Product Announcements, Retailer Implementations Take The Lead At NRF 2012 Featured

  • Written by  Stephan Ross

The Javits Center in New York City was buzzing with activity during this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) BIG Show. A record 25,500 visitors attended in-depth sessions and spent time on the EXPO floor, a 12% increase from 2011, according to an NRF announcement. More than 5,000 executives from international retail companies also attended the conference, a 25% boost over last year.

Retail TouchPoints was in the trenches of NRF 2012, conducting video interviews with more than 35 retail executives, including retailers and solution providers. Key topics of discussion were top trends for 2012, the new era of customer engagement, the importance of implementing mobile and social media, and more. In an event follow-up article, the RTP editors shared their impressions and in-depth insight on the show, as well as retail hot topics. Click here to access recent coverage of the event’s top themes and sessions.

In the following special report, Retail TouchPoints highlights a number of announcements from the conference, including:

Retailer Implementations

American Apparel selected Oracle's ATG Web Commerce to support global retail channels. As part of a broad initiative to expand its commerce and merchandising operations worldwide, fashion apparel retailer American Apparel is implementing Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce applications.  The retailer will use Oracle's ATG Web Commerce to personalize the customer experience across all channels including commerce sites, contact centers, mobile devices, social media and in stores. “American Apparel has a large, talented ecommerce team and we needed a platform and tools to fit our growth and customer service needs,” said Stacey Shulman, CIO, American Apparel. “Oracle ATG Commerce solutions provide us a scalable platform with the flexibility and intelligence to personalize our offerings and drive our online growth.”

Best Buy Canada announced a trial of mobile POS in select Future Shop and Best Buy pilot store locations. The retailer is planning to implement the Stella Nova Mobile Retail Framework, a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-based solution designed to allow Best Buy Canada to adapt to future shifts in mobile and POS trends. The system will allow the company to manage all areas of customer interaction via a cohesive user interface, in an effort to deploy training processes that are easier to complete.

C. Wonder, a women’s apparel, accessories and home goods merchant, joined VeriFone to offer insight into its recent mobile POS implementation.  Using only mobile POS, C. Wonder reported a decrease in queue time, the elimination of bulky cash registers and a streamlined POS process. The retailer has deployed 15-20 Apple iPod Touch devices per store, each equipped with VeriFone’s PAYware Mobile Enterprise solution and GlobalBay applications.

DSW, a U.S. specialty footwear chain, selected SAS to help improve its inventory productivity by using store size profiles to allocate and replenish inventory. By licensing SAS® Size Optimization, DSW expects to see its in-stock position by size improve dramatically, and the retailer anticipates a similar uptick in customer loyalty.   SAS Size Optimization uses analytics to change sales data into size-demand intelligence. It helps predict future sales and inventory needs by size and determines case-pack supply to optimally meet demand. When integrated with existing merchant systems, it moves the process along from applying the intelligence to purchasing and allocation.

Following successful implementation in the U.S., Five Guys Burgers & Fries has extended its mobile and online ordering capabilities to Canadian locations. The fast food chain announced that through a partnership with OLO Online Ordering, customers of its 23 locations across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, can complete orders via a mobile app for Android and iPhone, or online.

At the company’s NRF booth, Intel recreated pilot collaborations with adidas, HSN, Kraft Foods and Macy’s. By tapping into Intel-based technologies, the retailers will be able to integrate touch screen technology with the in-store experience. For example, through the solution, HSN allows shoppers to walk through a virtual cooking class with chef Wolfgang Puck. During a series of cooking-related games, consumers can browse inventory, save information and make purchases via their mobile devices.

Epicor announced a partnership with Love Culture, a young ladies fashion apparel, footwear and accessory retailer, to support the company’s ongoing expansion. The Epicor Retail SaaS solution will provide Love Culture with improved efficiency in several areas, including inventory management, price management and analytics. The new solution includes several components: Store, Merchandising, Audit & Operations Management and CRM.

