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Industry News - June 11th 2010



iPad Compatible Social Commerce Rolling Out for Three Retailers

Popular cosmetics brand Clinique as well as jane iredale and Costume Craze are rolling out social commerce apps that are compatible with the iPad. All three retailers use DecisionStep's ShopTogether social commerce solution to provide their shoppers with interactive, fun shopping experiences. 

Retailers using the ShopTogether app gain the ability to get an opinion, either in real-time or later through comments on their social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. The ShopTogethers solution, which is now iPad compatible, gives shoppers the ability to shop their favorite brands no matter where they are or what Internet-capable device they use. 

The ShopTogether product suite consists of three, customizable toolbar applications: ShopTogether Friends, Crowd and Concierge. ShopTogether Friends lets consumers connect with their friends on a retailer's site through the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, or email or IM to chat, view each other's products, collect mutual favorites and share ideas that lead to buying decisions. 

ShopTogether Concierge adds real-time visual collaboration to customer support experts who can help encourage purchases. ShopTogether Crowd lets site visitors track the shopping and buying behavior of everyone else online for a minute-by-minute, real-time look at what's hot. In addition to these three applications, DecisionStep offers a fully customizable version of its capabilities with an API that lets retailers integrate ShopTogether functionality on their Web site as they see fit.


Finish Line's Mobile Shopping Site Boosts Sales, Web Traffic

The Finish Line launches a new mobile shopping site, m.finishline.com, using Endeca's e-commerce search and merchandising technology. Finish Line uses the solution to boost searches from mobile users and drive business originating from m.finishline.com, which has accounted for three percent of the company's total online sales. In May 2010, eight percent of Finish Line's total Web traffic originated from a mobile device, up from just two percent in previous months.

"We wanted to take advantage of the great shopping experience we already had onwww.finishline.com and bring that over to our new mobile site," said Roger Underwood, senior vice president of e-commerce, Finish Line. "Endeca's site search and Guided Navigation were driving factors in unifying this experience. The last thing we wanted was to have separate Web properties with different product data and maintenance requirements. Our mobile implementation was really just a matter of integrating off our existing website, allowing us to lean on the strength of our Endeca implementation. We had m.finishline.com up and running within four weeks."

The new mobile site was developed in conjunction with Unbound Commerce's Mobile Presence software product, as well as additional technology partners from the Endeca Extend program. Unbound Commerce used the open application-programming interfaces (APIs) of the Endeca Information Access Platform to connect its Mobile Presence platform to Endeca's search and merchandising technology. 

This new, integrated product helped Finish Line adapt its existing search and navigation infrastructure over to its new mobile commerce site. This helped allow the mobile site to feature Finish Line's online customer reviews, which help shoppers to make a decision between competing brands while visiting one of Finish Line's 670 stores. 

From a smartphone, shoppers can read reviews by other shoppers with similar tastes to determine the best product while standing in the aisle of the store. Finish Line's m-commerce efforts have helped convert more visitors into buyers by delivering more targeted and effective content at the moment a customer needs it.


Target Revamps Loyalty Program, Rewards 5% Off

Target will launch its new RedCard loyalty program this fall, which will reward REDcard cardholders 5 percent off at check-out in store and online. Guest must make purchases using Target's REDcard, which include the Target Credit Card, Target Visa Credit Card and Target Check Card debit.  

"We're excited to offer this outstanding value to our REDcard holders across the country," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO, Target. "We believe guests will appreciate the simplicity and compelling value of this program, which will lead them to choose to shop more often at Target. As a result, we expect this new program to drive profitable incremental sales, which will more than offset the cost of providing this everyday discount to our cardholders."

Target tested the loyalty program in Kansas City since October 2009 and guest response has been overwhelmingly favorable, leading to meaningful incremental sales and profits. The response has been particularly strong among our existing better and best retail guests. Sales lifts have been relatively consistent across merchandise categories and stable throughout the test period. The program is expected to increase the portion of Target'S sales made on Target credit and debit cards. 

The new Rewards program will replace the current Rewards program in which new account holders receive an initial 10 percent off coupon and existing cardholders earn coupons for 10 percent off a future day of shopping. Guests participating in the current program will continue to earn points until the new program begins.


Advance Auto Parts Adds Personalized Web Services, Enhances "Your Garage"

Advance Auto Parts launches a suite of new online service features as part of the fully enhanced "Your Garage" area on AdvanceAutoParts.com. 

"Your Garage" now includes the following features: 

Service alerts - Based on your vehicle's mileage, users can receive e-mail notifications when your car needs a tune-up, brakes, tire rotations and tire replacements. 

Diagnose problems - Get on-line help to figure out what's wrong with any vehicle in your garage. Get an estimate of the approximate cost of the service needed. Find a mechanic if you would rather have a professional perform the maintenance for you in your locale. The recommendations will include local Advance Commercial customers and feature Commercial partners. 

Recall notifications - Receive e-mail notifications to make sure you don't miss a recall on your vehicle. 

Service history - Keep track of all service work on your car in one online location. Vehicle prices and values - Time for a new car? Find out what your current vehicle is worth.
Cost of ownership - Find out how much you can expect to pay to maintain your vehicle. 

"Advance is working hard to create customers for life by providing them the best experience in our industry, whether they are shopping in our stores, calling us on the phone or visiting our Web site," said Scott Bauhofer, SVP and General Manager, E-Commerce. "These free enhancements are giving our customers even more reasons to only shop online with Advance Auto Parts and to visit us more often."


RadioShack Extends Agreement for E-Commerce, Marketing

RadioShack announces a multi-year extension of its e-commerce agreement with GSI Commerce. Under the new agreement, RadioShack will gain support for its e-commerce, order management, customer care and interactive marketing services. RadioShack has been a GSI partner since 2005. 

GSI Commerce provides services that help enable e-commerce, multi-channel retailing and interactive marketing for large, business-to-consumer (b2c) enterprises in the U.S. and internationally. 

GSI delivers customized solutions through an e-commerce platform, which is comprised of technology, fulfillment and customer care and is available on a modular basis or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. The company also offers a suite of interactive marketing services through two divisions, TrueAction and e-Dialog. Additionally, the company provides brands and retailers a platform for online private sales through RueLaLa.com.


Polo Ralph Lauren Posts Double-Digit Web Traffic Gains, New Online Initiatives

Polo Ralph Lauren announces new e-commerce initiatives which include launching new e-commerce capabilities in Europe in order to help grow its international business. Ralph Lauren is heavily vested in ramping up its e-commerce efforts. The retailer recently reported that RalphLauren.com experienced double-digit traffic gains and a higher conversion rate in its most recent quarter due to its strong merchandising assortments as well as consumer interest in Olympics related merchandise. 

As part of the European e-commerce initiative, the retailer plans to leverage its RalphLauren.com team in the U.S. and its existing technology and distribution partners to help insure a successful launch. 

"Based on the success of RalphLauren.com in the U.S. and the growing importance of this channel worldwide, we intend to launch e-commerce capabilities in Europe beginning with the UK this fall," says Roger Farah, president, COO, Polo Ralph Lauren. "We are excited about the long-term sales and profit potential of international e-commerce. It is consistent with our overall strategy, and we have had spectacular success with RalphLauren.com sales and profit in the U.S., and we can use that as a benchmark."

Farah continues, "There is no question that the customer around the world increasingly wants to shop online, and those who do tend to be more valuable customers for us, particularly if they also shop at our brick-and-mortar stores."


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