STORE SPACES

First 100% LED-lit Walmart opens

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The first Walmart to be entirely lit with LEDs has opened, in South Euclid, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. The store will serve as a model for environmentally friendly design for future locations, with 100% LED lighting, electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot and more.

Other notable features of the store include:

  • LED lighting in the parking lot will reduce energy consumption by 50%, plus improve the quality of lighting for late night errands.
  • In daytime hours, skylights allow natural light to illuminate customers’ paths, reducing energy to light the sales floor by an average of 25%.
  • Re-using the heat from on-site refrigerant equipment can supply up to 60% of in-store hot water needs.
  • The use of a white membrane roof that reflects light better than a darker roofing color will helps reduce overall building energy consumption.
  • The chain is also testing the use of doors on cases that house deli meats, cheeses, yogurts, etc., with the hope of reducing refrigeration energy use by 20% or more.

The chain noted that LED lighting is 80% more than traditional lightbulbs.

“The LED lighting we’re using in the grocery section of our South Euclid store alone will save more than 59,000 kWh a year – which is enough energy to power five single-family homes,” Walmart said on Walmartgreenroom.com.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Macy’s to deploy visual recognition technology from NantMobile

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Macy’s shoppers will be able to see it, scan it, shop it this holiday season with the chain’s upcoming integration of NantMobile’s iD visual recognition technology. The new Macy’s Star Gifts app, powered by iD, empowers mobile shoppers to leverage visual recognition technology to purchase items from Macy’s Star Gifts assortment while on the go. Whether they scan it from a catalog, magazine ad or even from an outdoor billboard, Macy’s will deliver mobile access to product information, gift-giving assistance and much more.

“Visual recognition technology is the next evolution of our mobile strategy, leveraging Macy’s omnichannel capabilities to be everywhere our customers are in order to enhance their shopping experiences on the go,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “This new application of technology will assist us in delivering helpful and relevant content to mobile shoppers while at the same time providing them with the opportunity to get their holiday shopping done with ease.”

Augmenting its already robust mobile initiatives, Macy’s Star Gifts app, available for free on iTunes and Google Play, will be used to deliver content that will help inspire, entertain and assist in the creation and fine-tuning of holiday gift lists.

Consumers who download the Macy’s Star Gifts app will have their first opportunity to engage with the added virtual content with the launch of the Macy’s Star Gifts catalog in early November. With the app open, shoppers will just need to point their device at any page in the catalog featuring a Star Gift and tap the screen to see the enhanced information.

For a limited time, through Nov. 17, shoppers can also scan the first page of the Star Gifts catalog to receive a $10 Macy’s mobile Gift Code* to kick start their holiday gift shopping.

Throughout the holiday season, visual recognition technology will be available on Macy’s gift advertising found in public spaces such as subway stations, digital billboards, bus shelters, windowscapes and magazines, and additional catalogs. This marks a first-of-its kind use of iD’s visual recognition technology to deliver a seamless experience across national catalogs, print and outdoor advertising.

The addition of iD technology adds another layer to Macy’s existing mobile strategies including its stand-alone app, mobile-enhanced online store at Macys.com, as well as numerous mobile rewards and advertising partnerships.


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Tilly’s Finds Hosted Search Satisfaction

BY Dan Berthiaume

One of the biggest benefits omni-channel retailers can offer consumers is ease of finding products. But without a fast, accurate and intuitive site search capability, this benefit quickly becomes theoretical rather than an actual competitive differentiator.

For Irivne, Calif.-based specialty sportswear retailer Tilly’s, which operates 188 stores in 32 states as well as a robust e-commerce site, a legacy site search engine reached the point it was mostly delivering theoretical benefits by mid-2012. Tilly’s discovered the in-house-developed search engine’s shortcomings during an update of its Microsoft .NET enterprise framework.

Feeling the Pain
“Our search became very painful once we were done updating the .NET platform,” recalled Chris Brown, senior e-commerce manager, merchandise and product development of Tilly’s. “After researching search solutions we settled on Oracle Endeca, but the price was higher than we wanted to pay for an in-house solution.”

Among the search features Tilly’s desired were relevant results, consistent and useful navigation, and proven tools for merchandising and product promotion. Ultimately seeking higher search conversion rates and lower bounce rates, Tilly’s determined it preferred Oracle Endeca around the beginning of 2013, and then began investigating different means of making an Endeca deployment affordable. The retailer discovered that by partnering with Chicago-based integrated site search solution provider Thanx Media to provide Endec on a hosted basis, it could obtain the benefits of Endeca and stay within its IT budget.

Bridging the Gap
“Thanx Media’s hosting solution bridged the gap,” said Brown. “We set up feeds to send them our product information and met internally weekly to discuss the pipeline we were setting up.”

Tilly’s began implementing the Thanx Media-hosted version of Endeca in March 2013 and went live in June 2013. Thanx Media captures Tilly’s product data via Web feed and serves it back to them within search results through Endeca.

Reaping the Rewards
“We have higher search volumes,” stated Brown. “They continue to increase as people become more familiar with our new search feature.”

In addition, Brown said conversion rates have risen and bounce rates have fallen since the hosted Endeca implementation. Tilly’s uses the Endeca Experience Manager tool to deliver product images to customers via search. The company also intends to update the search bar currently offered on its site, among other future search plans.

“We are continually adding search attributes and more filter options,” said Brown.


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