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Aspira Networks launches new platform

BY CSA STAFF

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Aspira Networks has launched the Aspira 2.0 platform, the company’s next-generation DNS service for network operators and retailers. The newly enhanced services are designed to make it easier to monetize broadband networks.

Aspira aggregates networks and retailers to optimize shopping opportunities for consumers. According to the company, its products enhance the shopping experience and increase retailer exposure to consumers, while creating a revenue opportunity for network operators.

• Features of Aspira 2.0 include the following:
• More than 225 partner retailers
• Enhanced shopping widget targets promotions to consumers
• Better visibility for featured retailers
• Unlimited retailer and network operator scalability
• Network operator white labeling of shopping experience tools
• 99. 9% service reliability provided by Aspira’s DNS Anycast network

Founded in 2010, Aspira Networks is a cloud services company that aggregates retailers and network operators to improve the network and shopping experiences of consumers. Aspira Networks has supported more than 1 million consumers in 2013.

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Single Touch reports accelerated mobile messaging volume growth

BY CSA STAFF

Single Touch Systems, a technology based mobile media solutions provider, has announced that its mobile messaging volume, which is a key business metric that drives revenues, has been growing at an increasingly accelerated pace.

Single Touch generates a portion of its operating business revenues by sending SMS text messages including reminder messages to customers of some of the largest retailers in the U.S. and U.K. Each message sent generates incremental revenues for Single Touch.

At the end of 2012, Single Touch announced it had sent a cumulative 500,000,000 mobile messages on behalf of its retail clients. During the quarter ended June 30, the company sent 75 million messages to mobile phone users, an increase of 21% from 62 million messages sent in the same period of 2012. Cumulative messaging volume on June 30 was approximately 675,000,000 — a 35% increase over the 500,000,000 messages reported in Dec. 2012.

Accelerating growth in message volume for Single Touch is partially driven by the company’s recently implemented mobile messaging programs in the U.S. and U.K. Single Touch’s mobile messaging programs come at a pivotal time for retailers, as mobile is becoming a crucial tool when it comes to foot traffic. InsightExpress found that 82% of consumers have used a mobile phone in a store and 17% have shown a mobile phone picture of an item to a sales clerk. Mobile usage is becoming engrained into the process of in-store shopping. Instead of a one-way product promotion, the opportunity is for a two-way conversation between the mobile marketer and their mobile customer.

Single Touch is seeing an increase in messaging in anticipation of the holiday shopping season including its delivery of reminder messages for holiday lay-a-way programs at retailers. These programs are typically supported by integrated marketing campaigns. During Sept. alone, Single Touch has already eclipsed the number of mobile messages sent for lay-a-way programs during the entire holiday season of 2012. Single Touch’s retail messaging in the U.K. is yielding higher than expected adoption rates as well.

"There is a significant opportunity for Single Touch to assist more retailers with their in-store sales and in-store customer interactions. In this digital age, with 90% of retail sales still happening in stores, the mobile device is emerging as a very influential device in the shopper’s decision making process as a direct communication tool," said Single Touch president and CEO James Orsini. "Increased messaging volume is a key metric for our business and we are pleased to see our growth rate for this metric accelerating. We expect this trend will favorably impact our fiscal 2013 financial results."

According to recent report by Deloitte, in 2012 mobile influenced 5% of all retail store sales in the U.S., representing approximately $159 billion in sales. This influence is estimated to grow to 17% to 21% of sales in 2016, which would translate into $628 million to $752 million in retail store sales that are influenced by the mobile phones.

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J.C. Penney looking to raise some $800 million from offering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Shares of J.C. Penney Company took a beating on Friday after the retailer priced its $932 million share sale at a 7.4% discount and detailed its shrinking cash position.

Penney priced its sale of 84 million shares at $9.65, down from a closing price of $10.42 on Thursday.

The new offering should raise more than $800 million. According to Reuters, J.C. Penney, which is valued at $2.6 billion, had been considering issuing new stock shares as well as other unspecified alternatives.

Penney also disclosed in a regulatory filing that it anticipates having about $1.3 billion in cash or assets that can readily be converted to cash at year’s end. That excludes the net proceeds from the offering.

Penney’s stock on Wednesday plunged to a 13-year low of $10.12 at the end of trading. The stock fell to $9.94, the lowest since January 2001, before recovering up to $10.12. Industry experts credited the 15% plunge to reports that the chain did not have a good back-to-school season, with sales falling at the end August and into September. Investors have also been made wary by recent reports have indicated that the chain needs to raise more cash.

In a research note on Penney’s credit, Goldman Sachs raised concerns about the chain’s sales. "We expect 3Q and 4Q to be difficult, with comp store sales likely showing a slower-than-expected improvement,” Goldman said.

The offering is expected to close on Oct. 1, 2013, subject to certain customary conditions. Penney has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 12.6 million shares of common stock.

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