POS Software Point of Sale Software Hardware GPS Security Camera
Bar Code

Industry News - July 23rd 2010



ShopRite Links Online Coupons to Loyalty Card

Working with Coupons.com, supermarket retailer ShopRite launched an online "Save to Card" coupon gallery last week. Members of the retailer's loyalty program can now add coupons directly to their ShopRite Price Plus Card, with discounts applied automatically at the store checkout, all without the need to clip or print coupons.

The program complements ShopRite's current collection of online printable coupons, also powered by Coupons.com, which the retailer has offered since 2008. ShopRite, a brand of Wakefern Food Corp., operates 220 stores in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings have already been printed from ShopRite's gallery of online printable coupons," says Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons.com. "With the addition of the new Save to Card gallery, ShopRite is giving its customers the option to use coupons the way they prefer--either printed or on their Price Plus card."


Safeway Asks 2,000-Plus Suppliers for Additional Automation

Seeking faster, more efficient check-in processes at its stores, supermarket retailing giant Safeway is seeking additional automation from more than 2,000 of its direct store delivery suppliers.

At the recent U Connect Conference in San Antonio, Safeway's director of electronic data Susan Moore pointed out that automation technology can eliminate many of the headaches associated with DSD deliveries, such as long waits at the store's back door, according to a report published in Supermarket News.

Safeway asks its suppliers to use three technologies. Direct Exchange (DEX) is used by drivers to transmit receiving data electronically via a handheld device. Network Exchange (NEX) can be used by the supplier to transmit receiving data over a network to the chain's headquarters, and then to an individual store. Advance Ship Notices (ASNs) transmit pallet-level information, allowing the retailer to only scan pallets rather than individual cases.

All these processes are enabled by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Moore expects significant operational efficiencies from EDI, providing item and price information, invoice processing, discrepancy reporting and payment reconciliation.


Back-to-School Sales Projected to Rise for First Time Since 2007

Two key industry groups, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the National Retail Federation (NRF), are projecting a strong back-to-school season for the nation's retailers. Solid sales increases during this crucial period, second only to the holiday season in sales volume, would be the first increases since 2007, before the worst impacts of the recession began to be felt.

The ICSC is forecasting a 5.4% rise in sales for the back-to-school season, which typically runs from mid-July to mid-September. If sales make this strong a showing, 2010 would be the best year since 2005, when sales rose 6.4%.

The NRF's 2010 Consumer Intentions and Actions Back to School Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that the average American family will spend $606.40 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics, compared to $548.72 last year and close to the $594.24 spent in 2008. Spending on school-aged children in grades K-12 is expected to reach $21.35 billion. When spending on college-aged students is added in, the back-to-school total reaches $55.12 billion.


New Office Depot Stores to Get Green Building Certifications

A new Office Depot store in Austin, TX with environmentally friendly features literally built in is the retailer's first to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Commercial Interiors registration. LEED CI is the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) recognized system for certifying high-performance green interiors.

Beginning with this store, all new and relocated North American Office Depot locations will receive LEED CI certification, including 14 stores planned for 2010. The retailer had previously received LEED Gold Certification on another Austin store that features lower carbon emissions and is 15% more energy efficient per square foot than other locations in the city.

Features of the new Office Depot LEED CI certified stores will include:
>Skylights (where applicable) to harvest daylight for 90% of the store
>Reflective roofs
>Energy Star rated HVAC equipment
>T5 energy-efficient lighting that is 30% more efficient than typical retail lighting and contributes to more than 20% reduction in energy use
>Daylight and occupancy sensors, which reduce energy use
>Water conservation interior fixtures
>Construction waste that will be recycled when waste recycling available
>Construction materials consisting of at least 10% recycled content.


Why Multi-Channel Retailers Must Become Social for the Holidays

The concept of "social shopping," a popular category of e-commerce that combines two favorite online activities (shopping and social networking) is transforming online retail and will be an important driver for retailers seeking to embrace an increasingly multi-channel world as they prepare for the 2010 holiday season.
Often many shoppers aren't sure what to buy, but they know they won’t find it on the sites of mainstream retailers. As such, consumers often refer to views about shopping experiences and tips on what’s hot, new and exciting or which stores to go to, on social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

For instance, Best Buy staffed its holiday "Twelpforce" with 2,500 employees who responded to client inquiries via Twitter; this was an extension of a broader-based effort that led to the answering some 20,000 questions during the 2009 pre-holiday season.
Social media is clearly a valuable mechanism that retailers can leverage in their multi-channel efforts to improve customer experience. Retailers can either to carve out their presence on popular networking sites or create their own social networking channel on their Web sites. Retailers creating their own presence should ensure that (1) they are linked to major social networking pages (2) have instructional/promotional videos on key video sites, and (3) have a provision for social bookmarking.

If retailers chose to create their own social networking sites they should ensure that their sites have two key capabilities: foundational and innovative. Foundational capabilities include the ability to research products, save research results, buy products and obtain basic services, while innovative capabilities include personalization, loyalty, stickiness, mobile enablement, and multi-channel functions.

