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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.

RFID Journal LIVE! Retail Preview: Why RFID Is So Critical To Retail Transformation

RFID may not have lived up to every extravagant prediction about how it would revolutionize retail, but the technology is actually doing very nicely, thank you. It has been adopted (often without fanfare) by a large number of retailers, and it serves as a foundational technology for many key omnichannel functions, including BOPIS, ship-from-store and product recommendations. This year, RFID Journal LIVE! Retail will be incorporated into the new RetailX event (along with Retail TouchPoints LIVE!), June 25-27 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Mark Roberti, Director of RFID Journal, spoke with Retail TouchPoints Editorial Director Andrew Gaffney about the power of RFID to cost-effectively provide accurate, real-time inventory information, as well as technology improvements that should open up even more roles for RFID in the future. Retail TouchPoints (RTP): Can you update me about why RFID is becoming such a critical part of retail transformation? Mark Roberti: We believe that RFID is the foundational tool for digital transformation not only in retail but in other sectors as well, because RFID provides a low-cost way of collecting an enormous amount of information on what's happening in the real world — along with the ability to know exactly how many items you…

Walmart Testing Automated Delivery On Fixed Routes

Walmart is piloting a new phase in automation with robotic vehicles that automatically pass shipments across warehouses, according to Bloomberg. The retailer is aiming to cut its middle-mile shipping costs in half with robotic Ford delivery vans powered by Gatik self-driving technology. The vans travel on fixed routes from warehouse to warehouse, or to pickup points where customers can get their order. The routes are often the same ones human drivers have been following for years, minimizing the need for new maps or infrastructure, and their unchanging nature reduces the chance of mishaps.

Dressbarn Will Shutter Retail Operations, Close 650 Stores

Dressbarn is closing all 650 stores and its e-Commerce site, marking the end of a 57-year run for the women’s apparel retailer. For now, the stores and e-Commerce site remain open and conducting business as usual, while Dressbarn says it will share more specific information related to the store closings…
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Why Hudson Yards Represents Retail Excellence And Innovation

Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the U.S. by area and home to more than 70 stores and restaurants, represents the best of what retail has to offer. The first of its two phases opened in March 2019 and comprises a public green space and eight structures that contain residences, a hotel, office buildings, a mall, and a cultural facility. The second phase, on which construction has not started yet, will include residential space, an office building, and a school. Both phases are projected to be complete by 2024. You can think of Hudson Yards as a living museum of contemporary retail. Each floor has a theme that highlights many of the winning trends in current retail.

Amazon Opens First ‘Go’ Store In NYC…And It Accepts Cash

Amazon is opening its first Amazon Go store in New York City in lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place, marking the twelfth Go store overall. The 1,300-square-foot space also is the first Amazon Go store that will accept cash for payment. The cash option is a major departure from other Amazon Go stores that have opened in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, which include no checkout points. Shoppers seeking to pay cash will have to be swiped in by an employee, then have their chosen products scanned by a staffer, who conducts the checkout process for them.

Tour 21 Of The Hottest Hudson Yards Retailers Courtesy Of RIC19

One of the highlights of the fifth annual Retail Innovation Conference will be the Hudson Yards Store Tours that will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Monday, May 6. These curated, guided tours will be led by the Retail Store Tours group and feature retail leaders showing off the latest innovations at Hudson Yards, New York City’s newest luxury shopping destination. The tour will be divided into five “floors,” each one focusing on a different aspect of the shopper experience. Floor One: Elegant Innovation And Discovery The first floor of the tour is focused on the discovery aspect of the customer journey and stores that disrupt the traditional shopping experience. The highlighted retailers are Brooks Brothers, which will show off a new global design concept that features in-store mobile clienteling and uses AI to assist with supply chain challenges; and Conservatory, an exclusive e-Commerce site exclusively for Hudson Yards shoppers. Customers can speak with a sales associate in-store to get an account that lets them access the “hidden” online site. Floor Two: Innovative Retail Models: From Digital To Brick-And-Mortar More and more e-Commerce pure-plays are entering the brick-and-mortar space. The second series of stops on the store tour will look…

Walmart AI-Powered Lab Store Emphasizes Real-Time Grocery Inventory Control

Nearly six months after Walmart revealed it would open an Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL) within a Levittown, N.Y. Neighborhood Market, the retail giant has offered a peek into the store’s transformation. Powered by a massive data center, the 50,000-square-foot store uses AI to ensure in-stock position and freshness of perishable items like produce and meat. IRL is set up to gather information about what’s happening inside the store through an array of weight-measuring sensors, 1,500 AI-enabled cameras and 100 data processors. These tools help the team focus on product inventory and availability, particularly by providing associates with real-time information enabling them to restock products, so items are available on shelves when they’re needed. For example, the inventory tracker for Walmart’s meat counter can identify every type of meat sitting on the product shelf.

Stance Deploys Cashierless Self-Checkout Across 14 Stores

Cashierless checkout has for the most part been limited to major grocers thus far and is perhaps most commonly associated with Amazon Go, but one retailer — best known for selling socks — is showing that this technology can be deployed just as effectively in an apparel setting. Stance has deployed self-checkout technology from Moltin within its 14 U.S. stores, designed to let shoppers skip lines and check out via a browser-based mobile progressive web app (PWA). The goal for the technology was singular: eliminating lines, according to Paul Zaengle, EVP of Direct-to-Consumer at Stance. While Zaengle had followed self-checkout technologies for years, he said it wasn’t until 2018, when Apple allowed iOS to access cameras through a web page, that the Stance team was able to envision a realistic application.

At Half Price Books, Empowered Associates Create Curated, Store-Specific Assortments

While most physical booksellers are contracting and consolidating, Half Price Books has been slowly and steadily growing. Multiple factors, all of which are aimed at creating intense customer loyalty, contribute to the retailer’s success in a difficult industry: A focus on choosing highly promising locations for new stores; Comfortable store layouts built to encourage browsing and discovery; and An enthusiastic staff of associates who are empowered to shape each store’s inventory. “People always ask me, ‘How are you opening stores when other people are closing stores?’” said Kathy Doyle Thomas, Chief Strategy Officer at Half Price Books in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Part of the reason we are growing is because we’re privately held — we don’t have to open stores if we don’t want to, and if we can’t afford it. If we don’t have enough money in the bank and we know that store won’t make money for three or four years because it needs to build its brand and customer base, then we don’t do it, and we don’t have any debt. We grow and expand when we want to and how we want to.” This process includes taking a careful look at the overall retail…

Stage Stores Accelerates Off-Price Conversion Strategy, Anticipates 300 Gordmans Stores By 2020

Stage Stores is accelerating the conversion of its department stores to Gordmans stores after the off-price banner has achieved considerable success. Michael Glazer, President and CEO of Stage Stores, revealed that through mid-March 2019, sales in the nine converted Gordmans locations completed in 2018 grew by more than 150% compared…
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Only 23% Of Retailers Leverage In-Store AI, While Just 19% Deploy IoT Devices

Retailers often describe the “store of the future” having multiple customer service options, such as automated returns or cashierless checkout, and offering disruptive technologies such as AI, VR, AR, virtual mirrors and IoT. But many of these brick-and-mortar upgrades remain saved for just that — the future. For example, only 19% of retailers have implemented IoT within their stores, with 23% implementing AI-powered platforms such as voice-activated POS and digital assistants, according to a report from BRP. In another sign that adoption of these technologies is still a long way off, only 5% of retailers said they have implemented each technology and that it is working well.
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