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Channel Surfing

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Children learn the importance of “sharing” as early as their kindergarten years. Industry experts agree that retailers that incorporate this concept into their multichannel integration strategies will gain processing efficiencies, cut operating costs and better serve shoppers in all purchasing channels.

The pace of technology innovation continues to quicken, and it is this rate of change that is contributing to a proliferation of new channels and the omni-channel shopper, or someone who uses a mix of retailing channels to make a purchase. Such shoppers are proving to be more profitable than customers who typically only shop brick-and-mortar channels.

According to the “The Cross-Channel Wake-up Call: Benchmark 2010,” a study from Miami-based Retail Systems Research, successful multichannel enterprises reported that cross-channel shoppers are 39% more profitable than single-channel customers. This is an 11% jump compared with 2009.

This puts chains in the hot seat to deliver a shopping experience that exceeds shopper expectations regardless of the touch point they use to connect with the retailer.

“Chains need to shed their reactionary ways and become more process-oriented and more nimble,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner for Retail Systems Research. “The big day-to-day player in achieving this is integration. Those chains that treat their multichannel operations as shared resources will be the big winners.”

While sharing and integration sound great in theory, too many chains shy away from the cumbersome transition due to the many data silos that exist behind-the-scenes. Fontana Sports Specialties, a Madison, Wis.-based sporting goods retailer, knows this pain firsthand. Besides having separate databases for its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce operations, the company also supported individual repositories for reporting, back-office functions, general ledger and accounting.

“All of these silos caused a lot of work to access and share accurate, timely data,” said Ryan Koechel, chief technology officer, Fontana Sports Specialties, which operates two locations in the Madison area. “We were burdened with duplicate data entry for both channels, a process that ate up to six months of our associates’ time. It was a huge waste of time and money.”

The multichannel specialty chain began its integration journey in 2006. After installing software from Celerant Technology, Staten Island, N.Y., the chain was operating a completely integrated enterprise by March 2008. The centralized software allows the chain to share inventory and customer data across channels and enterprise operations.

“We have solved many issues, including the time and costs we incurred by supporting separate operations and practices,” Koechel said.

Since sharing inventory across its enterprise, Fontana Sports has gained a 5% increase in sales per month, compared with two years ago when it was struggling to manage, as Koechel put it, “a warehouse filled with merchandise that we may or may not sell.”

“Managing inventory from an enterprise perspective has also provided extraordinary cost benefits,” he added.

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Kmart launches Smart Sense

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Kmart announced the expansion of its brand portfolio with the introduction of the Smart Sense line, its new Kmart brand that includes a wide range of items including everything from snacks and beverages, to oral care, paper products, household cleaners and over-the-counter medications. The quality of the Smart Sense line is comparable to that of national name brands, and on average costs 20% less, according to the company.

"With the introduction of the Smart Sense line, Kmart is looking to offer a more affordable Kmart brand product assortment that will rival the quality of more nationally recognized brands," said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer, Kmart. "While the Smart Sense line will offer the everyday essentials, Kmart is also taking it a step further by providing unique products that you wouldn’t typically expect to see under a store brand."

The Smart Sense line currently consists of hundreds of products available in Kmart stores and the product line will expand to more than 1,200 items by early 2011, the company reported. Kmart said it will also support the Smart Sense line launch through multiple communications channels, including advertising, coupon offers, merchandising displays, sampling, digital marketing and event marketing.

In addition to the introduction of the Smart Sense line, a new look has been created for many other Kmart brand products, the company reported. The brighter and more vibrant packaging has been designed to capture the "colorful thinking" Kmart is demonstrating through its new product and brand announcements. In addition to the Smart Sense line roll-out, Kmart is also introducing products in a re-launch of its other exclusive brands, which include, Little Ones baby care products, Champion Breed pet care products, Image Essentials personal care products and VitaSmart vitamin products.

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Target to open ten stores on 10/10/10

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will open 10 stores across the country, resulting in the creation of more than 2,400 jobs.

The stores will open in the following communities:

 

    * Sacramento East: 6507 4th Ave., Sacramento, Calif.     * Simi Valley West: 51 Tierra Rejada Rd., Simi Valley, Calif.     * Bakersfield Central: 2901 Ming Ave., Bakersfield, Calif.     * San Jose North: 95 Holger Way, San Jose, Calif.     * Azusa: 809 Azusa Ave., Azusa, Calif.     * Salt Lake City: 1110 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, Utah     * Little Rock University: 420 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Ark.     * Christiana: 800 Christiana Mall, Christiana, Del.     * Flushing: 4024 College Point Blvd., Flushing, N.Y.     * Braintree: 250 Granite St., Braintree, Mass.

 

“These new Target store openings will help support local economies and make life easier for our guests by creating new jobs, spurring development and providing the utmost in convenience and value,” said John Griffith, EVP property development for Target. “We are looking forward to deepening our relationship with guests in communities across the country.”

As part of the grand opening celebrations, Target said each store will contribute to its community by initiating a local grant program, contributing to the United Way, donating food to Feeding America and product to the local Goodwill chapter and encouraging team members to volunteer their time to serve their community.

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