M. Video, a consumer electronics retailer in Russia, has extended its relationship with Predictix. The retailer initially went live with the company’s Demand Forecasting and Item Planning solution to help build and improve its sales plan on an SKU and chain level. During the second phase, M. Video leveraged Predictix Purchase Planning. With the current rollout of the Assortment Planning, Store-Level Forecasting and Target Stock Optimization features, the retailer will be able to make more efficient decisions surrounding forecasting, planning, and replenishment.

To reduce markdowns and mitigate risks associated with new product releases, Pacific Sunwear is partnering with First Insight, Inc., a predictive analytic consumer testing solution provider. With real-time, consumer-driven analytics, First Insight will help the retailer obtain optimal information and resources to make more accurate buying and pricing decisions.

Rite Aid is implementing WorkPlace Systems Inc. The drugstore chain will tap into the WorkPlace OnLine solution, a cloud-based Schedule and  Attendance Management service, across its 4,700 U.S. store locations. The new solution is designed to improve visibility, efficiency and control of pharmacy schedules and data, such as labor costs and open shifts. In turn, Rite Aid managers will be able to improve employee scheduling and overall access to shift information.

Saks Fifth Avenue is piloting Cornell-Mayo’s Omniexpress mobile POS application for the iPod. By implementing mobile technology in-store, sales associates are armed with item and inventory information in real time, allowing them to provide a higher standard of customer service. The trial currently is underway at two Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th stores, one in Woodbury Commons, N.Y., and one in Bergen, N.J. Each location will roll out four iPods. Additional pilots will take place in other OFF 5th and Saks Fifth Avenue locations during spring 2012.

Showcase, a brick-and-mortar retailer that provides “the best of ‘As Seen on TV,’ and more,” has implemented the Opterus Store Ops-Center solution to manage tasks and improve efficiencies in all its locations. Opterus is a web-based task communications and store organization solution provider offering tools designed to relay corporate policy, day-to-day objectives and tasks, and address issues between specific locations and the corporate office.

Tesco has extended its partnership with Retalix to improve business agility and provide a seamless customer experience. By implementing the Retalix 10 Store Suite, Tesco is planning to connect the dots across its in-store systems, mobile commerce and online storefronts. As a result, the retailer will be able to improve customer loyalty and boost basket size by ensuring a consistent and personalized experience across channels. Designed around a single software engine, the solution will allow Tesco to align data across all touch points, including POS, self-checkout, self-scanning, customer kiosks, and more.

Urban Outfitters Inc., a lifestyle specialty retailer operating several brands including Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters, has signed an agreement with QuantiSense to operate the full suite of solutions under the Decision Orchestration Platform. Through the partnership, Urban Outfitters will leverage the solution provider’s Merchandising, Direct and Store Ops programs, among others. The Decision Orchestration Platform was developed to combine business intelligence, data warehousing and retail analytics to provide role-based, actionable and repeatable processes. The retailer will tap into the Retail Scorebooks solution to obtain intuitive business graphics to glean insight on trends, and Retail Playbooks to ensure best practices across the company.

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New Technology Announcements

ARTS and EPASOrg introduced an ARTS-EPAS Retailer Payment Protocol Standard to offer an open interface between sales and payment systems in a retail environment. The platform is designed to help retailers capitalize on emerging payment types such as mobile wallets and online checkout systems. The ARTS-EPAS Retailer Payment Protocol will be based on new technologies, such as XML, to ensure interoperability between different sales environments and was developed by a team of experts from Europe, Canada and the United States.

Cegid unveiled new features in its Yourcegid Retail software suite, including solutions for improved mobility, CRM, inventory, replenishment and in-store human resources optimization. The international enterprise management and vertical software vendor, which specializes in merchandise management and point-of-sale solutions for specialty retailers, also presented its mock Innovation Store. The Innovation Store featured various advancements in mobile POS and wireless tracking devices for improved mobility around a store. It also demonstrated how tomorrow’s consumers will pay with smart phones, or use tablet computers and interactive displays to enhance the shopping experience. Partners at the Cegid booth included Tagsys (RFID and materials tracking) and Intuilab (digital displays and kiosks).

