OPERATIONS

Best Buy Canada partners with RBC

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto — RBC, Best Buy and Future Shop are partnering to offer a redemption option in Canada that provides clients access to more than 90,000 merchandise and electronic items, through the RBC Rewards online channel.

RBC Rewards is a Canadian loyalty rewards program enabling clients to redeem their reward points from a selection of merchandise. Clients can earn rewards points every time a purchase is made on an eligible RBC credit card and redeem for merchandise, travel, gift cards and certificates and RBC Financial Rewards vouchers that can be redeemed for investments such as mortgages and education savings plans.

"We are very pleased to work with RBC to offer this first-of-its-kind rewards redemption opportunity,” said Ron Wilson, president and chief operating officer, Best Buy Canada. “This program leverages Best Buy Canada’s unique multichannel capabilities, which include reserve and pick up in store, and delivery to Canadians as early as next day."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: College kids plan holiday shopping at discounters

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – College students are planning to buy holiday gifts that offer experiential value or economic flexibility and will frequent discount stores, according to a new survey of roughly 1,000 college students from consumer marketing firm Fluent.

Asked to identify up to three of their most desired holiday gifts, 59% of students chose cash in their pockets, with the second most requested item being plane tickets at 30%. Casualwear and concert tickets were on 24% of student wish lists, while restaurant gift cards, dress wear, and the first tech item mentioned, tablets, each garnered 22%. Cars (21%) and then music/books/movies as well as laptops (17%) round out the top 10. By contrast, a Fluent 2011 survey found students most-wanted items to be clothing, then tablets, then cash as the top three.

Some 76% plan to spend up to $250 on gifts and gift cards for all relatives. Gifts for fellow students can be less pricey, with 65.7% planning to spend less than $100 total on friends. Large discount stores are the top destination for CMC shoppers, both for brick-and-mortar (66.6%) and online (54.9%) for family gifts and nearly the same for friends’ gifts. They also plan to shop department stores (53% brick-and-mortar, 27.5% online), specialty brands (22.8% in-store, 31.6% online) and 33.4% locally for family.

“This year’s wish lists are a mix of holiday hope and economic pragmatism,” said Michael Carey, executive VP of Fluent. “Students have big-ticket necessities, but know families will try to stretch the budget for one special gift. If a student asks for a few days away from the grind, to fly to visit someone special or to meet friends at a concert, families want to give them one opportunity to relax and reconnect. If they are asking for wardrobe items or even technology required by their schools, the pressure to deliver is even stronger.”

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OPERATIONS

Retailers prioritize cross-channel fulfillment

BY Dan Berthiaume

Richmond Hill, Ontario – Cross-channel fulfillment programs are the top omni-channel priorities among retailers, a newly released study of 337 global retail decision-makers, “The Retail Order Management Imperative,” conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of OrderDynamics, revealed.

While only 49% of retailers currently use an order management system, many of these solutions are ill-equipped to support complex cross-channel fulfillment offerings.

Moreover, the study found that traditional order management systems typically cannot support the multiple facets of evolving omni-channel commerce initiatives. The study identifies several key findings including:

  • 26% of retailers in the United States and 47% of retailers in Europe already have ship-from-store capabilities, while 10% and 18% respectively soon plan to enable this offering.
  • 23% of retailers already have a buy-online, pickup-in-store program in place. Likewise, 20% have a reserve-only pickup-in-store program. According to the study results, these store pickup numbers are set to almost triple in the next 12 months.
  • 63% of retailers surveyed indicated that gaining a competitive advantage over online pure-play retailers by leveraging their stores assets (inventory, shipping cost efficiencies and reduced delivery times) was a primary driver for investing in omni-channel initiatives.
  • Retailers already (or expect to) fulfill an average of 35% of online orders from their retail stores.
  • 85% of retailers stated a retail order management system would play an important role in the execution of their omni-channel strategy.
  • 75% of the retailers surveyed believe an order management system will reduce inventory costs and improve fulfillment efficiencies.
  • 63% of retailers are considering SaaS-based order management systems to support their rapidly evolving omni-channel initiatives.
  • 39% of retailers have created a dedicated executive or c-level role to lead and coordinate omni-channel initiatives.
  • 34% of retailers have their CEO leading omni-channel initiatives.
  • 9% of retailers have already re-aligned their online and offline departments to become an omni-channel organization with a single P&L.

“Omni-channel fulfillment represents a strategic advantage for many retailers by leveraging inventory across multiple locations, and streamlining fulfillment processes,” said Michael Turcsanyi, president at OrderDynamics. “These initiatives ultimately lead to reduced operational costs, and more importantly, an enhanced customer shopping experience. It’s clear retailers recognize a retail order management system as a strategic solution for enabling next generation fulfillment tactics and gaining an advantage over direct competitors and nimble web-only retailers.”

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