Sporting goods store entertains shoppers with augmented reality

Sporting goods retailer Scheels recently installed an ArmorActive iPad kiosk in its Sandy, Utah, megastore, providing shoppers a taste of augmented reality.Augmented reality in sporting goods stores

According to a press release, the kiosk consists of an ArmorActive iPad kiosk located across from a scenic backdrop and hand-held mini green screens.

Scheels shoppers choose from a selection of digital props that will fill in the green screen after their photos are taken in front of the backdrop. The pictures can be sent to the shopper’s email or shared with friends, the announcement said. Scheels reports that 250-400 emails are being sent per day from the ArmorActive kiosk by their customers.

“This new photo experience is very popular with Scheels’ customers and a smart marketing strategy overall,” says Nick Ames, CMO of ArmorActive. “At any time, there are groups waiting to take their turn with the application. Users love playing with the iPad and sending the pictures to their friends, spreading the Scheels brand and advertising their customer experience.”

[via Retail Customer Experience]

The Future of Retail, Shopper Marketing

Retailing 2020 Report predicts swift evolution

Consulting firms Kantar Retail and PwC Network recently released the “Retailing 2020” report that looks at key factors for retailers and suppliers in an age of technological advancements, globalization and hyper-competition.

The Future of Retail, Shopper Marketing

According to an article on, the report forecasts that in the next five to eight years, consumers can look forward to disappearing checkouts, shrinking stores and hovering holograms with product information. As more people move to urban areas where quick trips to the store are the norm, consumers will shop more often and retailers will need to capitalize on impulse needs.

“People used to make shopping lists,” said Tina Wilcox, CEO and creative director at Black, a retail branding company in Minneapolis, in the article. “But now they buy something because they got an e-mail with a coupon attached, or because a retailer has faster checkout lines with handheld point-of-sale devices.”

Overall, shopping will become more frequent, with people picking up goods as needed on a daily basis at nearby stores, instead of weekly stock-up trips to a less convenient location, the article reported.

[via Retail Customer Experience]

Benetton, Retail Localization, iPad, Inventory Management

Benetton’s megastore turns to iPads to help manage its extensive inventory of colorful fashion

Retailer Benetton’s largest store uses the iPad to photo and barcode every item it stocks to help sell fashion to customers more efficiently and track sales for inventory control.
Benetton, Retail Localization, iPad, Inventory Management

The Benetton team was tired of doing things the old way.

First, employees at the Vienna, Austria-based megastore took each and every piece of clothing from its hanger and scanned its data. Then they reached for a camera to photograph every product in every color. All of it had to be stored manually by employees on the company computer.

There had to be a better process.

Last year, Christian Glöck, Benetton’s IT system administrator, came up with one. “I knew the iPad was the right tool for the job and the main reason was the camera,” he told TabTimes. “We could use the camera to read the barcode (for inventory control) and photograph the clothes.”

Glöck initially considered writing his own program for the iPad, but then turned to software developers Zimmel + Partner with the outline of a process.

He designed a structure that would allow automated transfer of data to and from the store’s merchandised management system. And he wanted pictures to be uploaded and allocated to the clothing automatically without having to enter a serial number.

He conveyed these needs to the software designers. Their solution was a combination of the database app FileMaker Go for iPad and FileMaker Pro. “It was implemented within four days,” says Glöck.

Substantial savings

The IT systems administrator says that the cost savings have been substantial. The store (which, at 4,000 square meters of sales floor carries a lot of inventory) was paying professionals 60,000 Euros per season for all its photography work. The FileMaker solution cost Benetton 3,000 Euros per season. “That’s a savings of 57,000 Euros each season,” he said.

The new inventory control/sales help program started in the spring of 2011. Staffers take photos of each piece of fashion with iPads and scan its bar code, matching them to each other.

Each article could be in five colors. “It’s not so easy to remember,” said Glöck.

