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Industry News - December 31ST 2010



Avoiding the Mobile Me-too Trap: Differentiating to Win

As with the e-commerce boom, mobile retailing is the shiny new object in the room. Retailers are looking to jump on the mobile bandwagon in the belief that something—anything—is better than nothing. But mobile retailing will present a familiar set of challenges.

How do you integrate mobile as a new channel within the organization? How do you differentiate and truly own the customer experience in a cluttered environment? What role does IT play in making this happen? 

Those who approach mobile with an eye toward differentiation and customer value will be best positioned to succeed. Talking about the pillars of mobile retailing success and the pitfalls to avoid will be executives from Target, Walgreens, Tata Consultancy Services and RIS News.

The high-level panel will consist of Denise Wong, CIO of the retail division of Walgreens, Phil McKoy, vice president technology services for Target, and Pratik Pal, vice president retail and consumer goods for Tata Consultancy Services. The session will be moderated by Joe Skorupa, group editor-in-chief for RIS News and will take the stage in a Breakout Session at the NRF Big Show on Monday, January 10 from 1:45 pm to 2:45 pm in Room Hall E, 1E 14-15. This session is sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.

Pier 1 Imports, Macy's and Google to Enliven Monday's Big Ideas Sessions

The Javits Center has a big exposition hall, and it will be the venue for numerous Big Ideas on Monday, January 10. The sessions include:

 Pier 1 Imports: Technology as an Enabler of Store Performance and Operations: Sharon Leite, executive vice president for stores, and Lee Crowell, senior manager of store operations at Pier 1, discuss leveraging workforce management solutions to improve store management and profitability, including ways to achieve measurable hard cost savings.
When: Monday, 1/10/2011, 1:45 PM-2:30 PM, Room 3D05, Expo Hall

 My Macy's: The Science of Localization: Macy's shift to localized product assortments in May 2009 has successfully provided customer with a personalized shopping experience while retaining the efficiencies of a large chain, but it required significant shifts in strategy, organization, processes and systems. Steve Nevill, executive vice president of inventory management and support at Macy's, focuses on the advanced technology supporting the My Macy's program, covering areas including assortment allocation, sizing, pricing and communications.
When: Monday, 1/10/2011, 3 PM-3:30 PM, Room 3D08, Expo Hall

 In Stock Nearby: The Next Step in Shopping: Retailers can now reveal store in-stock information to consumers using Google to search for products. Paul Lee, senior product manager at Google, will discuss these and other ways retailers can better align their business with today's omni-channel shoppers.
When: Monday, 1/10/2011, 4:45 PM-5:15 PM, Room 3D05, Expo Hall

Retailers' Store Systems Priorities for 2011 Revealed at ARTS/RIS/IHL Session

Be the first to hear where retailers are prioritizing their Store Systems investments in 2011 at the release of the 8th annual RIS/IHL Store Systems Study. Held in conjunction with ARTS (Association for Retail Technology Standards), this dynamic session will not only highlight budget and store count plans for 2011 but where retailers are looking for improved functionality from their store systems investments. Copies of the study will be provided to all attendees at the session, which will take place on Monday, January 10 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 3D09, Expo Hall.

IHL Group President Greg Buzek will detail the roles mobile couponing, loyalty programs and business intelligence will play in next-generation POS. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of the effects mobile devices are having on the store systems environment.

In addition, the session will provide a detailed overview from an expert panel on the process initiatives that ARTS executive director Richard Mader and the ARTS organization are undertaking to enable more effective store systems implementations:

• Andrew Paradise, CEO of AisleBuyer, will highlight the ARTS Mobile Blueprint 2.0
• Marianne Gregory, director, Glenture Group, will highlight Version 2 of Data Warehouse Standards
• Wilson Zorn, senior enterprise architect, Adidas, will highlight how the apparel group uses business modeling to improve results.

Macy's, Tesco, Food Lion Execs Predict 2020 Consumer's Impact on Industry

Both of Monday's NRF Super Sessions will attempt the tricky task of predicting the future—both the year ahead and the decade ahead. From 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, January 10, CEOs of the parent companies of Brooks Brothers, LensCrafters and Payless Shoe Source along with Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi, will discuss "Retail's Road to Recovery: Status Report on the Global Economy."

Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Retail Brand Alliance; Matthew Rubel, chairman, CEO and president of Collective Brands; and Ian Cheshire, group chief executive, Kingfisher plc, will examine the current status of the global economic recovery and provide their outlook for 2011, highlighting the business areas retailers should focus on to best enable their potential for success in still-uncertain times.

From 9:45-10:45 a.m., the topic will be "Consumer 2020: What Lies Ahead for the Retailing Industry?" Cathy Green, president, Food Lion Family; Andrew Higginson, chief executive of retailing services and group strategy director, Tesco; and Peter Sachse, CMO of Macy's and chairman and CEO of Macys.com will be joined by Ira Kalish, global director of Deloitte Research.

