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Collaboration translates to growth for crafts industry

BY CSA STAFF

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The National Stationery Show has joined forces with the Craft & Hobby Association to provide those in the social stationery and crafts, and creative hobby industries with new resources.

Collaboration between the NSS and CHA will begin with the 2013 National Stationery Show, which runs from May 19-22, at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City. The CHA will debut the Creative & Lifestyle Arts tradeshow adjacent to George Little Management’s 67th annual. An estimated 16,000 people are expected to attend. CHA’s educational program highlights how incorporating crafting into stores can result in a significant growth potential.

In addition, the National Stationery Show and GLM will bring a distinctive stationery and lifestyle products event to the CHA Conference & Trade Show, which runs from January 11-15, 2014, in Anaheim. Together, the CHA and GLM tradeshows will form the largest business-to-retail event dedicated to California’s multi-billion dollar crafting, creative hobby and lifestyle products retail market.

"A partnership between the National Stationery Show and the Craft & Hobby Association is a natural marriage given the retail and product synergies in both industry communities," said Patti Stracher, GLM VP. "We anticipate growing the business and relationship-building opportunities on both coasts through this collaboration, beginning with expanded educational content and product offerings for retailers across the country."

"CHA is constantly seeking new ways to help members and the marketplace as a whole to enhance their businesses," said Andrej Suskavcevic, CHA president and CEO. "This new partnership with GLM and the National Stationery Show is yet another venture that will provide opportunity for growth and professional development."

The Craft & Hobby Association is an international nonprofit trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in the design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of craft products worldwide.

The National Stationery Show is a leading marketplace for social stationery and related lifestyle products, featuring 800 exhibitors and drawing some 11,000 attendees from around the world. Launching in 2013 alongside the NSS, Creative & Lifestyle Arts will serve the East Coast’s $18 billion art, crafting and creative hobby marketplace, featuring a broad range of innovative crafting and paper art supplies; embellishments; art materials; design tools; DIY kits for home decor, party, holiday and card making; along with supplies for floral, glass, woodworking, jewelry making, needlecrafts and scrapbooking.

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Global tech startup personalizes shopping experience

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Global technology startup Synqera has launched Simplate, an in-store point-of-sale terminal that provides real-time business-to-consumer media communications, at the National Retail Federation’s 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO.

Synqera describes Simplate as one of the first interactive POS terminals that uses big data, such as customer preferences, behavior, demographics and purchasing information, to provide personalized media communications for on-the-spot marketing.

Simplate aims to convert the 40 seconds of customer idle time at the point of payment into additional purchases, store visits and customer loyalty by engaging customers with hyper-personalized loyalty deals, interactive games and incentives. The self-managed Simplate can be integrated with back-end and front-end infrastructures, such as CRM, ERP and POS systems, allowing it to provide offers based on the customer profiles and purchases, as well as store inventory, promotional offer or loyalty program offers. It can also be utilized as a standalone device.

“Studies show that $4 billion is spent on impulse buys in-store, which provides a huge opportunity for U.S. retailers, brands and marketers,” said Kirill Gorynya, Synqera CEO and founder. “Simplate disrupts this market by enabling retailers to tap into this critical impulse moment where purchases are of a higher value can be encouraged, compared to the low-priced products strategically placed around the cash register.”

Key features of Simplate’s Scenario Generation Engine include a rich media display, back-end data analysis, real- time intelligence, interactive tools and gamification.

“With Simplate, we have finally married the traditional values of putting the customer first, with innovative new technologies. Our technology is the first of its kind, offering a customizable purchasing experience which was previously only available through mobile and online systems. Retailers can now offer relevant incentives at the checkout displays that will support their efforts to upsell and cross-sell products, while building customer loyalty and promote services,” said Gorynya. “This has the potential to bring endless channels for additional revenue while providing the customers with an easy to use and fun buying experience."

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Online retailers get back to basics

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Online retailers are focused on retaining existing shoppers by giving them a better online shopping experience.

As shoppers become increasingly connected, online retailers are developing strategies to increase web conversion and loyalty.

According to the 2013 Shop.org/Forrester Research Inc. State of Retailing Online survey, 51% of retailers surveyed say their top priority for 2013 is site optimization, including checkout optimization, alternative payments, user experience, testing and product detail page enhancements.

“Retailers have responded to rapidly evolving customer use of mobile devices, dedicating much of the past 12 to 18 months to developing and testing rich mobile offerings for both customers and store associates,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “While direct mobile commerce is still small, mobile services are now an established and significant part of the shopping experience. Retailers this year are smartly investing to create a holistic customer experience across stores, desktop and mobile to improve conversion rates, grow crucial repeat customer business, and even capture their share of customer demand from international markets.”

Additionally, 43% of retailers surveyed note that mobile and tablets are among their top three priorities for 2013. These companies plan to invest in new or improved mobile apps and mobile-optimized sites, analytics and traffic and conversion growth. Among other customer experience investments this year, 27% of retailers surveyed plan to prioritize site redesign.

Overall, online retail remains healthy: 58% of those surveyed say their conversion rates in 2012 grew over 2011, and many companies say their cart abandonment rate was either stable or even down compared to 2011. And while respondents are split regarding mobile’s impact on conversion rates, the study shows a net positive impact: 36% of retailers surveyed say that mobile sales and traffic have helped their company’s overall web conversion rate, while 29% have felt a negative impact.

“Despite continued growth in mobile commerce, it will be important for retailers in 2013 to pause and understand the opportunities, distractions and implications of mobile within the e-commerce landscape,” said Forrester Research VP and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “But it’s promising to see that even though there is market pressure to invest in everything from mobile and free shipping to international growth, retailers have improved key metrics while keeping customer service and fulfillment costs in check.”

With fewer new shoppers to attract these days, online retailers have fewer opportunities for new customer acquisitions, so they are more focused on retaining and driving value for existing shoppers. According to the survey, 53% say they have been able to increase the average order value for repeat customers throughout the past year, and 52% of those surveyed have seen an increase in their repeat customer rate.

Shop.org is a division of the National Retail Federation. Its 600 members include the 10 largest retailers in the United States and more than 60% of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. Forrester Research is an independent research company that offers advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester works with professionals in 17 key roles at major companies providing proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. Both organizations work together to execute the survey, which takes date from 62 companies surveyed for the State of Retailing Online 2013: Key Metrics.

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