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Report: Target plans fewer holiday hires

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Target Corp. reportedly plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season, about 20% less than the 88,000 seasonal workers it hired for last year’s holiday season.

According to the Associated Press, Target wants to give full-time employees more opportunity to take on extra holiday hours. The retailer also wants to better anticipate and schedule for fluctuations in holiday traffic. About one-third of seasonal employees brought on last year obtained full-time jobs at Target.

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Staples Europe launches new biz site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Staples Europe has launched a new Staples.es website aimed at helping small businesses locate and purchase products.

The site has a new look and feel and offers many new features to improve the overall shopping experience including personalized shopping with product recommendations based on customer preferences, an updated search engine and filtering tools, streamlined reordering for frequently used products, and quick checkout with a mini-cart that designed to ease inserting coupons, saving addresses and reviewing orders.

“Customers will have a more personalized way to shop and can quickly find and order exactly what they need to help run their business,” said Willem Vos, head of e-commerce, Staples Europe.

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RSR Research: Retailers doubt marketing proficiency

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. – While the percentage of retailers who think they know about their customers is rising, fewer retailers think they are proficient in using that knowledge for marketing purposes. According to a new study from RSR Research, “Retail Marketing 2013: Organizational Drift,” 36% of retail marketers said their customer loyalty program is a foundational element of their marketing strategy in 2013, compared to 32% last year.

In addition, 28% of retail marketers said their company knows who its best shoppers are, compared to 22%. Yet only 15% said their company is proficient at targeted marketing across channels, compared to 18% last year.

Other findings include:

  • The top three marketing business challenges are customer retention and loyalty (61%), keeping up with new ways consumers are using technology (49%) and too many communication channels have unproven effectiveness and keeping up with new ways to engage consumers (42% each).
  • The most common owners of customer experience are chief marketing executive (43%), CEO (38%) and VP of stores (35%).
  • The top three marketing opportunities are more effective targeting (53%), greater emphasis on customer experience (48%), and driving store traffic via digital channels (44%).
  • RSR conducted an online survey from May – July 2013 and received answers from 122 qualified retail respondents.

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