Samsung-Singapore-Concept-Store

Will Samsung’s Retail Stores Cause Any Grief for Apple?

Samsung is hoping their aggressive new retail concept store, dubbed the Samsung Experience Store, will be a hit. According to PSFK, Samsung is hoping to build on the success of the Apple retail store design, and pilfer some of their customers in the process.

Samsung-Singapore-Concept-Store

From the article:

Samsung has clearly studied the Apple’s retail store layout and design philosophy. You can see influence of it in the open floor plan, uncluttered space and use of light and glass. OMA say that the space is organized in to several zones. Occupying much of the left side of the store is the IM Convergence zone and the Family/Kids Apps zone provide lively settings for both adults and children to experience the products. The A/S zone provides a comfortable space where problems with mobile devices can be diagnosed and fixed. There is also a casual seating lounge and coffee bar where customers can tailor-make their own cups of coffee through an App.

The open environment is meant to allow customers to feel free to wander and demo the products on display whether they intend to make a purchase or not.

Along the right side of the store is the Galaxy Super Wall made of a combination of flip dot panels and large format display screens. Customers moving through the space are translated into a digital art piece using the flip dot panels. The display wall hosts product information content and demos.

nike-fuelband

Is Nike planning to copy Apple’s success in the App store?

You might not think that the world’s largest athletic apparel company would have any need to play catch up with Apple’s App store, but guess again. According to Wall Street Cheat Sheet, Nike might be doing just that in attempt to attract developers to expand the popularity and use for their FuelBand.

nike-fuelband

From the article:

Nike and Apple have long had a close relationship since Apple CEO Tim Cook also serves on the board of directors at Nike. Now the sports accessories company is hoping that some of Apple’s technology mojo will rub off on its effort to create a popular ecosystem of apps around its FuelBand product.

Some analysts feel that Nike may have already missed its opportunity in this field. In 2006, Apple and Nike collaborated on creating Nike Plus, an activity monitoring device that synched with the iPod. However, Nike failed to build on its initial popularity and athletes who adopted the device soon migrated to other companies’ products that utilized a more accurate global-positioning system.

However, Nike is taking steps to avoid the mistakes of its previous tech product ventures. In 2010, it created a separate digital sports division to focus solely on its tech-centered products.

Motorola Solutions Innovation Showcase, Retail Localization

The Newest Innovations from Motorola Solutions

At Motorola Solution’s annual Innovation Showcase this week, they showed off some new technologies that are in their pipeline. According to the Daily Herald, this includes new inventory management systems for retail and other enabling technologies to benefit the larger retail vertical.

Motorola Solutions Innovation Showcase, Retail Localization

From the article:

The global company has been promoting its vast array of technology for government and public sector customers as well as for retailers here and worldwide, including most recent trips to Paris and even the Gobi Desert, Steinberg said.

As for the retail setting, store managers can get instant results on inventory by installing a RFID, or radio frequency identification, overhead reader that looks much like a light fixture. It instantly picks up on codes in tags that are attached to clothing. The fixture regularly reads where the item is and whether it’s still in the store, being purchased or being carried out the door.

A large concierge touch screen offers consumers a chance to find the item they need, buy it, slide their credit card in an attached device, read more about the item or scan reviews, and even get a live person to ask questions. If you don’t want to use the screen’s keyboard to touch type the words in, you can use voice commands to call up your item.

The concept is designed for the so-called “endless aisle,” a term used for retailers who may have limited space in their bricks-and-mortar store but endless space available online to feature all other products for sale via the self-service touch screen.

Huber Joly, Best Buy

Best Buy CEO Stands Out At First Annual Meeting

While many did not think he was worth the price Best Buy paid for him, new CEO Hubert Joly stood out at his first annual meeting with investors. According to the Star Tribune, Joly’s short, succinct, and direct answers were met with positive reactions from investors.

Huber Joly, Best Buy

From the article:

His back-to-basics approach has ultimately won over shareholders, as they voted to approve his compensation in a nonbinding “Say on Pay.” The retailer said Thursday that a preliminary count of ballots showed that 83 percent of shareholders said “yes” on Joly’s compensation.

