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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.

Poundland Improves Warehouse Productivity With Tablet Rollout

The warehouse and fulfillment environment is hectic: From managing day-to-day operations such as orders, stock availability and quality, to receiving new inventory, employees constantly are engaged with detailed activity. Oftentimes, these back-end warehousing and fulfillment tasks are hindered by retailers’ legacy data collection systems that are slow, inefficient and cumbersome in size. By employing Motion Computing’s Motion F5 Tablet PCs, Poundland, a single-price discount retailer based in Europe, has evolved to fast and sophisticated back-end technology in two warehouse hubs in the U.K. Among its benefits, the mobile technology has been significant in helping Poundland’s warehouse Quality Assurance (QA) teams streamline day-to-day tasks, make the cross-checking process less daunting to complete and be more mobile in carrying out obligations. The implementation has led to a surge in productivity as well as a considerable cost savings for hardware upkeep, according to Mick Corbett, IT Solutions Leader of PoundLand.

Tractor Supply Company Optimizes Inventory Pricing And Planning With Weather-Driven Demand Intelligence

Pricing and markdown decision-making relies on factors such as demographics and psychographics of specific locations, and historical purchase analytics. Weather also is a vital factor in predicting demand for certain items, leading to more efficient pricing strategies. In an effort to provide streamlined tools for enhanced price optimization, Revionics, a retail life cycle price optimization solution provider, and Planalytics, a company focused on business weather intelligence, have announced new advancements to their joint weather-driven demand intelligence strategy.

Ted Baker Selects Cegid To Support International Expansion

Retailers and brands expanding globally face a multitude of challenges, including POS and retail management, customer service in local languages and complicated tax requirements. As British fashion brand Ted Baker pursues its first stores in Tokyo in March and Beijing in June, “following local regulations and differing CRM strategies is one of our greatest challenges,” said Dustan Steer, Ted Baker’s CIO and IT Director, in a recent presentation. To address this and related issues faced by its continued worldwide growth, Ted Baker now relies on an international enterprise management and vertical software solution from Cegid Business Retail (CBR), a division of the international Cegid Group. CBR’s Yourcegid Retail POS and retail management software suite is designed to improve productivity, performance and profitability for specialty retailers doing business globally.

M.Video Rolls Out Third Phase of Predictix Solution

Better control over assortment, forecasting and replenishment helps retailers improve service levels, reduce overstocks and stock-outs, and deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction. This control is imperative to retailers with scores of locations across dozens of rapidly changing markets. M.Video, Russia’s largest consumer electronic retail chain ― with 243 brand name stores in more than 100 Russian cities, as well as two online stores ― took command of its merchandising and supply chain processes with a three-phased execution of the Predictix cloud-based merchandising software suite. The retailer’s third and latest execution, announced January 2012, incorporates Predictix’s Assortment Planning, Store-Level Forecasting and Target Stock Optimization tools. The implementation allows more accurate replenishment, forecasting and planning decisions across its channels, stated Christopher Mangham, CIO, M.Video.

The Paradies Shops Taps BI Tools From Information Builders To Fuel Continued Growth

A complete business intelligence (BI) platform allows retailers to address a specific store's unique needs based on consumer preferences and purchase behaviors. As a result, retailers can fuel growth more efficiently and create a more enjoyable in-store experience. In an effort to better manage its data warehouse, The Paradies Shops, an airport concessionaire operating more than 550 stores in 75-plus airports and hotels across the U.S. and Canada, partnered with Information Builders, a provider of BI software and solutions. Utilizing the WebFOCUS platform, The Paradies Shops gleans insight on rich, consumable and interactive information to make store associates and managers more educated on store developments. The solution provides tools to track and share actionable data for merchandising and operations. As a result, the retailer responds to issues and trends in a timelier manner, Tony Dudek, VP and CIO of The Paradies Shops, told Retail TouchPoints.

