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GSI signs long-term deal with Sports Authority

BY CSA STAFF

King of Prussia, Pa. GSI Commerce said Monday it has forged an agreement with Sports Authority to continue to provide Sports Authority with a broad array of services, including e-commerce technology, customer care, fulfillment and interactive marketing.

New capabilities such as ship-to store, ship-from store, in-store pickup and in-store ordering will be provided through VendorNet, a company GSI acquired earlier this year. Sports Authority will also align its online merchandise assortment with its stores, significantly improving the customer experience, according to the retailer.

“Sports Authority is committed to delivering a consistent customer experience across all channels. This new deal supports our multichannel strategy and increases our flexibility and control over cross-channel merchandising,” said Jeff Schumacher, executive VP, chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer of Sports Authority. “With GSI as our trusted e-commerce partner, we’re confident they’ll be instrumental in helping us further the evolution of our online business.”

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New energy in electronics

BY CSA STAFF

Several initiatives in the electronics area announced last week should help Target narrow the competitive gap while improving customer satisfaction and minimizing returns. The company created a free service called 1-877-myTGTtech to assist customers with questions and provide technical support. A new Target Mobile offering takes advantage of a relationship with RadioShack to create in-store mobile centers that will be in 850 stores by year-end and chain-wide by 2011. The third initiative involves a trade-in offering whereby customers can return used equipment and devices and receive credits toward future purchases. The trade-in program launched in Northern California on Aug. 24, will rollout to additional stores in September and will be available in approximately 850 stores by the end of the year. Customers bring their items to the Target Mobile counter for appraisal, which can range from a few dollars up to more than $200. At the beginning of the year Target began offering a nationwide TV delivery and installation service.

Tech services and product installation go a long way toward addressing the issue of customer satisfaction and minimizing returns which directly correlate to the increasing sophistication and complexity associated with purchasing and installing a television.Frankly, the upgrades to Target’s electronics offerings and services are overdue. The company had slipped in recent years, especially relative to a company like Best Buy, but even compared with Walmart where considerable emphasis had been placed on upgrading the branded product offering and an improved customer experience.

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Former Sears exec named EVP A&P

BY CSA STAFF

MONTVALE, N.J. A&P has announced the appointment of Tom O’Boyle to the new position of EVP, effective immediately. In this role, Tom will be responsible for leading the merchandising, marketing, supply and logistics departments to develop a cohesive synergy between these critical functions, reporting to president and CEO Sam Martin.

Martin said, “Tom is an expert merchant with a proven track record of aligning merchandising offers with exciting marketing programs to meet customers’ needs. His appointment completes my dynamic executive management team which will lead our Company’s turnaround initiative.”

Prior to joining the A&P, O’Boyle was prresident and SVP food and drug for Sears. Before that, he was SVP merchandising and marketing for Albertson’s.

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