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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.

Staples Unveils Smaller Omnichannel Stores Aimed At Mobile Professionals

Staples recently opened two of 45 planned omnichannel stores that incorporate elements of Staples.com and Staples' mobile offerings into the in-store experience. The first two omnichannel stores opened last month in Norwood, Mass. and Dover, Del. “Even though the way people shop has changed, we know that shopping is an occasion,” said Mark Cautela, Public Relations Manager of Staples, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “People love to shop. So we have created a fun, exciting experience for our customers. ” Cautela reported that the retailer plans to convert 45 of its 24,000-square-foot stores to the new 12,000-square-foot omnichannel format, although he did not provide a timetable. “This will be done through a combination of relocations and downsizing of existing spaces. The Norwood store for instance, was converted over and stayed open during the process.”

Tag Management Boosts Site Productivity

Retailers must deploy and manage complex technical environments that include a plethora of “tags,” or lines of code that include everything from HTML to JavaScript, pixels and digital data. These tags enable third-party applications such as web analytics, testing, targeting, display advertising and social media services, among others, to function on a web site. Tag management systems help organizations implement and maintain online applications more efficiently, sometimes in real time. The systems also help businesses maintain accurate and complete tagging for the variety of elements on their web sites.

Cutter’s Mill Implements Epicor To Leverage In-Store Customer Data

The evolution of in-store technology plays a critical role in the customer experience. For retailers, findings the right solution provider can mean easy-to-manage business transactions and more. Cutter’s Mill Pet Store, a natural pet supply merchant, partnered with Epicor Software to enhance customers’ in-store experience and expand business operations. With the Epicor Eagle system, Cutter’s Mill can provide employees with access to customer information.

David’s Cookies Streamlines Supplier Collaboration With Ariba Discovery

Finding the right partner is critical to the success of retailer-supplier relationships, and can help increase profits for both parties. To establish a structured lead generation process and develop more long-term business relationships with partners, David’s Cookies implemented Ariba Discovery, a solution that matches business buyers and sellers. Ariba Discovery enables product manufacturers and suppliers to find new trading partners that meet specific business needs and goals. The platform combines “a proprietary matching engine with unique profile information to help buyers identify the right trading partners and sellers to generate more relevant leads,” according to an Ariba press release.

Oracle Announces Two Customer Wins

In anticipation of the Oracle Crosstalk annual user group conference, set to kick off this week in Chicago, Oracle has released customer announcements from Coldwater Creek and Furniture Row. Coldwater Creek Implements Oracle Retail Planning And Optimization Coldwater Creek, a women’s fashion retailer, has deployed the Oracle Retail Merchandise Planning and Optimization solutions to create pre- and in-season plans, and integrate inventory management across channels.

Global Commerce: The Steps To Seizing Untapped Market Potential

  Following is Part 2 of the Retail TouchPoints series, titled: Advances In Cross-Border Trade. This section reviews the next steps in pursuing global commerce. Part 1, which offered retailer success statistics, and guidance on assessing readiness and determining market entry points, appeared in the June 4 newsletter. The unclaimed consumer demand pulsing in numerous international markets has e-Commerce, omnichannel and brick-and-mortar retailers motivated to assess their readiness for global expansion. These merchants are evaluating corporate goals, capabilities, resources, potential market challenges and whether to grow with physical stores, e-Commerce-only or multichannel development. Retailers who have passed the readiness assessment test and identified their market entry points are eager to embark on the next steps to global expansion. Two of the key steps a retailer must address when considering cross-border trade include: utilizing the most appropriate form of entry; and conquering the challenges of global shipping, languages, currencies and other market requirements.

Global Commerce: How To Assess Readiness And Select Market Entry Points

Following is Part 1 of the Retail TouchPoints series, titled: Advances In Cross-Border Trade. This section offers retailer success statistics, then guides retailers in assessing expansion readiness and determining the best countries to penetrate. Part 2, which reviews the next steps in pursuing global commerce, will appear in the June 18 newsletter. As competition and market saturation restrict prospects for growth within the U.S., many retailers are looking beyond national borders for new business development opportunities. The promises of untapped global markets, risk diversification and wider margins are alluring to e-Commerce, omnichannel and brick-and-mortar retailers. But cross-border trade involves more than just transplanting the U.S. business model: The initiative presents streams of potential challenges ― not limited to local laws and preferences, transportation, payment options, cycle times, data access, returns and customer service. “A one-size-fits-all solution to global commerce and customer service will not serve U.S. retailers well,” said Thomas Quinn, Principal of Deloitte Consulting, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Before crossing borders, retailers must clearly identify the specific needs of target customers to lessen risk and raise the upside potential of new markets. When global strategies are properly executed, retailers will see a strengthening of overall brand perception…

Kellwood Streamlines Email Task Management With 365 Command

Email marketing is a principal tool for marketers across industries. Retailers ranked among the highest performers in email marketing, according to a recent Silverpop benchmark study. Most marketers (60%) said email is producing an ROI, while 32% said the strategy eventually will produce a return, according to the 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report from MarketingSherpa. As the volume of emails sent both externally and internally continues to grow, retailers are challenged by tracking, analyzing and reporting email metrics.