Attracting consumers to your brands is one thing, but how do you generate enough interest so that consumers stick to your brands? Retailers can start with providing customers a platform/medium to share their opinions, reviews and feedback; in a way enabling social shopping along with social networking.

Customers like to interact and socialize with like-minded people; a capability for creating communities is therefore a must for all retailers to energize socially savvy customers with reviews and widgets. The next step to this should be to bring interactivity in social media, by designing for "browse," which will help gain stickiness e.g. some retailers provide customization of product features like product color, texture, etc. to be viewed online.

Social networks bring new elements into the online shopping experience and are potential springboards for lead generation and added revenue. Additionally, retailers can expect benefits through optimizations and improvements in:

(1) Store Operations by sharing best practices, prompt answers to questions, identifying and engaging top performers and getting management on the same page as a team.

(2) Customer Experience by capturing and sharing customer insights to store employees to serve customers, streamlining operations to create a customer focused culture.

(3) Customized merchandising and planning by understanding local markets and collaborating for successful program execution.

(4) Product development and innovating by sourcing new ideas, gaining feedback on new product concepts, improving supplier management and reviewing opinion polls/customer feedback for improved inventory management.


Retailers Put Brains Behind Social Media Brawn to Connect with Shoppers

No industry is more susceptible to the fickleness of consumers than retail. One day, a retailer could be on top with the latest gadget or fashion trend and the next day find their most loyal shoppers have been lured away by the competition. Despite millions spent on marketing promotions and advertising, nothing is more powerful than word of mouth. And these days, that happens most often through various social media channels. If a retailer wants to take the pulse of shopper's desires, wants, needs, and perceptions to be able to predict future trends and be ahead of the game, they need travel no farther than Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
In today's constantly changing marketplace, retailers are realizing the positive and negative impact that social media can have on their brand. However, even the most savvy social retailers rely on brawn, i.e. employees with eyes "glued" to computer monitors to read and react to tweets, blog posts and online conversations. This approach not only causes eye strain, but also is manual and time consuming and does not always align with a retailer's overall business or shopper relationship strategy.

Building shopper trust and loyalty in a market that is more technically savvy, global, and diverse will require adding a brain and central nervous system to the traditional brawn. Such central nervous systems are enabling retailers to more strategically and proactively tap into social media channels and use them to their advantage. At the very heart of this challenge is a more intelligent use of data to understand changing shopper needs, preferences, and interaction styles; to develop products and services that address these changes; and to create marketing, promotion, pricing strategies and campaigns that target these offerings to the shoppers for whom they were designed.

To help close the gap between a retailer's social enterprise strategy and its execution, retailers need a portfolio of business software applications that facilitate better shopper insight, enhanced operational efficiency, and greater business flexibility. Together, these IT solutions can help a retailer leverage its social enterprise for greater financial visibility, leaner operations, superior value, peak workforce performance, and profitable sustainability.

The path to monetizing the disparate social media universe

The ability to manage every aspect of the shopper experience helps a retailer's new social enterprise connect more effectively with shopper communities. By capturing and categorizing real-time online comments into an easy-to-consume dashboard (by products being discussed, geography, etc.), and discerning whether a response is warranted (based on an individual's level of influence), an integrated solution automatically triggers actionable next-steps for real-time decisions on marketing campaigns, promotions, customer service, inventory, etc. Making this view available to sales representatives in real time can help them provide the advice and support shoppers expect today.

In addition, integrating social media intelligence with enterprise marketing processes helps retailers respond quickly to new shopper needs and expectations. A customer relationship management (CRM) solution integrates front- and back-office processes, helping increase cross-selling and up-selling giving sales personnel more time for shopper interaction. With a CRM solution, comments made in the social media realm can be funneled through a retailer's system as context into a shopper's history. Such functions can generate a sales ticket automatically prompting the appropriate line of business to engage individuals when required, whether it's to resolve an issue, provide new information, or distribute loyalty rewards. On the flip side, retailers are immediately alerted to and can capitalize on negative comments being made about a competitor by quickly issuing coupons or other incentives to disgruntled individuals.

The ability to successfully manage every aspect of the shopper experience requires a unified IT architecture that brings information together for better use across the enterprise. While a silo approach can provide initial value, multiple "best of breed" solutions can hamper organizational effectiveness as the social media enterprise matures. What's needed is a comprehensive, flexible, and readily extensible industry-specific business solution that can grow as a retailer grows to help ensure its sustainability. Robust analytics for analyzing shopper data captured in the social media realm are also of paramount importance. This requires a consistent strategy for managing master data that a retailer can collect and summarize from information gathered across Web channels, call centers, e-mail contacts, and face-to-face interactions.

The possibilities are endless in this brave new world for retailers ready to capitalize on the social media phenomenon to stay at the forefront of the competition and clearly demonstrate to their shoppers that they come first.


More Technology News


News Archives

[ [ Home ] . [ POS Hardware ] . [ POS Software ]. [ Security & ID]. . [ News ]. [ About Us ] . [ Clients ] . ]