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Fuel cell provider touts Walmart deal

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart’s sustainability efforts are benefitting fuel cell provider Plug Power Inc., which said a contract it secured with the retailer earlier this year has already been expanded.

Plug Power said it received an order from Walmart for a seventh on site hydrogen fuel cell power solution branded as GenKey.

Plug Power entered into a contract with Walmart back in February for six of its GenKey solutions consisting of GenDrive fuel cells, GenFuel infrastructure construction and hydrogen fuel supply and GenCare on-site maintenance.

The additional site in Sterling, IL consists of 286 GenDrive fuel cell units and is planned to deploy in the third quarter of 2014. The order the company received in February 2014 involved 1,783 GenDrive fuel cells in the forklift fleets at six sites across North America. The first of these sites, in Pottsville, Pa., was brought on line during the second quarter of 2014. Plug Power deployed almost 300 GenDrive fuel cell units in Walmart’s class-2 and class-3 electric lift trucks.

Additionally, Plug Power built and commissioned Walmart Pottsville’s outdoor and indoor GenFuel infrastructure.

"The original contract deployments are proceeding, and the timely completion of the first GenFuel build helps validate our turnkey capability," said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. "We are excited to help Walmart realize the positive impact of GenKey in so many locations in 2014."

GenDrive fuel cell units are currently powering electric lift truck fleets at four Walmart distribution centers in North America, consisting of two sites in Canada and two sites in the U.S. Walmart’s second Plug Power GenKey site, located in Johnstown, New York, is in the final stages of GenDrive deployment, and is already supported by an on-site GenFuel hydrogen infrastructure.

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Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor roll out beacon tech in North America

BY CSA STAFF

HBC Department Store Group has deployed the Swirl in-store beacon marketing platform to deliver digital experiences to consumers’ smartphones while they shop in the company’s department stores in Canada and the U.S.

Using beacons installed in merchandising areas throughout its stores, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor will automatically deliver branded content and personalized offers to in-store shoppers through an array of company-owned and third-party mobile apps.

The HBC Department Store Group operates more than 130 Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor department stores across North America. The new in-store mobile experiences will be available to shoppers at select malls and free-standing Hudson’s Bay stores including its 850,000-sq.-ft. Toronto flagship store, as well as Lord & Taylor stores in the U.S.

The Swirl platform leverages Bluetooth Smart and Apple’s iBeacon technology to deliver targeted content and offers to consumers based on their specific location and behavior at the store.

Beacon marketing represents the latest in a series of mobile enablement capabilities that HBC has developed in an effort to meet rapidly evolving consumer behaviors.

"We recognize the appetite for mobile experiences that cater to our customers’ immediate needs and preferences while also providing a seamless and effortless experience," said Michael Crotty, EVP, chief marketing officer, Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord & Taylor. "Beacon technology is the future of retail marketing and Swirl’s platform will assist us to make every visit to Hudson’s Bay or Lord & Taylor even more rewarding for our customers."

"With this new capability, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor are taking their reputation for quality and customer service to the next level," said Hilmi Ozguc, founder and CEO of Swirl. "We are proud to be working with one of North America’s premier retailers to reinvent the in-store shopping experience with the latest mobile marketing technology. This multi-category, multi-floor beacon deployment represents the most ambitious application of beacon marketing in the retail industry to date."

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Survey: Teens, young adults love shopping, personalization, deals

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cleveland — Shopping ranks as a favorite activity among nearly half of all teens and young adults aged 13 to 24. According to a new survey of more than 1,000 teens and young adults ranging from ages 13 to 24 conducted by Alexander Babbage in partnership with Forest City Enterprises Inc., shopping at malls ranked above a virtual shopping experience among the entire group, with the 13-to-17-year-old age group showing the strongest preference for a bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.

In addition to music, movies and video games, 46% of teens and young adults cited shopping as one of their favorite activities. Results also show that teens and young adults visit large shopping centers more frequently and spend more money there than at any other virtual or physical shopping venue. Specifically, the survey found that 71% of monthly expenditures by 13-to-17-year-olds and 69% by 18-to-24-year-olds are made in bricks-and-mortar shopping locations.

The survey also found that teens and young adults are more deal-oriented than generally expected. In addition to finding a deal, young shoppers seek an experience that delivers individuality, authenticity and uniqueness. Nearly 65% of respondents said the ability to personalize their clothes, shoes and accessories had a positive impact on their overall shopping experience

Of the key shopping influences, friends and in-store displays topped the list. In fact, the study found that young shoppers are four times more likely to be influenced by friends and three times more likely to be influenced by in-store displays than by social media.

The survey also found that 13-to-17-year-olds are less brand-centric and more price-sensitive than 18-to-24-year-olds. However, both groups prefer sales and discounts over other tested ways to enhance their bricks-and-mortar shopping experience. Gift card incentives ranked especially high among this age group, followed by sales at favorite retailers. The 13-to-17-year-old group showed a stronger interest in using malls as places to “hang out,” compared with the 18-to-24-year-old age group.

While most young adults indicated that using a mobile device is the least preferred way to shop online, they also said the ability to use mobile devices to receive offers and information positively affects the shopping center experience. Email communication was revealed as the preferred medium for fashion, brand and retail information.

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