Digby launched Localpoint Platform, a new mobile offering that enables location-based marketing, analytics and commerce. Digby Localpoint allows brands to create geo-fences around their stores and other points of interest and embed them into the brand’s app. Digby then leverages its patent-pending technology to measure app engagement and events such as geo-fence entries/exists, store visits, UPC/QR Code scans and other key shopping-oriented events. These events are triggered through the app as consumers visit the store and uses their smartphones to find and research products to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Localpoint can be added to a current branded app through a Software Developer Kit (SDK) or in a rich application developed by Digby.

ECR Software Corporation debuted consumer-centric self-checkout robots. The new robots are formulated to achieve maximum functionality with a minimum footprint, making the units ideal for urban markets, pharmacies and convenience stores. ECRS’ intuitive, open platform, Java-based QUICKcheck will provide the power behind the units, making them adaptable to integrate with the most commonly installed POS systems. Special features include the patent-pending LED Consumer Guidance system (LCG), designed to ease customer frustration, speed transactions and reduce attendant workload with LED visual guidance indicators that navigate consumers through each step in the self-checkout process.

Epicor highlighted Epicor Retail Clienteling, a new tablet device app designed to offer critical customer insight from the retailer's CRM database directly into the hands of sales associates engaging with customers as they move throughout the store. The solution targets client interactions and helps drive sales by allowing retailers to leverage customer information from previous interactions on the web or in-store to better engage the customer and create a more personalized experience.

HP showcased new offerings including mobile POS, self-checkout, digital signage and POS solutions designed to help retailers create a seamless customer experience across multiple touch points. The mobile POS solution is based on the HP Slate 2 tablet. It combines a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader into a secure case to enable store associates to better serve customers based on previous purchases. In addition, HP rolled out the HP CX family of self-checkout solutions and the expansion of the HP IX family of kiosks, both powered by ECRS and Retalix. Additional releases include the HP LD4730 and HP LD4730G 47-inch Micro Bezel video wall displays and the HP Presentation Barcode Scanner.

I Love Velvet introduced the U-Holster,  a sled and data entry device sized to slide over an iPad, iPhone, tablet or a smartphone ? the most commonly used consumer electronic devices being used for mobile payment at the retail level. The U-Holster's integrated pad and screen for PIN entry enables a controlled data flow from the credit card being swiped, tapped or entered on the U-Holster using an Apple-certified connector.

iQmetrix announced the launch of XQ Interactive Retail, a series of applications that brings the online experience in-store to facilitate sales and streamline marketing efforts. XQ includes a content library that displays product images, specs and other product information, virtually guiding the shopper through the process of making a purchase. The solution is designed to offer consistent messaging and promotions across all locations, allowing retailers save revenue by ridding costly marketing promotions that can grow stale as posters and brochures become outdated. Early-launch customers include those in the wireless industry, such as Planet Cellular, American Cellular in Tennessee, American Cellular in Ohio, Mid-America Wireless, Cellular Only, Cellular Communications Inc., Cellular Plus, The Wireless Experience and Go USA Wireless.

JDA Software launched JDA Customer Engagement, which addresses omni-channel commerce and optimization logic in real time. The solution is designed to improve and personalize the customer shopping experience, build consumer loyalty and drive profitability. It helps optimize how retailers deliver goods to customers as well as the alignment of real-time supply processes and inventory to effectively source those goods. JDA Customer Engagement is delivered by JDA Cloud Services, allowing retailers to focus on their customers, rather than technology, to drive profitability throughout the retail supply chain.

