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.

RSP Series: How Retail Leaders Improve Customer Acquisition And Retention

Any retailer’s long-term health requires finding the right balance between acquiring and retaining customers — particularly the loyal and big-spending types of shoppers. But rapid changes in both consumer expectations and the competitive landscape have rewritten many of the established rules for customer acquisition and retention. The 2018 Retail Strategy and Planning (RSP) webinar series, hosted by Retail TouchPoints, uncovered several new strategies for tackling these timeless challenges. Following are brief recaps of six webinars in the #RSP18 series, now available on-demand. [Read a recap of the Holiday Predictions webinar, sponsored by Salesforce, here.]

Brick-And-Mortar Clothing Retailers: Replace Mannequins With In-Store Tech

Once you’ve worked in the mannequin business, you become judgmental of others — other mannequins, that is. And I mean really judgy. You might not consider mannequins terribly significant, but they are: Brands that “get it” make hefty investments to design custom mannequins in an effort to illustrate their brand stories. Brands each have a unique fit, attitude and persona, and mannequins are a way to personify the brand and bring designs to life through well-crafted and thoughtful aesthetics. Consider Nike: It pushes the creative envelope time and again with custom mannequin collections, featuring poses from static to full-on active (like its NFL collection from 2012, for example, created through design firm Fusion). Not only was this mannequin line aspirational, but it also brought a brand story to life, fusing Nike’s activewear with America’s love for football.

Amazon Reportedly Plans 3,000 Go Stores; Unveils Recommendation-Based ‘Scout’ Shopping Site

Amazon is reportedly considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new Amazon Go cashierless stores by 2021, with more than 50 locations in major locations by 2019, according to Bloomberg. The e-Commerce giant would not comment on the report. The challenge to Amazon’s potential growth plan, regardless of how many checkout-free stores they end up building, is the high cost of opening each location. The original Amazon Go in downtown Seattle required more than $1 million in hardware alone, according to Bloomberg.

Weis Markets Upgrades Wireless Capabilities Across 200+ Stores And DCs

As a grocer with more than 23,000 associates across more than 205 stores, and 1,000 employees in distribution centers (DCs) and headquarters, Weis Markets sought to provide a better in-store mobile experience for employees and shoppers with an improved wireless infrastructure. With the Aruba network in place, Weis has: Eliminated Internet access “gaps” throughout its stores; Reduced wireless deployment costs; Improved operational efficiencies within the DCs through more accurate product picking; and Centralized management capabilities, including software updates and alerts.

Standard Cognition Opens Cashierless Store In San Francisco

Yet another cashierless store has opened in the San Francisco Bay Area, ramping up the heated battle to see who can deliver frictionless checkout the fastest. Standard Cognition, an AI-powered autonomous checkout company that has labeled itself as “an alternative to Amazon Go,” has opened a concept called Standard Market. Standard Market is the third cashierless store that has popped up in the region within the past month. Two competitors of Standard Cognition, Zippin and Inokyo, have both opened similar stores, and Amazon Go is reportedly building one of their own.

CVS Launches Beauty Concept Stores With Glamsquad

  • Published in News Briefs
CVS has debuted a new store-within-a-store beauty format called BeautyIRL in four test stores in Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as part of the company’s partnership with Glamsquad. Similar to the services provided at Sephora and Ulta Beauty, CVS will now offer walk-in and on-demand beauty services with Glamsquad professional makeup…

Lessons On The Future Of Retail From The ‘Last Mall Built In America’

Have you ever been to The Mall at University Town Center (UTC) in Sarasota, Florida? If not, you might be missing out on a piece of history, because, by most accounts, it just might have been the last new-build enclosed mall constructed in America. In fact, after a series of stops and starts, its opening in 2014 was the first of its kind in more than five years. Like many malls before it, the UTC venue was born from complicated and costly commercial agreements, property development and town planning considerations, delaying its completion for more than a decade. When it finally opened, it was already old news. Technological progress had left it behind.

Exclusive Q&A: Which Retail Jobs Are Safe From A Robot Takeover?

Retail, hospitality and other service-oriented industries have been seen as relatively immune to the job-killing effects of robotics, automation and AI. But as these technologies grow more sophisticated, retail’s resistance is weakening. Futurist Martin Ford, author of Rise Of The Robots: Technology And The Threat Of A Jobless Future, notes that robots are already reducing (or eliminating) the number of humans needed to do many jobs, including: • Warehouse work;• Checking in-store inventory;• Providing customer service; and• Staffing points of sale. In an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints, Ford identifies the advances in robotics and AI that are accelerating the fastest. He also identifies a selection of job categories that are safe from the march of automation — at least for now.

Walmart Expands Handy Installation Services To Online Shoppers

  • Published in News Briefs
Walmart shoppers buying electronics and appliances online will soon be able to add on assembly and installation services provided by Handy. The offering debuted this week, with plans to roll it out nationwide through September, according to Bloomberg. The retail giant first partnered with the in-home services company in March…

Paper Source Expands ‘Return Bars’ Service To All 125 Stores

  • Published in News Briefs
Happy Returns, which offers a combination of software, services and logistics for returning items purchased online, will place its “Return Bars” in all 125 Paper Source stores by the end of September. The chainwide expansion follows an 18-store pilot program that began in March 2018 in Chicago and Los Angeles.…

Amazon Opens Second Go Location In Seattle

  • Published in News Briefs
After months of speculation regarding where and when the next Amazon Go store would officially open, the e-Commerce giant has opened its second cashierless convenience store in its hometown of Seattle. The store is smaller than the first location — 1,450 square feet versus 1,800 square feet — and is…

Old Navy Brings Plus-Size Shops To 75 Stores

  • Published in News Briefs
Providing a brick-and-mortar outlet for what had previously only been available online, Old Navy will debut Plus shops in 75 stores. These dedicated departments will be located on the women’s floor and feature Plus-specific mannequins, marketing photography and signage. Additionally, Old Navy will offer free shipping for Plus collection items…

Scheduling Software Streamlines Modern Citizen’s Growth

Modern Citizen, an omnichannel women’s fashion retailer, has been growing since it launched three years ago, adding employees and brick-and-mortar locations. An early decision to use a workforce management (WFM) solution has eased many of the typical “growing pains” that young companies experience. The retailer puts an emphasis on affordable but fashionable clothing, accessories and home goods. “We’re trying to really break into this idea that quality and brand is not associated with price anymore,” said Lizzie Agnew, Co-Founder and COO of Modern Citizen in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our price point is very accessible, under $100, but our aesthetic is very aspirational.” Modern Citizen has been using the Homebase WFM solution since its launch. The tool has helped Modern Citizen keep up with demand as it hired additional workers and opened its first physical storefront in San Francisco, growing from a single warehouse to both retail and delivery operations. “As COO, and as someone who manages a lot of our operations software, that’s always the biggest concern,” said Agnew. “You grow, and you break your software and you need to then change and somehow fix it. With Homebase, I’d say we’ve barely touched what it can do.” Homebase…

Zippin Opens First Cashierless Concept Store In San Francisco

Zippin, an AI-driven software platform designed to provide an autonomous checkout-free experience for shoppers, has opened a concept store in San Francisco showcasing the technology. The company currently offers access to the store through private invitation; and the shop will be open to the public for limited hours during the week beginning in mid-September. The store, located in the SOMA district of San Francisco, offers a range of lunch items, snacks and drinks, and will expand to approximately 500 square feet in the coming months.
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