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Industry News - April 3rd, 2009

 

RETAIL AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Merchant Warehouse Releases POS Application for iPhone and iPod Touch

Merchant Warehouse announces its first mobile application for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, now available on iTunes and at the Apple App Store.

MerchantWARE Mobile is a point of sale application that allows merchants to run credit and debit transactions in real-time. A merchant only needs to install the application on their device, and have a merchant account and a connection to WiFi, Edge or a 3G network. MerchantWARE Mobile is free, has no gateway fees and does not require an expensive third party license. The solution is ideal for the mobile workforce where convenience and low costs are a necessity.

In the past, mobile workers such as contractors, insurance agents or tradeshow vendors would accept payments by check, cash or handwrite the credit card information and then later process the card back in their office. These payment options are time consuming, un-secure, and expose merchants to the risk of bad checks and declined credit cards. MerchantWARE Mobile addresses these concerns with secure and immediate processing of transactions.

With security breaches being a top concern for merchants and consumers, MerchantWARE Mobile is encrypted and sent over a secure SSL connection. Additionally, all data is stored on Merchant Warehouse's secure servers, not the merchant's mobile device.

MerchantWARE Mobile features include: 

Secure credit card transaction, including sales, refunds and voids

Encrypted and secure SSL connections for safely transmitting customer information

Reporting capabilities including, transaction summaries, totals by card type and date and transaction details

Automatic end of day batch processing to avoid hassles and downgraded transactions

Access to the MerchantWARE Virtual Terminal enabling users to process transactions through the same merchant account from any web connected computer.


 

1-800-Flowers.com Uses Mobile Marketing with Hyper-Targeted Mobile Advertising

1-800-Flowers.com will be the first major retailer to launch a campaign using a full service mobile marketing and mobile advertising platform from Sybase 365 and Digby. Sybase 365 AvantGo Mobile Advertising Services SMS Ad Exchange, in conjunction with the Digby mobile commerce platform, helps retailers and other advertisers to promote and drive traffic to their virtual stores, where consumers can learn more about an offer and make a purchase using their mobile device.

"Mobile Marketing has emerged as one of the most effective ways of reaching a truly targeted audience with compelling and relevant offers," said Jim McCann, CEO and founder of 1-800-Flowers.com. "The Sybase 365 Mobile Advertisement platform in conjunction with Digby empowers users to take advantage of timely offers right from their phone. This combination represents a great step forward for retailers evaluating mobile marketing and can provide another way for our customers to act on their thoughtfulness."

Mobile subscribers, who are already receiving mobile content, can now be targeted with appropriate and relevant advertisements in the same SMS message.

Retailers can :

- Deploy hyper-targeted SMS campaigns based on user demographics

- Create customized calls-to-action including click through, click to call and short codes

- Deploy mobile Web storefronts that provide a full commerce experience

- Track campaign metrics including response rates and sales


 

Peetís Coffee & Tea Improves Forecasting, Inventory Management

Peet's Coffee & Tea, which operates 190 specialty stores nationwide, cuts waste while still maintaining quality using RedPrairie's Site Operations. Peet's reduces wasted product through improved forecasting, inventory management and auto-ordering.

"Peet's has an extremely high standard of quality and freshness for the products we send to market. These freshness standards contribute to higher waste in our retail stores," says Tom Cullen, CIO, Peet's. "Maintaining that superior standard while controlling cost is an absolute necessity. RedPrairie's solution offered us the ability to keep our commitment to excellence, while lowering our costs significantly through waste reduction."

RedPrairie Site Operations offers this ability by managing a variety of functions associated with food and beverage service with built-in features to provide flexibility and visibility. Through configurable workflows and exception-based reporting, the platform forecasts demand and automates restocking of necessary items at each site.


 

Guess Expands PLM Platform to Manage Global Sourcing Operation

Guess selects Dassault Systemes Enovia Apparel Accelerator for Sourcing and Production to connect its global sourcing and PLM efforts. Guess uses the PLM tool to increase lifecycle visibility, improve collaboration and further demonstrate its brand value through constant innovation.

With sourcing operations throughout the world, Guess is challenged with providing information such as color codes and style numbers to its suppliers in one common language. The company leverages a unified platform for sourcing and product development and will now expand its deployment of Enovia V6 as the vehicle to harmonize colors, styles and fabric information across the enterprise to ensure consistency in the information provided to its suppliers and retailers, regardless of geographic location.

"One of Guess' core strengths is our ability to identify fashion trends, put the concept together, source it very quickly and have it in the store in time to meet consumer demand," says Mike Relich, CIO of Guess. "The Enovia apparel sourcing solution enables Guess to be a responsive and nimble fashion leader by seamlessly managing collaboration with our suppliers, production facilities, and retail and wholesale locations."


 

Fujitsu Consolidates North American Businesses

Fujitsu America, which begins operations on April 1, 2009, consolidates the application services of Fujitsu Consulting, the system platforms of Fujitsu Computer Systems, and the retailing solutions of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions under a unified corporate structure designed to expand offerings and provide North American businesses with a single resource for their computing technology and IT services needs.

The move consolidates the company's IT strengths under one structure and offers a simplified engagement model with more access to the complete suite of integrated Fujitsu offerings. This also will improve responsiveness to global clients who look to Fujitsu to support their North American operations.

The consolidation - together with investment in new infrastructure-based capabilities - helps Fujitsu America to present full-spectrum IT offerings and to focus on new-business development in outsourcing and managed services. In addition, the company will work with clients and partners in key strategies and developments such as cloud computing, plus other important new growth sectors.




 

TOP Food & Drug Implements RFID-Driven Program

TOP Food & Drug implements an innovative program that could serve as a model for other retailers seeking to move beyond the traditional way of discount pricing to improve customer retention and store profitability.

The company has developed a customer relationship program, TOP Connection, which uses RFID technology to enhance the shopping experience with targeted marketing promotions and unique value added services. The RFID-enabled program could also be used to motivate specific customer behavior, such as driving sales of particular products, increasing per-trip spending and accelerating the rate of return trips. Programs like TOP Connection provide grocery chains with a way to differentiate themselves without compromising lean margins or creating unsustainable customer expectations.

The TOP Connection program pairs an on-demand customer acquisition and retention platform, Accelitec interact, deployed as 'software as a service' (SaaS) provided by Accelitec. The platform includes RFID readers mounted on top of payment terminals and RFID-enabled key tags or adhesive tags for cell phones that contain unique customer identifiers. All customer information is encrypted and held securely on Accelitec servers. The key tag consists of a plastic card, designed by Vanguard ID Systems, and a UPM Raflatac HF RFID inlay based on the Mifare standard.

Accelitec interact is a technology-agnostic platform and is compatible with the legacy hardware and software used by many grocery retailers. The platform provides encrypted data exchange, protecting customer identity and payment information during card reading and transaction processes.

To participate, customers enroll in the program and set up an on-line profile, inputting personal data and product, communication and payment preferences. Customers can choose to provide only basic information or offer detailed information in return for highly customized offers and marketing communications. After completing enrollment, customers receive energized RFID key tags which are tied to their profiles. Within 100 days of the TOP Connection rollout in September 2008, more than 60 percent of TOP Food & Drug customers had signed up for the program.

"The TOP Connection program has given TOP Food & Drug a unique way to provide our guests with benefits," says Emily Mallahan, director of TOP development for Haggen. "Our prices are already great, and everyone who shops with us can enjoy those prices. Then, if you choose to become a TOP Connection member, you obtain benefits that no one else in the grocery industry offers. We've had an incredible response rate from our guests because they see the value and services we can offer when they tell us more about themselves."



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