OPERATIONS

Finish Line appoints digital chief

BY Staff Writer

Indianapolis — The Finish Line announced that Chris Ladd will join the company Nov. 21 as executive VP, chief digital officer. Ladd’s responsibilities will include providing vision, leadership and strategy to develop and implement initiatives across the enterprise including digital and mobile commerce, social media and other key components of the multichannel experience.

He comes to Finish Line from Lululemon, a 150-store specialty retailer of yoga-inspired athletic apparel, where he served as senior VP, Global Ecommerce.

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OPERATIONS

CVS adds news feature to mobile website

BY Staff Writer

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy announced it has enhanced shopping and prescription refill functionality for its mobile site (m.cvs.com), as well as iPhone and Android apps for on-the-go customers.

Shoppers can now use mobile devices to manage their ExtraCare Rewards accounts, scan and send prescription refills and even order prints of their favorite photos.

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OPERATIONS

Marsh: Flash mobs pose holiday risk

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — With the start of the 2011 holiday shopping season approaching, retailers need to ensure they have plans in place to address the increased risk of a flash mob event, according to Marsh, a leading insurance broker and risk advisor.

Retailers have long been accustomed to preparing for and managing the risks associated with massive crowds at their stores on Black Friday — traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year—and throughout the holiday shopping season. But flash mobs — groups of people that organize through social media to assemble suddenly in a public place — present a new threat in 2011.

“Flash mobs are often perceived by the general public as innocuous or entertaining social gatherings. However, criminals have recently begun to take advantage of the method to quickly gather and swarm retail stores to steal merchandise,” said Mac Nadel, U.S. retail/wholesale and food and beverage practice leader for Marsh. “These so-called ‘criminal flash mobs’ or ‘flash robs’ present a serious threat to retailers’ employee and customer wellbeing, property, bottom lines, and reputations.”

Ten percent of retailers surveyed by the National Retail Federation in July 2011 reported being victimized by at least one criminal flash mob event over the previous 12 months. Such incidents have resulted in injuries to employees and customers, property theft, and property damage.

Meanwhile, the growing accessibility of social media now enables individuals to direct large numbers of willing participants to specific locations in order to disrupt business and vehicle traffic. In some instances, the chaos created by these groups has risen to levels that cannot be controlled by loss prevention, mall security, or police.

In a new white paper published today, responding to Flash Mob/Rob Events, Marsh outlines steps retailers should take before, during, and after a flash mob event. Marsh’s recommendations for preparing for and responding to a flash mob event include:

  • Monitoring of social media websites to identify potential threats;
  • Reviewing business interruption plans and insurance programs with regards to partial or full shutdown of a location;
  • Providing training to employees related to disorderly conduct, assault, theft, and looting;
  • Developing internal and external communications plans before an event; and
  • Communicating frequently with local law enforcement.

“Having a plan in place and executing on it is the best way for retailers to minimize the impacts of criminal activity during flash mobs,” Nadel said.

Click here to download the white paper.

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