California grocer’s educates customers at the shelf’s edge
Raley’s is helping its customers make more informed food purchasing decisions in-store and online.
Called the Raley’s Shelf Guide, the program features icon-based shelf tags that educate shoppers about current food trends and industry research — and also sets stricter standards for packaged food claims. Overall, the service is creating label transparency when it comes to helping customers understand packaged goods’ ingredients, food processing and nutritional value.
The California-based supermarket chain developed the program through a partnership with Label Insight. The data science company’s proprietary data-as-a-service platform uses machine learning, semantic engine technology, and unique attribute IP to deliver complete and accurate product information for more than 400,000 products. Results were used to develop a set of custom attributes for the Raley's Shelf Guide.
By converting these details into simple and colorful icons found on shelf tags, Raley’s Shelf Guide helps customers quickly interpret whether a product meets their needs, without having to analyze multiple labels. The grocer also created two of their own shelf tag descriptions – making it easy for customers to find food that is minimally processed and nutrient dense.
Also available online, the program is part of Raley’s click-and-collect service. When using the grocer’s eCart program, online shoppers can sort for products using Shelf Guide icons to quickly find products that meet their health and wellness needs. More than 13,000 items in center store have at least one icon.
“We knew that Raley’s could develop a program that truly addresses the needs of our customers and serve as a trusted advisor. Raley’s Shelf Guide attributes will help our customers make easier decisions when shopping our stores,” said Michael Teel, owner and CEO, Raley's. “Only foods that meet the strict standards of Raley’s will qualify for the Shelf Guide tags. I challenge food manufacturers to aspire to meet our Shelf Guide standards for their products at Raley’s.”
Raley's operates 122 stores in Northern California and Nevada under four banners: Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source.
GNC taps Rite Aid chief as CEO
Ken Martindale has stepped down as chief executive of Rite Aid Stores to take the reins of the struggling GNC Holdings.
The specialty retailer of vitamins and supplements on Wednesday announced that Ken Martindale would succeed GNC interim CEO Bob Moran, effective Sept. 11. As part of the transition, Moran will become chairman, replacing Michael F. Hines, who will remain on the board.
Martindale most recently served as CEO of Rite Aid Stores and president of Rite Aid Corporation, where he was instrumental in leading the drug store chain's transformation, including the roll out of a new store format and an expansion of the company's loyalty program. His exit comes some three months after Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid scrapped a $9.4 billion merger agreement.
Martindale joined Rite Aid in 2008 as senior executive VP merchandising, marketing and logistics and rose through the ranks. In 2013, he was promoted to president and COO, and took on the additional role as CEO of Rite Aid Stores in 2015. Prior to joining Rite Aid, he was co-president, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Pathmark Stores.
"Ken is a proven leader with deep retail expertise, intimate knowledge of our business through his years of leadership with our partner, Rite Aid, and a record of success in transforming retail business models," said Hines. "I want to thank Bob for stepping in as interim CEO and for putting GNC on the right path."
GNC has struggled with declining sales in recent years. The company is working to turnaround its business with new marketing, a simplified pricing structure for customers and a revamped loyalty program. In July, the company reported net income of $15.7 million for its second quarter, down from $64 million in the year-ago period. Revenues totaled $641.0 million, down from last year's $673.2 million.
"We made good progress in the second quarter, and our investments in pricing, loyalty and improving the customer experience continued to deliver positive results," interim CEO Bob Moran stated in July. "For the second quarter in a row, we saw meaningful transaction growth, improvement in our dot.com business and increased enrollment in our loyalty programs. We believe this business is headed in the right direction, and we remain focused on execution and sales growth."
As of June 30, 2017, GNC had approximately 9,000 locations, of which approximately 6,800 are in the United States (including 2,378 Rite Aid franchise store-within-a-store locations) and franchise operations in approximately 50 countries.
Kohl’s to partner with e-commerce giant on in-store shops
Yet another traditional retailer is partnering with Amazon, as the online behemoth continues to expand its presence in brick-and- mortar stores.
Kohl's plans to add an Amazon "smart home experience' in-store shop, or "zone," in 10 select Kohl’s locations across the Los Angeles and Chicago areas starting in October. The spaces will allow shoppers to try out and purchase Amazon devices, accessories and smart home devices and services directly from the online retailer.
"We are thrilled to offer a unique new way for customers to try out our lineup of Alexa-enabled Amazon devices, learn more about our smart home services from Amazon experts and then buy those items directly from Amazon — all within Kohl’s stores,” said Dave Zimmer, VP, sales and marketing, Amazon Devices. “Teaming up with Kohl’s provides an incredible opportunity to pair world-class customer and shopping experiences.”
The 1,000-sq.ft. smart home space in Kohl's will provide a hands-on experience where customers can interact with a variety of Amazon devices, including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, and Fire tablets. The experience will showcase how smart home products – many powered by Alexa – can modernize and simplify home management, entertainment, security and more. It will be staffed by Amazon sales associates.
Customers will be able schedule an Amazon expert to come to their home, evaluate their needs and install smart home products. The in-store zones will also promote Amazon Home Services, which offers access to vetted local services professionals to help with everything around the house from cleaning to plumbing.
"We believe in the power of our store portfolio and know that our future as a best-in-class omnichannel retailer will be driven by how inventive, compelling and unique we can make our store experience,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer. “Kohl’s and Amazon share a customer obsession and we’ve joined together to leverage each other’s strengths and deliver a great experience customers can only find at Kohl’s.”
Amazon's partnership with Kohl's comes several months after Sears announced it would sell its Kenmore brand appliances on Amazon.com.