Jesta I.S. launched the Vision PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solution,  targeted to fashion and soft goods companies. The multi-platform, browser-based client includes Product Data Management (PDM), Merchandise Planning, Multi-level Project Management, User- and Role-based Calendars, Automated internal and external Notification Systems, Field Based Workflow management, Costing, PDM Interface Designer, Search Designer, Data Integration Manager, Document Management, On-Line Image Editing, integrated Illustrator image editing, Dynamic Reporting Tools and a Data Warehouse.

Kronos demonstrated its next generation of workforce management technology designed to embrace the ease of use of consumer-centric technologies without compromising functionality. The solution offers improved management of processes such as selection and hiring, time and attendance, forecasting and scheduling, budgeting, absence management, labor analytics, and HR and payroll.

KWI announced Cloud 9 Mobile POS, a cloud-based, facilitated check-out solution designed for store associates using  the Apple iPod Touch. Featuring technology from VeriFone GlobalBay, the solution enables retailers to bypass traditional in-store POS and integrate directly with their existing ERP systems. In addition, store associates can scan item barcodes to add them to purchases and search for product information via the mobile device. By offering customers email receipts, retailers save on the cost of resources as well as increase their CRM capabilities through real-time data and reporting. The KWI Mobile POS has been implemented in specialty retailer Brighton Collectibles, with more than 350 devices installed in 170 Brighton stores.

Microsoft announced Dynamics AX for Retail 2012, which  provides retailers with an end-to-end software solution to deliver a complete shopping experience. Available in more than 25 countries starting Feb. 1, 2012, the solution includes cross-channel capabilities, social and mobile commerce, enriched POS and enhancements for merchandising. Early adopters include Mattress Firm, DavidsTea, and Simon Pearce. Microsoft also introduced the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, a next-generation Surface computing device, featuring PixelSense technology, which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras. It responds to touch, natural hand gestures and real-world objects placed on the display, providing interaction with information and digital content in a simple and intuitive way.

Monetate launched its Agility Suite, a digital toolkit designed to provide deeper customer engagement, more relevant and targeted customer messages, and the ability to use actionable data to increase conversion rates. Comprised of five product layers, Monetate’s Agility Suite enables marketers to test an unlimited number of marketing campaigns outside of the IT queue, connect with key segments of web site traffic in real time, maintain messaging consistency between distinct marketing channels throughout the purchasing cycle, and improve merchandising and display.

Motion and MagTek announced the availability of QwickPAY, which provides a mobile magnetic stripe reader and barcode scanner for the Motion CL900 SlateMate. QwickPAY is a secure, mobile payment solution that enables store associates to process transactions virtually anytime and anywhere via the CL900 SlateMate, providing retailers with an end-to-end mobile POS solution. Using the system, merchants are able to run standard or customized reports,  and access robust reporting capabilities on a mobile platform.

Motorola unveiled the NX Integrated Services Platform, designed to simplify retailers’ deployment and management of branch office networking and communications. Through the solution, retail associates can gain mobile access to voice, data and advanced applications, all delivered by a single platform.  Motorola also launched the Proximity Awareness and Analytics Solution, in an effort to further advance retailers’ abilities to offer personalized customer service. Providing real-time data collection, analysis and visualization to Motorola’s WLAN portfolio, the solution enables real-time, mobility-based loyalty programs, as well as information to help improve the effectiveness of store operations, enhancing customer engagement and conversion.

OpenMotion introduced the ConnectNow Custom Gift Card Kiosk. The ConnectNow Kiosk combines digital touchscreen computing and a retail self-service kiosk with Truecolors printing technology and real-time credit card authorization. Card activation is handled through wireless machine-to-machine communications enabled by RACO Wireless.

Panasonic announced that it will highlight a host of Android-based retail applications optimized to run on the Panasonic Toughpad A1 tablet computer. Panasonic’s Android-powered tablet was developed to include enhanced security, longer battery life and device management. The device can optimize business processes with its cost effective pen/paper replacement, featuring a stylus and active digitizer for signature capture and handwriting recognition functionalities. The Toughpad A1 will be available in the spring of 2012 from authorized Panasonic resellers.

