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At Dick’s Sporting Goods, Black Friday is all about social media

BY Gina Acosta

While all the major retailers will be offering deals and discounts on Black Friday weekend, Dick's Sporting Goods plans to woo shoppers with an exciting social media promotion.

The sporting goods retailer plans to utilize social media to surprise and delight customers with a social media doorbuster. The Dick's #GiftThatMatters sweepstakes will ask customers to take a photo of a product in a Dick's store, post the photo to Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtag #GiftThatMatters. The sweepstakes will run from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day through 5:15 a.m. on Black Friday. Ten customers will win a $500 Dick's Sporting Goods gift card.

"Sports provide lasting memories that are passed down through generations," said Lauren Hobart, executive VP & CMO, Dick's Sporting Goods. "We believe gifts from Dick's Sporting Goods enable special moments with families that really do matter and can be shared together in a special way year after year."

The retailer said all of its 645 locations nationwide will offer holiday shoppers extended store hours on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and dozens of deals. Customers can also shop deals online all day on Thanksgiving.

Additionally, on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, more than 200 Dick's locations will offer the first 200 eligible customers each day a chance to win a $500 Dick's gift card through its "Santa's Safe" promotion. Customers will be given a code and the winner will be announced shortly after the store opens. The gift card can then be used immediately towards holiday purchases.

Starting Sunday, Nov. 29, Dick's plans to hold its biggest Cyber Week sale with over 300 online deals at dicks.com. These Cyber Week deals will run through Dec. 5. The following day, Dick's Sporting Goods will kick off its "12 Days of Deals," revealing new deals daily.

Dick's also plans to offer omnichannel convenience throughout the holiday season:

Dick's will offers customers the option to purchase products online and pick-up their items at a nearby Dick's location. Customers will be able to purchase gifts online until noon on Christmas Eve and pick them up in-store before 6 p.m.

The newest version of the Dick's Mobile App now rewards users for being active. The new "Move" feature allows users to connect to fitness tracking applications MapMyRun and Fitbit to earn Dick's ScoreCard points for achieving activity goals. Customers will receive 100 bonus points when connecting an applicable tracking application for the first time. Customers can also use the Dick's app to redeem ScoreCard points in-store with the paperless rewards feature. Customers will also be able to enjoy some new app features this holiday season, including the ability to shop the weekly ad from the app.

To enhance its ability to provide an even wider selection and convenience to our in-store customers, Dick's arms associates with mobile devices, kiosks and other workstations to offer customers an "Endless Aisle" experience. If an item is sold out, or only sold online, associates can place an order for a customer from anywhere in the store and have it shipped directly to their homes, in most cases with free shipping.

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Guitar Center tunes up seamless experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Musicians are notoriously individualistic people, and specialty instrument retailer Guitar Center is launching a redesigned website with this user base in mind.

Westlake Village, California-based, 270-store Guitar Center has launched a new redesigned website with a more seamless omnichannel user interface. Based on the current Oracle Commerce platform, the redesign is the result of a two-year initiative that involved customer insight and user experience teams, both of whom worked together with end-users and consultants.

For the customer, the new site offers personalized experience, improved navigation to browse store inventory, search enhancements such as shopping products by store radius, a product page redesign with larger images, clearer layout and pricing, and integrated video content, services pages with enhanced content, and a centralized customer service center.

Additionally, the site features an updated vendor portal allowing Guitar Center to offer its vendor partners more accurate and complete product data. This portal is part of the site’s larger Product Information Management (PIM) upgrade, which offers standardized product information, scalability to support increases in the number of products the system can manage, and consolidation of product data and internal processes to enhance efficiency.

Looking forward, future enhancements will involve native application for iOS and Android, optimization for tablet and mobile experiences, new payment options and more.

“Since launching the site, the responses from both our customers and vendors have been extraordinarily positive, and we’re proud to offer them an innovative and frictionless omnichannel experience,” said Jeff Wisot, VP of marketing and e-commerce for Guitar Center. “Over the next five years, we have plans to continue to enhance and expand the limits of the site to make it as intuitive as possible while providing our customers access to our unrivalled inventory and service, both online and in our brick-and-mortar locations.”

Guitar Center is making a major step toward to offering a true seamless customer experience with its site redesign. Features such as online search of store inventory and by store radius, integrated video, and centralized customer service all help blend channels in a way that meets the needs of the modern customer.

Just as importantly, Guitar Center is extending its site redesign to include improvements in vendor communications and product information management. By ensuring access to product information and availability on the back end is as smooth as access on the front end, Guitar Center is greatly increasing the odds of writing a happy seamless song.

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Amazon keeps Los Angeles well-fed

BY Dan Berthiaume

Those in the know say nobody walks in Los Angeles, and Amazon.com wants to make sure Los Angeles residents don’t have to move their legs to get restaurant food.

Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour delivery service has expanded in Los Angeles to include delivery from local restaurants. Using the Prime Now mobile app, Prime members in Los Angeles can view participating restaurants, browse menus, place orders, track the status of their delivery, and watch delivery driver progress in real time.

“Los Angeles is known for great local restaurants with cuisines from around world,” said Gus Lopez, general manager, Amazon Restaurants. “We’re excited to offer Amazon Prime customers in Los Angeles a fast and convenient way to enjoy some of the city's best restaurants without having to stand in line or brave the traffic.”

Restaurant delivery on Prime Now is available in select Los Angeles ZIP codes and will expand in the coming days. Prime members can download the Prime Now app or visit the Prime Now page to enter their ZIP code and see if Prime Now is available in their area. In ZIP codes where restaurant delivery is available, customers will see Restaurants on the home page.

Restaurant delivery on Prime Now offers customers transparent pricing with no menu markups or hidden service fees, and delivery on all orders is free for a limited time. Customers pay using the information already stored in their Amazon account.

Amazon rolled out the same local restaurant delivery feature to Prime Now customers in Portland, Oregon in October and Seattle in September, following the launch of alcohol delivery in the Seattle area. The company has steadily expanded Prime Now’s product assortment and geographic range since it launched the service in New York City in 2014.

In addition, Tech Crunch reports Amazon plans to bring restaurant delivery to all 18 U.S. metro areas where Prime Now is currently available, with significant expansion through the end of 2015 and into first quarter 2016.

Prime Now may never be able to offer all things to all things consumers, but clearly Amazon wants omnichannel shoppers to think of Prime Now to satisfy an increasingly varied range of needs.

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