Finish Line and Macy's, Store within a store, retail localization

Macy’s to open 450 Finish Line shops-in-shops

Macy’s Inc said on Friday that Finish Line Inc would be its exclusive athletic footwear partner, opening shops in more than 450 of the company’s department stores.

Finish Line and Macy's, Store within a store, retail localization

The deal comes as department store chains race one another to build out “shops-in-shops,” which offer more elaborate presentations of top brands and turn each store into something of a mall.

Macy’s archrival J.C. Penney Co Inc is in the middle of turning 700 of its 1,100 department stores into a collection of 100 boutiques by 2015 and is planning to beef up its offering of products by Finish Line competitor Nike Inc.

Longer term, the Macy’s deal should boost Finish Line’s sales by $250 million to $350 million a year, the companies said in a joint statement. Finish Line, which will also have a presence on Macy’s website, will keep the sales and corresponding profits, minus a licensing fee for the department store chain.

Finish Line will operate more than 450 locations as leased departments starting in the spring. For about 225 Macy’s stores that sell shoes, Finish Line will manage the athletic shoe assortment and inventory, also beginning in the spring.

[via Reuters]

Build-a-Bear store redesign, retail localization, shopper marketing

Build-A-Bear Workshop unveils new, interactive store design

Build-A-Bear Workshop has unveiled its new store design, at West County Center in St. Louis. The store is one of six locations that the company will open this year in select U.S. markets. The interactive design merges the retailer’s signature hands-on bear-making experience with innovative technology. It allows customers to personalize the bear-making process and offers them a different experience each time they visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop store.

Build-a-Bear store redesign, retail localization, shopper marketing

“Build-A-Bear Workshop invented experiential mall-based retailing 15 years ago and has been the leader in providing interactive experiences for kids of all ages,” said Maxine Clark, founder and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop. Since our inception, over 100 million stuffed animals have been made in our stores. With this new store design, we have combined the love of a teddy bear with the best of digital technology. We look forward to continuing our leadership in the interactive retail space.”

The new design features an interactive storefront that will change with the seasons, holidays, or other special events. It uses Microsoft’s Kinect technology and interactive touch elements, allowing shoppers  engage and play with the signage at the front of the store. In other new elements, shoppers can customize their furry friends with special personality attributes displayed as emoticons on an interactive table. Using Samsung’s SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense technology, shoppers can add unique traits — like cuddly, brave, silly and smart — to their red satin hearts, which are inserted inside the stuffed animals during the Stuff Me process.


[via Chain Store Age]

Pier 1, Mobile Point of Sale, Retail Localization

Pier 1 Invests in IT, Rolls Out POS

Pier 1 continues to invest its CapEx in technology and infrastructure, including e-commerce and a point-of-sale system. For fiscal 2013, capital expenditures are expected to be around $70 to $75 million, with about half allocated to stores and the other half allocated to technology and infrastructure. Among the retailer’s investments are a new POS system, an e-commerce site, a mobile site and a new loyalty rewards program in partnership with Alliance Data.
Pier 1, Mobile Point of Sale, Retail Localization
The current priority is the implementation of the POS system, which also requires back-of-house improvement to streamline infrastructure and help move processes off the mainframe. Over the past several months, the retailer has been developing and testing the new system in preparation for the launch of the pilot program in a handful of stores beginning the end of the year. Once the pilot is successfully executed, the system will be rolled out across all stores next year, with plans to begin e-commerce integration by fall of 2013. This will provide the ability to gain real-time visibility of customer activity and provide a seamless shopping experience for customers, whether in store or online.
“The real reason to switch is, number one, to ensure that the omni-channel, meaning point-of-sale and Internet business and mobile, is all seamless to the consumer,” said Charles Turner CFO for Pier 1 Imports on a recent call with investors.
One of the largest and most complex projects for Pier 1 has been the new e-commerce-enabled, fully redesigned website. The transformation and successful launch have been viewed as a major milestone for the retailer, which positions the business to grow into a multi-channel organization.
[via RIS News]
Shopper Marketing, happy shoppers, survey

54% of shoppers rate physical stores as most preferred channel

As women age, they find the shopping experience less enjoyable, according to a survey by global design consultancy Fitch. The study finds that the most fulfilled female shopper is between 16 and 24 years of age, suggesting that shops are designed for the young.

Shopper Marketing, happy shoppers, survey

“There is a big opportunity for retailers to redress the balance and improve all our shopping experiences — which is better for business and better for shoppers,” said Tim Greenhalgh, chief creative officer office, Fitch.