Predictix showcased the Cloud 2.0 merchandising suite designed to leverage demanding retail challenges such as Big Data analytics, omni-channel retail, and rapidly changing forecasting and planning requirements. Predictix applications are based on a unified platform that unites previously disconnected merchandising processes and applications. This platform, coupled with access to unlimited data, eliminates disparities between different stakeholders within retailers and brands. The solution also breaks down the silos between channels, allowing retailers to see the ripple effect of decisions across all relevant channels.

Proximiant, a provider of tap-and-go digital receipts, introduced a private and secure way for retailers and shoppers to track purchases, earn loyalty rewards and cash rebates and coupons without paper receipts and time-consuming sign-up requirements for membership cards. Retailers of any size can provide customers immediate access to a variety of programs using a phone-sized USB interface transceiver from Proximiant. The free transceiver plugs into a store’s computerized POS system, allowing the system to communicate directly with mobile phones with a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. When consumers shop at participating stores, they can tap their NFC-enabled phones on the transceiver devices to collect a digital copy of their receipts and loyalty rewards. Until the NFC-enabled phones are widely available, Proximiant is offering a bridge solution via a small tag that can be carried in a wallet or put on a key chain to allow shoppers the same tap-and-go capability.

QuantiSense unveiled Version 6 of its flagship solution, the QuantiSense Decision Orchestration, to help retailers orchestrate more profitable merchandising and store operations decisions. New functionality includes enhanced Plays, re-architected Playbooks, smart filtering, dynamic timeframes, improved Demand Prediction and more. The QuantiSense Decision Orchestration Platform provides executive dashboards and personalized Retail Scorebooks designed to deliver intuitive business graphics — via desktop or mobile access — that empower users to quickly identify trends and highlight problems, accelerating the decision making process. Retail Playbooks ensure consistent use of best practices for team members ranging from merchandising executives, buyers, allocators and planners to store operations personnel.

RedPrairie Corporation, a global supply chain and retail technology provider, introduced RedPrairie Commerce Cloud, an all-channel commerce platform hosted through a managed service offering that brings the power of e-Commerce to the retail store. This out-of-the-box solution integrates several software modules on a single enterprise platform — including Store Center, Call Center, e-Commerce, Business Intelligence and Embedded Order Management. RedPrairie Commerce Cloud connects the global supply chain to the store network and online presence to help retailers ensure a great customer experience regardless of which channel they are using. For instance, its embedded order management capabilities provide visibility and management of orders from any channel, throughout the order lifecycle. Hosting for RedPrairie Commerce Cloud is provided in data centers by SAVVIS.

SAP announced the acquisition of SAF Simulation, Analysis and Forecasting AG, an automated ordering and forecasting software provider, whose products enable customers to reduce the risks associated with shortages and surplus, lower costs and improve inventory management. In addition, SAP unveiled the latest implementation of its Forecasting and Replenishment solution. The solution leverages new technology platforms, such as in-memory computing technology and mobility, to help manage demand across all sales and fulfillment channels.  Retailers in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America operating in various segments have deployed the application and saved in their supply networks.

ShopperTrak released a mobile application designed to offer retailers access to store sales and foot traffic data from any iOS device. The application is an extension of ShopperTrak’s existing Managed Service offering, and provides analytics on three of ShopperTrak’s reports: Key Metrics, Hourly Performance and ShopperTrak Power Hours. Retail associates can track shopper conversion, foot-traffic and shopper-to-associate ratio to make informed adjustments to daily marketing and operations activities. All reports can be customized for individual user needs. The mobile application enables users to view a sample of The Traffic Report, produced by the ShopperTrak’s Business Analytics team. 

