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Group-shopping app is winner of Target’s Retail Accelerator contest

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis — Target has announced the winner of the $75,000 grand prize in its Retail Accelerator contest: a mobile retail concept called “Divvy.” Jointly promoted by Target and Fast Company, the Retail Accelerator competition was designed to foster digital innovation in retail by challenging developers to build a new mobile experience for Target.

The Divvy concept is designed to improve the group shopping experience by allowing multiple users to update a shopping list in real time while making it easier to split the bill and distribute receipts. A group of New York-based digital developers and co-workers called Team Pilot submitted the winning application.

The Retail Accelerator drew more than 350 registrants and 76 completed entries between March and April 2013. Seven finalists were selected in May received $10,000 to build their concepts into functioning prototypes and then in June presented to a panel of Target executives.

“The Retail Accelerator set out to find fresh and innovative ideas for a new mobile experience for Target, and the developer community absolutely exceeded our expectations,” said Casey Carl, Target’s president of multichannel and senior VP of enterprise strategy. “Selecting a winner wasn’t easy. But Team Pilot’s ability to make group shopping more convenient and seamless for guests made the project stand out above the others.”

Target is currently working toward a live rollout of Divvy.

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Report: Maximum mobile ROI requires planning

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston — Retailers need to carefully plan ahead in a number of areas to ensure they receive maximum ROI on investments in mobile technology, according to a new report from the Universal Commerce Innovation Exchange and Aite Group.

The areas, detailed in the “Strategies for Mobile Investments,” report, include:

  • Customer-centricity. To achieve the true customer-centricity needed to launch a successful mobile strategy that delivers maximum ROI on technology investments, retailers need to first identify who their customers are. They then must use mobile technology to profile their shopping habits over time to discover what customers buy, how much they spend and when they spend it. Armed with this mobile data, retailers can develop engagement and relationship strategies around the specific needs of their customers.
  • Trade-offs. Retailers must identify what trade offs they and they customers will make in the course of mobile engagements. For example, will a retailer need to offer some type of special incentive to persuade customers to allow location-based tracking?
  • Technology and platform. Retailers need to determine what specific mobile solution(s) best meet their needs and their customers’ needs, and also evaluate important decisions like whether to use native, downloadable apps, whether to develop a mobile-specific website or use responsive design to optimize a single website for multiple devices and screen sizes, and whether certain third-party hosted services are advantageous to use.

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Alliance Data to provide private label card services for Zales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Alliance Data Systems Corporation will provide private label credit card services for the US brands of Zale’s and acquire the existing card portfolio at a future date. In addition to providing private label credit card services for each Zale brand in the U.S., Alliance Data will provide turnkey credit marketing services to all Zale brands, including omni-channel and mobile services and technologies.

"Following a highly competitive process, Alliance Data was the clear choice for us as our U.S. credit card provider as we look to enhance the credit card value proposition for our loyal guests," said Matt Appel, chief administrative officer of Zale Corporation. "We selected Alliance Data for its extensive expertise in providing leading marketing-driven credit solutions, and its customizable approach to combining innovative marketing tools and digital capabilities that are designed to turn occasional shoppers into guests for life."

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