This two-tiered tracking systems enables the Benetton team to know what’s in stock, what has sold and move inventory at a quicker rate. The net result is a more precise snapshot of what’s available, where—and in what size and color.

 [via TabTimes]
Starbucks Duracell Powermat, Shopper Marketing

Starbucks picks Boston for pilot test of wireless charging, in partnership with Duracell Powermat

If you’ve deemed yourself a non-essential worker and are riding out Hurricane Sandy at your neighborhood Starbucks, you may get a chance to be the first to try something new today: juicing up your phone with a wireless charging system made by Duracell Powermat.

Starbucks Duracell Powermat, Shopper Marketing

The caffeine purveyor has chosen 17 locations around the Boston area for a “limited time in-store trial for wireless charging,” in the words of Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman. “We’re building the Powermat technology into some of the tabletops, just to get a sense for how our customers will react, compared to having to plug their mobile devices into the wall.”

And if you don’t already own an accessory for your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy that allows it to soak up electricity via inductive charging — the same technology that may already be keeping your electric toothbrush powered up — Starbucks may have a few freebie and loaner connectors. “A few weeks into the test, we’ll do some in-store giveaways, and we will have some behind the counter available to loan out,” says Brotman.

The first three stores where the technology is being installed are all in the Financial District: One Financial Center, 125 Summer Street, and 101 Federal Street.

Starbucks rolled out free WiFi in all its stores two years ago, in mid-2010. While the chain hasn’t yet made the decision to roll out wireless charging everywhere, Brotman says that “customers are coming into our stores every day with mobile devices, and putting them down on the table. If they could be charging their device at the same time, then we’ve connected with that customer and met their need, maybe even before they realized they had a need for wireless charging.”

[via Boston]
GameStop Holiday Concept Store, Retail Localization

GameStop launches new holiday store concept

GameStop Corp. announced Friday it has unveiled a new store concept called GameStop Kids and will open 80 holiday stores in U.S. malls.

GameStop Holiday Concept Store, Retail Localization

GameStop Kids stores will feature an assortment of the most popular video games and accessories, toy brands and collectibles, showcased in temporary mall spaces.

The first GameStop Kids location opened Friday at the Grapevine Mills Mall in Grapevine, Texas, with all other locations opening in the coming days and weeks, according to the company.

[via Chain Store Age]

FedEx, Green Monday, Supply Chain, Shopper Marketing

FedEx Projects Record ‘Green Monday’ Shipments

FedEx expects to have its busiest day in history on Monday, Dec. 10, when it moves a projected 19 million shipments through its global ground, express and freight networks. The 10-percent, year-over-year increase will once again be driven by e-commerce feeding the FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost networks.

FedEx, Green Monday, Supply Chain, Shopper Marketing

So-called “Green Monday” falls on the second Monday of December and is one of the most lucrative days of the year for retail companies. In 2011, U.S. consumers spent $1.1bn on that day alone, according to comScore. Green Monday also traditionally kicks off the heaviest online shopping week of the year.

For the overall holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx forecasts more than 280 million shipments to move through its worldwide shipping networks. This would be a year-over-year volume increase of more than 13 percent compared to 2011 when 247 million shipments were processed.

[via Supply Chain Brain]

iPad mini, allthingsd, retail localization

iPad mini availability could be limited by supply chain issues

As has been the case with most of Apple’s recent product introductions, the company should have no problem selling as many of the new iPad minis as it can make, but there’s the rub.
iPad mini, allthingsd, retail localization

DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim says supply chain issues with Apple’s display partners could limit the initial run of iPad minis causing a longer than usual wait time for delivery.

One of the issues is that at $329, the new iPad mini is the least expensive iPad yet and could well spark a bigger than expected demand.

“The new low price point is expected to appeal to a wider audience and drive up demand. However, panel supply chain indications point to an even more than typical tightness in the market for the iPad Mini,” Shim wrote in a blog post.

