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Retail Equation receives patent for providing consumer warnings via return authorization systems

BY CSA STAFF

Irvine, Calif. The Retail Equation, an industry leader in retail transaction optimization solutions, received an important patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The newly patented technology provides ‘warnings’ for consumers through return authorization systems designed to help a retailer decide whether to accept or deny a merchandise return, and can be issued if a customer’s return patterns exceed the guidelines established through a predictive analytics process.

The patent solidifies The Retail Equation as an industry forerunner in return optimization methods that reduce fraudulent and abusive activity at the retail return counter, while allowing retailers to maintain customer-friendly policies.

The Retail Equation’s patent, number 7,455,226, adds to an industry-leading solution that is far more effective than traditional return practices that fail to consider the activities of the returner. Consumers whose merchandise returns exceed statistically based thresholds developed for each specific retailer can be issued with a warning indicating that future returns may be denied. This allows retailers to provide a much more customer-friendly approach than directly denying the return request, while still giving the shopper a notification that they need to alter their return behavior.

The patent is especially noteworthy for retailers operating in states like Connecticut, where state law requires a warning system when using an electronic-based return authorization system. Presenting the warning to the consumer must be done in one of the following manners: printing the warning; printing the warning on a receipt for the current merchandise return; e-mailing the warning; electronically transmitting the warning; mailing the warning; writing a hand-written warning; displaying the warning or providing a verbal warning.

“Receiving this technology patent affirms our dedication to innovative solutions that reduce return fraud for the retail industry while maintaining excellent customer service,” said Mark Hammond, CEO of The Retail Equation. “A positive experience at the return counter is an important opportunity that is often overlooked. Using this technology, retailers can demonstrate their commitment to their loyal customers while benefiting from improved net sales, reduced shrink, minimized fraud and stronger profit margins.”

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Sears looks to re-brand image with women

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears announced that it has launched “The Many Sides of Me” campaign in order to re-engage women in the Sears brand.

“We have executed against a range of initiatives tied to our strategic pillars that have improved our relevance to customers, including engaging them on a personal level,” said Scott Freidheim, EVP operating and support businesses for Sears Holdings. “With this launch, we’re on a path to ‘Feminize, Energize and Digitize’ the Sears soft side brand positioning.”

 

 

As an extension of “The Many Sides of Me” print campaign in key September fashion issues, the brand is also collaborating with leading titles Vogue and Lucky and will be featured on their digital shopping platforms, the company reported. The collaboration will enable customers to shop and buy Sears Fall fashion merchandise on the Vogue Stylist and Lucky at Your Service apps for the Apple iPhone.

Additionally, as part of the ongoing Sears brand strategy of developing personal digital relationships with customers, the campaign features a new digital destination to engage women in the multi-channel “The Many Sides of Me” experience.  At TheManySidesOfMe.com, customers can browse the collection, as well as participate in a digital contest that invites women to share their multi-faceted lives and how they make their personal, versatile style work.

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Whole Foods launches color-coded seafood rating system

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market announced that it has launched the first in-store color-coded sustainability-rating program for wild-caught seafood and commits to phasing out all red-rated species by Earth Day 2013.

The company worked with Blue Ocean and Monterey Bay Aquarium to develop an easy-to-follow system to help customers choose sustainable seafood. Species given green ratings are considered relatively abundant and caught in environmentally-friendly ways; those with yellow ratings are considered good alternatives, though some concerns exist with the species’ status or catch methods; red or “avoid” means that for now, the species is suffering from overfishing, or that current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats.

“At the end of the day, it’s a team effort. Our customers, buyers, fishermen, and fishery managers can all make smart decisions that move us in the direction of greater sustainability. The new color-coded rating system is a transparent way to provide sustainability status information. This new program, along with our promise to phase out red-rated species, deepens our commitment to having fully sustainable seafood departments,” said Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods Market seafood quality standards coordinator. 

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