Walgreens, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Retail Localization

Massive Walgreens About to Open in Boston’s Downtown Crossing

Walgreens is about to open a larger-than-normal store in the Downtown Crossing section of Boston. According to Bostinno, the nearly 25,000 square foot store will have everything from carry-out lunch to traditional groceries.

Walgreens, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Retail Localization

From the article:

It will be open 24-hours. For those late-night and early morning needs.

Come in for paper towels, walk out with lunch. The store will offer grab-and-go wraps, sandwiches and salads made fresh daily. There will also be grocery items and a frozen food section.

Or, go raw at the sushi and sashimi bar. Getting fish from a drugstore may seem strange, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

Juice is all the rage, and the new Walgreens boasts a juice and smoothie bar to help you achieve your daily intake of fresh fruit.

Because you can never have enough fro-yo, there will be self-service frozen yogurt dispensers inside the Walgreens, allowing patrons to load up on treats while getting their prescriptions filled.

Millennials Shopping, Down Economy, Shopper Marketing

Even in a Down Economy, Millennials Still Like to Spend Money

According to Retail Customer Experience, the National Retail Federation analyzed survey data from an April Consumer Survey.

Millennials Shopping, Down Economy, Shopper Marketing

A few points of note included:

  • 50% of millennials polled said they are spending less as a result of the economy, slightly less than the 56 percent of average adults.
  • 25% of millennials are spending time finding the best deals online, slightly less than the three out of 10 Americans overall.
  • 20% say they are spending less on apparel, compared to the 32 percent of other adults. Recent studies confirm that this generation has a high propensity to spend on apparel, and this certainly helps paint that picture.

From the article:

The data revealed that 89.5 percent of young adults feel the economy is affecting their spending plans in some way. But despite having a higher unemployment rate, 18- to 24-year-olds are less likely to pull back their spending due to the economy, said Dianne Kremer, senior analyst at Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“Being less likely to carry the financial burden of a mortgage or the responsibility of children, coupled with being happier with the current administration in Washington, young adults are significantly more likely to have a ‘live for today’ mentality when it comes to opening their wallets. Though it’s uncertain, these consumers remain more confident in the future health of the U.S. economy,” she said.

Samsung Experience, Best Buy, Retail Localization

Samsung Experience Shop Opens in NYC Best Buy

With nearly 1,400 store-within-a-store concepts slated to be opened by early June, the Samsung Experience store opened this week in the Union Square Best Buy this week. This store represents one of close to 900 such stores to open between now and May, according to PC Mag.

Samsung Experience, Best Buy, Retail Localization

From the article:

“This opening of the Samsung Experience Shop at Best Buy is a key illustration of the Best Buy Renew Blue strategy,” CEO Hubert Joly said at today’s event. “This is a very meaningful development from the customer standpoint. It is an opportunity to touch, feel, and learn about great products and how they work together.”

Joly addressed the crowd from a large and prominent corner of the store that has been transformed into a Samsung-only area where the South Korean manufacturer can showcase its lineup of phones, tablets, laptops, and accessories.

The partnership began about five months ago, when Joly met with Samsung CEO JK Shin to discuss a future together.

“Best Buy wanted to truly showcase the world’s most popular products, and Samsung wanted a partner that could deliver an inviting customer experience in every corner of the United States,” Shin said Wednesday. The new Samsung Experience Shop offers what he called a “unique opportunity, providing customers place to explore, purchase, activate, and service.”

ecommerce-walmart-amazon

World’s Biggest E-Commerce Battle Could Boil Down To Vegetables

A former online bookseller and one of the largest brick-and-mortar chains will soon battle it out for e-commerce supremacy. Amazon and Walmart are about to go toe-to-toe to see who reigns supreme. According to an article on Forbes, Walmart clearly dominates in the retail arena, but pales in comparison to Amazon when it comes to the web. Does that give Amazon an advantage when it comes to e-commerce? It might not at the moment, but it could soon.

ecommerce-walmart-amazon

From the article:

According to Nielsen, e-commerce will gain more ground than any other segment of the retail industry by 2017, with a compound annual growth rate of 11% each year. Supercenters of the kind pioneered by Wal-Mart come in second, with their growth rate projected at only about half that of web shopping.