Starmount introduced Starmount Connnect, an open shopper engagement platform designed to empower retailers to deliver a more personalized in-store shopping experience and increase in-store sales. The enterprise solution delivers information and capabilities relevant to the shopping process to any selling channel, including mobile, store, social media and the web. The key capabilities include: product research; suggestions; availability; search; shopper activity; and store search. In addition, Connect features an analytical dashboard that reports on consumer shopping activity, providing deep insight into consumer behavior and sales and promotional efforts.

VeriFone introduced the VeriFone MX 900 series, a payment-enabled media solution designed to offer retailers the ability to push relevant content to consumers, accept mobile wallets, offer digital couponing and loyalty programs, and connect with location-based social media. VeriFone has expanded its mobile offerings with the introduction of PAYware Mobile Enterprise for Tablet, a secure payment acceptance solution compatible with VeriFone’s GlobalBay Mobile POS and Retailing solutions. The solution accepts traditional cards, PIN, EMV smartcards and NFC smartphone transactions. VeriFone also announced the implementation of Google Wallet at several checkout lanes for the majority of retailers accepting this payment method, including American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdales, Champs, Foot Locker, GUESS, Macy’s, Radio Shack, The Container Store and Toys ‘R’ Us. In addition, the company unveiled VeriFone HQ, an estate management solution that spans multiple VeriFone platforms and integrates with other enterprise software systems.

Wincor Nixdorf introduced a fully customizable POS solution. Wincor Nixdorf’s entirely modular in-store technology solutions are available in fully customized design configurations to meet virtually any retail shape, size or environment with flexible mixes of self-service and checker-driven check-out and payment functionality based on the platform of the Tower Line 150 modular series. The advanced customization options are supported by Wincor Nixdorf’s partnership with Royston LLC, a designer, manufacturer and installer of retail store interiors; and DataLogic, a supplier of automatic data capture and industrial automation.

YCD added a new Analytics module to the company's Retail Advertising and Merchandising Platform (RAMP). It enables retailers to analyze the effectiveness of digital display-based marketing campaigns and advertised sales. Users can review trends and improve campaigns and ads. The Analytics module accesses a POS system to analyze the correlation between the displays and actual sales.  It allows the user to examine this correlation immediately in various categories such as individual store departments, geographical regions, location, etc. YCD’s  expanded capability is fully compliant with HP’s new line of retail products. It was presented at the HP booth and featured a demonstration with HP and Retalix.

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Product Enhancements

Epicor announced the availability of Epicor Eagle Release 21 business management system for small and medium businesses. The new solution helps empower companies via smart, fast and mobile business management functionality combined with intuitive customer-centric POS capabilities. The solution features a new technology stack, access to real-time performance data, and streamlined inventory planning tools to support improved speed and accuracy of decision making for better business performance. It supports enterprise mobility and streamlines checkouts for improved customer service.

Manhattan Associates demonstrated the progression of its Zero Disappointment Retail program, “Balancing Promises & Profits.” By leveraging the Manhattan Supply Chain Process Platform, retailers can connect the planning and execution areas of the supply chain. Attendees experienced a three-part process that emphasized the importance of supply chain optimization. Throughout the journey, demos of Manhattan’s Total Cost to Serve, Manhattan SCOPE Social, and Supply Chain Process Platform took place. 

Oracle launched a new release of its Oracle Retail Point-of-Service. The new POS application provides retailers with a common and open interface that eases integration with multiple payment partners, uses tokenization to secure customer card data and includes greater international functionality.  The new release also delivers greater efficiency for store associates and simplifies deployments through expanded integrations with Oracle and third-party solutions.

Revionics introduced three new releases of its Life Cycle Price Optimization solution suite.  These releases enhance the product suite’s cornerstone capabilities ? shopper insights, transparency and usability ? allowing retailers to make better, faster and more informed pricing and promotion decisions to increase profitability and achieve a stronger competitive advantage.