The panel will paint a picture of consumers in the coming decade: a younger group, as retiring Baby Boomers spend less; using more smartphones and other mobile devices; and with more opportunities than ever before to express their opinions about retailers, products and services. Attendees will get a preview of the key demographic, technological and business trends that are likely to have an impact on retail in the 21st century's second decade.

New Apple Based POS Platform Launched

Global Bay has integrated its Apple mobile point-of-sale solution with the Demandware Commerce platform to begin offering seamless mobile POS fully integrated with e-commerce for retailers. Retailers that use the Demandware Commerce platform as the infrastructure behind their eecommerce Web sites will now be able to implement Global Bay’s patented mobile POS, inventory management, or enterprise software solutions.

“Retailers have seen the phenomenal success of the mobile POS deployment in the Apple stores and want to figure out how to they can replicate the Apple experience in their stores,” said Global Bay CEO Sandeep Bhanote. “In the past, retailers deploying mPOS have been constrained because they had to integrate with their in-store POS technology, which is costly and technically challenging. As part of the Demandware LINK community we are now providing retailers the opportunity to deploy mobile POS in a simple and cost-effective way.”

Global Bay’s retail software improves store operations by providing retailers with mobile solutions that drive in-store traffic, streamline operations, increase sales, and enhance the customer experience. The GB Mobile Platform provides a singular technology that supports all of a retailer’s mobile solution needs while leveraging current back end technology investments.
The Global Bay mPOS solution, built on the Apple iPod/iPhone platform and integrated to Demandware, enables retailers to:
  • Sell anywhere—in the store or out of the store—for goods on hand or in the distribution center
  • Empower store associates with hand-held access to all product and customer information managed in the Demandware platform
  •  Deploy online cross-sell and up-sell recommendations either based on customer information or product information in store
  • Increase selling space in the store by reducing reliance on bulky legacy POS terminals
  • Deploy “line busting” devices during flash sales or holiday seasons
“Global Bay is a market-leader in the rapidly evolving market of mobile point-of-sale solutions built on the Apple hardware platform, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our LINK community,” said Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing at Demandware. “With Global Bay’s integration to the Demandware platform, Demandware clients can now fully merge the online and offline customer experience for their consumers and empower the brand to sell anything, to any consumer, anytime and anywhere.”

Holiday Sales Up 5.5% to $584 Billion, Surpassing 2007 Totals

By Adam Blair
Early reports of 2010 holiday sales indicate retailers had their best season since the pre-Great Recession year of 2007. For the 50 days before Christmas, retail sales (excluding auto sales) rose 5.5% compared to the same period last year, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. That increase translates into total retail sales of about $583.4 billion, compared to $566.3 billion for the same period in 2007, according to published reports.

SpendingPulse, which uses MasterCard data as well as surveys of other forms of payment, reported increases in several key retail categories. Apparel sales rose 11.2%; jewelry sales climbed 8.4%, and non-jewelry luxury sales increased 6.7%. The electronics sector was a laggard, with a modest 1.2% increase over 2009.

Online sales were a particular bright spot this year, rising a projected 15.4% to $36.4 billion, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse eCommerce Index.

"If last year's holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year's is about getting back to growth," said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for SpendingPulse. "The 2010 holiday period is categorized by strong year-over-year growth in apparel and continued strength in e-commerce. We also saw a noticeable return in spending in the larger ticket items, as exemplified by the solid growth in jewelry, luxury and even the furniture category."

Several groups that track retail sales had revised their spending estimates upward in the weeks prior to Christmas. The International Council of Shopping Centers, which focuses on chain store sales, revised its November-December holiday season sales forecast upward by 0.5 percentage points on December 21, to an increase ranging from 3.5% to 4%. In mid-December, the National Retail Federation (NRF) revised its holiday forecast upward from 2.3% to 3.3% based on improvements in a range of economic indicators as well as early sales figures.

"The start to the holiday season has surpassed all expectations," said Mathew Shay, NRF president and CEO in a statement announcing the revision. "While employment data is still a concern, we are starting to see improvement in other economic indicators that support an increase in our forecast. In order to sustain this momentum for retailers and the U.S. economy, there must be a renewed focus on jobs as we enter the new year."

As Shay indicates, a continuing high unemployment rate of 9.8%, coupled with consumers' desire to avoid racking up credit card debt and gas prices of $3 per gallon on average, could make retailers' holiday sales celebrations short-lived.

Even Mother Nature said "Bah! Humbug!," with a December 26 blizzard that effectively stopped travel along the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to New England. The day after Christmas is one of the five busiest shopping days of the year, but with trains, planes and automobiles all snowbound, retailers will have to rebuild momentum with discounts and promotions to entice customers back into stores.

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