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Industry News - May 21st, 2009



Givex Introduces Touchscreen Kiosk for Customer Loyalty Programs

Givex launches its latest product, a standalone touchscreen terminal. Givex Loyalty Program clients can deploy the kiosks so customers can manage their cards.

Givex processes transactions in real-time so cardholders are always seeking up-to-date information on their loyalty card balances. The new kiosk creates another way for customers to conveniently access their accounts right from a merchant's brick-and-mortar locations. With a swipe of their card, a customer can review current balances and recent transaction history in real-time.

Customers can now conveniently check their card balances while waiting for tables and see the points needed for their next reward level. After making payment, customers can immediately review updated point balances.

In addition to gift cards, Givex also provides other solutions for all aspects of a merchant's business including: loyalty cards, e-gift certificates, frequency cards, employee incentives, expense accounts, promotional cards and coupons.


UTC Retail Releases New Version of POS-J

UTC Retail announces the release of POS-J 3.1, the latest version of its Java-based store automation POS application for the specialty retail market. UTC Retail POS-J, a browser-based store automation solution delivers an easy-to-use and intuitive register platform backed by valuable administrative applications and an in-depth reporting system.

Enhancements to the UTC RETAIL POS-J 3.1 platform include the following:

- Compatibility within a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) framework 
- The addition of a labor scheduling module 
- Certification / compatibility with Internet Explorer 7, Linux and MySQL 
- The ability to support multiple screen resolutions as designated by the retailer 
- Incorporated debit encouragement and corporate side settlement functionality 
- Building a Web-services framework into the application providing enterprise level information at each register or workstation


Wal-Mart Launches First Venture in India

Wal-Mart will launch it's first joint venture in India next week, ending years of opposition from Indian retailers and signalling the start of a new era in one of the world's largest retailing markets.

The launch will be a wholesale store, which is a sharp divergence in a country where most customers go to small independent shopkeepers. Calcutta's Telegraph reported the new store will be called Best Price Modern Wholesale, and will open in Amritsar in the northern Punjab state.

Wal-Mart has said it plans to open 10 more outlets in India in the next two years. The Telegraph said consumers will not be able to shop at the Amritsar outlet. As a wholesale unit, it will cater mainly to vegetable vendors, hospitals, hotels and restaurants.

India's retail market is forecast to double in the next six years from the current $375 billion.

Marks and Spencer and Tesco also have joint ventureswith local Indian partners.


Winn-Dixie Automates Ordering Process

Winn-Dixie utilizes the SAF SuperStore forecasting and ordering software to create automatic orders, optimize inventory and reduce out-of-stocks.

Winn-Dixie will immediately begin planning for the implementation of the computer generated ordering (CGO) solution throughout its entire 520 stores.

"Our goal is to continuously improve the quality of our customers' shopping experience," says Charlie Weston, Chief Information Officer, Winn-Dixie. "Once implemented, SAF's SuperStore solution should provide us with the technology to improve our in-stock position of everyday and promoted products to meet our customers' needs. By optimizing our inventory, we also expect to reduce out-of-stocks, and ultimately increase sales revenues across the supply chain."

SAF SuperStore will automate Winn-Dixie's orders using a demand-chain management approach based on forecasted sales and current inventory levels. The solution's forecasts will also take factors such as seasonal effects, promotions, price changes and advertising campaigns into account to provide cost-effective, accurate orders. Further, micro forecasting will allow each item's sales history to be used to address changing sales patterns in each store to meet localized demand.


RetailROI Selects Organizations to Receive First Four Grants

RetailROI (the Retail Orphan Initiative), aimed at raising awareness of adoption issues and helping provide lasting solutions for vulnerable children worldwide, today announced the selection of four deserving organizations to receive the charity's initial grants. One of the organizations' founding goals is to focus grant efforts on groups doing effective and innovative work in the area of orphan care and adoption, rather than others who have high administrative costs. After just four short months since its formation, RetailROI has raised enough money to provide assistance to four deserving organizations.

The organizations receiving the first RetailROI grants include:

4 KIDS of South Florida - Provides licensed foster homes, family-style residences and adoption support for foster kids in Florida. www.4kidsofsfl.org

LifeSong for Orphans - Offers no-interest loans and grants to couples who wish to adopt. www.lifesongforphans.org

Share the Blessings - Provides education and clean water projects throughout Uganda. www.share-the-blessings.org

Warm Blankets Orphan Care International - Restores the lives of orphans in partnership with churches, corporations, organizations and individuals who have a passion to help needy, parentless children. www.warmblankets.org

"We are humbled to be able to make these first four gifts in such a short time, gifts that we know will save lives through the innovative work of these organizations." said Greg Buzek, founder and president, IHL Group and co-founder of RetailROI. "There are 143 million orphans and 400 million vulnerable children in the world. With ongoing support from the retail community, RetailROI can continue giving funds to important organizations like these who are on the front lines in care for orphans and adoption."

"As a retailer who is also privileged to be involved with Share the Blessings, I know these first donations will have a big impact," said Ed Collupy, VP of IT, The Pantry. "I encourage others in the retail community to get behind the work of RetailROI. Working together, we can begin to make a huge difference."

RetailROI solicits donations from retailers, vendors and employees. However, its long-term goal is to create programs such as "RoundUp for Orphans" at the point of sale, in which customers can round up their transactions to the nearest dollar to support the fund, or custom multi-retailer gift cards that would dedicate a portion of the sales to RetailROI. For more information about how you can get involved, please visit www.retailROI.org.


Tween Brands Expands Private Label Credit Card Services

Tween Brands extends its log-terms contract with Alliance Data Systems for its private label credit card services. The private label credit card services Alliance Data provides include account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; customer service functions; and marketing services. While the Justice brand caters to 7-14-year-old girls, the credit card program is granted to parents of Justice customers.

As a part of the card-marketing strategy, Alliance Data will apply advanced analytics and develop customer segmentation strategies to improve cardholder acquisition and retention. These efforts will allow Justice to intelligently target customers based on their past purchase behaviors and preferences - enabling Justice to more effectively introduce and engage customers to the Justice brand and drive sales across all sales channels.

Since 1996, Alliance Data has provided multi-channel private label credit card services for Limited Too. With this expanded agreement, Alliance Data will continue to provide private label services to these stores, which have now been converted to Justice, as well as to Justice's existing stores. The new Justice-branded private label card program was launched to support Justice's expansion, now totaling over 900 stores, and included converting Limited Too cardholders to the new Justice card. The Justice card can be used at its Web site www.shopjustice.com and Justice's catazine.

"We value our long-term relationship with Alliance Data and how they helped us to grow our Limited Too business," said Mike Rayden, chairman and chief executive officer, Tween Brands. "We are pleased to expand this relationship to include our Justice brand. Recognizing our cardholders are some of our best customers, we view our private label credit card program as an integral part of our marketing strategy, and it will play a critical role in helping Limited Too cardholders embrace the Justice brand."

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