Content about In This Issue

June 25, 2014

Smashburger is getting on the right track when it comes to reducing its energy use. The fast-casual, fast-growing better-burger eatery has deployed a Web-based energy management system that helps it identify energy cost-savings while also providing a consistent level of comfort.

June 25, 2014

With buzz phrases like “omnichannel” and “customer disruption” dominating the retail conversation, landlords and tenants attending RECon 2014 in Las Vegas last May made it their mission to ensure that brick-and-mortar remains relevant. ­

June 24, 2014

More strategic. That’s how Greg Esgar, CFO of Massage Envy Spa, the nation’s largest therapeutic massage chain, sums up the evolving role of today’s CFO. Esgar joined the Scottsdale, Arizona-based business as financial chief in 2004, two years after it was founded. As part of the executive team, he helped spur the company’s growth from 17 locations to its present total of nearly 1,000 sites in 49 states. With its membership-based, monthly-fee business model, Massage Envy Spa eschews the luxury amenities and high prices of traditional day spas.

June 24, 2014

Personalization, localization, interaction, “limited edition” retail and store experience. These are the top priorities — to varying degrees — for retailers as they look to bridge the divide between online and offline retail in the physical space. Here’s a look at how it plays out in three new stores:

June 24, 2014

Fast Retailing Co.’s Comptoir des Cotonniers division has launched “Fast Shopping,” which allows European shoppers to purchase items in 20 seconds on their mobile devices via an application from Powa Technologies, London. Shoppers using the PowaTag app can scan items they see on ads in various places to make the purchase and with one click, complete the transaction and have the goods delivered to their home within 48 hours.

June 24, 2014

Cameras at the point of sale have become a routine feature of brick-and-mortar stores. They help ensure that items do not get stolen or accidentally passed through checkout lines without being scanned. But the “tale of the tape” by itself is not always obvious when it comes to detecting and preventing loss at the POS.

June 24, 2014
Manhattan Associates Momentum 2014

“We will have real-time temperature monitoring by the end of the year. Imagine what that means.”

— Tony Thompson, president and COO, Papa John’s International Inc. “It’s hard to talk to anyone at Amazon. Everything has to be automated through their site. But dispute resolutions are almost always in favor of the customer.”

June 24, 2014

It’s a common retail scenario: Last year, several sites deployed consistent schedules and set-points and also staged energy-consuming assets into groups that engaged at different times of the day. These executed measures led to significant kWh savings.

June 24, 2014

Rebates for lighting upgrades are alive and well, with rebate organizations having updated their rebate and incentive programs for 2014. Currently, 71% of the country is covered by an active commercial lighting rebate, according to BriteSwitch, Princeton, New Jersey, which helps large national companies take advantage of rebate and incentive programs that exist across the United States and Canada.

Here is a review of major rebate trends from BriteSwitch: 

June 24, 2014

After 24 years of patchwork-style growth, Wild Wing Cafe is getting serious about expansion. The chain has debuted its first-ever prototype design and, true to the brand’s roots, live entertainment is critical to the format. From the low-rise stage equipped with a special VIP entrance for musicians to an oversized video wall comprised of more than 20 screens, Wild Wing Cafe takes its motto — “Where Great Food Rocks” — seriously.

June 24, 2014

Oakley, a wholly owned subsidiary of Luxottica Group, the world’s largest eyewear company, is looking to take its performance-driven, namesake brand to the next level. On the heels of its first global marketing initiative, the company has opened a state-of-the-art flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. (Oakley operates stores under the banners of Oakley Stores, Bright Eyes and The Optical Shop of Aspen, and has a varied optics brand portfolio that includes Eye Safety Systems, Oakley, Oliver Peoples and Paul Smith Spectacles.)

June 24, 2014

Every few years, a new term enters the retail IT industry lexicon and takes firm root, even though nobody can provide an actual, definitive meaning. The latest phrase to capture the imagination of retail technology practitioners without a standard, widely accepted definition is “omnichannel commerce.” While it is generally understood that omnichannel commerce is the practice of serving customers across all available physical and digital channels, the details are still vague.