Westfield Taps Yammer To Create A Social Enterprise

Social networking sites are becoming integral to daily Internet behaviors. In the U.S. alone, people spent 121 billion minutes on social networking sites from July 2011 to July 2012, according to the 2012 Social Media Report from Nielsen. As a result, businesses across verticals are embracing social enterprise tools that help streamline and centralize corporate communications, and in turn, create more loyal and engaged employees. Westfield Group, a developer and manager of approximately 105 shopping centers worldwide, has implemented Yammer to optimize social communication and collaboration across the organization — from executives to store employees. Yammer is a social network and application designed specifically to address the extensive needs of enterprises. Using tools and features available on the Yammer platform, Westfield successfully has built and maintained social dialogue among employees, creating a thriving ecosystem of loyal team members, according to Andy Hedges, Director of Shopping Center Management at Westfield Australia.

Mobile Workforce Management Engages Next-Generation Associates

  Following is Part 2 of the Retail TouchPoints series focused on Best Practices In Workforce Management. Part 1, which appeared in the April 16 newsletter, may be accessed here. Mobile workforce management strategies are at the forefront for retailers focused on a more efficient, digitally savvy workforce, which is now better equipped to improve the customer experience. “Making the move to mobile” is vital to streamlining WFM processes and staffing decisions today, according to an Aberdeen Group report, titled: Workforce Management: The Key to Retail Customer Service. In order to maintain customer intimacy, as well as improve employee productivity, the study explained: “Retailers need to transition to more open, integrated and mobile solutions that [allow them] to optimize their workforce management initiatives and also create engaging and valuable customer experiences.”

Retailers Enrich The Customer Experience With Scheduling Optimization

Following is Part 1 of the Retail TouchPoints series focused on Best Practices In Workforce Management. This section focuses on technologies and strategies designed to optimize the scheduling process. Part 2, which looks at additional strategies retailers are using to enhance workforce optimization, will appear in the April 23 newsletter. Retailers are competing more aggressively on customer experience. Many are focused on workforce optimization to achieve two key goals: improve the overall customer experience, and create more efficient and competitive workforce strategies. The results of a survey conducted by Retail TouchPoints and Workforce Insight, titled: Benchmark Survey: Uncovering Answers To Workforce Challenges, disclosed the opportunities to enhance the customer experience: Almost half (46%) of the 200-plus respondents said they had quantified their customer experience and are allocating enough payroll to execute it. However, only 3% said their defined customer experience is executed consistently in every store on every day, 100% of the time. Another 19% said it is executed less than one out of every two opportunities to do so. Approximately 80% said the defined customer experience is executed more than half of the time.

Rent-A-Center Saves Millions With Cloud-Based Procurement Process

Demand for cloud-based solutions continues to intensify as more retailers recognize the cost and performance benefits of cloud computing. In fact, cloud software revenues are expected to reach $67.3 billion by 2016, from $22.9 billion in 2011, according to IDC Insights. Rent-A-Center (RAC) partnered with IBM Smarter Commerce and Coupa Software, an e-procurement software company, to move procurement processes to the cloud. The goal was to reduce sourcing costs and cycle times, and increase accounts payable productivity. Through the collaboration, RAC successfully transformed several procurement procedures, streamlined spending and “achieved millions in savings by optimizing and centralizing its purchasing process in the cloud,” according to an IBM press release.

Tibi Unites PLM And ERP To Fuel Business Growth

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions provide retailers with a variety of tools and activities to develop, track and manage branded and exclusive products. With PLM, merchants can obtain a single version of product truth, from conception to order fulfillment. By pairing PLM with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, Tibi, a New York-based fashion brand, has improved organizational efficiency and reduced time spent manually entering and updating data, according to Alexandra Boet, CFO for Tibi. Both tools are from NGC, a provider of enterprise solutions for PLM, global supply chain management and ERP. Together, PLM and ERP have “helped us improve and automate our business workflow and internal processes.”

South Bend Brew Werks Adds New Payment, Loyalty Options With Genius

The payment space constantly is evolving, particularly with the U.S. transition to the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) global standard, and the increasing adoption of Near Field Communication (NFC) and other mobile payment options. In response, retailers are keeping pace with new developments by replacing old hardware with new, cloud-based solutions that accommodate new payment, discount and loyalty program options.   South Bend Brew Werks successfully is adapting to new payment and loyalty trends by leveraging the Genius Customer Engagement Platform from Merchant Warehouse, which is integrated into VeriFone MX915 hardware. Using the cloud-based, PCI-compliant solution, South Bend Brew Werks can accept a variety of payment options, and integrate loyalty program information and discounts more seamlessly and cost efficiently, according to Andrew Elegante, owner of the home brewing supply store, which soon will include a “brewpub.” “Since we are a relatively new company, simplicity and ease of use are very important to us,” Elegante said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We wanted a payment solution that offered a ‘plug, play and forget’ approach.”

Cloud-based Portals Streamline Retailer-Supplier Collaboration

  This is Part 4 of the Retail TouchPoints series, titled: Retailer-Supplier Collaboration: The New Operational Imperative. Click to access Parts 1, 2 and 3. You can also download the full PDF here.   There are no mass-produced consumers: Product variety, delivery options, vendor sources and other supply chain competencies must satisfy individual customer preferences ― and both retailers and suppliers are responsible for the teamwork that delivers that satisfaction. To excel in this environment of shared accountability, progressive retail organizations are establishing real-time, web-enabled data sharing portals that facilitate vendor partnerships at a deep level. Today’s Internet portal-based technology tools “enable immediate collaboration between trading partners, with issue drill-down capabilities that eliminate unnecessary administration time on both sides,” stated Katy Keane, President of Koncatenate, a supply chain consulting practice. “The retailer/vendor relationship is strengthened, trust grows and both parties are meeting the goals of supply chain performance and consumer expectations.”
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