Closing time for the Limited?
As the new year begins, it’s not looking very good for the ailing Limited Stores.
Reports are coming in from around the country of Limited store closings, The Columbus Dispatch reported. In Florida, some stores closed after business hours on Christmas Eve.
Limited has been struggling for some time. In December, owners Sun Capital, pointing to slumping sales and debt pressures, said they would sell or close the apparel chain.
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Millennials will buoy retail in 2017
Retail real estate expert Faith Hope Consolo, who heads up the retail group at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, has high hopes for 2017, predicting that bigger-spending millennials and recession-proof retailers will keep sales humming on high streets and in malls, if not in department stores.
“Millennials are going to start shopping differently this coming year,” Consolo told Chain Store Age. “It used to be they’d spend up to 75% of their disposable income on food, but that was a fad. This year, they will start spending more on fitness and fashion.”
Good American promises girls and women a perfect fit in its pricey jeans ($149 and up). The all-bases-covered sizing chart on its website includes leg opening, front rise, and inseam, along with waist and hip. Good American has already tested the waters with availability in selected Nordstroms.
Kardashian clan member Kylie Jenner is the force behind Kylie Cosmetics, which is sure to ride into retail on a tidal wave of social media sharing the brand’s risqué, dripping-lips trademark.
As the shakeout among traditional retailers continues apace, a new class of recession-proof and online-savvy retailers will fill empty storefronts in shopping centers and downtowns, Consolo maintains. One of these is Ulta, which the chairman of retail leasing for Douglas Elliman in New York says in in the midst of a Manhattan invasion.
“They are hand-picking spots on the Upper East Side, Midtown, and Downtown,” Consolo reports.
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QuickChek drives store visits with targeted mobile ads
Convenience store operator QuickChek has stepped up its mobile efforts with a geo-marketing program that keeps the brand engaged with on-the-go mobile shoppers.
While QuickCheck’s customers were increasingly becoming mobile-influenced, the 140-plus store chain lacked a dedicated digital marketing team — making it impossible to connect with its shoppers.
“We couldn’t track consumer spending, or understand what media — traditional or digital — was bringing people into stores,” explained Eric Rush, digital marketing manager, QuickChek, Hanover, New Jersey.
That all changed in January 2015, when the company created a digital marketing department to bolster the company’s digital and social presence among its shoppers. Initial efforts included delivering digital communications across email and text messages, as well as connecting with consumers via social media and e-commerce.
Rush, who transitioned out of operations and IT to head up the division, began to up the ante with innovative mobile-based services, including an app that featured digital games, menus and eventually, mobile ordering.
“It was a different way to interact, and now they had QuickChek right in their pocket,” he said.
Rush also knew the company had to step up its mobile game.
“Mobile users have a three-second attention span, and we needed to leverage that time to convince them our food is a better tasting, more valuable choice,” he said.
Grabbing shoppers’ attention was a good first step, but more importantly, QuickChek needed to make sure it was hitting the “right people” with their messages. This was a departure from its traditional methods of radio and billboard advertising, which may encourage a mere three guests to visit a store the same day, Rush added.
By partnering with PlaceIQ, the convenience store chain created a way to connect with the right shoppers. As the chain delivers targeted multimedia messaging service (MMS) ads to specific mobile customer segments, PlaceIQ’s analytics deciphers shoppers’ location data, or behavior between ad exposure on devices and how their actions translate into an in-store visit.
“We can see how effective our advertising dollars are being spent by measuring the amount of guests visiting following the delivery of a mobile promotion,” Rush explained. “Based on their behavior and shopping patterns, we can determine if guests are taking advantage of the campaigns, and then tweak messages to further optimize on these customer segments to drive a larger return on investment.”
QuickChek embarked on its first campaigns between Memorial Day and Labor Day, coinciding with its launch of new menu selections.
“We didn’t want to just offer coupons, we wanted to speak to the value, variety and flavor profile of our offering,” Rush said. “We wanted to send messages that made guests hungry, and remind them through the mobile app’s GPS notifications that a QuickChek was right around the corner.”
After analyzing 12-, 24- and 36-hour breakdowns following the delivery of an advertisement, the chain found it had people visiting who hadn’t been inside a retail location in 30 days.
“This happened within 12 and 24 hours after serving an ad,” Rush said.
The chain plans to delve deeper into its customer segments, including analyzing which specific customers are viewing messages, and how quickly these shoppers visit a store after receiving an ad.
“We also hope to get more in-depth knowledge of what brought them into the store, and what specific merchandise, in addition to the promoted category, they purchase during their visit,” Rush added.