Ensuring Consistent Customer Service
With more than 250 stores to manage, Dick’s Sporting Goods found it difficult to monitor implementations of store-level operations, programs and promotions. By adding an execution-management solution from Reflexis Systems, Dedham, Mass., the sporting-goods retailer now ensures consistent customer service enterprise-wide.
“Retail execution management is a whole new category of technology for us because it touches how we execute strategy in our stores and in the field,” said Joe Ratay, the Pittsburgh-based retailer’s director of store systems. “We knew it could have far-reaching effects for the business if we got it right. Now that it’s up and running, we know we got it right.”
Reflexis’ Web-based RetailAction suite is integrated within Dick’s existing retail systems. The suite’s four components enable Dick’s to manage execution strategies.
The suite’s RetailAction Manager delivers closed-loop task management; RetailAction KPI Activator leverages real-time, exception-based metrics and triggers best-practice actions; RetailAction StoreWalk supports consistent processes during store walks and audits, and RetailAction LaborScheduler optimizes labor schedules via task-driven labor forecasting.
Following a rapid 14-week implementation, Dick’s went live with the solution in July 2006. Besides providing store managers with more time to spend on customer-related needs, the solution streamlines communications between headquarters and the stores. In fact, RetailAction can reduce five to 10 hours of unnecessary paperwork and phone calls per week, according to a Reflexis spokesman.
Dick’s plans to use the solution to manage operations off of the sales floor as well. For example, RetailAction can help the chain stay abreast of activity in each store’s bicycle repair and maintenance department, as well as track the status of home deliveries and assembly of fitness equipment. Both companies declined to reveal when Dick’s would pursue this functionality.
Digital Signage Boosts In-Store Marketing
The successful addition of interactive floor displays at its stores in Times Square, New York City, and the Hollywood & Highland Center, Los Angeles, influenced Virgin Megastores to add a new digital- marketing solution that “projects very large videos for maximum impact,” said Dee McLaughlin, senior marketing director, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America, Los Angeles.
The solution, provided by Epson America, Long Beach, Calif., went live in the chain’s flagship stores in Downtown Disney, Fla., and Hollywood & Highland Center, in November 2006. Integrated at store level, the solution enables each store to control the content. Currently, both locations are displaying video promotions for upcoming or newly released CDs.
The 18-ft.-wide video projection at the Downtown Disney store is positioned on a curved wall above an escalator in the center of the store. Meanwhile, the 16-ft.-wide Hollywood & Highland projection is in the back of the store, making it easily visible from mid-store aisles.
“The wall projections add to the dynamic Virgin Megastores experience by drawing in shoppers and entertaining them while they shop,” she added. “The video wall has become part of the brand experience.”
Vallarta Supermarkets Pursues Price Optimization
Eager to manage multiple price zones within each of its markets, Vallarta Supermarkets is adding price-optimization software from Revionics, Inc., Sacramento, Calif.
Vallarta Supermarkets is a 21-store, Hispanic-format grocery chain that operates in Southern California. The chain, which currently is expanding to 24 locations, boasts fresh produce, full-service meat departments and in-store taquerias (Mexican prepared-food markets).
In an effort to pursue strategic pricing across its unique departments and categories, Vallarta Supermarkets added Revionics’ Retail Advanced Pricing System (RAPS) last month.
“Revionics will allow us to tailor our pricing strategies without adding personnel,” said Raymond Jones, the grocer’s director of purchasing. “Price optimization is a clear choice over rules-based price-management systems.”
For example, the automated system eliminates manual price-analysis tasks and tedious maintenance involved with labor-intensive price changes. The automated system also positions Vallarta to improve its sales growth 3% to 5%, and increase net margins 1% to 2%, according to Revionics.
Unlike other solutions that require a large upfront capital investment, Revionics features a cost-effective weekly “software as a Service” (SaaS) subscription model.
Wal-Mart to Focus on Expanding Seiyu
New York City, Wal-Mart Stores is open to acquisition opportunities in Japan, but the retailer is more focused on expanding business at its 53%-owned Seiyu chain, according to a report by Reuters. Shares of Seiyu jumped Monday after Wal-Mart vice chairman Michael Duke told the Nikkei business daily that the company might look for more acquisition opportunities in Japan.
The paper reported that Duke welcomed planned changes in corporate laws in May that will enable foreign companies to buy Japanese firms through share swaps.
Wal-Mart last year tried to invest in superstore operator Daiei Inc., aiming to boost its presence in the country, but it lost the chance to Aeon Co., Japan’s second-biggest retail group.
Wal-Mart entered the Japanese market in 2002 by taking a small stake in Seiyu. It has since invested more than $1 billion in the chain, but has yet to return the retailer to profitability.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Wyatt said Wal-Mart’s focus in Japan is on Seiyu.
“It’s a very sizable business today, so we still think that there are a lot of growth opportunities in the existing business,” she said.
In terms of acquisitions, she said: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say we’re shopping for them.”