Meijer to open two Indiana supercenters
Grand Rapids, Mich. — Meijer will open two 190,000-sq.-ft. supercenters in the northern Indiana towns of Portage and Warsaw on June 13. Meijer operates more than 200 stores in the Midwest and will have 32 stores in Indiana. Meijer expects the stores to create more than 500 new jobs.
The new locations are built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and are the latest in a $200 million investment this year that includes the construction of six new Meijer supercenters, remodel projects for five additional stores in Michigan and Illinois, and upgrades to two distribution complexes.
"Our team has worked very hard to get these supercenters ready and we’re excited to bring the Meijer experience to our new neighbors in Portage and Warsaw and the surrounding communities," said Hank Meijer, co-chairman of Meijer.
Threadless tweets into action
Chicago — Omnichannel specialty apparel retailer Threadless takes an active approach to Twitter marketing that has resulted in significant lifts in site traffic and customer engagement. At the recent Internet Retailer conference in Chicago, representatives from Threadless and Twitter discussed how retailers can get more from their Twitter campaigns.
“Every tweet was a call to action,” said Threadless Marketing Director Todd Lido. “We were seeing growth but it felt like the strategy was getting stale.”
To breathe some fresh air into its Twitter marketing efforts, Threadless, which operates a single store in Chicago as well as Internet and mobile commerce channels, started using more imagery as well as short videos created with the Vine mobile service and produced a 40% lift in site traffic. Lido said the fact the retailer carefully planned this strategy before implementing it was a key factor in its success.
“It’s pretty important you plan your Twitter content,” he stated. “Lay out tentpoles, milestones like store openings and product launches, and prepare tweets around them.”
Lido also suggested retailers offer customers a look behind the scenes using Twitter images and videos.
“Companies can come off as monolithic to consumers,” he said. “They appreciate knowing who’s behind the curtain.”
Lido gave a real-life example of a recent Twitter campaign Threadless ran that tied into the release of the superhero blockbuster “Iron Man 3.”
“We ran a design challenge related to the ‘Iron Man 3’ launch in mid-April, before the movie came out,” said Lido. “We targeted those who were tweeting about the movie.”
Results of this highly targeted campaign included a 2% engagement rate, compared with the .07% average engagement rate of Twitter promotions, and a sales lift that was 27 times normal volume.
Russ Laraway, director of SMB sales for Twitter, added some more insight into how retailers can attract more attention with Twitter campaigns.
“First get the content down, then add voice, then hit tweet,” Laraway advised.
Walgreens reaches $80M settlement with DEA
Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens will pay $80 million as part of a settlement with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) over a failure to report unusually large shipments of prescription painkillers from a distribution center in Jupiter, Fla. Six Walgreens pharmacies in Florida received tens of thousands of orders for regulated painkillers that were up three times the normal size, but the distribution center did not report them to the DEA as they were required to by law.
In a press release, Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness for Walgreens, said his company has resolved all administrative and civil matters relating to this investigation with the settlement.
“As part of the agreement with DEA and our continuing desire to work with DEA to combat prescription drug abuse, we have identified specific compliance measures – many of which Walgreens has already taken – to enhance our ordering processes and inventory systems, to provide our team members with the tools, training and support they need to ensure the appropriate dispensing of controlled substances and to improve collaboration across the industry,” said Crawford.
The distribution center that sparked the DEA probe is banned from distributing and dispensing controlled substances until 2014 and the settlement also resolves investigations into the distribution of painkillers from Walgreens distribution centers in Colorado, New York and Michigan. Walgreens expects the settlement will cause a negative impact on its third quarter stock price of four to six-cents per share.