The Fitch 2012 Joy of Shopping study, which surveyed more than 7,000 people worldwide, also reveals that bricks and mortar stores are in no danger of going away soon. Fifty-four percent of respondents rated physical stores as the most preferred shopping channel, while 30% preferred the web. Mobile apps scored highest with 13% of consumers, and social media with 7%,

At the same time, the report noted the encroaching impact that the Internet is having on shoppers’ preferences, particularly in the emerging markets of India, China and Brazil. The web is seen to be significantly more important in these markets than in more mature markets, according to the study.

In other results:

  • The British are the most unhappy shoppers in the world, with only 21% claiming to enjoy shopping.
  • The Chinese are most enthusiastic shoppers, with 55% enjoying shopping.
  • By category, the highest levels of enthusiasm were found in electronics, with 43% of consumers calling themselves as very enthusiastic, while 40% enjoy the experience.
  • When it comes to shopping for fashion, 37.4% are enthusiasts and 51.9% enjoy it. Thirty-nine percent and 46.3% respectively regard themselves as enthusiastic and/or enjoying the activity of grocery shopping.

[via Chain Store Age]


Consumers name Five Guys favorite burger chain

For the second straight year, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out Burger were named the No. 1 and No. 2 favorite quick-service burger chains in Market Force Information’s survey of American consumers.


Market Force polled 7,600 people in August, asking them to identify their favorite restaurant chains in six categories from among dozens of choices. In the company’s first released report, focusing on the hamburger category, Five Guys and In-N-Out were the top two finishers by percentage of respondents saying the chains were their favorite, indexed by system size — the same finish as last year’s survey for all quick-service chains.

Five Guys took the top spot based on the strength of its performance across several restaurant experience attributes. The chain of slightly more than 1,000 restaurants had the highest percentage of respondents rating it as “excellent” in the categories of taste, service, cleanliness and atmosphere. In-N-Out had the highest rating for the overall-value attribute, in which Five Guys finished third.

“It points to the fact that we have so much choice as consumers,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Boulder, Colo.-based Market Force. “If you give me a great experience, I’m going to do three things that drive business: I’m going to come back, I’ll spend more when I’m there, and I’ll refer that place to my friends. That’s driving businesses like Five Guys and In-N-Out, and they’re showing that a great product and great experience can trump the lowest price points.”

[via NRN]


Shopping Trends for 2012 Holiday Season

Emerging consumer buying trends will have significant implications for retailers this holiday season, according to a new survey from Booz & Co.


In its 1,600-person survey — which polled consumers, retail store staff and retail executives to determine buying habits and potential trends for this holiday season — Booz & Co. found that in-store competitive browsing, heavy online shopping and downloaded gifts top the new shopper behaviors expected this holiday season.  The company  specifically called attention to multichannel shopping, which it said will be a core part of how consumers shop: 40% of surveyed consumers describe “showcasing” as their new shopping strategy: browsing in-store before buying online, which creates a major challenge for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Additional key findings include:

  • 52% of consumers will closely consider affordability in their shopping decisions;
  • 73% of consumers said they expect to find great deals this season, compared with 62% last year;
  • 51% of consumers reported that economic survival is a great reason for celebrating this year;
  • More than 80 million shoppers plan to purchase gift cards this season, about 4% more than last year;
  • Downloadable gifts will become a distinct and rapidly growing category this year, as 45% of consumers expect to give at least one downloadable gift (i.e., an e-book, a music download or a movie);
  • 53% of consumers intend to buy at least one luxury item (up from 41% last year), and the item is likely to be one the whole family can enjoy; and
  • Consumers are looking forward to the holiday more than last year; 53% expect to host multiple gatherings, compared with 45% last year.

“The biggest challenge this season for brick-and-mortar retailers is determining how to drive more than their fair share of ‘showcasing volume’ to their websites rather than or another competitor,” said Thom Blischok, chief retail strategist for Booz & Co. “While technology enhancements and economic uncertainty will both impact this holiday season, there is a dose of optimism compared to 2011, as people shop with a value-seeking mindset.”

[via Chain Store Age]

Disney Store, JC Penney, Retail Localization

Disney shops to open in J.C. Penney

Disney has joined the roster of brands that will be setting up shop in J.C. Penney Co., with Disney children’s boutiques opening in Penney stores next fall, Women’s Wear Daily reported.

Disney Store, JC Penney, Retail Localization

The in-store boutiques will feature products designed and sourced by Disney Consumer Products exclusively for J.C. Penney’s as well as Disney stores and theme parts, according to the report.