SAS updated its Retail Space Management software. A number of leading global retailers currently are using SAS Retail Space Management, including: U.S.-based Winn-Dixie Stores and ShopKo, Finnish grocery retailer S Group, and Scandinavian home and leisure store Rusta succeed in the critical space race. The newest version of SAS Retail Space Management software is scalable, end-to-end software that supports comprehensive space planning. It encompasses SAS Space Planning and SAS Space Optimization, and its built-in report function allows customers to better understand spatial productivity and track and simplify execution.

ShopperTrak announced new features to its global Managed Service product, which offers retailers secure and anonymous daily foot traffic data. Managed Service now includes real-time data accessibility, single-site connectivity and the ability to install in more counting locations. Real-time data access allows store managers to view foot traffic and conversion rates as they happen so managers can make immediate adjustments to improve in-store sales throughout their shifts. Traffic counting sensors now can be placed in outdoor locations, at heights above 25 feet, and where angled mounting is required, allowing ShopperTrak clients to get a better picture of the number of shoppers visiting their stores.

Wincor Nixdorf its expanded BEETLE POS Portfolio. Wincor Nixdorf’s BEETLE /iPRINT is based on the energy-saving Intel Atom processor technology and a powerful POS printer. It features a small footprint and a sealed, fanless, minimum-maintenance system design. The system has been designed to offer maximum energy efficiency and ensures extremely low running costs, thanks to reduced power consumption of less than 13 watts in a typical checkout operation. The sealed, dustproof design protects the system’s interior from all forms of contamination. Intel’s latest mobile Atom processor technology and an external, energy-efficient 80PLUS Gold conform power supply keeps the power consumption and heat generation at a minimum.

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New Partnerships

Ingenico partnered with PayPal to enable its POS devices to accept PayPal payment options, allowing PayPal customers to use their accounts in retail stores. Given the vast installed base of Ingenico’s devices in the United States, the company will integrate and support PayPal on both of its platforms, allowing merchants with Ingenico’s i6xx series and iSc250/iSC350 devices to accept both PayPal’s payment card and its alternative mobile phone number & PIN payment solutions.

Jesta I.S. joined the new NCR Interact Global Partner Program. Jesta signed a channel partnership agreement with NCR to offer POS solutions ready to implement “out-of-the-box” and combine the NCR RealPOS terminals with Jesta Vision Store software in the Canadian market.

KWI and VeriFone have partnered to deliver KWI Cloud 9 Mobile POS, un-tethering store associates from a plugged-in POS terminal trapped behind the counter. The integration allows store associates to perform all sales functions on the floor in one seamless transaction, creating a completely customer-centric experience. Additionally, store associates can perform CRM, inventory, and receiving functions, rounding out a complete store solution from the Cloud. Brighton Collectibles is the first to implement the solution and plans on reducing the number of fixed POS in its stores, increasing space for merchandise and customer interaction, while decreasing the overhead and maintenance costs of traditional POS.

Reflexis Systems Inc. and Irisys announced a partnership that maximizes their complementary expertise in retail workforce management and customer analytics. Data collected from Irisys’ people counting solutions will now integrate into Reflexis’ Adaptive Real-Time Execution Platform, which uses that information to assign tasks, reallocate labor, and send best-practice-based, actionable messages to specific employees. It also enables retailers to gather and consolidate key performance indicators and trends, and assign corrective tasks in response to metrics-based alerts.

tekservePOS Retail Solutions and Motion announced an association to deliver complete mobile POS, providing retailers with increased efficiency, productivity, employee satisfaction and customer loyalty. Functionalities at POS will include debit, credit and gift card processing, and real-time access to information on products, pricing, warranties and inventory, allowing an associate to upsell and cross sell. The solution also will provide the ability to track special orders as well as facilitate in-store pickup and merchandise transfers.