Shim also said Apple is working with established partner LG Display for the panels that Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn is using to make the iPad mini. However, a new partner, AUO is having yield issues with the iPad mini’s new 7.9-inch panel.

While Samsung was Apple’s initial sole supplier for the first iPad, Shim says Apple and Samsung appear to be “winding down their relationship most likely due to the legal conflicts the two have been embroiled in recently.”

[via Tab Times]

5 restaurant chains moving beyond mall food courts

There was a time when guests could walk into most American shopping mall food courts and find the usual lineup of brands represented — but that scene is now looking different in a post-recession climate.

Some malls are pushing out national restaurant chains to focus more on local and regional brands. At the same time, some traditional food court brands are seeing the lack of development of new malls as a sign that it’s time to go elsewhere.

As a result, a number of restaurant chains that once looked to food courts exclusively are finding new opportunities outside the mall — or at least outside the food court.

5 restaurant chains moving beyond mall food courts

Rosemead, Calif.-based Panda Express, for example, was a brand that saw rapid growth in malls initially, but now the 1,500-unit chain has only about 230 mall locations. Malls are still part of the mix, but the concept is more flexible, said Thien Ho, a Panda Express spokeswoman.

“Our focus remains on obtaining quality locations in the right trade areas, whether it’s in a mall or street store,” she said.

Other brands are also hoping to find that flexibility. Wetzel’s Pretzels, for example, is growing internationally and in nontraditional domestic locations, with units in Disneyland and in Walmart stores. This year, Wetzel’s Pretzels opened its first street locations, as well as units in train stations. Deals are also in the works to go into airports.

Mall locations are “still our bread and butter,” said Bill Phelps, the pretzel chain’s co-chief executive. “For 30 years, the press has been talking about how malls are dying. But the numbers in malls are not bad at all. Regional malls are actually doing pretty well these days.

“That said,” he added, “we are expanding beyond the mall.”

The competition in food courts has gotten tougher, Phelps said, especially when some malls have more than one pretzel brand.

[via NRN]

Favorite Sandwich Chains: Panera Bread Beats Out Subway, Arby’s And Others

Sandwich chains are the subject of research company Market Force‘s latest report, which found that Panera Bread is head of the pack. Rounding out the top chains were Jason’s Deli and McAlister’s Deli, Firehouse Subs, Quiznos, Jimmy John’s, Arby’s and Subway in ascending order.

The national study surveyed more than 7,600 consumers in August, factoring in the number of locations for each chain and the favorite votes earned by each. Fourteen major national and regional sandwich and wrap chains were considered.

Of them, Subway garnered the most total votes — a predictable feat given the chain’s standing as one of the country’s largest franchises. But Panera took most the favorite votes per location, perhaps thanks in part to its successful loyalty program.

favorite sandwich chains

When it came to sandwich chains on a regional basis, Panera took the crown in all regions except the Midwest, where Jason’s Deli came in first. Quizno’s and Arby’s were only recognized as favorites in the Northeast, but failed to rank in other regions.

favorite sandwich chains

As for food quality, value and cleanliness, Jason’s was deemed best in class. Jimmy John’s got marks for best service, and Panera was lauded for its pleasing atmosphere.

FedEx Holiday Shipping, Holiday 2012

FedEx Predicting a 13% Increase in Holiday Shipping

FedEx said it expects to see a 13% increase compared to last year’s holiday season due to an explosive amount of sales predicted this year, according to a press release.

FedEx Holiday Shipping, Holiday 2012

“For the overall holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx forecasts more than 280 million shipments to move through its worldwide shipping networks,” the press release said.

FedEx said that the increase in shipping volume will be based on “retail-driven” items such as electronics, apparel, and luxury goods. FedEx’s forecast is consistent with theNational Retail Federation earlier prediction that holiday sales will rise by 4.1%.

The shipping company also said it plans to increase its holiday employees by 20,000 this year to help handle the rush in holiday shipments at FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx SmartPost.

[via MultiChannel Merchant]