Athletic footwear brand steps up retailing experience
Shoe Palace is moving into the cloud to enhance its omnichannel operations.
A preferred Nike retailer, Shoe Palace is known for its high-end athletic footwear and apparel, and top-notch customer service. The family-run business opened its first store in San Jose, California in 1993. Today, the company operates 118 stores nationwide, and an e-commerce site.
As Shoe Palace has grown, so has consumer demand for seamless, personalized shopping experiences. To ensure it can consistently deliver its reputable service to its valued customers, Shoe Palace is investing in the Aptos Singular Commerce suite of retail technology solutions.
The platform integrates information across channels to support one complete view of customers, inventory, orders, customer relationship management (CRM), and other operations, ensuring customers never leave the store unfulfilled. Since the platform integrates every part of the enterprise, Shoe Palace is positioned to deliver a seamless customer experiences no matter where, when or how customers shop across the brand.
“Shoe Palace was built on a strong belief that amazing service is the most important reason why any business flourishes,” said George Mersho, Shoe Palace CEO.
“We take great pride in offering customers a rewarding experience every time they step foot into one of our locations,” he said. “We achieve this by offering the best selection of premium and in-demand footwear and apparel brands, by putting the most resourceful associates on the store floor, and now by enhancing customer engagement with our Aptos investment.”
Fashion retailer automates merchandising
Soft Surroundings is making moves to create more customer-centric assortments.
The St. Louis-Missouri-based fashion retailer’s goal is to help customers maintain their unique sense of style without sacrificing comfort. This was becoming a challenge through its spreadsheet-based planning processes. With an eye on driving more customer-centric assortments across its growing chain, the company knew it was time for a change.
“We have experienced significant growth in our stores, and were fast finding that our traditional spreadsheet-based approach did not give us the real-time view into store performance,” said Laura Barrett, senior VP of operations, Soft Surroundings. “We were operating more on gut feel, and needed much more visibility into how our customers shop and what they purchase.”
Ready to overhaul this manual processes, Soft Surroundings leveraged JDA Allocation, a solution that enables the company to custom-tailor its merchandise, all the way down to size, based on the way consumers shop its stores. The transition positions the chain to fuel growth and improve sales across all its channels — stores, catalog and e-commerce.
The platform also will ensure that the correct amount of merchandise is being distributed within the correct channel or location, leading to better inventory levels, reduced out-of-stocks, and improved customer satisfaction. Overall, JDA Enterprise Planning will help Soft Surroundings create sales and inventory goals that will help them boost sales, while minimizing financial risk across the channels in which they operate.
“We selected JDA Enterprise Planning and JDA Allocation to take us to the next level of omnichannel retail planning, giving us the ability to plan while optimizing inventory and maximizing profitability,” Barrett said.
J.C. Penney checks into its newest business — hospitality
A department store chain is pursuing a new business opportunity in a $200 billion market.
J.C. Penney is now offering business-to-business solutions for the hotel and lodging industry, as well as the multi-unit residential industry. The retailer has launched a program to supply hotels, vacation rentals and properties managed by commercial property groups with blankets, pillows, towels, window treatments and even major appliances. Penney is putting together an outside sales force for the initiative.
“The U.S. hospitality industry represents approximately $200 billion annually — and a significant opportunity for J.C. Penney to gain market share and drive increased revenue per customer with major appliances and a renewed focus on soft home goods," said Marvin Ellison, the chain’s chairman and CEO. "Our entry into the B2B program reinforces our home refresh initiative, while providing new and innovative ways to achieve sustainable growth and profitability. Our broad assortment of private brands in soft home give us a unique cost and value advantage in this new and exciting space."
The new B2B program utilizes Penney’s nationwide fleet of brick-and-mortar stores and its vast supply chain. It also benefits from the retailer’s experienced sourcing organization. By hedging raw materials, working with a strong supplier base in over 30 countries and implementing a rapid production cycle time, Penney can gives business clients “the assurance that they are receiving the best quality products when they need them,” the company said.
“The move to B2B makes a lot of sense,” said Maureen Mullen, chief strategy officer at consumer brand consulting firm L2, told MarketWatch in a phone interview. “For one, [J.C. Penney] is entering an area that Amazon is not playing.”
The initiative comes at a critical time for Penney. The retailer got off to a slow start in its first quarter, reporting disappointing sales.