How to Reduce Environmental Impact with an Optimized Merchandising Strategy

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Retail Localization Merchandising optimization

In the rush to match rising customer expectations on environmental issues, retailers’ environmental impact has been under increased scrutiny both from pressure groups and new legislation designed to reduce environmental damage from pollution, noise and development.

Many retailers have been quick to announce a host of green initiatives in a bid to enhance their corporate social responsibility programs. Most of these initiatives have been of a type that customers can readily understand, such as utilizing trucks that are more fuel efficient through improved aerodynamics and journey planning, transferring road freight to the railway and encouraging customers to adopt reusable bags.

While these initiatives make for good headlines, the actual environmental benefit from many of these programs has been fairly limited. This in turn is leading to further pressure from groups and threats of legislation being imposed. However, there is another environmental angle that has been largely overlooked — store space and assortments. Delivering the right product to the right stores in the appropriate quantities delivers significant and positive environmental benefits as well as significantly enhanced sales and customer satisfaction.


Study: In-store technology critical for growth, helping customer relationships

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In-Store Technology and Media
Retail Store of the Future

Palo Alto, Calif. — Seventy percent of retailers are empowering their employees with technology-enabled touch points to help their businesses to differentiate and evolve, according to a recent RSR Research report cosponsored by HP.

The study finds that by arming their associates with a range of technologies that provide relevant and timely information — such as digital signage, self-service kiosks, mobile devices and advanced point-of-sale systems — retailers can increase productivity and boost multichannel selling opportunities.

Other key findings in the survey of nearly 100 retail executives from around the world include:

  • Retailers see valuable support in self-service kiosks (43% ) and cross-channel customer and inventory synchronization technologies through real-time updates (70%).
  • Seventy-eight percent of retailers listed their modern POS systems as an important factor in the customer experience. Offering in-store rewards or coupons also is seen as critical (75%).
  • Fifty-seven percent of retailers believe delivering information to store-owned phones, tablets and PDAs has a lot of potential value. By contrast, in 2010, only 21% perceived these solutions as valuable.

“Customers have raised the bar, and successful retailers realize that the traditional means of educating employees and interacting with customers is no longer enough,” said Ray Carlin, VP Retail Solutions Global Business Unit, HP. “We provide a flexible store platform to help retailers deliver multichannel selling opportunities and a more engaging shopping experience.”

The research report is available for download here.

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Microsoft to Open 75 Stores in Next Two to Three Years

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Microsoft 75 retails stores

In an address Wednesday at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles, COO Kevin Turner said that Microsoft hopes to open 75 freestanding Microsoft stores within the next two to three years.

“We’re going to open up to 75 more stores over the next two to three years, and continue to bring our stores outside the U.S. as well, so we’ve got a huge opportunity to get the Microsoft story out there, and we’re going to keep driving that,” Turner said.

To date, Microsoft have opened 11 stores, in scattered locations across the country. The company made its retail debut in fall 2009.

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is a huge event, with some 15,000 from around the globe in attendance. The event is being held in Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

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First lady teams up with grocers nationwide

Courtesy of USA Today

First Lady Obama Wal-Mart Groceries
First Lady, Michelle Obama

National chains, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and SuperValu, and some regional retailers have agreed to open or expand more than 1,500 stores to bring more nutritious and fresh food to underserved communities. The companies’ executives are joining the first lady at the White House today to make the announcement.

These changes will serve about 9.5 million people and could create tens of thousands of jobs, says Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council. Currently, 23.5 million Americans — including 6.5 million children — live in low-income areas that lack stores that are likely to sell affordable and nutritious foods, she says.

As part of the efforts:

•Wal-Mart will open 275 to 300 stores in food deserts between now and 2016, and already has opened 218 stores in such neighborhoods since 2007 , says Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs. “The Walmart customer deserves to have access to healthy food at prices they can afford,” Dach says.

The expansion is part of a comprehensive push by the retailer based in Bentonville, Ark., to promote healthier eating that also includes lower prices for premium products, such as whole wheat pasta, and support for charities.

•Walgreens will expand its food offerings to including fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthful choices at least 1,000 stores.

The all-purpose chain based in Chicago has begun pilot projects at stores in its hometown and in San Francisco to sell fresh, loose fruits and vegetables, prepackaged salads and fruits as well as sandwiches and partially prepared foods that can be cooked at home, Walgreens spokeswoman Tiffani Washington.

•SuperValu will build 250 Save-A-Lot stores over the next five years in areas that have little to no access to fresh produce.

The Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as a Census tract where 33% or 500 people, whichever is less, live more than a mile from a grocery store in an urban area or more than 10 miles away in a rural area.

“We know from the research that when people live in communities that have greater access to supermarkets, they consume more foods like fresh fruits and vegetables,” Barnes says.

Penny Gordon-Larsen, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina, says, “It’s wonderful to provide greater access to underserved areas, but providing access alone may not be enough. These efforts need to be coupled with promotion, education and incentives for purchasing healthier foods.”

