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.

Plastic Logic Unveils Freezable ESLs For Supermarkets

Plastic Logic, a designer and manufacturer of glass-free electrophoretic displays (EPDs), has launched a 11.5” x 0.5” EPD designed for rail-type electronic shelf label (ESL) applications. The displays are designed to overcome many of the problems associated with traditional paper labels, which can easily be damaged and require time-consuming manual systems to manage updates. Additionally, ESLs often have difficulty operating and updating at sub-zero temperatures.

Can The Toys ‘R’ Us Troubles Teach Valuable Lessons To Other Retailers?

Toys ‘R’ Us appears to be headed for chainwide store closures and liquidation in both the U.S. and the UK, where the retailer operates approximately 100 stores, according to a BBC News report. However, CNBC reports that the retailer is exploring a plan that would keep approximately 200 of its 800 U.S. stores open, in part by combining the stores with stronger Canadian operations. The demise (or the drastic slimming down) of this once-iconic chain raises urgent questions for other retailers seeking to avoid its fate: • How ‘special’ does a specialty retailer have to be? The merchandise at Toys ‘R’ Us is highly brand-driven, but consumers have numerous other places to buy these items — from Amazon to big box stores like Target and Walmart. Toys ‘R’ Us lacked the hands-on experience of Build-A-Bear or the private label brand power of Lego, creating a differentiation problem in a highly competitive field. • Does the store experience match today’s taste for experiential retail? Just days after filing for bankruptcy in September 2017, Toys ‘R’ Us announced plans to launch “Play Labs” at 42 stores, providing spaces for kids to test out the season’s hottest toys. Such investments can keep customers…

The Death Of Boring Retail: Exclusive Q&A With Steve Dennis

In this exclusive Q&A, industry expert Steve Dennis shares his predictions and recommendations for retailers struggling to find the best ways to survive and thrive in the age of Amazon. Dennis is the President of SageBerry Consulting, a strategic advisory firm focused on innovation and growth strategy for retail, luxury and social impact brands. Dennis will be speaking at the Retail Innovation Conference, April 30-May 2 in New York City. His session is titled: A Really Bad Time To Be Boring: Reinventing Retail In The Age Of Amazon.

How Will Gen Z Reshape Retail?

Given that the oldest members of Gen Z are just now reaching college graduation age (and the youngest are still finger-painting in kindergarten), it’s difficult to draw accurate conclusions about what this group’s ultimate impact on retail will be. Still, researchers and industry analysts have made predictions about Gen Z that have many retailers concerned about the fallout when these consumers start spending their own money, rather than their parents’: • Will anything draw these digital natives into brick-and-mortar stores, or will they rely almost exclusively on mobile and voice shopping? • Will Gen Z consumers follow in Millennials’ footsteps, spending their disposable income on experiences rather than possessions? • How will retailers meet the needs of this informed and savvy group of shoppers?

Zara To Deploy Click-And-Collect Robots In Stores

Zara has long been known as a fast fashion leader, but the retailer has been slow in one area: fulfilling buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders. The bottlenecks are a particular problem for Zara, a division of Inditex, because one third of its global online sales are picked up in store locations, including the 85 shops located in the U.S. The retailer will deploy robots operating behind the scenes in stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shoppers will scan or enter a code at in-store collection points, which will trigger the robot to search for the correct package in a small warehouse, then deliver it quickly to a drop box.

Exclusive CDO Q&A: BJ’s Goes All-In On Digital Transformation

In the midst of a multi-faceted digital transformation, BJ’s Wholesale Club is focused on offering convenience and value for its members. Recently appointed as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer, Rafeh Masood sat down with Retail TouchPoints for an exclusive and enlightening Q&A. Masood also will be presenting during the Retail Innovation Conference, May 1-2 in New York City, where he’ll share details on how he has been able to transform the culture and build out the digital team at BJ’s.

Walking Company Steps Into Bankruptcy, Blames Loss Of UGGs

  • Published in News Briefs
The Walking Company is seeking bankruptcy protection for the second time in a decade, and this time the blame goes to UGGs shoes. Following a 2009 bankruptcy declaration and reorganization, the company is again seeking more advantageous lease terms on its 200+ stores. The retailer already has worked out a…

Customer Queries And Reviews Illuminate Sales For Lamps Plus

By increasing the variety and depth of UGC (User Generated Content) on its e-Commerce web site, Lamps Plus improved the customer shopping journey and armed consumers with significantly more information to guide their purchasing, both online and in-store. While Lamps Plus has sought out, collected and posted online product reviews for several years, customers’ questions and answers, visual reviews and checkout comments were put on the back burner — mainly because the retailer lacked the resources to implement the process.

How To Cut $50,000+ In Operational Costs From Retail Districts By Cutting Out The Middle Man(ager)

With the new year ahead, many smart executives are thinking beyond trimming waistlines and instead focusing on trimming bloated budgets. E-Commerce is putting the squeeze on traditional retail and retailers need to find an edge to keep their stores profitable. Well, just as calories can hide anywhere, so can unnecessary expenses, and this year is the perfect time to make a resolution to target underperforming retail budgets and inject new life into tired operating models. A great place to start is the district manager. This is the middle man in retail, and there’s a way to reduce the number of district managers needed, while dramatically improving the performance of the tighter management roster that remains. The answer starts with an honest evaluation of the roles and responsibilities of the district manager.

Kohl’s To Host Aldi In 10-Store Pilot

  • Published in News Briefs
As Kohl’s slims down its inventory and real estate footprint, the retailer will test the traffic-building appeal of food, with plans to bring discount grocer Aldi into 10 stores later this year. The news comes as Kohl’s announced strong Q4 financial results, including a comparable store sales increase of 6.2%…

Kroger Launches Innovation Center To Research And Test Grocery Offerings

Kroger is the latest retailer to create its own innovation lab, opening the Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio on Feb. 15. The opening of a food-oriented Innovation Center is timely as the grocer moves ahead with its Restock Kroger plan. Kroger launched the initiative to invest in technologies that improve the company’s store offerings, personalize communications with customers, revamp product assortment and leverage data-driven shelf optimization.

Best Buy To Close 250 Small Format Mobile Shops

  • Published in News Briefs
Despite reporting positive Q4 sales results (up 9%), Best Buy will shut down 250 of its small-format Mobile stores across the U.S. by May 31, 2018. The retailer said the stores only contributed to a little over 1% of overall revenue, with costs of operations that are higher compared to…

4-Step Survival Guide To Navigating The Online-Offline Grocery Convergence

The Amazon-Whole Foods deal made a splash that put every U.S. grocer on notice. In response, other grocery powerhouses — including Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons —have made bold moves that blur many of the lines separating “traditional” supermarket shopping from its online version. Industry experts say that retailers in this vertical, which accounts for $608 billionin sales annually, according to IBISWorld, will need to make strategic shifts as these channels continue to converge. Four of the most important steps will be: Competing online via “basket sales” instead of individual purchases; Adopting omnichannel fulfillment services, whether through same-day delivery, buy online/pick up in-store and/or curbside pickup; Aligning organizational structure across brick-and-mortar and online employees; and Following the industry leaders when deploying new services while including a personal touch.
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