OPERATIONS

F.J. Benjamin tracks customer traffic

BY Dan Berthiaume

Singapore – F.J. Benjamin Holdings Inc., a developer and manager of retail brands including Gap, Banana Republic and Guess, in Asia, has deployed the traffic intelligence application from Tyco Retail Solutions. The company sought a clear understanding of how the differently branded stores’ locations compared with each other, as well as the ability to track shopper conversion rates within each store.

By relying on Tyco’s traffic intelligence solution, F.J. Benjamin now has improved insight into customer behavior to drive better conversion rates and optimize store performance. The company now knows how many shoppers become buyers and how much they spend per visit. This empowers the retailer to adapt their strategies and drive greater profitability per store.

F.J. Benjamin can also analyze the impact of promotions and in-store advertising to optimize advertising campaigns to shopper preferences, gain visibility to in-store peak selling times, and also obtain visibility into areas in stores where shoppers spend most of their time, conversion rates in particular store areas, peak selling times, and stores with particularly high or low conversion rates.

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Study: J. Crew has best online customer service in January

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – J. Crew received top ranking among all major U.S. online retailers during the month of January 2014. According to the Stella Monthly Ranking from the StellaService customer service analysis firm, J. Crew, which held this ranking from July-September 2013, took the top spot from L.L.Bean.com, which held it in November and December 2013.

J. Crew topped all apparel retailers with the best issue resolution in the group of top performers, improving from second in the category the previous month. J.Crew was also the only retailer in the group to score 100% for product knowledge and policy knowledge.

Other notable performers included Fab.com, which replied to emails in fewer than two hours on average, topping the category for the second consecutive month. Fab.com also delivered packages about two days faster than the mass merchant category average and the retailer scored 100% for package quality.

Meanwhile, L.L.Bean.com was best for phone service not only in the apparel/accessories category but also among all retailers. The retailer improved from third in its category the previous month with best-in-class issue resolution. Four of five top performers in the category averaged less than a minute to connect StellaService Analysts to live agents.

The top 10 retailers in online customer service for the month of January are as follows: J.Crew, L.L. Bean, Ralph Lauren, Net-A-Porter, Fab.com, Kate Spade, Cabelas, Gap, HSN, and Zappos.

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Lowe’s to hire 25,000 seasonal employees

BY Dan Berthiaume

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s plans to hire approximately 25,000 seasonal employees at its stores in the U.S. during spring, its busiest season. Seasonal jobs available are focused on customer support and include cashiers, lawn and garden employees, loaders, and stockers.

The number of hours worked per week will vary based on the needs of individual stores, but, on average, seasonal employees could work an estimated 20 or more hours per week. The length of the seasonal employment varies; however, seasonal employees are most needed in spring and summer months, typically from February until September. The company plans to hire and train new seasonal employees first in areas where the climate has begun to warm, and continue on a market-by-market basis by climate and geography. Hiring has already begun in Florida, south Texas, Arizona and southern California where warmer, spring-like temperatures are arriving.

"Warmer temperatures stir homeowners to get started on projects they’ve planned during winter and they are often challenged when choosing the right products and solutions for their homes," said Scott Purvis, VP, human resources, operations. "As Spring arrives, our stores are stocked with popular new tools, lawn and garden, paint and patio products. We want our stores staffed with knowledgeable employees who provide exceptional service and make shopping and selection easier for our customers."

Rival home improvement retailer Home Depot recently announced it will hire 80,000 seasonal spring employees.

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