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Popeyes and APT partner on Test & Learn software

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New YorkApplied Predictive Technologies announced that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will license APT's Test & Learn software to test business initiatives such as menu strategies, pricing, and capital investments.

Popeyes is using APT to test strategic initiatives across its network of more than 1,700 domestic restaurants, evaluating a wide range of business initiatives, including menu strategies, pricing, marketing and media, labor and operations, and capital investments.

The solution will allow Popeyes to try an idea in some markets, in some restaurants, or with some customers and comparing the performance of a “test” group to the performance of an optimally-matched “control” group.

“Unfortunately, the process of designing, executing, and analyzing tests in the real world is extremely challenging, due to a constant slew of concurrent initiatives in market at any given time, weekly sales volatility, and differences between restaurants and markets,” said John Howard, senior VP at APT. “Test & Learn helps executives answer three key questions about any proposed idea before they take the risk of rolling it out network wide: First, will the idea work? Second, will it work better in some restaurants or in some markets than others? And finally, how can we tailor and target the idea for maximum profitability upon rollout?”

APT’s software suite for restaurants also includes tools to visually explore restaurant performance data, improve the menu, determine the profile of the best performing sites, and measure price elasticity.

During an initial pilot project with APT, Popeyes used APT’s Test & Learn software to determine the incremental impact of investments across local and national media, remodels, and value initiatives.

“APT’s Test & Learn software has significantly increased our internal data analytics capabilities. Using APT, we have an enhanced perspective of the incremental impact of our media investments, despite the large number of other factors, such as recent reimages, that also impact performance,” said Suzanne Miller, VP of Field Marketing and Media at Popeyes. “The APT software enables us to better understand the results of both national and local incremental media investments in individual markets, which will guide our media planning strategy going forward.”

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Study: Holiday shipping costs and online security top of mind for shoppers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New YorkA 2014 Kelly Scott Madison Holiday Shopping Study revealed that the top concerns for consumers this holiday season are shipping costs and online security, as 71% of respondents ranked both as top-of-mind.

Other findings focused on timing and returns:

• Respondents plan to increase their shopping activity on Cyber Monday this year, with data showing a predicted increase of 19% over 2013. Two weeks before Christmas and Black Friday took the second and third most popular spots in 2013 respectively. However, 2014 predictions show a 40% decrease in the amount of shoppers planning to buy gifts two weeks before Christmas.

• More shoppers claim they are likely to return items purchased through brick-and-mortar locations (87%) as opposed to items bought online (63.5%). Also, the rate of respondents claiming they’ve never returned an item more than doubles when comparing in-store purchase and returns (13% “never”) to online purchase and returns (37.5 % “never”).

This fact is especially interesting when considering that 55% of respondents listed their top reasoning for shopping at brick-and-mortar stores as the ability to tangibly feel the product they're about to purchase. Apparently shoppers are now either purchasing more items online that they’re confident they will keep, or the simple hassle of return shipping or finding a nearby store location for an online purchase is too much.

Emotions will come into play this holiday season. According to the survey findings, more shoppers are reacting positively (45%) than negatively (37%) toward the lengthening holiday season (Thanksgiving hours, earlier inventory swapping, etc.), with 18% feeling indifferent.

A whopping 83% of respondents feel that physical stores have become too crowded during the holidays, yet just 49% are convinced that online deals offer better value than in-store.

As far as the outlook for 2014 shopping: 71% of shoppers say they’re likely to increase their online holiday shopping this year, but are still showing cautious levels of confidence (10% extremely likely, 19% very likely and 42% somewhat likely).

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Next phase of growth takes shape at Spanx

BY CSA STAFF

Spanx, one of the hottest brands in retail, named finance executive Dan Glennon to the new role of COO and CFO to help drive growth at the leading shapewear brand.

Glennon will lead the cross functional teams of global finance, legal, information technology, sourcing, manufacturing and planning as well as data and analytics. He will report directly to Spanx CEO Jan Singer.

Glennon most recently served as CFO of Larson-Juhl, a Berkshire Hathaway framing company. Prior to that, he was CFO at Teavana where he developed operating infrastructures and strategies for the group’s retail expansion, an initial public offering in 2011 and acquisition by Starbucks the following year. He began his career at Arthur Andersen and Company after graduating with an MBA from Harvard and a bachelors of business from the University of Georgia.

“We couldn’t be happier that Dan Glennon has joined Spanx,” said CEO Jan Singer. “His experience and leadership will be extremely valuable as Spanx continues to evolve and take shape for the next phase of growth. He is a great fit for us, and Sara and I are excited to have him on our team.”

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