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3M announces partnership with Hendrick Motorsports

BY CSA STAFF

A new partnership with Hendrick Motorsports has 3M off to the races. The company has signed a three-year contract to become the primary sponsor of NASCASR driver Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 car, starting in 2015.

The brand will use its sponsorship — which includes 11 Sprint Cup races every year — in product launches and promotions.

“At 3M, we play to win, and we push hard every day to do just that,” SVP global sales and marketing Jesse Singh said. “With this deal, we align with champion driver Jeff Gordon and an organization at the top of its game in Hendrick Motorsports. What they do in the garage and on the track exemplifies what we’re all about in our labs, plants and business teams around the world.”

But the sponsorship isn’t its first time dealing with NASCAR — some 65 3M products are used on race cars, and has partnered with NASCAR in various capacities since 1995.

“The range of 3M’s business is just incredible,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said. “It’s an amazingly diverse company that spends billions in research and development to continue rolling out new and innovative products. We’re already using many of them throughout the organization, and when you consider the potential for both consumer and business-to-business programs connected to our sport, the possibilities are endless.”

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mShopper stands up to Google

BY CSA STAFF

Mobile commerce platform provider mShopper is facing off with Google over responsive web design, and is driving a petition requesting an amendment to Google’s stance on the matter.

mShopper recently launched a new mStore designed to help online retailers drive conversions and improve sales using mobile devices. According to mShopper CEO David Gould, responsive web design will have an adverse effect on mStore and mobile commerce in general.

"I speak for everyone involved in the mobile commerce market segment when I say Google is quite literally impeding the growth of mobile commerce through its support of Responsive Web design. As a mobile commerce platform provider, our obsession is to help online retailers capture more traffic and convert that traffic into incremental sales," said Gould. "Google is such an amazing company. Still, they need to understand that one size doesn’t work for all. One common set of HTML, modified only by CSS just doesn’t cut it. Mobile use cases vary widely from other devices and user contexts, and the UX always needs to be optimized for the correct UX. It doesn’t work if you start with an ‘E-Commerce First’ design or a ‘Mobile First’ design. Either way, one size fits all means another side is getting short changed. This is a classic case of ‘Pareto Optimization,’ or lack thereof I should say."

The "Pareto Optimization" that Gould refers to is a finance and budgeting principle in which all aspects of a business receive equal representation while adding an incremental improvement. Basically, no one entity suffers while adding resources to facilitate another’s success, according to Gould. He explains that in the case of online commerce, the notion that one code base can facilitate the success of all three device types — desktop, tablet and smartphones — is a flawed principle since the variety of use cases of each device is dramatically different. And that’s bad news for businesses like mShopper, particularly when mobile commerce is rapidly becoming retail’s fastest growing channel.

Because mShopper focuses its product development for its industry-leading mobile commerce solution using statistics and feedback gathered from its customer base, the company says it has a direct view to the impact on conversion rates and sales. By tracking key performance metrics, mShopper can see how responsive design or poor SEO practices impact its customer conversion rates in the fast-moving world of online retail.

"Somebody has to speak up for the mobile commerce side of the online retail market, and that’s why we are organizing the petition drive," added Gould. "We need to hear the truth from as many developers, web designers and e-commerce people as possible. Responsive design can work for some sites some of the time. But it is not the answer for all people all the time. Google has really smart progressive people. I have no doubt they will jump on board once they become aware of this particular problem."

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Grocers seek competitive edge with Supervalu

BY CSA STAFF

Supervalu welcomed nearly 4,000 independent grocery retailers to St. Paul, Minn., this week for the grocery distributor’s inaugural national sales expo and trade show.

The three day event began August 12 at the RiverCentre convention center in downtown St. Paul and featured more than 20 educational sessions and more than 330 exhibitors. The objective was to present the independent grocery retailers representing more than 1,250 stores served by Supervalu the opportunity to gain valuable insights, innovative merchandising ideas and best-in-class grocery retail solutions from industry experts.

“We are thrilled to invite many of the grocery retail industry’s finest to our inaugural national sales expo,” said Janel Haugarth, Supervalu’s EVP and president of independent business and supply chain services. “Along with unprecedented opportunities to network and share best practices with their peers, the expo will offer our retailers a one-stop resource to drive sales, build loyalty and grow their businesses.”

With a theme of, “Sales 4 All Seasons,” Supervalu said the event was the company’s largest, most comprehensive selling expo to date. Exhibits featured category experts on everything from fresh produce, meat and seafood to center store, frozen, bakery and deli. Seasonal merchandise offerings, consumer packaged goods suppliers and service providers from across the country also attended to showcase solutions for Supervalu’s independent retailer base.

Supervalu is one of the nation’s largest grocery wholesalers and retailers with annual sales of roughly $17 billion. The company serves the market through a network of 3,320 stores composed of 1,805 independent stores serviced primarily by the Supervalu’s food distribution business, 1,325 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 931 are operated by licensee owners, and 190 traditional retail grocery stores.

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