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INVENTORY

Report: 7-Eleven Japan and competitors launch next-gen POS

BY CSA STAFF

A convenience store giant has a solution that it hopes will solve a labor shortage — and simultaneously speed up checkout.

7-Eleven Japan is teaming up with four other major convenience store operators in the country to introduce radio frequency identification (RFID)-based point-of-sale solutions — a move that will automate the checkout experience and fight an employee shortage, according to Bloomberg.

RFID labels, which the chains already use as loss prevention devices, can be programmed to be “price tags.” Dedicated scanners will electronically read the prices of items of tagged merchandise sitting in a customer’s basket, rather than requiring an associate to individually scan each item's bar code. Sensors in store exit gates would also detect when mobile or card payments have been received, allowing shoppers to leave the store, the report said.

The project could launch as early as next year, and expand to all four chains’ convenience stores across Japan by 2025, according to Bloomberg.

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FINANCE

Change in ownership at Edible Arrangements

BY Marianne Wilson

The founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements has bought back equity ownership of the company.

Tariq Farid announced Monday that he has completed a buyback of equity of the company, which had been held by private equity firm L Catterton, Greenwich, Connecticut. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Edible Arrangements entered into a strategic partnership with L Catterton in June 2012. Farid said the relationship provided assistance during a key growth phase for the brand, a time in which Edible Arrangements expanded its offerings to include offering fresh fruit smoothies, froyo fruit blends, chocolates and more.

"As a result of our partnership, Edible Arrangements finds itself well-positioned for a future that includes exciting new opportunities for our franchises and the brand,” Farid said. “The timing was right to take back full ownership so that I could be more fully engaged in building the future of the brand with our franchisees."

Founded in 1999, Edible Arrangements has grown to more than 1,300 franchised locations worldwide. Over the past few years, it has launched a systemwide conversion of traditional Edible Arrangements stores to a "whole-store" experience that feature the company’s expanded food offerings.

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ECOMMERCE

Report: Online beauty consumers not very loyal to retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

Digital shoppers enthusiasm for buying beauty products online doesn’t translate into retailer loyalty.

While online sellers of beauty and personal care products continue to capture more market share, online shopper loyalty seems to be elusive, according to report by A.T. Kearney.

"The study, which is based on a survey of 800 American online beauty shoppers, finds that 67% of consumers use four or more websites to fulfill their shopping needs," said Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and author of the study. The results indicate that both brands and retailers who sell beauty products online need to rethink how they build stronger loyalty from consumers.

Some key findings of the report include:

Supply is shaping demand: The growth of e-commerce sales is a direct product of increasingly more sophisticated supply-side strategies.

"Influencers" are on the rise: Consumers are increasingly trusting "people like them" to make purchasing decisions — undermining the brand authority as the only source of information.

Shoppers seeking greater engagement: Beauty consumers are calling for a higher level of personalization from their preferred brands.

"The growing challenge of loyalty, the daily demand on retailers and brands to deliver a seamless experience between online and offline, and the need to 'give up some power' to new sources of influence are indicators of the current state of the beauty industry," Ben-Shabat said. "Succeeding in this new environment will require an artful integration of all channels, and adoption of new technologies to enhance personalization and authentic communication."

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