Wal-Mart is doing all it can to catch up with Amazon online, copycatting some of the Seattle retailer’s most successful tactics.

They’re trying out lockers, one of Amazon’s hallmarks, allowing shoppers to order items online and pick them up in stores — crucial for the Wal-Mart demographic, a quarter of whom reportedly do not use debit or credit cards or even have a bank account.

They’re dabbling in same-day delivery and even going a step further than Amazon by attempting to crowdsource package drop-off among customers. They’re investing in web technology to improve both their site’s appearance and ease of navigation.

What else can Wal-Mart possibly do to win the web? Nielsen’s Todd Hale has one answer. “E-commerce is growing at 11% a year, but sales for consumer packaged goods online — food, groceries, everyday items — are more like high double digits, almost 20%,” said Hale, SVP of consumer and shopping insights. “This is the space Wal-Mart has to go after: perishable items. That’s where they need the infrastructure.”

Walmart mobile app, retail localization

Walmart’s New App Shows Real-Time Inventory Updates

Starting this summer, Walmart employees will be able to see real-time updates of inventory levels on their store shelves with the help of a new mobile app. According to RIS News, the tablet-enabled app allows employees to do everything from ensuring displays are set up correctly to printing missing labels.

Walmart mobile app, retail localization

From the article:

The Supplier Portal Allowing Retail Coverage (SPARC) app, developed by Walmart digital partner Rockfish, was piloted in 28 stores in four markets over the last several months with major suppliers including L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Unilever and ConAgra, according to published reports. It was introduced at a Walmart supplier conference last month.

Vendors and third-party merchandisers who receive appropriate training on the app will no longer need to get assistance from Walmart store associates armed with Telxon tracking devices to perform basic in-store functions.

“Suppliers often visit our stores to check on their products,” Walmart spokesperson Ashley Hardie told Arkansas’ The City Wire. “Allowing them access to on-the-spot information through the app on their smartphone increases efficiency and allows for real-time decisions – and in retail, speed is important.”

Ann Taylor Carbon Emissions Reduction, Shopper Marketing

Ann Taylor Reaches Emissions Goal Three Years Early

According to Chain Store Age, Ann Inc., the parent company of Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft, has reached their emissions reduction goal three years earlier than expected. Their goal was to reduce carbon emissions by 8% per square foot of their retail space.

Ann Taylor Carbon Emissions Reduction, Shopper Marketing

From the article:

The to-date reductions in carbon emissions were achieved through the implementation of key programs ranging from the installation of in-store energy-efficient lighting to behavioral change campaigns for associates.

“We’re thrilled to surpass this goal earlier than expected,” said Kay Krill, president and CEO, Ann Inc. “It was not an easy task, but investing in new programs, coupled with the power of our passionate associates, have helped us get there.”

The company devised an ACE program (Ann Conserves Energy) that has trained more than 18,000 store associates on energy efficiency best practices and behaviors, including lighting, equipment and temperature control settings. In 2012, Ann Inc. installed more than 50,000 LED light bulbs in almost 400 stores; the flagship Times Square store in New York City was also outfitted with energy-efficient LEDs, and the store’s 12,000-light-bulb marquee now uses one quarter of the energy that it used when it was first installed.

shopper marketing, the future of retail

The digital future of retail

The traditional retail model that we currently know is about to undergo a major paradigm shift. According to an article on Retail Customer Experience summarizing “The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business For The New Age of Consumerism,” by RCE blogger Doug Stephens, big data, increased processing power, and hyper-connectedness will lead the way to a new digital future in retail.

shopper marketing, the future of retail

From the article:

The future will see consumers move between anywhere convenience and only-here experiences. Increasingly it will not be the consumer who travels to the store, but the products that travel to the consumer in a completely seamless, serendipitous and relevant way. Consumers will regulate their interests, control their privacy and dictate many of the terms of engagement. And if a brand doesn’t like it, consumers will simply move down the list until they find a one that does.

