LinkedIn expert to lead workshop at SPECS 2017
For more than half a century, Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS conference has delivered one of the retail industry’s most important and impactful events.
The 2017 event, to be held March 12-14 at the Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee, Florida, will cover a wide range of emerging and evolving issues, focusing on must-see innovations and essential information about trends, topics and technologies that will be impacting the industry for many years to come.
One of the 2017 conference highlights will be a session on how to leverage LinkedIn, led by Brandon Chesnutt, director, digital and development at Identity, a Bingham Farms, Michigan-based integrated public relations firm. Chesnutt has served as social media counsel and delivered award-winning work on behalf of leading consumer brands and large corporations, including Verizon Wireless, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, ADESA, and Kelly Services.
Brandon’s session, which will be held twice for maximum attendance, will discuss how to maximize the power and utility and connectivity of LinkedIn: how to effectively utilize it as a platform for company connections and recruitment, and how to use it to properly market yourself. From executives looking to build their brand and increase visibility, to marketing managers and sales professionals aiming toward enhanced networking potential and an improved ability to generate leads, LinkedIn is the most important tool in the social media toolbox.
Attendees will come away from the session with an understanding of how to cultivate an effective LinkedIn presence that leverages several different types of content – and an appreciation for the importance of evolving and refining that content over time.
To register for SPECS, click here.
Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid agree to sell 865 Rite Aid stores to Fred’s Pharmacy
Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid have entered into an agreement to sell 865 Rite Aid stores and certain assets related to store operations to Fred’s for $950 million.
The transaction is subject to Federal Trade Commission approval, the approval and completion of the pending acquisition of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance, and other customary closing conditions.
“We are pleased to have found an experienced pharmacy operator for these stores,” said Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina. “With this agreement, we are moving ahead with important work necessary to obtain approval of our acquisition of Rite Aid. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers and patients with the highest level of care and attention.”
The agreement is being entered into to respond to concerns identified by the FTC in its review of the proposed acquisition of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance, which was announced in October 2015. Walgreens Boots Alliance is actively engaged in discussions with the FTC regarding the transaction and is working toward a close of the Rite Aid acquisition in early calendar 2017.
The proposed divestiture transaction, if approved, would establish Fred’s Pharmacy as one of the largest drugstore chains in the United States with significant presence in areas such as the South and on the East and West Coasts. Specific locations of the stores to be divested will be announced upon FTC approval of the Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid merger.
Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Fred’s Pharmacy would acquire 865 Rite Aid stores and certain assets related to store operations, and expects to continue to employ all store associates and certain field and regional associates related to the operations of the acquired stores upon completion of the divestiture. Fred’s Pharmacy would continue to operate the acquired stores under the Rite Aid banner during a transition period. If the FTC requires divestiture of more than the 865 Rite Aid stores currently contemplated by the purchase agreement and Walgreens Boots Alliance agrees to sell such stores, the purchase agreement requires Fred’s to purchase such additional stores.
Walgreens Boots Alliance continues to expect that it will realize synergies from the acquisition of Rite Aid in excess of $1 billion, to be fully realized within three to four years of closing of the merger. These synergies, as previously disclosed, are expected to be derived primarily from procurement, cost savings and other operational matters.
“We greatly appreciate the dedication of our Rite Aid associates who are taking great care of our customers and patients during this period," said Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley. "We look forward to working closely with Fred’s to ensure a smooth, successful transition for our customers, patients and associates in the divested stores.”
Amazon and Saks tops in customer experience
Amazon and Saks came out on top in the 12th annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI), which identified the top brands for retail customer experience this holiday season across three channels: online, store and mobile.
The report found that impact one another, with mobile contributing the most to other channels overall. Fifty percent of shoppers use their phone in-store — 59% to price check, and 50% to research while shopping. Amazon, Apple, Coach, H&M, L.L. Bean, HSN, Newegg, Nike, Under Armour, Best Buy, Express, Kohl’s and Neiman Marcus all received excellent mobile scores in the FXI.
“When consumers visit a retailer on mobile, there is 13 to 26 percent attrition to competitors,” said Eric Feinberg, VP at ForeSee and author of the report. “To manage this, brands must measure and understand the contribution mobile makes to all channels, not just that mobile session. For example, showrooming — a practice store retailers have generally disliked — often results in a boost in sales because an individual’s experience in one channel can lead to a purchase in another.”
Stores: The top store customer experience performers, who all received excellent FXI scores, are Saks Fifth Avenue, Apple, Lowe’s, Neiman Marcus, AT&T, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and Costco.
Notably, good store experiences are a tremendous contributor to purchasing in other channels, the report said. Customers are 75% more likely to make a purchase from that same retailer in another channel after a good in-store experience — a boon to store-first brands, according to the report.
“It’s not just high-end stores like Saks that perform well,” said Feinberg, author of the report. “Retailers such as Kohl’s and Costco are delivering on customers’ expectations of their brands, and the stores remain a frontline driver of brand perception and purchase intent across channels. In a shopping season where 86% of customers are spending as much or more than they did last year, the potential impact of store experiences on other channels is powerful.”
Customers that have great in-store customer experiences are:
• Fifty percent more likely to purchase in-store;
• Sixty percent more likely to buy similar merchandise from that retailer again; and
• Seventy-four percent more likely to recommend the store.
Online: Although Amazon retained its number one ranking for best online customer experience, it was down one point over last year.
Also, other companies are closing in. Adidas, L.L. Bean, Apple, Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Vistaprint, Bed Bath & Beyond, Fanatics, Home Depot, Office Depot, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, and Williams-Sonoma all achieved excellent scores on the 100-point FXI scale.
Customers that have great mobile experiences are:
• Fifty-four percent more likely to recommend the store;
• Sixty-four percent more likely to purchase from that retailer’s mobile site/app;
• Forty-two percent more likely to make a purchase in another channel; and
• Fifty-percent more likely to buy from that retailer the next time they buy similar merchandise.