Ace Hardware Improves Audits, Order Management With SAP

Ace Hardware’s commitment to the SAP solution portfolio has been paying off for the 4,100-store cooperative since the initial implementation in 2007. Initially, “we transitioned to SAP for the efficiencies, flexibility and controls we believed an integrated system would bring to Ace’s supply chain,” noted Rick Williams, Director, Business Relationship for Ace. “From an IT perspective, we have much more visibility into the flow and status of retailers’ orders.” With the old system, he noted, “we had to closely monitor our order processing system every evening, responding to crises and issues. That has almost gone away completely.” Beginning with the selection of mySAP™ ERP and the SAP® for Retail in 2006, Ace has seen incremental success with the solutions through the present and expects to continue reaping the benefits into the future. “Now we have much greater insight into our inbound shipments, vendor performance and distribution processes that we never had before,” said Williams. “Our SAP audits are so clean now we can probably shift our attention to other areas.”

Sears Holdings Corp. Closes Sears And Kmart Locations Due To Poor Holiday Results

While some retailers experienced increased sales during the 2011 holiday season, Sears Holdings Corp. is closing up to 120 Sears and Kmart locations due to lackluster sales. In total, income during the eight-week period before Christmas was down 5.2%, while year-to-date purchase fell 2.6%. In a statement released on Dec. 27, 2011, Sears Holdings Corp. revealed that the company’s yearly earnings were expected to be less than half of its 2010 income of $933 million. Lower sales, increased margin pressure and high expense rates were all causes of the company’s downfall, according to Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO of Sears Holdings Corp.

Best Buy Improves In-stocks Up To 4%, Decreases Inventory Levels

Constant replenishment, disparate forecasting systems and cumbersome data volumes challenge even the best retailers to accurately predict customer demand in order to optimize inventory. Retailers also need to maximize inventory and improve customer service, while synchronizing consumer demand with global suppliers. Though all types and sizes of retailers need to optimize inventory in order to create more efficient supply chains, the largest merchants, supporting thousands of locations around the globe, are particularly challenged to manage complex inventory logistics. Best Buy, for example, was struggling to produce a consistent, predictable supply of inventory. The $50 billion multinational retailer, maintaining 4,000 locations and 15,000 SKUs, was looking for better ways to balance safety stock while improving service levels. As a lower velocity retailer, Best Buy was operating a legacy system with one replenishment method that did not counterweigh store demand and product category with store presentation, safety stock, warehouse supply and lead times.

Video Analytics Solutions Help Retailers Optimize Customer Service And Workforce Management

Best-in-class retailers are leveraging video analytics to better strategize workforce management and optimize customer engagement initiatives in-store. During a previous ViewPoints article, Verlin Youd, SVP of Sales and Marketing for SCOPIX Solutions, a video analytics solution provider, discussed how retailers are implementing video in-store to improve efficiencies and boost sales. In this special follow-up Q&A, Youd shares recent developments in the video analytics space, and how these solutions can attribute to a successful customer loyalty strategy. Youd also discusses top metrics retailers can track to improve customer experiences and boost ROI.

Parlux Increases Warehouse Efficiencies, Reduces Labor Costs By $60,000 With Manhattan Associates

As a result of a warehouse management system upgrade from Manhattan Associates (MA), Parlux Fragrances reported a 25% increase in the number of boxes put through the system domestically, and a 45% increase in the number of boxes processed for international orders, noted Jane Hershey, Vice President of Information Technology, Parlux. “We also have had a 30% decrease in our chargebacks which we attribute to continuing to work with MA to get our labels processed correctly, Hershey noted. Additionally, Hershey noted: “Our EDI transactions come out of the system better. We have reduced labor costs by $60,000 because we don’t do physical inventory anymore. We used to have to shut down three whole days to do physical inventory. That was fairly expensive for us.” Once Hershey and her team made the decision to go with the MA solution, the process proceeded smoothly and on time. “It didn’t take us very long to do upgrade,” Hershey said. “We hit our schedule as expected. We tested the software and everything came out fine. We hit the ground running the day after we did the upgrade. We were down early Friday, did the upgrade on Saturday and we were back up on Sunday.…