June 24, 2014

A pound of prevention (which in this case means the use of chip-based payment cards, encryption of data stored in the enterprise, and restriction of third-party network access) is not a complete cure when it comes to improved data security for retailers, according to panelists at the recent CIO Symposium at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

June 24, 2014

Athletic footwear retailer The Finish Line offers a highly seasonal assortment. When spring products started coming in from the company’s brand partners in January 2014, the chain decided to build upon its ongoing omnichannel strategy to create an experience to help boost spring customer traffic and sales.

June 24, 2014

Unlike most consumers, the retail industry doesn’t take a holiday in the summer. As we head into July, three very different retail companies are very much in the news. One has the industry all abuzz over who will be its next chief, while another has launched a pioneering employee initiative. And the newly appointed chief of the third wants to turn a cult L.A. brand into a global powerhouse. I’m fascinated by all three:

June 24, 2014

The store is generally considered to represent the “last mile” of the retail supply chain. In recent years, retailers have focused on making this final, crucial step as easy and convenient for customers as possible. The emergence of leading-edge digital technologies has allowed retailers even further opportunity to turn paying for goods into a fast, seamless process.

Following are a few examples of how retailers are reinventing how products are checked out and payments are processed.

June 24, 2014

As the key cog in the wheel of a retail chain’s financial structure, today’s retail CFOs find themselves caught in the crosshairs of senior management and stakeholders demanding maximum profit and measurable growth amid increased consolidation and tightened revenues.

But that’s nothing new. Financial chiefs have always had to balance profit and loss with expansion strategies. What has changed is that a whole host of added responsibilities has now entered the mix.

June 24, 2014

▲ Cloud computing, the remote hosting of applications on virtual platforms for on-demand, Web-based delivery, is on the fast track. Analysts estimate that during the next six years, 90% of new spending on Internet and communications technologies will be on cloud-based technologies.

June 24, 2014

▲Construction and construction costs are not an exact science: Information derived from data may be predicable; people are not.

▲ The process takes time: Construction encompasses more that just the time it takes to physically build a store. It also involves the lease-negotiating phase, drawing phases, permit phase and bidding phase.

June 24, 2014

▲ Data breaches are on the rise: Mounting an attack on retail systems has become increasingly attractive to attackers because malware can be delivered at very low cost, according to Mark Bower, VP product management and solutions, Voltage Security, a Cupertino, California, provider of data-centric encryption and tokenization.

“So it becomes very attractive to attackers to try and steal credit card and personal data they can monetize very quickly,” he added.

June 24, 2014

▲ Investing in energy conservation makes business sense: According to ASHRAE, energy is the second highest retailer operating expense. A new white paper by the Retail Leaders Industry Association (RILA) and Schneider Electric notes that recent weather extremes have increased energy costs for retailers, and the trend is expected to continue. Factor in potential electricity price increases in the near future, and increases in energy costs could be significant.

June 24, 2014

▲ Customer experience: Poorly maintained stores cost sales and dilute the brand and customer experience. Not giving facilities the funding required to keep stores clean and in good condition will impact the bottom line in that customers will shop elsewhere. Today, more than ever, shoppers have high expectations regarding the look and feel of a store, and they also have many more options from which to choose. Dirty restrooms, stained flooring, burned-out lights, poor air conditioning and the like are proven customer turn-offs.

June 24, 2014

▲ Understand the assets covered by your leases: Taken together, leases are more than just one of a chain’s largest costs — they are the largest fixed expense, and they are fixed for the long term. As a rule, individual leases average seven to 10 years.

“Understanding that is critical,” said Michael P. Glimcher, chairman and CEO, Glimcher Realty Trust, Columbus, Ohio. “For a cost so large, you should have a strong knowledge about the assets covered by your leases.”

May 2, 2014

Toward the end of 2008, it became painstakingly obvious to retailers that impulse spending was out and frugal saving was in. Faced with an imminent recession, staggering job loss and quickly depleting discretionary and savings accounts, consumers began to shift their focus to value. The impact of such a large-scale economic event and an abrupt consumer focus shift would appear to alter the fundamental realities of retail.

© 2014