Courtesy of USA Today

Why Tablets Cure Retail Ills

Courtesy of RIS News

Xoom Motorola Tablet
Xoom Motorola Tablet

The computer became personal when Steve Jobs introduced the Apple Macintosh in 1984, according to Malcolm Gladwell in a recent story in the New Yorker titled Creation Myth. A case can be made this helped launch what we now call the era of consumerization of technology, where technology is liberated from technogeek functionality and democratized so anyone and everyone can easily use it.

Lightning struck again when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010. As with the desktop computer decades earlier, tablets had been round for many years. The Styalator electronic tablet with pen, for example, was developed in 1957, and the more famous RAND Tablet was invented in the early 1960s. The RAND Tablet, by the way, was priced at $18,000!

To learn more about the fascinating history of the tablet, including Apple’s first effort the Newton PDA in 1993 and the HP TouchSmart tx2 series of tablets in 2008 that included touch-screen technology, click here to read “Tablets Reshape Retail: Why Tablets Are the Ideal Tool for Customer Engagement.”

Tablets Shift the Balance of Power

Owners of tablets will represent nearly eight percent of the U.S. population by the end of the year, according to an estimate by eMarketer. Smartphones, in comparison, will reach an immensely larger share of the population, approaching 25% by the end of 2011.
But there are compelling reasons why tablets are the more significant game changer for retailers. Recent RIS surveys (bolstered by interviews with key executives) indicate that tablets are being fast tracked for retail roll out. Many companies have already purchased boatloads of iPads for headquarters staff, and the next step will be deployment to field and store managers.
But the real game changer is occurring at the store level where leading players like Best Buy, Rooms to Go and Rite Aid are exploring tablet implementations for the sales floor. The aim is to provide associates with the same amount of fire power that shoppers with smartphones have to research product specifications, comparisons, competitive pricing, special offers, and user reviews.
By using a dedicated sales tablet in-store associates get access to all of this information and much more. They can stream product demos, videos and visual representations of products in various settings. The associate can also show alternative products or product types (changing colors, sizes and styles, for example) that are not present on the sales floor.

As one retailer put it, sales associates today are essentially armed with pistols while shoppers entering stores are armed with machine guns. Tablets help level the playing field.

Courtesy of RIS News

RBM Technologies Brings Visual Retailing Application to the Cisco Cius Business Tablet

Company’s Visual Merchandising Manager Mobile Solution Helps Store Managers Execute Localized Merchandising and Marketing Campaigns

RBM Technologies Visual Retailing

RBM Technologies, the leader in complete in-store visual merchandising management solutions for retailers, today announced that it is offering its Visual Merchandising Manager(TM) (VMM) solution on the Cisco Cius(TM), a tablet purpose-built for the enterprise.

Information on the application can be found in the Cisco AppHQ(TM), an application ecosystem built specifically for the Cisco Cius that provides new ways to create, manage and rapidly deploy mobile business applications in the enterprise.

A Web-based in-store visual merchandising management solution for retailers, VMM cuts the cost of marketing promotions, and drives revenue with market-specific campaign planning and precise store level execution. VMM removes the complexity of distributing corporate direction throughout a network of stores to ensure the correct POP, kits, products and creative are delivered — and then executed — correctly. With VMM on the Cius, store managers can deliver immediate execution reporting of campaign merchandising initiatives and include photos of the executions tied to the campaign planograms. Retail management can effectively “see” exactly what the customer sees in every store.

“As our retail clients began rolling out mobile tablets for their stores, it was only natural for us to make VMM available on these devices,” commented RBM’s CEO Randy Greene. “VMM on the Cisco Cius takes our solution out from the back office and on to the sales floor to drive precise execution at the point of sale, and in a much faster and more efficient manner than ever possible before. Retail is entering a new era in which in-store mobile devices are becoming true game-changers.” Running VMM on the Cisco Cius gives retailers an unparalleled level of merchandising and marketing localization and execution, resulting in the most optimized in-store experience. Store managers can now: — Take VMM onto the sales floor to ensure walls and fixtures have been executed following appropriate guidelines — Report issues and store compliance in real time — right at the fixture — and capture photos of that fixture for validation of proper execution — Deliver training and instructional videos at the point of execution for maximum impact — Answer questions about promotions, fixtures and issues, and communicate with retail headquarters to save time and execute faster — Use Cisco WebEx embedded in the Cisco Cius to collaborate with teams directly at the site of execution For more information on running VMM on the Cisco Cius, please visit or contact [email protected].

About RBM Technologies RBM Technologies is the leader in complete in-store visual merchandising management solutions for retailers. The company’s unique web-based system cuts the cost of marketing presentations and drives revenue with market specific campaign planning and improved store level execution. Founded in 2000, RBM has helped some of the world’s largest brands including AT&T, Verizon, Harris Bank, T-Mobile, O2 and Bell Canada, transform the way they manage in-store merchandising and marketing. Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., RBM is led by a team of retail and technology visionaries who are redefining the concept of visual merchandising management through a unique set of solutions and services.

For more information about RBM Technologies, visit, call (800) 532-2468 or email [email protected].

Cisco, Cius and Cisco AppHQ are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries.

SOURCE: RBM Technologies CONTACT: fama PR Keri Bertolino, 617-986-5007 [email protected] Copyright Business Wire 2011 -0- KEYWORD: United States