C-SUITE

Pilot Flying J adds new executive position

BY Marianne Wilson

Pilot Flying J has added a new title to its management team.

The company announced that Whitney Haslam-Johnson, previously VP of brand and customer experience, has been named to the new position of chief experience officer at Pilot Flying J. Johnson is also a member of the company’s board.

In her new role, Johnson's primary focus will be on creating positive and memorable moments, while elevating the overall team member and guest experiences. She will lead Pilot Flying J's marketing innovation and enhancements across all channels. Johnson will also play a key leadership role in the continuing modernization of existing travel centers that includes new food options, improved retail offerings, upgraded restrooms and more efficient parking solutions for professional drivers.

In addition, Johnson will continue overseeing a portfolio of responsibilities from her previous position, including: advertising, media, public relations, rebranding and remodeling of all Pilot and Flying J locations, directing sports and marketing sponsorships and the rollout of new digital communication tools.

Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers in North America. It has more than 750 retail locations, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers and 35 Boss Shops.

"Making Pilot Flying J a great place to work and shop is something we talk about constantly, and Whitney has the passion and drive to do both," said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. "It's that best-in-class experience that will help Pilot Flying J remain the leading travel center brand in North America."

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ECOMMERCE

Online home furnishings retailer delves deeper into AI

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Wayfair is streamlining the way its shoppers navigate its vast online catalog as they search for specific looks.

The retailer launched “Search with Photo,” a new feature that leverages artificial intelligence to make it easier for shoppers to find their desired furnishings. Shoppers can now simply snap a photo to find and purchase specific products that match the looks they see and love.

Based on a single image, visual search allows shoppers to quickly and conveniently find matches and similar styles from Wayfair’s selection of more than eight million products. By leveraging AI and other innovative technologies, the company is reinventing the shopping experience, according to Wayfair.

Here’s how it works: Shoppers tap the camera icon in the Wayfair.com search bar, which allows them to snap a photo or upload one from their photo library. Users can then browse visually similar items from Wayfair’s millions of options within seconds. They can make a purchase immediately or add products to an idea board to save for later, or share with others.

“We know that everyone has a unique vision for their home and that ide-as and inspiration can come from anywhere,” said Steve Conine, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair.

“While finding a look you love may be easy, finding the specific prod-ucts to bring that look to life can be time-consuming and require a lot of searching,” he said. “With visual search, shoppers can now search for and find a particular product or style instantly. Combining our selection with innovative machine learning techniques, Wayfair lets shoppers bring their unique vision of home to life with convenience.”

Conine describes the solution as the latest tool to help the company achieve its goal of delivering a seamless shopping experience and “mak-ing it easier and quicker to find just the right items for their homes,” he said. “Giving shoppers the ability to search with a photo is just the first of many exciting applications for our computer vision system.”

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Discount Drug Mart to be anchor tenant at former Giant Eagle location

BY BRIAN BERK

Discount Drug Mart will take over a long-vacant anchor space here at a former Giant Eagle location at The Shoppes of Oakwood Square, something that may give a big boost to the shopping center, reported Columbus Parent. DDM signed a 15-year lease to occupy about 30,000 sq.-ft. of space, the news outlet added.

“Our research has told us that we can find success there … and be of real service and value to the community. … We’re excited about the project. We think it’s a great spot for us,” Steve Ferris, government and public affairs director for the Medina, Ohio-based company, told the news source.

Once open, the store will represent DDM’s fourth in Stark County, Ohio. It is home to more than 52,000 residents.

Discount Drug Mart operates 73 locations, all of which have pharmacies. The retailer fills more than 5 million prescriptions per year.

To read more, click here.

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