Women’s Wear Daily got a jump on the story and reported this morning that at least 520 J.C. Penney stores will be getting the shops in time for next year’s back-to-school season.

While J.C. Penney and other major retailers including Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Kohl’s sell Disney licensed products, the goods stocked in J.C. Penney’s Disney shops will be made by Disney Consumer Products exclusively for Penney and its own Disney stores and theme parks.

J.C. Penney chief merchant Liz Sweney told fashion industry publication WWD that the shops “will command prominent space.”

[via Chain Store Age]


Empowered consumers drive future of retail, study shows

This week in London, leading retailers are gathering for the World Retail Congress. At the center of the conversation is how the empowered consumer, or the “I-Con,” is driving retail innovation.


According to a press release from Mastercard, a new report shows that 33 percent of retailers cite customer empowerment as the leading driver of change in the industry, while 37 percent cite increased competition as retailers work harder to secure sales with the savvy customers of today.

Other findings from the report reveal the principal factors shaping the industry today:

  • Retailers are ramping up investment in new technology solutions to keep pace with customer demand: In the next year, 44 percent of retailers will offer contactless payment technologies in-store, voting this the single most important area for short-term investment.
  • But the industry feels hostage to the next game-changing technology: 34 percent believe that some yet unknown technology will be a main driver in changing customer expectations by 2020, hindering confidence in how to invest.
  • The high street remains, the future is omnichannel: 41 percent of retailers envisage they will provide mobile points-of-sale in-store by 2020, while 33 percent will provide self-service kiosks and 35 percent will use location-based technologies to attract new sales.

[via Retail Customer Experience]

Brick and Mortar Shopping not Dead, shopper marketing

Bricks and Mortar Stores Not Dead

For those who believe that ecommerce will be the downfall of the bricks-and-mortar store, you better think again, according to Toys R Us Chairman and CEO Jerry Storch.

Brick and Mortar Shopping not Dead, shopper marketing

Check out Multichannel Merchant’s Facebook page for more videos and and original content.

In his address keynote address at the National Retail Federation’s Summit in Denver, Storch debunked the myth that Internet shopping means the demise of the brick and mortar store due to the fact that traditional retail stores just don’t make a lot of money.

“Today is a call to action to take back our manifest destiny. Retail is not dead,” Storch said during his. “Stores make money and they make a lot of money.”

If you close a traditional store in order to focus more on that ecommerce site, you are closing your doors on a core audience of brick-and-mortar shoppers, Storch said.

“While there has been much focus on online only shopping, and our own ecommerce sites have grown to a $1 billion business, the reality is that the vast majority of sales will still occur in physical stores,” Storch said.

Shipping is expensive
While shopping online is convenient, it is actually cheaper to do it in store. Ecommerce shipping, or as he called it, “Direct to Home” is much more expensive than retail stores. In fact, Storch said, the pick and pack costs that a direct-to-home ecommerce company has to endure is 1.5 to 2% higher than a brick-and-mortar store.

For those shipping freight, Storch said, it is expect it to be 30 to 40% more expensive than fulfilling that order in an actual store.

Don’t expect free shipping to automatically boost sales either, Storch cautioned, “Somehow, somewhere and someday” that shipping bill has to paid and it will be at the cost of the ecommerce company.

Bricks-and- mortar experience 
The experience inside a store just like Toys R Us trumps the environment of shopping online. “Stores have the advantage and they have the store experience,” Storch said.

Bricks-and-mortar stores are local; it offers the customer a sense of immediacy and can boost that beloved impulse buy. The traditional retailer store can give customers something etailers never can: the ability to actually touch, look and test out a product before it’s purchased.


[via MultiChannel Merchant]



French company unveils 3D merchandising software

French technology company Dassault Systèmes announced today the launch of Perfect Shelf, a tool for retailers to use 3D modeling for realistic views of retail aisles, according to a company press release.


Complete with shelves, fixtures, products, lighting and promotional materials, Perfect Shelf allows retailers to experience store layouts through the eyes of consumers. Effective product shelving is an important factor in customer experience, the company said the announcement.

“Now thanks to our 3DEXPERIENCE platform, CPG brand manufacturers and retailers can imagine and quickly deliver superior shopping experiences that simultaneously reconcile consumer’s perspective, business objectives and operations excellence,” said Monica Menghini, executive vice president of industry and marketing at Dassault Systèmes. “It will transform the way they innovate and collaborate for and with consumers, in both mature and developing markets.”

[via Retail Customer Experience]