News

Rue21 retools POS with Epicor for seamless customer experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Warrendale, Pa. – Specialty apparel retailer Rue21 is upgrading to the latest version of the Epicor Retail Store POS solution. Leveraging Epicor Retail Store, Rue21 will unify the customer experience across e-commerce and brick and mortar locations for simplified, streamlined operations, including returns management, and also support planned growth to 1,700 stores.

“Shoppers will soon experience a new level of service from Rue21,” said Dirk Armstrong, senior VP of store operations, rue21. “Epicor Retail Store gives us the foundation to create a seamless customer experience across our stores and our e-commerce business. We will have the ability to better serve customers through an understanding of their past purchases, enabling us to anticipate future wants and needs.”

Following implementation of the upgraded version, customers will be able to easily return and exchange items regardless of the channel of purchase as store associates will have a single view of cross-channel transactions.

Epicor Retail Store will give Rue21 the flexibility to offer a wide variety of promotional offers; and store associates will experience simplified at-the-register promotional processing, resulting in faster checkouts and improved productivity.

Promotion and productivity gains are big wins for us here,” said Mike Holland, senior VP and chief information officer, Rue21. “From an IT perspective, we needed a POS solution and operating system that could scale to meet the needs of new markets and our plans to grow to 1,700 stores, as well as manage multiple configurations and meet new and emerging compliance mandates. As part of our POS overhaul, we’ll be leveraging Windows Embedded POSReady 7, which will simplify both management and deployment.”

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OPERATIONS

Lowe’s to open customer support center in Indiana

BY Marianne Wilson

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Lowe’s announced plans to locate a customer support center in Indianapolis, creating up to 1,000 new jobs by 2016.

The retailer plans to invest $20.5 million to purchase, renovate and equip a 140,000-sq.-ft. office facility at Intech Park 12, 6620 Network Way, on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The new center will support stores and internet sales, delivery services and repair services for Lowe’s customers across the United States.

The facility is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2015 and will complement the company’s existing customer support centers located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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FINANCE

Survey: Paid search marketing is tops online customer acquisition tactic

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles — Paid search programs are the most popular online customer acquisition tactic. According to the 2014 Shop.org/Forrester Research Inc. State of Retailing Online study, which surveyed 81 retailers in May and June 2014, 85% of retailers cite search engine marketing as one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics.

In fact, retailers spend more of their interactive marketing budgets on paid search programs than on any other tactic, and four-out-of five retailers surveyed are also spending more on pay-for-performance search placement this year than in 2013.

To acquire new customers, retailers also cited organic traffic (41%), affiliate programs (40%) and remarketing/retargeting of shoppers in online ads (29%) as effective vehicles — all of which they’re also investing in more this year than in 2013. Display ads are seeing something of a resurgence: specifically remarketing, retargeting, and behavioral targeting ranked among retailers’ leading customer acquisition tactics, and display ads now collectively rank as the second highest area of marketing spend behind paid search.

Social media is also getting increased attention from retailers. According to the survey, 62% of retailers surveyed plan to spend more on Facebook interactive marketing efforts this year than in 2013. Furthermore, nearly half of retailers surveyed say they will dedicate more spend to social sites such as Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter in the coming year.
The survey also found that on average, 42% of retailers’ email opens now happen on smartphones, up from 28% in 2013, while email open rates on tablets grew from 16 to 17%.

“While much of the ground work has been laid for perfecting paid search and how well it works for retailers’ customer acquisition goals, the fact of the matter is that retailers still have plenty of opportunities to learn more about their customers’ needs,” said executive director of Shop.org Vicki Cantrell. “As customer touch-points expand, retailers continue to investigate other ways to diversify their marketing spend, including budgeting for increased spend for text advertisements, display ads, social, and attribution models.”

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