The approval comes despite the objection of Institutional Shareholders Services (ISS). The prominent firm, which advises shareholders on proxy matters, recommended a “no” vote, partly due to its argument that Joly’s $20 million in stock and cash wasn’t linked to any future performance goals. Best Buy officials, however, say they needed to pay Joly the package to compensate him for the money he lost when he left Carlson to join the retailer.

Joly’s appeal has been his Renew Blue strategy: Best Buy doesn’t necessarily need to re-invent the wheel so much as it needs the wheel to roll more smoothly. The retailer needs to devote more space in stores to higher-growth products and its website needs to convert more visitors to paying customers. The company’s distribution centers need to supply merchandise to both stores and online customers.

“It sounds like common sense, but is meaningful,” Joly said.

So far, so good: Sales have stabilized, expenses are down, and the stock price has more than doubled since last December.

“Joly deserves a lot of credit for the plan they have put into place,” said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst with Edward Jones Investment in St. Louis. “He has done a good job ­training the employees and ­trying to understand the customer better. He has been open to shareholders, doing a good job at communicating with them.”

Retailers spending money on expansion and technology

Many Retailers are Ready to put down Serious Money on Technology

In an effort to spur capital growth, many retailers are planning to spend some serious money to boost technology and expansion within their organization. According to Retail Customer Experience, despite the down economy, retailers see these investments as ways to move forward and adapt to the new retail climate.

Retailers spending money on expansion and technology

From the article:

Most executives (85 percent) expect capital spending will increase or remain the same over the next year. When asked where they will increase spending most, executives most frequently cited geographic expansion (61 percent), information technology (IT) (40 percent), and advertising and marketing/branding (24 percent).

“Technology is paramount to driving growth and enhancing customer engagement for retailers,” said Mark Larson, KPMG global retail leader. “With consumer behavior, spending and demographic profiles changing rapidly, it is absolutely critical that companies take an omnichannel approach to engage consumers, utilizing all the platforms at their disposal, including brick and mortar, online and mobile.”

In fact, when asked which technology-related trends are having a significant impact on retail businesses, executives most frequently cited social media (71 percent), mobile and online shopping (52 percent), and mobile and online promotions and coupons (51 percent). Additionally, the 71 percent of executives who say their companies are using social media to reach more customers and explore new ways of doing business is up significantly from 58 percent in last year’s survey.

Macy's Store-based fulfillment, shopper marketing

Macy’s Brings Fulfillment to 500 Stores Nationwide

Never content to rest on their laurels, Macy’s has begun to roll out capabilities to fulfill orders directly from 500 of their stores nationwide. According to Chain Store Age, Macy’s will also undergo a new training initiative for their employees to combat well-informed omnichannel shoppers.

Macy's Store-based fulfillment, shopper marketing

From the article:

Prompted by customers’ desire to place orders in store when sizes and colors were unavailable, in 2011 Macy’s piloted omnichannel fulfillment capabilities in 23 stores. While this was a complicated project, according to CEO Terry Lundgren, it proved so successful that the retailer expanded to 292 locations in the past 12 months. Current plans are to expand fulfillment capabilities to 500 stores, which will serve a “very, very large percent of our customer demand base,” said Lundgren. “We’re no longer going to need fulfillment centers anymore,” Lundgren said. “We’ve got 800 of them, and they’re called Macy’s stores, or 37 of them are called Bloomingdale’s stores.”

Early technology investments have been critical to maintaining profit margins in the context of expanding these fulfillment capabilities. “We’ve been investing in technology very aggressively all along to ensure that the algorithms are choosing where to pull the inventory from, based on avoidance of markdowns,” said Lundgren.

Microsoft Windows Store within a Store concept in Best Buy, retail localization

Microsoft Windows Stores Coming to Best Buy

Microsoft is planning to open Windows store-within-a-store concepts at over 500 Best Buy locations nationwide. According to Chain Store Age, the stores will open in late June and stay open until September.

