DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Jet.com ventures into physical retail

BY Marianne Wilson

Story, the innovative store in Manhattan that totally reinvents itself every six to eight weeks, has a new theme and this time Walmart is in on the act.

On May 10, Story unveiled its latest iteration, “Fresh,” which is being done in collaboration with Walmart’s Jet.com division. Here is how Story described its new theme:

“What’s fresher than fresh? Having healthy produce dropped at your door—and you don’t even have to be home to receive it. This is the magic of Jet.com, and to celebrate their innovative approach to delivering perishable groceries, we’ve teamed up with the online service to bring to life Fresh Story at a time when the city feels ripe with energy and inspiration.”

This is Jet.com’s first physical venture of any kind. It comes as Amazon is testing its own offline food concepts, including the no-checkout AmazonGo convenience store and its new AmazonFresh Pickup format.

The merchandise mix at the 2,000-sq.-ft. Story is heavy on cool kitchen gadgets and accessories, along with cookbooks, fresh produce and select menu-inspired grocery items. In-store events will include talks and workshops by food and beverage pros. In June, Story will bake cookies and pizzas everyday on site — using jet.com ingredients.

Story always revamps its décor to match its new theme, and this time around is no exception. The floor is carpeted with green faux-grass, and the walls are accented with life-sized recipes done by food illustrator Claudia Pearson. The scent of cherries wafts through the store, courtesy of cherry-scented wallpaper (from Brooklyn-based Flavor paper). In some areas, Jet.com boxes are artfully stacked up and serve as display fixtures.

Story is located at 144 10th Avenue, at 19th St., in Manhattan. It opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week, and closes at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., depending on the day.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Online giant tops in ‘brand intimacy’

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon leads the way in the retail industry when it comes to creating an emotional bond with customers, but the industry as a whole lags behind two other categories.

That’s according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, in which Amazon placed first in the retail category. followed by Whole Foods Market and Target Corp. The remaining brands in the top 10 for the retail industry are: H&M, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ikea, The Home Depot and eBay.

The study, which defines brand Intimacy as a “new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand,” ranked 15 different industries. The automotive industry came out on top, followed by media/entertainment and retail.

Other U.S. retail industry findings from MBLM’s 2017 report include:

• The archetype most associated with retail is fulfillment, which relates to exceeding expectations, and delivering superior service, quality and efficacy.

• The top brand for consumers both under and over 35-years of age is Amazon; both groups also rank Target and Whole Foods within their top five brands, with younger consumers preferring Target and older consumers favoring Whole Foods.

• On average, higher-income individuals are more intimate with retail brands.

• Retail is only one of five industries that has more success building bonds with women than it does with men, along with consumer goods, fast food, health & hygiene, and apps & social platforms.

The report analyzed the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries.

For more, click here.

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C-SUITE

Rent-A-Center veteran exec returns

BY Marianne Wilson

The nation's largest rent-to-own operator has a new chief operating officer.

Rent-A-Center appointed Joel M. Mussat as executive VP, COO, effective May 5, 2017. He brings more than 20 years of experience in operations, retail strategy and the rent-to-own industry.

Mussat most recently served as COO of Vixxo Inc., where he oversaw integrated facilities management and operations for 1.1 million revenue-generating assets in the restaurant, retail, convenience store and grocery industries. From 2005 through early 2016, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Rent-A-Center most recently as executive VP, chief omnichannel officer.

“We are delighted to welcome Joel back to Rent-A-Center,” said Mark Speese, Rent-A-Center’s chairman and CEO. “His significant operational background and industry experience will further strengthen our leadership team as we execute on our strategic plan to deliver enhanced stockholder value.”

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