News

Five Cool Mobile Retail Apps

BY Dan Berthiaume

Mobile retail apps are nothing new, but retailers are constantly adding new features and functions that maximize their reach and value. Here’s a brief look at five cool mobile retail apps that have all been launched or piloted in the past few months:

Amazon.com Mobile Associates API
Amazon.com has introduced the Mobile Associates API for Kindle Fire and other Android devices, enabling developers and members of the Amazon Associates program (the API is technically an extension of the program) to sell physical and digital items from Amazon.com within their apps and games.

When using the new API, developers earn up to 6% on qualifying in-app customer purchases and can allow customers to buy and receive goods through Amazon’s 1-Click purchase mechanism and Amazon Prime shipping, where available. The API can be used in the Amazon Appstore and in Google Play.

Harris Teeter HT Express Pay
In a pilot at its Matthews, N.C. store, Harris Teeter is using Paydiant’s white label mobile wallet solution as part of its Express Lane online shopping service. The deployment allows Express Lane customers to use the Harris Teeter mobile wallet called “HT Express Pay” for groceries ordered online.

Once the Harris Teeter mobile wallet app is downloaded to the customer’s iPhone or Android smartphone and payment cards are linked to the wallet, the customer scans a QR code on a Verifone handheld mobile POS device. From there, the customer uses the mobile wallet to choose a major credit card, taps the “pay” button, and automatically receives a mobile digital receipt.

McDonald’s Mobile Payment App
McDonald’s is currently testing an advance payment smartphone/tablet app in the Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City markets. The app allows customers to order and pay for food from a local store via mobile device and then pick it up at the counter or drive-thru window. The app also delivers promotions and loyalty rewards.

The advance payment functionality builds on top of capabilities in the existing McDonald’s mobile app, such as a store locator, nutritional information and job listings.

Staples Connect App
Staples is introducing Staples Connect, an offering that lets customers’ home or office technology interact and be controlled by a single free app. Staples Connect lets customers physically shut down their office while at the same time turning on their lights and heat at home.

Staples Connect consists of a multi-platform app and the Staples Connect Hub, powered by Linksys, which will be available online and in select Staples stores for $99 this November. Staples Connect uses a platform developed by Zonoff Inc.

Uniqlo USA App
Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo has created the free Uniqlo USA app for Apple products. It will be available on Android devices later this year.

By using the app’s Virtual Cam on Uniqlo logos and icons, consumers will have access to behind-the-scenes videos, current employment opportunities, “weekly favorites” and a store locator. They will also receive advance notice of new arrivals, designer collaborations and special promotions.

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T.Platt says:
Sep-30-2013 11:26 am

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FINANCE

Finish Line puts up strong Q2 results

BY Dan Berthiaume

Indianapolis – The Finish Line posted increases in net income, net sales and same-store sales during the second quarter of fiscal 2013. Net income totaled $26.19 million, up 6.1% from about $24.44 million a year earlier.

Consolidated net sales were $436 million, up 13.3 % from $385 million in the same quarter the previous year. Same-store sales rose 0.9%.

For the fiscal year ending March 1, 2014, the company now expects Finish Line comparable store sales to increase low single digits compared to its previous expectations for a slight increase.

“We are pleased to have delivered a solid second quarter performance,” said Finish Line chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon. “The combination of positive comparable sales and good expense control drove a 10% increase in earnings per share over last year. At the same time, we continued to make good progress building our business with Macy’s and growing our Running Specialty Group.”

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REAL ESTATE

Kohl’s opens three stores, remodels 30

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menomonee Falls, Wis. – Kohl’s Department Stores announced it is opening three stores on Friday, with locations in Hyannis, Mass., Keene, N.H., and Michigan City, Ind. The company also said it is remodeling 30 locations this fall.

Kohl’s new Michigan City location was built according to a prototype that received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the Gold level, and the store will pursue LEED certification in the coming months. The retailer currently has more than 350 LEED-certified locations nationwide. Features of Kohl’s LEED stores include use of more than 20% recycled and 20% regionally sourced (by cost) building materials, use of cool white Energy Star-rated roofs and water-efficient landscaping and plumbing fixtures, among many other attributes.

The Hyannis, Mass., store will have one electric vehicle (EV) charging station with two parking spaces for customers to charge at no cost while they shop. With this addition, the company has approximately 70 locations nationwide with EV charging stations.

Kohl’s new and remodeled locations feature the company’s latest store enhancements and design, including updated check-out stations, newly designed shopping carts and strollers, redesigned fitting rooms and beauty department, fitting room lounges in misses and juniors, an expanded customer service area located at the front of the store, electronic signs in all departments, free Wi-Fi throughout the store and Kohl’s kiosks, which allow customers to choose from an expanded assortment of styles, sizes, colors and merchandise and offer free standard shipping in the U.S. on items ordered.

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