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NetSuite acquires Bronto Software

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Mateo, Calif. – Cloud-based software provider NetSuite Inc. has completed the acquisition of Bronto Software Inc., a cloud-based commerce marketing company. The acquisition brings together cloud-based omnichannel commerce and marketing automation solutions.

Bronto Software provides the commerce marketing automation platform used by more than 1,400 brands, including Armani Exchange, Timex and Trek Bikes.

“With the completion of this acquisition, the industry’s leading commerce marketing system has been combined with the world’s number one cloud-based omnichannel commerce platform, bringing transformational power to businesses,” said Andy Lloyd, general manager of commerce products at NetSuite. “Together, this technology can help brands to deliver relevant and consistent digital commerce experiences throughout the customer journey.”

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Ex-Dollar General exec named store operations EVP

BY CSA STAFF

Dollar General Corp. is looking to a longtime Dollar General employee to be its next executive vice president of store operations.

Jeff Owen will rejoin Dollar General Corp. as executive VP of store operations effective June 15. Owen previously spent more than 20 years with Dollar General, where his most recent role was senior VP of store operations.

Dollar General also announced that Greg Sparks, executive VP of store operations, has departed effective June 9, 2015.

Owen began his career at Dollar General in 1992. He served as a store manager with progression through various roles of increasing responsibility. From August 2011 until July 2014, he was senior VP of store operations, leading nearly 5,000 stores and 40,000 employees. Prior to August 2011, Owen served as VP, division manager. From November 2006 to March 2007, he served as retail division manager. Prior to November 2006, he was senior director, operations process improvement.

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Brave The Beacon: Five Things Retailers Must Tell Customers

BY Ken Eissing

If you’ve been following any recent mobile developments, you know that beacons aren’t just the next big thing – they’re here, right now. Ever since Apple introduced their iBeacon technology, the buzz has been getting louder, and in the last few months, more and more brands and businesses have been experimenting with them.

In fact, recent studies show that beacons are leading to greater in-store sales, but it seems that consumer hesitation may have something to do with the lack of mass adoption. A March 2015 Oracle study revealed that 56% of consumers understand that giving retailers access to personal information can improve their shopping experience. However, 55% of consumers have reservations or disagree with retailers having access to such information. Only 23% said they have no issues with downloading an app that allows retailers to track their movements in store and online.

But do consumers truly have any reason to be worried? In short, the answer is no. However, your clients and customers may in fact be quite concerned. Outlined below are several facts and insights about beacon and location-based marketing technology that brands can share and highlight for consumers to assuage fears and encourage adoption – on the customer side.

1. Most brands have good intentions. They simply want to create a more personal and interactive customer experience and provide greater value which in turn should drive sales and loyalty. At this point, we’ve seen brands focus on how to improve their mobile marketing strategies and make them more appealing and engaging for customers. Brands are really looking to simplify their objectives and leverage their existing content and platform assets.

2. Consumers should look for open and transparent communication from the business about how beacons are being used. A simple and clear privacy policy is essential – it should be evident what information the business can access as a result of the use of beacons and what the business plans to do with that information. If a business is open about the solutions they are providing via the use of beacons, they are clearly looking to gain the trust and interest of consumers. Signage or messaging throughout the store that promotes the beacon-enabled solutions is beneficial to both the consumer and business, as it shows that there’s not a surprise mobile invasion waiting for you on aisle three.

3. To be “tracked” in-store, you must opt-in. In most cases, consumers must download an app, accept location services on that specific app, and actively choose to accept push notifications. Essentially, retailers are targeting customers who are already interested in their products, not random passersby.

Other beacon-enabled solutions, such as Shazam In-Store, leverage popular and relevant consumer apps to present the retailers branded content in a dynamic and familiar way where consumers opt-in to receive additional information (as noted above, consumers should look for transparency of these value added, interactive mobile experiences).

4. Most businesses that are using beacon-enabled solutions are striving to improve the consumer experience. As stated earlier, most brands simply see beacon-enabled solutions as another outlet for connecting with customers while in-store. According to research commissioned by Google, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their mobile devices to help them shop while in a physical retail store and almost half of them use mobile for at least 15 minutes per store visit, making in-store the perfect location for reaching consumers. So can consumers blame retailers for wanting to embrace this technology?

5. Using beacon-enabled solutions in-store is, fundamentally, no different than shopping online. When you open the webpage for your favorite retailer, more often than not, there is a pop-up with a coupon offer or a dialog box prompting you to enter your email address to receive sales notifications. At the same time, major e-commerce platforms like Amazon instantly collect data about your searches to serve you targeted ads. Beacon technology is striving to bring that same personalization and convenience to the actual point-of-sale in-store. Just like online shopping, this, too, requires collecting some consumer information in order to be reached. The only real difference between the two is that beacons cater to consumers who are physically in the store.

The truth is that businesses are just as concerned about privacy and security issues as consumers. No one wants a security breach that could destroy both profit and reputation, and retailers certainly do not want beacon-enabled solutions to be viewed with mistrust, annoyance and skepticism. When we sign on new clients, their first question is usually about their customers’ privacy; they want consumer information to be secure and the experience to add real value to the customer experience.

If consumers can move past their fears of location-based technology, the results could be monumental. According to BI Intelligence, U.S. in-store retail sales influenced by beacon-enabled messaging will see an increase from $4.1 billion to $44.4 billion between 2015 and 2016, proving that the potential ROI could far outweigh consumers’ fears – more importantly, consumers can expect to be served with some great value and a much more engaging and interactive shopping experience.


Ken Eissing is the president of Mood Media North America, a provider of in-store media, technology, and experience design solutions.

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