Verizon and STRATACACHE announced a technology collaboration that was formulated to help retailers interact with customers at the point of decision more closely. Through STRATACACHE’s interactive digital-signage technology, shoppers can browse product catalogs, download digital coupons, view product tutorials, give brands feedback, scan QR codes, and tap into social media. This new tool aimed for in-store engagement is powered by Verizon’s 4G LTE network. As part of the agreement, both companies will market the joint solution to their respective customer bases.

Xerox joined AccessVia to offer retailers an easier and more cost-effective sign printing solution designed to manage the cycle of changing promotions. AccessVia Managed Print Services for the Shelf-Edge targets enterprise retailers large and small. It provides the software, services and printers needed to produce full-color signs and labels in store, with no server infrastructure, configuration tasks or ongoing maintenance.

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Research Reports

Axsium Group released a white paper, jointly presented with Empathica, which draws a concrete link between retail customer experience and the workforce. The basis for this study comes from Empathica’s latest Consumer Insights Panel survey, which polled 5,000 consumers about their shopping behavior, as well as the impact of associate and management interaction on their buying behaviors.

Cardlytics released aggregated advertiser performance results, demonstrating the company’s ability to drive large increases in incremental sales volume and measureable ROI for advertisers. The key vertical market performance results include approximately 30% in new customers incremental sales growth for the food/drug/mass category during the first month. Specialty retail noted close to 31% in new customers incremental sales growth, with 12% in current customers.

Commerce in Motion released a benchmark study, “The SoMoLo Imperative: Social, Mobile, Local Shopping Reaches the Tipping Point.” The report, commissioned by Commerce in Motion, surveyed nearly 150 retail executives regarding the impact that social, mobile and local (SoMoLo) consumer behavior is having on retail operations. The intent of the study was to shed light on the behaviors and expectations of the ever-increasing number of SoMoLo buyers and  benchmark how retailers are adapting their commerce and marketing strategies to engage these savvy shoppers.

LIM College,  a New York-based school devoted to the business of fashion, and a member of the NRF Student Association, presented results from its survey,  “Shopping Trends Among 18-25 Year–Olds.” The study found that the use of technology for shopping by 18-25 year-olds is overrated by a wide margin. More than 68% of the 18-25 year-olds surveyed “prefer to shop in stores than online for apparel and shoes,” according to survey results. In September 2011, NRF launched the NRF Student Association to foster and recruit talented students into the retailing industry, enhance their educational experience at participating colleges and help them build an early network of peers who will become leaders in the industry.

MaxPoint Interactive published its “101 New Rules for Retail,” based on a survey of this year’s show attendees.  MaxPoint surveyed 101 retailers, technology vendors and consultants and found four common themes: Mobile Adoption, Creating a Seamless Cross-Channel Customer Experience, Security and Customer Service. Study link:

NRF Foundation and American Express unveiled survey results which honored 10 retailers for their customer service, appointing as the most influential. The survey, conducted by BIGinsight, was designed to gauge consumer attitudes toward retailers’ customer service and provide a list of those retailers rating the highest in customer service. Consumer marketing intelligence firm BIGresearch conducted the survey, which polled 9,374 consumers during September 2011.

VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative released a study suggesting that the adoption of RFID is reaching a “tipping point,” with 80% of surveyed retailers having initiated pilots using RFID to track item sales in their stores. The report, which includes input from Accenture and a survey of 58 suppliers and 56 retailers in North America, confirmed that item-level adoption of RFID is gaining traction. The study reported that Item-Level RFID may be creating a competitive advantage for early adopters by giving them better inventory accuracy, visibility and insight, enabling them to improve in-stock positions and increase sales. It also reported that the technology now can drive improvements several orders of magnitude better than current standard methods. For example, completing store inventory, once a project requiring days or weeks, now can be tallied lightning-fast and almost error free. The study indicated that costs of RFID tags are falling and will continue to do so as the rate of adoption increases. Most major apparel and footwear retailers will adopt RFID technology in some part of their business within the next three to five years if recent momentum continues.

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