Store Operations

Store Operations examines the issues and challenges facing today’s store operators. From workforce management to merchandising and new store openings, this section is designed to help retailers improve the bottom line while holding the line on costs. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Innovators Point The Way To The Store Of The Future

The so-called “retail apocalypse” may have been debunked, but there’s still no question that the industry is in the midst of profound change. Retailers aren’t just looking for ways to tweak the shopping experience; many seek to reimagine every aspect of how they will interact with consumers. Pano Anthos, Founder and Managing Director, XRC Labs, brings a perspective that is both future-oriented and grounded in today’s retailing requirements. He has identified five key themes that are reshaping store-based retail:

Happy Returns Adds 5 Retailers, Opens 40th Return Bar Site

  • Published in News Briefs
Happy Returns, which provides customers with locations for in-person returns in 14 major metropolitan areas, has added five retailers to its network. Chubbies, City Chic, Jaanuu, Paul Evans and Yosi Samra join existing partners that include Everlane, Carbon 38, Eloquii, Shoes of Prey and Tradesy. The service and logistics company…

Say It Isn't So: Pirch Closes Majority Of Showrooms

Pirch, an upscale appliance and kitchen retailer that was hailed as an avatar of experiential retail, recently announced it would be closing most of its stores as it seeks to overhaul its operations. Joe Hasenzahl, Principal Consultant for Retail Technology Strategy at HighStreet, provided this exclusive analysis of the Pirch phenomenon, as well as its strengths and weaknesses, to Retail TouchPoints. Those of us who’ve been evangelizing, proselytizing and preaching “experience” as the savior of brick-and-mortar collectively gasped when the news broke last week that one of the industry’s shining lights, Pirch, was shuttering stores. The announcement of the impending close of most of their much-lauded luxury showrooms both shocked and confounded us. How? What could possibly have caused such a rock solid, industry-inspiring store experience to suffer the same fate of their less enlightened brand brethren?

London-Based Rose Retailer Opens First U.S. Location

  • Published in News Briefs
OnlyRoses, a specialty rose gifting brand, has announced it will open its first U.S. location and second non-franchise store in Beverly Hills, Calif. The store — opening January 2018 — will serve as home base for all nationwide shipments, which will be delivered from the company’s new Los Angeles warehouse.

8 Things You Need To Know About Hiring Seasonal Workers

The summer season is quickly coming to an end (I know, I know, it feels like it just started!). Your summer seasonal workers are already headed back to school. If hiring, paying or managing your seasonal employees this year was a little trickier than you imagined, you're not alone. Now is a great time to review your seasonal hiring policies and ensure you're complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

3 Must-Have Strategies For Keeping Store Doors Open

The demise of the brick-and-mortar store has been greatly exaggerated, with retailers expected to open as many as 1,300 net new stores in 2017. But retailers seeking to stay in consumers’ good graces must understand three trends that should shape their store strategies in 2017 and beyond, according to Retail Systems Research (RSR): Store associate training must be a priority; Even retail winners rely too much on price as a differentiator; and A “good” in-store experienceshould include changing store layouts, in-store community and more VIP-specific promotions. This article features exclusive insights from Steve Rowen, Managing Partner at RSR, who digs deeper into the research results and how retailers can pivot to secure a strong future.

Walmart To Cut 20% Of Leadership Staff: Breaking News

Walmart is in the process of cutting 20% of its leadership staff above store level, as reported by a field executive for the retailer. Within the next three weeks, the company will reduce its total number of regional markets from 450 to 350, which will eliminate approximately 300 executive positions by the beginning of October. This reduction in staff is reportedly the result of an edict to cut expenses quickly. The cuts will save Walmart from having to pay out bonus money and vested equity moving into Q1 2018.

Impinj Introduces Speedway R120 RFID Reader

Impinj has unveiled the Impinj Speedway R120 one-port, enterprise-grade fixed reader designed to connect RAIN RFID-enabled items to the Internet. Speedway readers have applications in retail, health care, logistics and manufacturing. The Impinj platform wirelessly delivers Item Intelligence — an item’s identity, location and authenticity — to business and consumer applications, and is designed to help businesses improve efficiencies, increase sales and delight customers.