Microsoft Windows Store within a Store concept in Best Buy, retail localization

From the article:

“The Windows Store creates the kind of retail destination we all want to shop in, combining great selection, the latest technology, the best service and the lowest prices,” said Jason Bonfig, VP of computing for Best Buy Co., Minneapolis. “What our customers will see in these 600 stores is something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy.”

The shops will range in size from 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,200 sq. ft., and will showcase a broad range of Microsoft products and accessories, including software and hardware along with the Windows Phone portfolio.

The initiative comes some two months after Samsung Electronics unveiled plans to install its brand shops in more than 1,400 Best Buy stores this year. Best Buy also has dedicated Apple shops in its stores.

In an Associated Press report, Belus Capital Markets analyst Brian Sozzi said Microsoft shop initiative “absolutely makes sense,” and he expects more store-within-store formats at Best Buy.

sony-store-showrooming

Sony, Sprint executives to talk showrooming at August retail summit

With the understanding that showrooming is not going away anytime soon, executive from Sony and Sprint plan to discuss ways to make showrooming work for retailers in the upcoming Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit. According to Retail Customer Experience, showrooming has been met with fear by retailers in the past, this does not have to be the case.

sony-store-showrooming

From the article:

“Showrooming is on everybody’s mind, but we want to show retailers how turn it around and make it a positive thing,” said James Bickers, editor of Retail Customer Experience and producer of the Summit. “We want to suggest, and show our attendees, that having a connected shopper is actually a set of opportunities to do some extraordinary things, things that can drive loyalty in a very real way.”

The session will also feature insight from Jeff Fromm, founder of the ad agency Barkley and an expert on marketing to Millennials — the demographic that has largely driven the showrooming phenomenon.

The Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit, which takes place August 13-14 at the Hard Rock San Diego, is an intense day-and-a-half of education and networking. Other topics at this year’s summit include Big Data and retail, trends in global retailing, customer service training, mobile payments and more. Registration is now open.

RSL-apparel-shopper-marketing

The Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group is now 18 members strong

With a goal of reducing harmful chemicals and other products in athletic apparel and equipment, the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group has continued its mission while incorporating brands such as Adidas, Gap, Levi’s and Nike. According to Supply Chain Brain, the group is now putting together seminars on best-practices in chemical management.

RSL-apparel-shopper-marketing

From the article:

Since its founding, AFIRM has met semi-annually, hosted hundreds of calls and assembled multiple task forces to identify and solve various RSL issues, including hazardous substance identification, appropriate analytical test methods and limits, laboratory performance evaluation, new regulatory requirements and best practice in education and engagement of supply chains.

AFIRM released the first version of its RSL Supplier Implementation Toolkit in 2008, a collection of resources to help suppliers understand restricted substances and implement their own factory management plan to gain control over the substances used in their raw materials. To date, AFIRM has hosted five RSL seminars across Asia to directly engage and present RSL management techniques to over 2,400 suppliers.

The AFIRM Supplier Toolkit has been well received by industry, member and non-member supply chains alike. It can serve as a reference tool for those organizations experienced in chemicals management or those new to a more hands-on chemical management approach. The toolkit was designed for a broad range of users, having both technical reference information and general guidance around best practice.

Home Depot Revamps Supply Chain Operations

Home Depot puts Renewed Focus on Supply Chain

With the expectation that the U.S. housing market is slated for a sharp rebound, Home Depot is investing serious capital in restructuring their supply chain operations, according to an article on Chain Store Age.

Home Depot Revamps Supply Chain Operations

From the article:

Executives from The Home Depot told attendees at an analyst meeting in New York on Monday that the company is focusing on improving its supply chain and Internet operations and expects a moderate recovery in the U.S. housing market. Roughly $450 million of Home Depot’s $1.5 billion capital spending budget for the current fiscal year is slated for IT projects.

In addition, Home Depot is also attempting to improve store productivity and is piloting five paint stores in the Chinese market.