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Duane Reade’s app update uses iBeacon bluetooth technology

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Duane Reade, a division of Walgreens, has released the first update to its app for iPhone including the integration of iBeacon for 10-select Duane Reade locations active as of May 1.

The addition of iBeacon to the Duane Reade app vastly improves the customer in-store user experience, according to the drug store operator. iBeacon is a technology Apple introduced with iOS 7 that uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geo-fencing to provide apps a new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum or product displays in stores.

The inclusion of this technology to the Duane Reade app adds features such as lock screen notifications when initially approaching a select Duane Reade store location, coupon offers based on historical data and product reviews for timely content at the point-of-decision. iBeacon is being piloted at the 10 Duane Reade stores in Manhattan to test the viability of a further rollout.

"The Duane Reade app plays an integral role in our omni-channel customer engagement strategy," said Calvin Peters, PR/digital communications manager for Walgreens. "Mobile interaction is at the core of our social media success as mobile and social are intrinsically linked; the addition of these new 2.0 features, as well as the integration of iBeacon technology, will continue to fuel our digital customer experience strategy, as we strive to push forward our New York Living Made Easy mantra. “

The 2.0 update is the first in a series of major app announcements planned for Duane Reade in 2014. The first wave of releases brings the app up-to-par with the features of the Walgreens award-winning iPhone app. Through the app’s in-store mode, customers will have quick access to their individual Balance Rewards loyalty program barcode, paperless coupons scorecard indicating the specific number clipped and the savings associated with each, a floor map displaying a bird’s eye view of the store location, product locator for item search and location plotting of the item via the in-store map.

Other features include scanner options allow for instant product scans revealing detailed item information, mobile coupon clipping for immediate redemption at POS facilitating a seamless value-added experience via Balance Rewards, and instant Instagram 4X4 prints directly to a Duane Reade location.

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Hhgregg embarks on brand transformation

BY Marianne Wilson

Indianapolis — Appliance, electronics and furniture retailer Hhgregg has embarked on a brand transformation across all customer touch-points, including its 228 store locations and online presence, in an effort to boost its shopping and purchasing experience.

“By eliminating pain points that most often frustrate customers buying large appliances, electronics, furniture and similar items from big box and DIY retailers, we can help bring the joy back to making these purchases and create lifelong customers,” said Dennis May, president and CEO, Hhgregg.
“Flawless execution and customer service before, during and after each purchase will be the focus of the entire organization.”

The initiative will be rolled out over the year. Among the key components, Hhgregg will introduce new tools for store associates, from friction-free online product research, referrals and shopping options to “white glove” delivery, installation and service, designed to boost shopping experiences. The retailer is also forging partnerships with its vendors to create compelling in-store experiences that will showcase their products and technology innovations.

The final piece of the company rebranding, a store redesign, is slated to start next year, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

The first phase of Hhgregg’s brand transformation launched on Tuesday, and includes an updated company logo, enhancements to the company and brand purpose, and a new series of national television commercials.

In addition to TV advertising, the brand transformation will also be supported with radio, expanded digital and social media efforts, store-level activities, community engagement initiatives, online promotions, social sharing contests, giveaways, and public relations strategies.

“This is not just an advertising campaign or a simple change in taglines; this is a brand transformation – encompassing everything from our company culture, to our product selection, to our customer service,” said Julie Lyle, chief marketing officer at Hhgregg. “This is a long-term endeavor central to the core of our organization, from store associates to the CEO.”

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IBM launches security software/services to protect critical data and disrupt cyber attacks

BY Staff Writer

Armonk, N.Y. — IBM has introduced comprehensive new security software and services to help organizations protect their critical data in an environment where advanced persistent threats, zero day attacks, breaches, and the financial impact on an organization continue to rise.

According to two IBM-commission studies, the average cost of a data breach increased by 15%, reaching an average of $3.5 million. The majority of companies surveyed say targeted attacks are the greatest threat, costing them on average $9.4 million in brand equity alone.

IBM’s new Threat Protection System leverages security intelligence and behavioral analytics to go beyond traditional signature-based defenses and firewalls to disrupt attacks across the entire attack chain.

The solution includes an end-to-end architecture of analytic and forensics software that helps organizations continuously prevent, detect and respond to ongoing and sophisticated cyber attacks, and in some cases, eliminate the threat before the damage has occurred.

"Advanced Persistent Threats have fundamentally changed the way organizations have to approach data security," said Brendan Hannigan, general manager, IBM security systems. "Today, defending against cyber attacks requires more than a signature-based or perimeter approach. Deep analytic capabilities and forensics are vital and need to include endpoint prevention, perimeter protection and the ability to guard against attacks before they can do damage."

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