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RSR Research: Home Depot tops in digital gift cards

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. — The Home Depot comes in first in a new ranking of retail digital gift card offerings. Retailers with the highest overall digital gifting scores in a new RSR Research benchmarking report, “Digital Gift Cards: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, are The Home Depot, Sephora, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and The Cheesecake Factory.

This is third annual digital gift card report RSR Research has conducted and The Home Depot has been ranked number one each time. RSR found that, as a whole, digital gifting experiences are improving. According to the report, retailers with the best rankings have recognized that digital gifting is different than traditional online product sales, and as a result have streamlined the checkout process to include fewer screens, offer rich personalization capabilities, have convenient card management on mobile devices, and have strong and responsive customer service departments.

“This year we really raised the bar in terms of the evaluation criteria, focusing on truly exceptional experiences, said Nikki Baird, managing partner of RSR Research. “We commend The Home Depot and each of the category winners for continuing to outpace the competition when it comes to digital gifting.”

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CEO of Loehmann’s to appear on ‘Undercover Boss’

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Steven Newman, CEO of Loehmann’s, will appear on CBS’s popular television show, "Undercover Boss," on Friday, Oct. 4 (8 p.m.-9 p.m., ET/PT).

The executive of the original off-price retail chain, with 39 stores in 11 states, went undercover in a few stores around the country in a variety of roles, including order processing at the Loehmann’s distribution center, visual merchandising, personal shopper, and sales associate.

"The various roles I took on provided critical reminders, like how many steps actually go into processing one online order for a customer, and that you can’t take for granted that the communication you drive always makes its way to all the associates in all of our stores," said Newman.

During the course of the show, the CEO had the opportunity to make several lucky employees’ dreams come true.

"It was incredibly rewarding to be able to impact those people’s lives in a personal way. On a professional note, this experience also provided me the chance to transfer the success of how one associate used technology to be more effective, to others in her role," Newman said.

Newman’s decision to go undercover stemmed from his first love of spending time in stores combined with the opportunity to do so unrecognized and, as such, see what really goes on. For a preview of Newman’s episode, click here.

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Neiman Marcus offers permanent free online shipping, returns

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Neiman Marcus Group is offering free standard shipping and returns for all domestic purchases made online through Neimanmarcus.com and Bergdorfgoodman.com as well as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman stores.

"The customer has always been at the center of the Neiman Marcus business model. Permanent free shipping and returns have been a top request and we are happy to be able to make this change just in time for the holiday shopping season." said Wanda Gierhart, chief marketing officer, Neiman Marcus Group.

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