REAL ESTATE

LA Fitness to open near Atlanta

BY CSA STAFF

College Park, Ga. Inland Atlantic Development Corp. said it has signed a 42,000-sq.-ft., 15-year lease with LA Fitness at Old National Market Place, a planned 300,000-sq.-ft. power center in College Park, Ga., located 10 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.

LA Fitness International, LLC, operating more than 300 sports clubs in the United States and Canada, is scheduled to open its new location in 2010.

In addition to Old National Market Place, Inland Atlantic is developing Seminole Commons, an 81,000-sq.-ft. neighborhood center in Sanford, Fla., a suburb of Orlando. Hhgregg is the center’s anchor.

Inland Atlantic is part of The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos., headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill.

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Samsung enters new retail venture with Micro Center

BY CSA STAFF

SAN JOSE, Calif. Samsung will begin selling its external hard drives for the first time through a retail channel. The company has forged an agreement with Micro Center to sell its external hard drives on Micro Center’s web site and in their retail stores nationwide.

As the first retail and e-retail authorized distributor, Micro Center will be responsible for expanding the market for Samsung’s full line of external drives, including S1 Mini 1.8” hard drive with capacities in 120/160/250GB; S2 portable in 160/250/320/500GB capacities; and Story Station with capacities of 1/1.5TB; and future external drives.

“Samsung will leverage Micro Center’s expert service-oriented staff that specializes in PCs and peripherals to expand our user base,” said Andy Higginbotham, director of HDD sales and marketing for the Samsung Semiconductor Storage Division. “With a strong brand name presence with many of our other consumer electronic products, our objective is to make sure that more consumers have access to top-quality, dependable external storage products.”

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Online retail checks up on check-out

BY CSA STAFF

SAN DIEGO As more and more people begin shopping online, many e-tailers are looking for new ways to improve customer experience. And, according to a new study, customers’ checkout experience has become an important priority for many companies

According to the The State of Retailing Online 2009: Merchandising Report, conducted by Forrester Research, of 117 respondents, retailers plan to focus heavily this year on improving customers’ check-out experience. Companies will also place an emphasis on image enhancement on product detail pages and site search filters to help shoppers more easily find what they’re looking for.

“In today’s economy, retailers need to be one step ahead, especially when it comes to attracting shoppers who have money to spend,” said executive director of Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s digital retail division, Scott Silverman. “Companies are investing in their Web sites to set them apart from their competition and make the shopping experience informative, efficient and even fun.”

Forrester Research found that 79% of online retailers said enhancing the checkout process was on the top of their to-do lists for the remainder of the year. Companies said they were concerned particularly with the transparency around shipping charges to reduce shopping cart abandonment. According to the survey, 88% of retailers will focus on providing more shipping information within the next year, including such details as when a customer can expect to receive a package and information about when products have left the warehouse. In addition, two-thirds of retailers (67%) said they would pay special attention to calculating the loaded cost of an order prior to checkout.

Online retailers understand that no matter how good the shopping experience is for a customer, a cumbersome or confusing checkout process could mean the loss of a sale. As the Forrester study shows, e-tailers, like their brick-and-mortar counterparts need to make shopping enjoyable from start to finish.

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