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Industry News - July 31ST, 2008



Bikini Village Adds Epicor Retail SaaS Platform  

Canadian swimwear retailer Groupe Bikini Village selects the Epicor Retail Software as a Service (SaaS) platform to provide it with infrastructure and software to streamline its retail organization and support long-term growth plans.

To support its growth, Bikini Village sought an integrated retail system that would give the company greater inventory visibility, help improve operational efficiencies and streamline business processes. Bikini Village chose the Epicor Retail SaaS solution to provide the right infrastructure and best practice methodologies.

Yves Simard, president and chief executive officer, of Bikini Village notes that the Epicor Retail SaaS solution will help Bikini Village with its efforts to consistently replenish stores and provide an overall better experience for shoppers, improve margins, enable quicker turn, lower inventory and reduce the need for inventory markdowns. The platform also will help Bikini Village address compliance requirements, financial systems reporting and controls, and provide greater operational visibility.

"The Epicor Retail SaaS solution offered everything we were looking for," says Simard. "We wanted a solution that offered flexibility and could evolve over time as our business needs and requirements changed. Additionally, because we do not have an extensive IT support team, we were keen to find an outsourced solution that would offer us best-of-breed functionality without requiring a major investment in resources and talent to run the new systems."


West Marine Pilots Energy Management Platform

West Marine, a boating supplies and accessories retailer, implements an energy management platform from Site Controls at several pilot locations in Southern California.

The pilot program began in August 2007 when, with the help of Site Control's Site-Command building automation platform, West Marine began monitoring and collecting baseline information for building temperatures and lighting levels at the sites. The company went live with the system in April of this year, noting significant energy savings each month. By ensuring heating, cooling, lighting and signage equipment are functioning effectively and in accordance with company standards, Site-Command helps lower energy and maintenance expenses without sacrificing customer comfort. Additionally, West Marine gains real-time, online access to its data from a PC or hand-held device.

As part of the pilot, West Marine also participates in a demand response program with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), facilitated by Site Controls Intelligent Load Management (ILM) technology. West Marine will temporarily reduce electricity demand during peak usage periods to avoid blackouts and reduce carbon emissions. The entire demand response process is automated via an electronic signaling capability managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Site Control's ILM technologies helps retailers generate incremental revenue, save energy, protect the grid from rolling blackouts and improve their brand image. These tools continuously monitor retail locations so building conditions stay within the pre-defined parameters, including maximum building temperature, maximum CO2 concentration, and minimum lighting levels. This helps enables the maximum energy savings while protecting the stores' ability to do business as well as its brand image by ensuring a comfortable store environment


QVC Adds Bill Me Later

QVC offers the Bill Me Later alternative payment method to enhance the shopping experience for its customers online, in the call center and via automated phone service.

Bill Me Later, an alternative payment technology available online and in call centers, helps improve the customer experience by delivering convenience and flexibility.

"Bill Me Later was an attractive choice for QVC in delivering an alternative payment solution to our customers," says Mark Tabak, QVC's vice president of administration. "Through our alliance with Bill Me Later, QVC is further enhancing our customers' shopping experience."


Armani Exchange Adds Workforce Management Software

Armani Exchange has over 72 stores across North America and plans a further 10 new locations in 2008. To help manage its store associates and further improve its customer service, Armani Exchange sought a comprehensive and easy to deploy workforce management suite, which included time and attendance as well as scheduling and budgeting.

Armani Exchange adds workforce management software from Labor Solutions International (LSI) to boost its customer service.

"We reviewed a number of established suppliers in the workforce management market and after a rigorous evaluation process, selected LSI and WorkPlace Systems," says Ed O'Connor, vice president controller, Armani Exchange. "LSI Solutions provided Armani with a compelling solution - the easy to use WorkPlace Retail Enterprise software and LSI's in depth understanding of Workforce Management and Store Operations. We are now focused on a rapid deployment, which we plan to complete in the next four months."


L.L.Bean Adds Bazaarvoice Ratings and Reviews, Helps Customers Make Better Purchase Decisions

L.L.Bean launches Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews on www.llbean.com. The 96-year-old outdoor gear and apparel outfitter now offers its customers the ability to easily share product opinions with each other to help make more informed purchase decisions. Customers can tell others about their experience with L.L.Bean products, read product reviews to find out what other customers are saying, and easily find customer favorites in any category.

Customers who want to share their opinions can simply click the 'Write a Review' link on any product page or within the Order History area of their account, give an overall rating of one to five stars, and then write a review.

"Our active outdoor customers expect the very best from our company," says Chris Wilson, VP of e-commerce, L.L.Bean. "The same care, consideration, and craftsmanship that go into L.L.Bean's products went into our careful consideration of our web and social commerce strategy. Bazaarvoice's Ratings & Reviews solution combines advanced technology, superior strategic services, and pre-built integrations with our other vendors in order to deliver a richer experience for our customers and the best results for us."

L.L.Bean introduced the new Ratings & Reviews functionality as part of a site redesign in April 2008. To promote review volume and customer awareness, L.L.Bean features the Ratings & Reviews functionality on its home page and in its 'new Web site features' section. The company also has a page that instructs customers about how to write a helpful review. Following Bazaarvoice best practices, L.L.Bean plans to implement a post-purchase email and will include links to write reviews in order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails. The company eventually plans to include ratings and review information in its printed catalogs.


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