Gander Mountain Adopts Revionics Price Optimization To Boost Customer Satisfaction And Sales

Retailers must maintain consistent pricing, markdown and promotion strategies across stores and channels to meet the needs of today’s research-savvy, price-conscious consumers. Gander Mountain Company, a specialty outdoor retailer, is implementing the Revionics Price Optimization solution to address this need and ensure optimal price monitoring and management throughout its stores. Gander Mountain is deploying the Revionics pricing solution throughout its 116 retail locations to streamline pricing strategies and boost profit. As part of a two-year agreement, Revionics will provide the retailer with a more scientific and strategic merchandising and pricing approach, according to Karen Dutch, Senior VP of Marketing for Revionics.

Motorola Mount Imager And Micro Kiosk Speed Service, Strengthen Loyalty

Mobile technology is developing so rapidly that it is becoming a prime tool for speeding service and increasing customer loyalty. SMS opt-ins, QR codes, mobile storefronts and other mobile applications have raised shopper expectations, which are now addressed in-store with two new scanning solutions from Motorola. The compact DS457 fixed mount imager and MK3000 micro kiosk from Motorola bring the speed of mobile engagement to brick-and-mortar retail locations. They allow a merchant to better serve mobile-empowered shoppers, satisfy their increased expectations and strengthen loyalty by providing fast, customized, in-store mobile interactions.

Private Label Growth, Innovative Technologies Fuel In-Store Shelf Strategies

Empowered, savvy shoppers are leveraging a variety of technologies and tools to make smarter shopping decisions every day through a variety of shopping channels. The convenience of online shopping has made it increasingly critical for retailers to find innovative ways to bring shoppers back into the brick-and-mortar store. The store environment presents a number of challenges for retailers looking to keep shoppers at the shelves longer and increase basket size and shopping frequency. Those challenges include a plethora of SKUs, a variety of point of purchase (POP) displays and a growing number of private label products on the shelves. The recent economic downturn has significantly impacted consumer preferences and shopping behavior. Private label (PL) brands have surged in popularity in response, and rather than trying to mirror competing brands, retailers are moving to develop packaging that promote the private brand as a first-choice alternative.

Winn-Dixie Implements 6,000 IBM POS Units To Improve Customer Service, Speed Checkout

Southeastern grocer Winn-Dixie is replacing its outdated IBM POS solution with 6,000 new SurePOS 700 systems in 484 stores. The retailer is planning to begin the implementation in a number of pilot stores during the fall of 2011, then roll out the remainder of units following the holiday 2011 season, according to John Gaydac, Worldwide Vice President, Store Solutions for IBM. The SurePOS 700 systems are powered by IBM SurePOS Application Client/Server Environment (ACE) and Retail Integration Framework (RIF) software — part of the IBM Smarter Checkout solution. “This whole POS platform will allow Winn-Dixie to add capabilities as demand requires, whether it’s around loyalty, insights into consumer preferences, digital couponing, promotions, or integration of mobility,” said Gaydac. "This initiative will allow us to introduce services quickly and seamlessly to improve our guests' shopping experience and will help to support our overall strategy," added Maura Hart, Winn-Dixie Group Vice President and CIO, in a press statement. "We believe the functionality, reliability and open standards offered by IBM hardware and software will accelerate our innovation, which will enhance our competitiveness, as well as our ability to deliver quality service in our stores."

Forzani Attributes WMS Success To Business Ownership Of Implementation

Choosing the right solution provider is vital, but business ownership of a project implementation is the key to success, according to Keith Lambert, Senior Vice President Of Supply Chain and Merchandise Management for Forzani, the largest sporting goods retailer in Canada. “The best advice I can give anyone is ‘Own the project,’” Lambert recently told Retail TouchPoints. “The minute business takes ownership is the minute the project will be successful.” Lambert also explained that the Forzani IT department was fully cooperative with the plan to have the project managed as a business/supply chain initiative. “We had no pushback from IT — they were actually pleased,” he said. “And in no way do I mean to slight our IT people.”
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