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Industry News - October 21st 2011



Giant Eagle Offers Instant Location-Based Rewards in 228 Stores

Giant Eagle is the first supermarket to partner with location-based mobile shopping application Shopkick. The retailer is launching an app called Kickbacks, which rewards customers with "kicks" — Shopkick's reward currency redeemable for items including gift cards, song downloads and Facebook Credits — for buying featured items on the Shopkick app at any of Giant Eagle's 228 locations.
"We believe that Shopkick's location-based shopping app is a valuable addition to our growing array of mobile customer offerings, led by our Giant Eagle app and eOffers digital coupon program," says Rob Borella, spokesperson for Giant Eagle. "Much like our Feulperks! and Foodperks! customer loyalty programs, Kickbuys are another unique way for customers to be rewarded for choosing to shop in our stores."
When shoppers download the Kickbacks app, they simply enter their Giant Eagle Advantage Card number once are immediately begin to be rewarded for purchasing specific products from initial brand partners Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods and Unilever. Rewards are earned when the products are purchased using the Giant Eagle loyalty card at checkout.

JCPenney Draws Customers with Liz Claiborne Acquisition

JCPenney is working on a new plan that will affect customers and vendors. Though the department store did not release specific details of the plan, JCPenney did reveal it will not adopt an everyday low-price model similar to Walmart's. Recognizing that it is extremely difficult to compete with Walmart in EDLP, JCPenney could be aiming for more of a hybrid high/low price strategy with its recent acquisition of Liz Claiborne.
JCPenney acquired Liz Claiborne's brand portfolio for $288 million in cash, including an advance of $20 million in exchange for the company's agreement to develop exclusive brands for JCPenney. Under the terms of the agreement, JCPenney will acquire the worldwide rights and intellectual property for the entire Liz Claiborne brand portfolio and Liz Claiborne must change its name within the next 12 months.
JCPenney is known for discounting prices and holding sales throughout the year to compete with its competitors. While this strategy draws bargain-hunting shoppers to drive sales and store traffic, the acquisition of Liz Claiborne is expected to help the retailer cater to customers who are high-price spenders, and in turn boost sales.
"The performance of the Liz Claiborne and Claiborne brands at JCPenney have consistently exceeded our high expectations," says Myron E. Ullman III, chairman and CEO of JCPenney.

Waffle House Launches Locator Apps

With over 1,600Waffle House restaurants scattered across America, the Waffle House iPhone and Android locator applications will direct customers to the closest restaurant and keep them connected with the Waffle Nation.
"The apps are really an extension of the most popular page on our website, the restaurant locator," says Katherine Wrobleski, Waffle House Social Media Specialist. "Our regulars are the best, and they already know what they like to eat.  We just need to help them get to their favorite restaurant!"
Both applications have similar user interfaces and include links to the Waffle House Facebook page, Twitter page, recently-launched mobile website and a sign-up for the popular Waffle House Regulars Club. Regulars who sign up for the club receive monthly coupons and Waffle House updates via e-mail.
The iPhone application officially launched in the iTunes store this June and currently boasts a four-star rating.  
"After the iPhone app launch, we saw there was a demand for an Android app, and we never want to disappoint our regulars, so we got to work on developing a similar app for the Android community," says Wrobleski.
The Android application officially launched in the Android Market on October 10, 2011.  Both applications are free and are updated regularly to reflect new locations. The iPhone and Android applications were developed in partnership with California-based location marketing firm, Where 2 Get It, Inc.


Joie de Vivre Selects Tokenization Solution to Protect Credit Card Data

Joie de Vivre, which manages the largest collection of boutique hotels in California and an assortment of restaurants and spas, will implement Merchant Link’s tokenization solution to protect the credit card data of its guests across 27 of its locations.  Merchant Link is a leading provider of cloud-based payment gateway and data security solutions.
Merchant Link will deploy its hosted, card-based tokenization solution across the Joie de Vivre enterprise, including the hotel property management systems and the spa point-of-sale systems, ensuring that every transaction is tokenized and there is an extra layer of protection that will protect Joie de Vivre’s brand. 
“We pride ourselves on being innovative and offering exceptional hospitality services and products to our customers,” said Michael Stano, Joie de Vivre’s vice president of technology. “Our commitment to excellence extends even further by offering safe and secure financial transactions for our customers so they can enjoy their experience without worrying about the safety of their payment information.  And we have the peace of mind knowing that sensitive data doesn’t live on our network.”
Joie de Vivre, a long time customer of Merchant Link, will use TransactionVault™, a tokenization technology that removes customer card data from merchants’ systems where it is most at risk of being compromised by hackers. By tokenizing every transaction throughout the entire hotel experience from check-in to purchases at the gift shop and more, Joie de Vivre can remove payment data from all points in the payment process.  This data will instead be stored in Merchant Link’s secure, hosted “vault,” and therefore effectively lowering the cost and effort of attaining and maintaining PCI compliance.


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