REAL ESTATE

Golfsmith coming to Fifth Avenue

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Golfsmith International will open a two-story, 15,000-sq.-ft. store on Fifth Avenue, near 38th Street, in Manhattan.

The store, opening on Friday, June 7, features three state-of-the-art club fitting studios with simulators that enable customers to test drive the latest equipment with the same technology used to fit tour pros. The store also has an indoor putting green and technology bar with GPS units, range finders and a variety of high-tech gadgets.

"Golfsmith’s second Manhattan store offers a truly world-class customer experience worthy of its Fifth Avenue address," said Golfsmith International president and CEO, Sue Gove. "This big and beautiful new location is unlike any other store in New York City – enabling consumers to try the latest golf equipment and gear right in the heart of one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods.”

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News

Vera Bradley refines pricing, marketing with online insight

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Specialty retailer Vera Bradley has helped boost the revenue and margins generated by its recently launched line of baby accessories by obtaining advance insight from consumers about what they would pay for certain products and also what features most interested them.

In a session at this week’s Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago, Stephanie Scheele, senior director of intelligence for Vera Bradley, explained how her company benefited from using the First Insight cloud-based consumer analytics solution to help refine its go to market strategy for baby accessories.

“We had an 18-month go-to-market strategy and started using First Insight about 16 months out,” said Scheele. “We had no product designs or photos, so we used CADs to email customers and ask them what they would pay for certain items.”

Scheele said Vera Bradley explained to customers how important their insight was to the product launch and also used gamification elements by framing the questions as a game called “What Would You Pay?” One fact the retailer discovered was that customers were willing to pay a dollar more for a stuffed bunny toy than it had anticipated.

“We increased our revenue 8% in the indirect channel and 6% in the direct channel just from that one dollar increase,” said Scheele. “Overall, we increased our revenue 4% based on pricing changes from customer insights.”

In addition, customer comments helped Vera Bradley better target the marketing of its baby products.

“We had a baby bottle caddy and the number one survey question was whether it was insulated, which ir was, but we hadn’t included that fact in the marketing until that point.”

Scheele said Vera Bradley historically segments its customers to ensure the proper consumers are reviewing the proper items and also still runs as many as nine online insight programs at any one time. Insights are closed after receiving 200 responses, which can happen in as little as an hour.

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OPERATIONS

Amazon launches marketplace site in India

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Amazon has launched an online shopping site in India, but, in line with the nation’s rules, it will only be able to service other retailers.

The e-commerce giant has gone live with an e-commerce marketplace where local retailers can list books and DVDs under Amazon’s banner and use its delivery services to get them to buyers, according to The Financial Times. Amazon will start selling mobile phones and cameras within weeks.

Amazon has one warehouse outside of Mumbai and will use a mixture of its own couriers and local delivery trucks, the report said. Customers will be able to pay cash on delivery or by credit card online.

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