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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.

Casper Leads Digital Brands In Store Traffic Share, But ‘Halo Effect’ Hasn’t Met Expectations

Retail’s “halo effect” — the idea that a purchase in one channel directly impacts purchases in another — has inspired many digital natives to open brick-and-mortar stores as a way to boost sales across all channels. But top digital natives that have opened permanent retail locations are likely seeing less foot traffic than they anticipated, according to a study from global location data technology company Blis. Out of seven companies studied from May to July 2019, Casper captured 56% of in-store shoppers, well ahead of Amazon (22% of shoppers), Warby Parker (10%) and Bonobos (9%). Allbirds, Away and Rent the Runway each got a 1% share. Casper came out well ahead of the remaining retail stores in “footfall efficiency,” the term Blis uses to describe the number of unique visitors per each geofenced store location.

Are Retailers Ready For A Potential Cashierless Tech Boom?

While cashierless stores aren’t quite mainstream, they are gaining a foothold: 14% of retailers responding to the 2019 Retail TouchPoints Store Operations Benchmark Survey said they operate cashierless stores, and another 4% say they plan to open them. So while cashierless stores may currently be a niche phenomenon, they represent the next disruptive stage in the industry’s evolution. Some of the forces shaping the adoption of cashierless retail include: Customers: Shoppers already are comfortable with cashless payments and self-service, which has primed them for further friction-reducing efforts; Providers: The technology is still relatively new and expensive, but this will likely change as larger players enter the market; and Strategies: One of the hurdles to mass adoption may be retailers themselves — adopting new, unproven technology is much riskier than sticking with tried-and-true operations. Amazon is the best-known operator of cashierless stores, and the e-Commerce giant has been steadily (if slowly) adding to its Amazon Go footprint. Additionally, CNBC recently reported that the company plans to make its cashierless technology available to OTG’s CIBO Express stores at airports and Cineworld’s Regal movie theaters. Amazon has not confirmed its plans in this area. It’s only a matter of time before retailers adopt…

McKinsey & Co. Debuts Combination Store-Learning Lab In Mall Of America

McKinsey & Company has opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store in the Mall of America near Minneapolis, which includes Elevé Cosmetics, Kendra Scott, ThirdLove and type:A Deodorant. The nearly 3,000-square-foot concept, called Modern Retail Collective, is designed to serve as both a retail store and a learning lab — a place where brands can test new technology and learn what resonates with their customers prior to implementing at scale. “For the first wave, we wanted to pick a couple of brands that we thought were going to have an integrated experience for the customer,” said Tiffany Burns, Partner in McKinsey’s Atlanta office and leader of the consultancy’s retail stores practice in North America. “If you think about the store as it is today, with the combination of jewelry, intimates and beauty products throughout the store, it’s targeted towards a younger female demographic.”

Walgreens Launches Chainwide Rollout Of Hands-Free Communication Solution

Better communication can lead to a host of improvements for retailers, from enhanced customer service to lower labor costs. Walgreens is starting to reap the benefits of instant communications through the Theatro platform, which lets associates contact each other through hands-free devices. The retailer is deploying the solution at 1,000 locations in 2019, with plans to eventually equip associates at all 9,560 stores. The tool lets associates communicate both with each other and with an AI-powered assistant to retrieve information, request assistance and help them handle customer-facing tasks, without abandoning the shoppers they are dealing with.

The Container Store Stays Modern With Custom Closet Concept

Keeping up with consumer trends is the cornerstone strategy of any successful specialty retailer, and The Container Store is matching modern shoppers’ interest in customization options through its Custom Closets store concept. While the brand’s proprietary Elfa Classic and Elfa Décor lines have existed for more than 40 years, current shoppers’ desire for more than functional storage space means this market is on the rise. “We are seeing a trend of customers using storage bins, baskets and drawers that they are proud to display in their home and not hide away in a closet,” said Val Richardson, VP of Real Estate at The Container Store in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Especially with smaller spaces, storage has to help maximize space but also blend in with the interior design of the home. Our customers want to have a resource for complete storage and organization solutions; we provide both the expertise and the products to accomplish their projects.”

Exclusive Q&A: Why The Modern Workforce Needs Coaches, Not Bosses

Retaining today’s retail associates requires giving them a reason to stay, which calls for a manager who does more than bark orders. Their skills should be cultivated and refined, and they should feel they have an important role within the organization. It’s not just about the end-of-year review and the potential for a raise; the modern manager-associate relationship needs to be an ongoing process of communication. Jim Harter, Chief Scientist, Workplace at Gallup, dug through data from a survey of more than 37 million people to assess how companies must align their purpose and culture with their employees and workplaces in his book It’s the Manager, co-authored with Gallup CEO Jim Clifton.

