STORE SPACES

The Home Depot reduces energy use

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta The Home Depot said it has reduced its U.S. store energy use by 2.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) since 2004 and that it will achieve a 20% reduction in kWh per square foot usage in its U.S. stores by 2015.

The company has also set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its domestic supply chain by 20% within the next five years.

Home Depot is in the process of calculating its comprehensive carbon footprint based on the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development protocol, an emerging standard for government and business leaders to understand, quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the findings will be released next year.

“While our accomplishments in lowering our store energy use have been significant, we will identify additional ways we can continue the reduction,” said Ron Jarvis, VP of environmental innovation for The Home Depot. “In addition, the changes we are making to increase productivity in our supply chain will allow us to reduce our transportation greenhouse gas emissions substantially.”

During the past six years, Home Depot has reduced its U.S. stores’ energy per square foot consumption by 16%. At the start of 2004, the company’s energy usage was 25 kWh per square foot. Through a series of operational programs, including the upgrading of store HVAC systems, aligning of stocking hours more closely with store operating hours, use of CFL bulbs and a switch to T5 lighting, the company’s U.S. store energy usage now stands at 21 kWh per square foot. Since these reductions began in 2004, the company has saved 2.6 billion kWh of energy, enough energy to power 203,000 homes for one year.

Moving forward, the company believes it can reach 20 kWh per square foot of energy usage by 2015.

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Social media: Proceed with caution

BY CSA STAFF

By Kevin Moffitt, [email protected]

There is no denying that social media presents a significant opportunity for retailers. Connecting your customers simultaneously to each other and to your brand is a potentially a powerful marketing strategy.

However, any e-commerce/cross-channel marketing strategy, particularly those that encompass social media, should be both:

1. Closely aligned to customer needs and behaviors; and
2. Prioritized against other potential sources of business value.

Amid the excitement generated by social media, I’ve talked to many retailers who want to discuss their social networking integrations prior to doing even a basic usability study on their own Web sites. We’ve found major holes in online checkout processes, for example, that cost the retailer millions of dollars in lost sales. Optimizing product details pages, search, and checkout won’t win a retailer a lot of attention in the press, but it can lead to substantial ROI. The point is to address first things first — go where the easy money is.

Prioritizing social media against other sources of business value is a critical exercise for retailers to determine what strategy is right for them. Before focusing exclusively on external sites such as Facebook, where it may be difficult to entice customers to “friend” your company, and even more difficult to convert those who do, I would encourage retailers to look at strategies for leveraging the traffic they already have coming to own sites.

Average e-commerce conversion rates vary around 1% and 5%, meaning 95% or more of the traffic an e-commerce site receives doesn’t translate immediately to a sale. On-site community building tools such as ratings and reviews, blogs, discussion forums, photo galleries and contests, and moderated chat sessions can not only help convert new customers, but also help deepen relationships with existing customers.

One significant benefit of this approach is that all of the data that’s gathered on the site belongs to the retailer directly. Another key benefit is that community pages can be monetized through onsite advertising and sponsorship programs, which translates directly to the P+L, allowing the retailer to further leverage non-converting visitors.

That being said, for those retailers who have optimized their own site experience, Facebook and Twitter can be effective marketing tools for communicating promotions and connecting consumers to your brand. Some retailers, such as Victoria’s Secret, boast over a million fans on their Facebook pages. Other sites, such as the crafts marketplace Etsy, have over a million followers on Twitter.

Yet many still struggle to determine the value of friends and followers, at least in the short term. In the Etsy example, their outreach program is successful in part due to their organizational focus — Matt Stinchcomb, their dedicated VP of community, is responsible for both internal and external social programs, including onsite features such as blogs and forums, as well as integration into Facebook and Twitter.

So, while social media is an exciting platform that carries significant branding and traffic potential, retailers are best served taking a step back to examine both customer behavior and business priorities to ensure future success.

Kevin Moffitt is VP strategy & customer experience of CrossView, which brings more than 12 years of experience building cross-channel solutions for clients ranging from Top 10 Internet retailers to organizations expanding into multiple channels (crossview.com). He can be reached at [email protected].

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Macy’s launches new fashion, home brands

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Macy’s announced that it has introduced new fashion brands and expanded home lines.

The new fashion brands include an Ellen Tracy women’s sportswear line, Threads & Heirs, a men’s casualwear line by designers Ruffian, Kouture by Kimora younger shoppers, Mstylelab, a jewelry and hair accessories line.

 

The expanded home lines include Vida for Espana by Eva Mendes — brand extension to casual Latin-inspired dinnerware and Martha Stewart Collection — brand extension to mattresses with styles in multiple comfort choices

 

The new collections will begin arriving in select stores in March and April.

The Ellen Tracy line will feature modern separates retailing from $30 to $150. Threads & Heirs items, including tops and jackets, will range from $24 to $99. Items in the Kouture by Kimora line will range from $24 to $40. Accessories in the Mstylelab line will retail from $6 to $40. The Martha Stewart Collection will feature mattresses from $1,069 to $4,369. The Vida for Espana  collection now includes tabletop pieces from $6 to $50.

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