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Modell’s launches Micros POS and CRM systems

BY Dan Berthiaume

Westborough, Mass. — Sporting goods retailer Modell’s is launching Micros-Retail’s Xstore Point-of-Service, Relate Customer Relationship Management and miStore mobile POS solutions. Modell’s says it intends to transform the customer experience, modernize IT for the stores, reduce training time for IT staff, and streamline day-to-day functions, as well as use miStore to provide quicker customer service with more detailed product information.

"We are excited about this next chapter in the Modell’s story," said Modell’s CEO Mitch Model. "With these advanced MICROS solutions, we have the tools to better connect and serve our loyal customers."

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KSS Retail launches business intelligence solution

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI, Ohio — KSS Retail, a global provider of price optimization and shopper insight solutions for the grocery, convenience, chain drug, general and online retail industries, has launched a new product that will enable businesses to efficiently harness data for more accurate forcasting.

Called PriceStrat Analyzer, the advanced business intelligence solution is designed to help the retail industry identify trends and exceptions so they can make faster, more accurate decisions about pricing and promotions.

PriceStrat Analyzer also enables pricing teams to create and share dynamic, highly visual Web-based dashboards and other reports across merchandising, category management, marketing and finance teams, as well as trade partners and other key stakeholders. Users can sort, pivot and filter data to monitor business performance across a spectrum of factors.

Some pre-built dashboards available in PriceStrat Analyzer include the following:

• Optimization Tracker Dashboard: Enables retailers to measure against forecast baselines to gauge the effectiveness of pricing decisions and identify key trends in various financial metrics — such as sales, units and margin — in a user-friendly graphical format.

• Promotions Summary Dashboard: Illustrates the effectiveness of advertising and promotional scenarios and their potential cannibalization effects so retailers can make adjustments to optimize performance. Retailers can visually compare forecasts to actual performance of marketing programs.

• Competitive Analysis Dashboard: Presents competitive data at multiple levels — including category, department, zone and store — so key decision makers can monitor competitive positioning in the market and quickly make appropriate changes to improve their edge.

“It’s vitally important that retailers have visibility into the impact of their pricing strategy so they can take active steps to maximize both financial outcomes and customer brand perception,” said Yael Cosset, CEO of KSS Retail and global CIO of parent company Dunnhumby. “This new analytics solution reinforces KSS Retail’s commitment to ongoing innovation and to making sure our clients get the most value from our technology solutions. We will continue to focus on combining superior science and data to help retailers transform how they optimize their decision-making process, so they can ultimately deliver what their customers want and need.”

KSS Retail’s current clients include 7 Eleven, Tesco, O’Reilly Auto Parts, BI-LO, Sonae, Raley’s, United Supermarkets and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits.

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Spotlight On: Real Estate

BY CSA STAFF

For Starbucks Coffee Co., the biggest impediment to finding a site within an urban core is squeezing in the drive-through. That was just one of the challenges presented by retail real estate experts in the SPECS session, “Smaller Stores, Bigger Markets: Advantages and Obstacles to Urban Growth.”

Moderated by Jeff Green, CEO of Phoenix-based Jeff Green Partners and author of chainstoreage.com’s “Retail Rap” online column, the panel included Kim Williams, store development director/south central region for Starbucks; Valerie Richardson, VP real estate for The Container Store; and Lisa Burbey, real estate manager for Chipotle.

Starbucks has perhaps the most prolific urban presence of the group, but even the 13,000-unit chain faces hurdles when opening a downtown store.

“Sometimes you have to be really creative to do a drive-through in an urban setting,” said Williams.

In fact, Williams and Chipotle’s Burbey will work together to solve a Starbucks dilemma in downtown Houston, where — at Louisiana and McGowan Streets — a Starbucks customer must drive by co-tenant Chipotle and circle back around to access the coffee drive-through.

“Despite the drive-through challenges, they really are a necessity, particularly in the south central region that is so convenience-oriented,” said Williams.

CHIPOTLE: Chipotle faces many of the same obstacles.

“Urban development by its very nature is a high daytime populace base,” said Burbey. “This makes forecasting our volumes really challenging.”

Chipotle has learned flexibility when dealing with urban stores, including limiting operating hours in those areas where evening traffic is nil, and throwing out the typical retail formula when projections are just about impossible.

“At iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, we faced signage and brand recognition challenges when we opened our restaurant there two years ago,” said Burbey. Because the location was worth it, Chipotle “went way out of the box and used a much bigger sign [than is typical].

“We don’t have the brand recognition of Starbucks or McDonald’s, so we must reach our core customer,” Burbey said.

CONTAINER STORE: The Container Store’s Richardson agreed. The 58-store chain has a 25,000-sq.-ft. standard footprint and about 10,000 SKUs — and a growing urban presence that has set an example among retailers for both the downtown impacts it’s made and the lengths it goes to ensure success.

“To reach our core customers, we must understand the mind-set of the urban versus suburban shopper,” said Richardson, “and that can vary from market to market.”

In Manhattan, which the Coppell, Texas-based storage-products retailer entered in 2000, the company learned how restrictive urban spaces can be.

“Vertical isn’t what we want,” Richardson explained, “because it’s not conducive to how we sell or how we operate.”

Parking is an obvious issue, as are loading docks and a customer base that expects “fast-fast-fast and in-stock all the time,” she added.

Nevertheless, the right urban location can be well worth the logistical headaches and the added expense.

“Revenues will be very high [in urban stores], but your costs are going to be very high as well. We’ve learned a lot and are still learning from these high-profile urban stores,” Richardson said.

Other Container Store notable urban stores are on Sixth Avenue in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, and the Fourth and Market location in San Francisco.

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