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Global report underscores need for seamless shopping across all channels

BY Allison Cerra

Paris — Shoppers worldwide expect a seamless integration across online, social media, mobile and physical stores, according to a new global report released Tuesday by Capgemini.

According to "Digital Shopper Relevancy," which surveyed 16,000 digital shoppers across 16 developing and mature markets, 60% of respondents said they expect the convergence of retail channels by 2014, while more than half of those surveyed said most retailers currently are inconsistent in the way they present themselves across channels.

Key findings from the Capgemini report include:

  • Websites continue to be the main digital shopping channel for shoppers in both developing and mature countries: 80% of respondents in developing markets said the Internet was "important" or "very important," while 63% in mature markets noted that the Internet was "important" or "very important" to the shopping journey. This is closely followed by e-mail interaction. However, such channels as social media, mobile applications and in-store kiosks are growing in popularity as alternative retail channels;
  • The number of digital-savvy shoppers increases considerably in developing markets and they tend to "leapfrog" the traditional retail infrastructure adopted by mature markets: 72% of respondents from India and 69% from China state that they purchase more products in a single transaction online than in a physical store, compared with just 31% from the United States;
  • More than half of the respondents from both developing and mature markets said they expect physical stores for increasing numbers of categories will simply become showrooms to select and order products by 2020;
  • More than half of those surveyed (56%) are likely to spend more money at a physical store if they had used digital channels to research the product prior to purchase; however, 73% of respondents also expect online prices to be lower than those in physical stores;
  • There is no "one" digital shopper profile as varied behavioral patterns appear across a number of factors, including age, gender, product category, journey stage and market maturity. The study did highlight that 55% of women shoppers are more engaged when using digital channels, compared with 44% of men; and
  • "[It] is critical for retailers to identify who is really using these channels and essential in determining where to make digital investments and how to monetize them," Helders said. "The findings of the report are a call to action for retailers and consumer goods companies to adopt a new approach and harness the technology that’s now available."

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Brentwood Associates acquires majority stake in Sundance Catalog

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Angeles — Private equity firm Brentwood Associates has acquired a majority stake in Sundance Holdings Group ("Sundance Catalog").

Sundance Catalog, founded by Robert Redford in 1989 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a multichannel direct marketer and specialty retailer of women’s apparel and accessories, jewelry and home furnishings. Selling shareholders, including ACI Capital and Webster Capital, will retain a minority ownership stake, and the business will remain under the leadership of current president and CEO Matey Erdos.

"Brentwood brings tremendous insight as we embark on the next level of growth," said Erdos. "Their experience in direct marketing and multi-channel retail, as well as their track record of building consumer brands, is extremely relevant to our future success."

Sundance Catalog is the ninth acquisition by Brentwood Associates’ latest fund, Brentwood Associates Private Equity IV, L.P.

“We see tremendous opportunity in the Sundance Catalog’s direct-to-consumer channels as management is in the early stages of leveraging a vast e-commerce toolset to more effectively serve their customers," said William Barnum, Jr., a partner at Brentwood and co-founder of the firm’s private equity effort. "Furthermore, we believe the company’s retail strategy represents a significant growth opportunity and an additional path to deeper brand penetration."

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Best Buy Canada selects Stibo Systems to fuel its multichannel efforts

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — Stibo Systems announced that Best Buy Canada has selected Stibo Systems to optimize its customer’s online and mobile e-commerce experience.

Best Buy Canada, which operates roughly 225 consumer electronics stores under the brands Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, and Future Shop, will use Stibo Systems’ Step platform to support their multichannel efforts and to streamline item setup and data management for the English-Canadian and French-Canadian versions of www.bestbuy.ca and www.futureshop.ca.

“Creating an impressive multichannel experience for our customers is Best Buy Canada’s number one goal, and we remain committed to meeting their needs both online and in the store,” said Robert Pearson, VP e-commerce at Best Buy Canada. “Leveraging Stibo Systems’ deep experience and its proven Master Data Management platform, we can ensure success in achieving our e-commerce objectives and more importantly, continue to meet the unique and growing needs of our customers.”

Using Stibo Systems’ technology and services, Best Buy Canada will drive more accurate and consistent product information into all channels and model complex product bundles such as cell phone packages which often consist of a combination of products, parts, and services. Further, by creating a central repository for its product information, the big-box retailer will support its rapidly growing marketplace and increase its online SKU count while removing the time intensive processes typically associated with manual product on-boarding. In future phases, the system will expand to also manage Best Buy’s store-side data including both supply chain and packaging information.

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