POS/PAYMENTS

Rutter’s Farm engages on-the-go shoppers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The fuel pump is becoming an increasingly critical customer touch point.

Often overlooked in the omnichannel experience, convenience store fuel pumps are a prime way to reach on-the-go shoppers. Extending their partnership with NCR, Rutter’s Farm is adding a new outdoor payment terminal to reach this time-pressed customer segment.

Called NCR OPTIC, the open source solution “allows us to easily integrate our Rutter’s VIP Club rewards program,” said Scott Hartman, CEO of the 65-store chain. “Meanwhile, the new media capabilities extend our storefront marketing to the forecourt.”

The self-service solution accepts both EMV and magnetic stripe payment cards, and accepts contactless payments, including mobile phones and mobile wallet payments. The terminal also has a 2D bar-code scanner. While the solution delivers the immediate, mandated benefit of outdoor EMV compliance, the convenience store chain is also leveraging the solution to improve its omnichannel experience at the fuel pump, according to a company statement.

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OPERATIONS

Report: EU consumers eye returns before even buying

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

European consumers seem to be taking the adage, “buyer beware” very literally.

Unsure whether their online purchase will satisfy their needs until it actually arrives, 54% of shoppers reported they think about returning an item before they have even purchased it. And this mindset runs the gamut from decisions about apparel and electrical goods to home decor and furniture, according to “Making Money Out of Returns: The Essential Guide to Managing International Returns,” a report from fulfillment provider B2C Europe.

The report, which is based on 2,442 shoppers across eight European countries, also said that half of consumers are uncertain about policies and expensive return costs, making them leery of purchasing cross-border. Specifically, 36% of European shoppers would be more likely to shop among foreign online stores if they were certain about the returns policies.

Of course, this mindset takes a toll on retailers, which foot the bill on returns. For example, €65 billion (Euros) in returns equates to a 30% returns rate, the report said.

With 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchasing, and thus, making returns, retailers must streamline the shopping process and present service, speed and ease of use for shoppers who want to place online orders. To deactivate their consumers’ returns-focused mindset, European retailers should:

*Allow customers to write reviews. Besides offering customers with valuable product information, retailers that adopted reviews reduced return rates, increased conversion rates, improved SEO rankings, and built their brand’s omnichannel credibility, the report said.

*Display product videos. Without a means to “try before you buy” online, videos deliver virtual “hands-on” experiences and information about the product, beyond the text description. This effort can reduce returns up to 25%, according to the report.

*Add sizing solutions on the online store. Clear sizing information is essential. Whether it is standard size charts or virtual fitting solutions, consumers need a way to compare sizes and ensure they are buying correct-fitting items. Sizing initiatives contribute to 50% returns declines, the report said.

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DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

Naples Outlet Center getting a makeover

BY Al Urbanski

A 25-year-old outlet center in East Naples, Florida, is undergoing an extensive facelift and seeking new retail blood, according to Crossman & Company, which has just been signed as its leasing agent.

Once filled with shoppers, the Naples Outlet Center has dropped in recent years due to an economic downturn in the area, according the Naples Daily News. In 2014, nearly half of its 40 stores were vacant.

But Crossman leasing agents insist that the 21-acre property with 146,000 sq. ft. of retail space continues to benefit from highway visibility and growing populations in nearby upscale communities.

“Highway traffic counts exceed 28,895 vehicles a day,” said Crossman Senior Leasing Associate Sandra Woodworth. “The center serves communities in Naples and Marco Island, including Fiddlers Creek, Eagle Creek, Lely Resorts, and Naples Reserve.”

Current tenants include Loft, Bass Factory Outlet, Ann Taylor, Kitchen Collection, Coach, Van Heusen, Samsonite, and Rack Room Shoes.


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