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IBM Coremetrics Report: Online holiday readiness

BY Marianne Wilson

Leveraging the social and mobile channels to present a unified cross-channel experience is one of the keys to maximizing online holiday sales this year, according to the IBM Coremetrics Fourth Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report.

“Segments of social media users who browsed your site or (put products in shopping carts) but abandoned them are ideal for retargeting via personalized e-mail or display ads,” the report states. It notes that Coremetrics research shows that visitors from social media sites have a 10.7% conversion rate, more than the 5.2% conversion rate for all visitors, and 3.9% for mobile.

The study advises retailers to ensure their sites are easy to use via mobile devices, noting that 7.6% of e-commerce visits already come from consumers using mobile devices. The number is expected to increase to double digits by this year’s holiday shopping season.

Providing an in-depth analysis of key trends in online shopping and usage based on data from more than 500 leading U.S. retailers, the report offers best-practice guidance on how to adapt to fast-moving trends during the critical holiday season.

Key trends identified in this year’s report include:

  • Mobile phones are the consumer’s best friend, both when it comes to browsing (or researching a purchase) and when it comes to buying online or even in stores;
  • The use of social media as a shopping tool is skyrocketing;
  • Consumers are willing to spend more money on more items — carting and ordering are hitting record highs;
  • But consumer attention continues to decline and bounce rates remain high.

The complete report can be downloaded for free here.

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Walgreens invests in Chicago hometown

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday unveiled plans to establish deeper roots on its home turf with its “Chicago Hometown Investment Initiative,” a plan that will create an estimated 600 new jobs in the city over the next two years and quadruple the number of Walgreens’ food oasis stores.

About half of those 300 jobs will fuel an expansion of Walgreens’ digital strategy, the company stated. The remaining jobs will be created by new store openings and remodeling of many of Walgreens’ 142 Chicago drug stores, including the planned expansion of Walgreens’ 11 food oasis stores in the city to nearly 50 over the next two years.

“Our expanded investment in Walgreens’ hometown demonstrates the optimism we’ve had for Chicago since Charles R. Walgreen Sr. opened his first store here in 1901 at the corner of Cottage Grove and Bowen avenues,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said. “By bringing more jobs to the city, expanding commerce and providing healthy living choices to residents across the city, we strive to make Chicago an even better place in which to live well.”

Added Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, “This dual investment by Walgreens will have a profound effect on the city of Chicago. The 600 new jobs will have a strong impact on our economy, and the nearly 40 new food oasis stores will allow many of our residents to get healthy food for their families. This is an example of a corporation that is committed to both the city of Chicago and its mission.”

Walgreens’ Chicago Hometown Investment Initiative includes three components:

  • Expanded downtown office space: Walgreens plans to expand its downtown presence for e-commerce, information technology and other support areas, some of which have been located in the Sullivan Center since March 2010. The expansion comes shortly after Walgreens completed on June 3 its acquisition of Drugstore.com, a strong online business across the health, personal care, beauty and vision categories that better positions Walgreens as the most convenient multichannel retailer of health and daily living in America;

  • Expansion of food oasis stores: Walgreens intends to quadruple the number of Chicago stores in which it provides expanded healthy food selections to serve communities identified as food deserts, or areas that lack access to basic foods necessary to maintain a healthy diet. In August 2010, Walgreens celebrated the opening of 10 redesigned stores on Chicago’s South and West Sides to include more than 750 new food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats and fish, pasta, rice, beans, eggs, whole-grain cereals and other healthy meal components. Earlier this month, Walgreens was 1-of-4 companies to participate in a special CEO summit with mayor Emanuel to address the food desert crisis facing Chicago’s inner city neighborhoods. The company now plans to double the number of stores with expanded healthy food selections by 2012, and double the number again in 2013, to reach a total of nearly 50 food oasis stores; and

  • New and remodeled drug stores: Walgreens plans to open at least five additional stores in Chicago over the next two years, while also investing in remodeling many of its existing stores in the city. The new and remodeled stores, combined with expansion of Walgreens’ food oasis locations, are expected to add approximately 300 new jobs in the city.

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Supervalu wastes no time going green

BY CSA STAFF

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.— Supervalu announced that plans to transition 40 stores to zero waste operations by the end of its current fiscal year ending Feb. 29, 2012.

“We are aggressively seeking ways to build on our sustainability achievements from this past year,” said Andy Herring, executive vice president, real estate, market development and legal. “While this year’s corporate social responsibility report captures some of the excitement we shared in being the first food retailer to achieve zero waste in the U.S. at two of our California stores, we truly believe this is the tip of the iceberg for us.”

The company said itsadditional zero waste stores will be located primarily in the Albertsons banner, while also expanding similar efforts across the enterprise. To achieve this recognition, stores must divert at least 90% of all waste from landfills.

According to Supervalu, its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility lead to these examples of achievement:

  • The commitment to waste reduction was significantly accelerated in the past year, culminating in two Albertsons stores in Santa Barbara, Calif. reaching zero waste classification, making Supervalu the first U.S. retail grocer to announce this achievement.

  • In 2011, Supervalu reduced garbage expenses by 12.6% over last year’s levels, while also conducting an aggressive cardboard recycling initiative that nearly doubled revenues from the previous year. The end result was Supervalu’s waste and recycling program posted a profit to the company’s bottom line.

  • Through its fresh rescue program, which captures fresh items such as meat, dairy and produce that have reached their “sell by” date, but are still edible and safe, Supervalu donated nearly 60 million pounds of food in 2010.

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