And where will all this stuff we’re buying on the fly be delivered? Well, players like Amazon and 7-Eleven are already testing drop boxes in select 7-Eleven locations, allowing for seven-day-a-week deliveries that consumers can pick up at their convenience. And UK’s ShopBox has developed lockable, refrigerated containers that are placed outside the home to hold deliveries of just about anything, including perishables.

This is not a shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce—it’s much broader than that. In fact, as we as consumers, gradually become the destination, we’ll stop discerning so much between online and offline retail. Channels of distribution won’t matter. Goods and services will simply come to us, or wherever it’s convenient. Or, when we are given the promise of a memorable, one-of-a-kind live experience, we’ll visit a store.

In time, there will be very few consumer decisions in our lives that our digital assistants won’t be able to help us navigate, and this navigation will not always lead us to a retail transaction in the classical sense.

Walmart, Sustainability, Retail Localization

Walmart’s Commitment to Sustainability

From their Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting on Monday, Walmart reinforced their commitment to creating more sustainable stores and infrastructures. According to Chain Store Age, Walmart has their eyes set on being 100% energy independent.

Walmart, Sustainability, Retail Localization

From the article:

Walmart’s six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two U.S. fossil fuel power plants. Based on external estimates of projected energy costs and other factors, the two new commitments are anticipated to generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented.

The company said it will also avoid 9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road, in effect halting the growth of GHG emissions from the company’s largest GHG source – energy used to power buildings – by 2020.

For the first time, the company is projecting this GHG decrease even with significant anticipated growth in stores and sales.

“When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth,” Duke said. “Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks. Our leadership in this area is something our customers can feel good about because the result is a cleaner environment. And savings we can pass on to them.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Motorola Phablet

Is Motorola Planning to Launch a “phablet”? Google’s Eric Schmidt Hints

Since being acquired by Google, Motorola is stepping back into the tablet game, at least according to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. In an article on TabTimes covering D: Dive into Mobile, Schmidt reportedly announced that a Motorola “phablet” could be launched to the public “sooner rather than later.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Motorola Phablet

From the article:

Prompted further on what these devices could be, Schmidt wasn’t giving much away, although his answer would perhaps suggest Motorola is working on a phablet to challenge Samsung’s Galaxy Note.

“Think of it as phones-plus,” replied the Google chairman.

Prior to Google’s $12.5 billion takeover in May last year, Motorola had been busy experimenting with a number of designs which somewhat blurred the lines between smartphone and PC.

One such design, called the Atrix, debuted at CES 2011 and comprised a smartphone and an optional laptop dock. The Android smartphone could be docked into the display (via USB or HDMI), and this would see the display show whatever was on the smartphone. The display would also source its power from the handset.

Walmart Self-Checkout, shopper marketing

Retail’s new industrial revolution

Walmart will install 10,000 self-checkout lanes in its stores this year. The reason? Every second lost at the register costs the company tens of millions of dollars, a hole in the dam they are hoping to plug. According to Retail Customer Experience, while technology is not going to replace all jobs, the truth of the matter is that it eventually will completely replace some.

Walmart Self-Checkout, shopper marketing

From the article:

But there’s a bright side.

It’s that for the first time in about 40 years, there’s also a reviving market in retail for truly talented, creative and remarkable people. People whose work adds significant texture, vibrancy and human connection to the retail experience. People who are believers in the brand values, super-users of their products and co-creators who love to help their customers imagine and personalize solutions. True brand ambassadors.

Some retailers already seem to understand this. REI, The Container Store, Sephora, Bloomingdales and a handful of others seem to get it. They realize that their people aren’t just a cost item on the P&L but rather the spiritual glue that can make their brands truly sticky and loved. They understand that in a world of commodities, human emotional connection is the intangible value that can and must differentiate them.

But spinning yarns about cashiers taking the corner office isn’t going to get us anywhere. This is no longer a debate about the opportunities that do or don’t exist for hard working, underpaid retail workers. Let’s call it what it really is. It’s the end of the era in which retail workers are paid to punch buttons, enter numbers and count widgets — and no amount of nostalgia will reverse that.