Alibaba Mall Moves Internet Giant Further Into Physical Retail

  • Published in News Briefs
Construction is well underway on a five-story Alibaba mall that is scheduled to open in April 2018, according to Chinese financial group Caixin. Located near Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China, the “More Mall” is being built on a 40,000-square-meter plot of land. It will reportedly house unique brands from the…

High Shipping Costs Push 59% Of Shoppers Toward In-Store Purchases

A new survey reveals a major disconnect between retailers and consumers about the perceived value of shipping services: two thirds (66%) of shoppers think that the high cost of shipping does not justify the experience retailers provide. In fact, 59% of shoppers will opt to buy from a brick-and-mortar store if they perceive that the delivery fee for buying the same item online is too high, according to research from Temando. Multiple shipping options are critical to providing an optimal customer experience. Consumers today want more options to control their deliveries; they want to dictate how, when and where products are shipped. The survey revealed that 41% of consumers want delivery from a local store or distribution center, and that 38% would be willing to pay for it. However, only 24% of retailers currently offer this option (18% would like to offer it within the next 12 months).

Apocalypse? Not Now: Retailers Will Open 1,300 Net Stores In 2017

  • Published in News Briefs
The phrase “retail apocalypse” caught a lot of traction throughout 2017 due to the heavily publicized pileup of bankruptcies and store closures. But according to industry analysts and recent data, the buzzword ranges anywhere from an exaggeration to an outright false representation of the state of retail. An IHL Group…

Can An Alternative To Amazon Go Play Leapfrog?

Standard Cognition, a California-based startup focused on delivering an AI-based, checkout-free store experience, announced last week that its technology would serve as an “alternative to Amazon Go.” Like the Amazon concept, which is still confined to a single beta testing location in Seattle that has yet to open to anyone…

AR And VR: Shopping Enhancements Or Shiny Distractions?

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are already making inroads in retail. Lowe’s, Wayfair and Design With Reach, for example, use these technologies to help customers visualize how furniture and other design changes will look in their homes. AR’s ability to bring ratings and reviews, long a staple of e-Commerce, into the brick-and-mortar environment presents an exciting prospect, according to Pano Anthos, Managing Director of XRC Labs. “Customers walk into a store and we’re blind as bats,” he said during a session at the 2017 Retail Innovation Conference. “We don’t know if the product stinks or falls apart in five minutes, or anything about where it comes from. Everyone online looks at ratings and reviews, so why not in the store? AR provides the first wave of that potential by having the digitization of ratings and reviews dropped onto your phone.” Despite these real-world use cases, opinion remains sharply divided about the ultimate value of AR and VR, as well as how much — and how quickly — retailers should invest in the technology. Members of the RetailWire BrainTrust recently debated the technologies’ merits: Art Suriano, CEO, The TSi CompanyI can see the strongest benefits of AR and VR…

IBM And SAP Leverage Local Insights To Improve Store Planning

  • Published in News Briefs
Using near real-time data from multiple sources, a new solution co-innovated by IBM and SAP is designed to help retailers address key challenges such as on-shelf product availability and demand forecasting accuracy. The solution channels data sources such as IBM’s Metro Pulse through the SAP Cloud Platform to provide insights…

Retail Apocalypse? More Like A Retail Transformation

With more than 9,000 store closures anticipated in 2017 and the number of retail bankruptcies already surpassing the 2016 total, the phrase “retail apocalypse” has been thrown around a lot in recent months. But while brick-and-mortar retailers of all sizes and types have had to make massive adjustments, the industry isn’t quite as close to its death bed as many would believe. The most recent RetailNext Store Performance Pulse indicated that while store traffic and sales remain in decline, these dips are less drastic than in the past. The 5.5% year-over-year traffic decline in July 2017 was retail’s lowest decline rate in 18 months, while the 5.7% year-over-year sales dip was the lowest in 14 months. And outside of three months during the past year, retailers’ in-store conversion rates — sales transactions as a percentage of traffic — have largely remained within a 0.1% to 0.5% range, in line with totals from April and May 2015.
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