OPERATIONS

Retail veteran joins Park City Group business development team

BY Dan Berthiaume

Salt Lake City – Frederic Van Roie has joined the business development team of Big Data management software provider Park City Group.

Van Roie is a 25-year veteran of the retail, CPG and foodservice industries with expertise in marketing and merchandising strategies at several premier retailers, including Costco, BJ’s, Home Depot, Whole Foods, D’Agostino’s, Walmart and Safeway.

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FINANCE

Visa launches new online pay service

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Visa is launching a new service, Visa Checkout that enables consumers throughout the United States, Canada and Australia to pay for goods online, on any device, with just a few clicks.

“As people around the world spend more time and money online, particularly using mobile devices, they are demanding a fast, secure and frictionless way to shop using the payment cards they already know and trust,” said Charlie Scharf, CEO, Visa Inc. “Through insights provided by our cardholders, financial institutions and merchant partners, we designed an online payment experience that continues to deliver on this promise, bringing us closer to the simplicity and speed of the ‘swipe’ in the online world.”

Neiman Marcus, Pizza Hut, Staples and United Airlines are some of the newest merchants who will offer Visa Checkout, which replaces the V.me by Visa service, first introduced in 2012. V.me was being used by about 300 retailers, ranging from1-800-Flowers to AutoZone, who are all switching over to the new service.

“Visa Checkout offers our customers another simple and secure way to quickly order online from Pizza Hut,” said Baron Concors, chief digital officer, Pizza Hut. “We’re focused on making the digital ordering experience as easy as possible and adding this checkout option with Visa Checkout does just that.”

Visa plans to drive broad awareness for Visa Checkout through a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, launching Wednesday in digital and social channels, and on television later this year. The campaign will feature participating merchants and a broad range of consumer offers and promotions.

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Insights

IBM-Apple Deal: What it means for retailers

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — At first glance, the IBM-Apple partnership may seem to do little more than formalize a connection between two technologies that are mainstays of most retailers’ infrastructures. The fact is many retailers already use Apple iPhones and iPads as devices for in-store activities like product lookup, checkout and inventory management. And IBM is a leading provider of retail data analytics technology.

However, this partnership holds the potential for retailers to offer customers a much more robust and comprehensive omnichannel customer experience. For example, store employees could perform real-time “deep dive” analysis to uncover product-, location- and demographic-specific cross- and upsell offers that may resonate beyond offers based solely on purchase history.

Also, real-time targeted offers could take up-to-the-minute sales patterns into account, allowing retailers to better move overpriced merchandise before margin-eroding markdowns and clearances become necessary. Customers curious about what items other people are buying or using in conjunction with each other can get a fast, honest and unbiased answer. This kind of advanced analysis performed on mobile device at the point of customer contact both enhances customer satisfaction and boosts profits.

In addition, it is not insignificant that Apple and IBM are both leaders in providing leading-edge functionality in their respective categories. Apple essentially invented the tablet market and is at the forefront of providing smartphones that serve as sophisticated mobile computing devices rather than portable communication tools.

And with pioneering efforts like its Watson artificial intelligence platform, IBM has long been at the forefront of analytics and business intelligence. Having IBM analysis delivered through Apple mobile solutions may prove to be the best of both worlds for retailers looking to take a leading role in providing an omnichannel experience that delights and serves the customer.

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