How One Chinese Supermarket Is Leading The Global Grocery Revolution

During a recent visit to the newly opened T11 Food Market (located in the Chaoyang District in Beijing) Du Yong, CEO and Founder of the supermarket, provided a personal behind-the-scenes tour to Retail Store Tours. The visit was arranged by Kevin Peng, Secretary-General of The China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), and Philip Cheng, the Association’s Manager.Founded in 1997, CCFA is the national representative for franchise chains in China, and a leading resource for existing and potential franchisors and franchisees. Sharon Shi, strategic partner for Retail Store Tours in China, also attended the tour.

Robotics Move Beyond Warehouses To Stores And The Last Mile

Robotics technologies deployed within retail, food service and hospitality already are reducing the number of humans needed to perform their jobs. But the growth of these technologies also can provide help for employees handling a wide range of functions — whether it’s tracking inventory, identifying where a store aisle needs to be cleaned up or even assisting on last-mile delivery. The latest change comes in where robots are being tested and deployed. While retailers have been using robotics for years within warehouses and distribution centers, advances in the technology are extending use cases into stores, where there are multiple opportunities to automate tedious, repetitive tasks. In fact, a survey from Bossa Nova Robotics indicated that: 76% of retailers say the introduction of robots in stores would improve employee productivity; and 74% said that while inventory accuracy would improve as a result, increased profits would be another direct result of introducing in-store robots. At this stage, a select few major retailers are on board with robotics pilots of their own, with merchants such as Walmart, Ahold Delhaize’s GIANT and Stop & Shop chains, Albertsons and Lowe’s all implementing the technology at different points within the retail ecosystem. MIT Professor: Don’t Fret Retail…

Report: Avenue Will Close, Liquidate All Stores

  • Published in News Briefs
Women's plus-size fashion retailer Avenue plans to close all its stores in the coming weeks, employees were told Friday in a conference call, according to Retail Dive. The New York Post reported earlier this month that Avenue had 60 days to find a buyer, or it would have to shut down its…
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Betabrand Turns San Francisco Store Into A Podcast Studio Complete With Live Audience

Betabrand is no stranger to forward-thinking experiential retail: the company leverages a crowdfunding platform that enables online shoppers to decide what clothes get designed, manufactured and sold on Betabrand.com. In 2019, Betabrand has expanded on its experiential roots with a very nontraditional store feature — a “Podcast Theater” that hosts podcasts in front of a live audience. The company brings small- to medium-sized podcasts to its San Francisco store every Thursday and invites nearly 100 guests to listen in, well above the average of 20 to 30 people who visit the store on a typical Thursday night. Podcast booking became so popular that Betabrand ended up with three months of shows programmed in just three days, booking through the summer.

How AT&T Brought Game Of Thrones To Life In Flagship Stores

Retailers and Quick Service Restaurants often use pop culture tie-ins as a way to amplify consumer excitement about a blockbuster movie or TV show. The risk they face, particularly when it’s a QSR investing in toys for giveaway, is that the film will flop when it’s actually released. AT&T faced a different challenge when the retailer linked up with HBO’s Game of Thrones, a popular show that dominated consumer conversation even among those who didn’t watch it. In order to stand out and create unique brand interactions at four of its flagship stores, the retailer and experience design agency Twenty Four 7 had to “tease” the events of the final season without knowing the specific story lines, or which characters would survive. (Game of Thrones has a notoriously high mortality rate.)

Brooklinen Goes From Pure-Play DTC To Pop-Up Retailer In Four Weeks

Generally, when a brand decides it wants to open a pop-up store, team members have months to plan and some idea of how to carry it out. But with the lofty goal of opening a 2,000-square-foot pop-up shop in under four weeks, the Brooklinen operations team had to move quickly. Before opening the pop-up in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in November 2018, the Brooklinen team managed both to find the ideal location and centralize its merchandising efforts to deliver the right products to its shoppers. Brooklinen, a direct-to-consumer brand selling luxury bed sheets, pillows, comforters and blankets, had been an online-only seller since its inception in late 2014. Co-founders/husband-and-wife duo Rich and Vicki Fulop launched the company on Kickstarter, and within two years grew it to $25 million in revenue. But in late 2018, the retailer found a “great real estate opportunity that we couldn’t ignore and we had to jump on it,” and decided that it was a necessary move to get a minimum number of viable products in front of its audience.
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