Francesca’s names former Dots exec as senior VP, head of stores
Houston — Francesca’s Holdings Corp. announced the appointment of R. David Minnix, Jr., as senior VP and head of boutiques, effective July 8.
Minnix brings a wealth of experience having worked in a variety of leading roles driving sales and customer experience at retailers such as Zales, Pearle Vision, After Hours Formalwear, and Dots Fashion. Most recently, he served as chief stores officer at Dots Fashion where he ran all aspects of store & field leadership organization overseeing 3,500 associates, store support, visual, real estate, construction and loss prevention departments.
"As a seasoned store operator, David brings over 30 years of retail experience to francesca’s," said CEO and president Neill Davis. "He will be a great cultural fit because he understands the importance of capturing hearts and minds to motivate our associates and field leadership team. David’s track record in nurturing and leading the sales teams makes him an ideal partner as we continue to refine the in-boutique experience for our customers."
New funding will allow grocery delivery service Instacart to expand to more markets
New York — Instacart, the same-day grocery delivery service, has raised $44 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
The San Francisco startup currently operates in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and seven other U.S. cities. With its new funding, it Instacart expects to expand into 17 cities by the end of 2014.
"We’ve proven out our model in 10 cities across the U.S., and it works,” company founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta Mehta said in a press release. “Instacart’s customer base in every city is growing by double digits monthly, and we’ve developed a great playbook for geographic expansions. This funding will enable us to expand even more quickly and establish a wide, national footprint over the next 18 months.”
The new funding brings Instacart’s total to about $55 million since it was founded in 2012.
“As we think about the future of e-commerce, groceries are among the last huge untapped opportunities. While many have tried to crack the code, few have met with success,” said Jeff Jordan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz. "However, mobile is enabling a new way to tackle digital grocery distribution through an execution that I refer to as ‘People Marketplaces.’ This is Instacart’s approach, and we’re betting it will be the winning play. We are excited to partner with Apoorva and team as they seek to have software eat grocery delivery.”
Domino’s Pizza launching voice ordering for its iPhone, Android apps
Ann Arbor, Mich. — Domino’s Pizza, in conjunction with Nuance Communications, is launching voice ordering for its iPhone and Android apps.
"There will be a day when typing on keyboards or with thumbs on mobile devices will come to a close; we want to be the ones who continue to advance the technology experience – hand-in-hand with our customers," said Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Pizza president and CEO. "Our mobile app users who are a part of this launch are truly helping set the foundation for the innovations of today, that will soon enough become the standards of tomorrow."
The platform, in partnership with Nuance, puts Domino’s at the forefront of an intuitive ordering method that is a true first within both traditional and e-commerce retail.
Domino’s new voice ordering platform is powered by Nuance’s Nina Mobile, an intelligent virtual assistant that leverages speech recognition, speech synthesis and natural language understanding technologies. Together, the platform delivers a human-like, conversational customer service experience that allows users to speak an order and quickly add items to their cart. The platform launches today in beta format, which will allow for additional enhancements as customers become familiar with the new ordering feature.