MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Beauty brand streamlines B2B gift card program

BY By Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sephora is all about offering top-notch service to its customers — even its business partners.

According to the Incentive Research Foundation and Incentive Gift Card Council, business-to-business (B2B) gifting is becoming more prevalent across U.S. companies, as they spend $22.7 billion per year on gift cards. Sephora’s new partnership will enable the company to claim a bigger portion of this market share.

By adding a platform from Velocity B2B, a division of CashStar, Sephora is taking steps to more easily integrate a complex B2B gift card program into its brand. The new platform will help the company grow its B2B gift card sales quickly, securely and cost-efficiently, while maintaining oversight and brand control.

Velocity B2B will manage the programs for Sephora, making it easier for the brand to broaden the scope of its B2B gift card operations. Behind-the-scenes, the platform will streamline how business partners order Sephora gift cards, as well as assist Sephora in better managing accounts, and expanding its reach to new corporate customers.

The digital platform also shortens the timeline needed to launch new programs and add new B2B partners. Additionally, the infrastructure reduces some of the burden on its adjunct support teams like finance, legal and customer care, freeing them up to focus on developing and growing other parts of the gift card business, according to Sephora.

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FINANCE

Target CEO: Border adjustment tax would hurt my customers

BY By Marianne Wilson

A current retail CEO and a former one found themselves at odds on Tuesday at a Capitol Hill hearing on the proposed border adjustment tax.

“Under the new border adjustment tax, American families – your constituents – would pay more so many multinational corporations can pay even less,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell. “Eighty-five percent of Americans shop at Target every year. We believe this new tax would hit those families hard, raising prices on everyday essentials by up to 20%.”

Cornell's opposition to the tax is shared by many other retailers. But at the Tuesday hearing, the former CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, William Simon, endorsed the measure. He said the tax, if properly implemented, would offer significant benefits to the economy as a whole. Simon's former employer, Walmart, is against the tax.

The retail industry's two main associations, the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Associations, have been forceful in their opposition to the tax.

"The border adjustable tax would disproportionately impact the retail sector because we import many products that are not able to be sourced domestically," Jennifer Safavian. executive VP for government affairs, RILA, said in a statement Tuesday. "Such a drastic new tax would undermine the benefits of a corporate tax rate reduction, precluding the industry from realizing potential economic growth. A border adjustable tax will lead to higher prices for American families and put many retail businesses at risk.”

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S.Carpenter says:
May-24-2017 05:30 pm

Mexico, tariff, and produce
The present international exchange between Mexico and the U.S. includes everything from car parts to produce; imports from Mexico to the U.S. hit $19.3 billion in 2015. The U.S. depends a great deal on produce from south of the border. This includes tomatoes, sugarcane, wheat, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, and mangos, and beans, barley, beer, tequila, and coffee, almost half - 44% -of PRODUCE PRESENTLY on U.S. shelves. A 20% “border adjustment tax,” or tariff, would immediately send retail prices skyrocketing, at least until the U.S. could produce enough tomatoes, corn, and fruits to balance the newly created trade deficit. But, how long would it take growers in the U.S. to compensate for that 44%, if, in fact, they could? Land has to be cleared for new, additional crops; seeds have to be planted and produce, which doesn’t mature overnight, has to be harvested and distributed to the marketplace. Most important, would prices recover in the produce section? Remember, when prices go up, they usually don’t come down. Once again, it appears that no one is looking ahead. So where’s the plan? How do we compensate for the 44% loss?

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C-SUITE

Albertsons adds Macy’s, Levi’s execs to digital team

BY By Marianne Wilson

Albertsons Companies has added two key hires to help it expand its digital capabilities.

The supermarket operator named Karl Varsanyi as group VP of digital product management, with responsibility for the digital experience (web, app, and in-store) for all brands and locations. He joins Albertsons from Macy’s, where he served as group VP of product management, strategy and experience, a position in which he helped turn the department store retailer into an omnichannel leader.

In addition, Albertsons named Ramiya Iyer as group VP of IT digital and marketing/merchandising. Most recently, Iyer served as VP e-commerce for Levi’s, where she played a key role in creating and scaling its platforms and analytics capabilities. Prior to Macy's, Iyer held various IT leadership roles at Walmart.com and SamsClub.com.

"After being relatively unaffected by digital for many years, the grocery industry is starting to see several parts of the customer journey being transformed by digital,” said Narayan Iyengar, senior VP digital marketing and e-commerce, Albertsons, which operates stores across 35 states and under 19 banners. “In this context, we need to continue to enhance our digital capabilities, and Karl and Ramiya will play a key role in this journey.”

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