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Lindt taps IBM Smarter Commerce on cloud through CrossView

BY Marianne Wilson

Research Triangle Park, N.C. — CrossView, a provider of cross-channel commerce and retail solutions, announced that it is using technology from IBM’s Smarter Commerce portfolio to help premier confectioner, Lindt Chocolate, deliver personalized shopping experiences, increase online conversion rates and grow mobile sales.

Lindt recently launched a new online storefront powered by IBM WebSphere Commerce and deployed by IBM Business Partner CrossView. The IBM WebSphere Commerce platform, delivered through the cloud, enables Lindt to quickly build and execute personalized seasonal promotions around the holidays – from Valentine’s Day to Christmas and everything in between. In fact, the company saw its online conversion rates increase by 200% over the recent holiday season, with mobile sales growing by nearly 300%

"The new site allows us to engage customers with highly personalized promotions and offers that enhance their shopping experience, whether they are browsing online or through their mobile device," said Thomas Linemayr, president and CEO, Lindt & Sprüngli. "The new platform helps orchestrate personalized content and promotions across our online and mobile channels, including the look, the feel, the navigation, all in a way that culminates with the checkout process. Each step must delight, and that is exactly what we’ve achieved with help from IBM and CrossView."

Through its new personalized storefront, Lindt can launch holiday-based promotions and campaigns that sell highly targeted offerings. With its new cloud-based storefront, the retailer can quickly scale capacity as demand increases, and use advanced personalization to allow shoppers to mix and match their favorite confections, or design custom gifts with custom packaging. Most importantly, the storefront allows Lindt to deliver a seamless shopping experience across online, mobile and physical touch points, helping reinforcing the Lindt brand.

In related news, CrossView has been awarded IBM’s Gold Level Accreditation for WebSphere Commerce, the highest level of services accreditation. CrossView is one of the first IBM Business Partners to receive this coveted accreditation, which recognizes CrossView’s status as a leading solutions provider.

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FINANCE

Alco stockholders group to submit proxies

BY Dan Berthiaume

Abilene, Kansas – A group called Concerned Alco Stockholders (CAS), led shareholders David Pointer and Dilip Singh, it intends to mail its own proxy statement to stockholders of Alco Stores Inc. for the purpose of giving Alco stockholders the opportunity to vote for new board members at the Alco 2014 annual meeting of stockholders.

“While we strongly support CEO Richard Wilson and the new team that he has assembled in Coppell, Texas, we also believe that certain members of the current board of directors may not be the right people to represent stockholder interests going forward,” said Pointer. “For this reason, we intend to mail out our own proxy statement ahead of the 2014 annual meeting of stockholders.”

Concerned Alco Stockholders is not currently soliciting votes at this time, and is only providing information concerning its concerns and intentions.

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Delia’s looks to recover following losses in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

Delia’s is still in the early stages of its turnaround efforts, but losses in the fourth quarter prompted the multichannel retailer that caters to teenage girls to offer preliminary results.

The company said that headwinds which continue to pressure the retail industry hampered its progress in the quarter.

Total revenue decreased 34.2% to $35.4 million as compared to $53.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Revenue from the retail segment decreased 33% to $22 million, including a comparable-store sales decrease of 26.9%. Revenue from the direct segment decreased 36% to $13.4 million.

Total net inventories were $19.6 million at year end compared to $24.8 million at the end of the prior year.

"We continued to make progress in executing on key initiatives that we believe will drive improved performance in our business longer term,” said CEO Tracy Gardner. “We significantly reduced inventory levels in underperforming legacy merchandise during one of the most challenging retail environments we have seen in several years. We also saw highly encouraging green shoots in the new spring merchandise that delivered toward the end of the quarter. While small wins thus far, we strongly believe that the steps we are taking to rejuvenate the business are putting Delia’s on the path to recovery. Our strengthened capital structure with the recent offering should provide the support necessary to execute on our long term plans.”

The company intends to release fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2013 financial results March 20.

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