OPERATIONS

Sears Canada taps IBM for outsourcing; will lay off 1,345 associates

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Sears Canada Inc. has entered into an arrangement with IBM to have the supplier take over the work currently performed at three internal Sears customer contact centers. The outsourcing move will take place over the next nine months and affect 1,345 employees.

"The changes we are making to our Customer Contact Centres will allow us to streamline the support structure of our organization while enhancing the overall customer experience," said Doug Campbell, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. "Our partner will bring tools and technologies that will allow us to operate more effectively without the ongoing investment in and maintenance of legacy proprietary systems. This will provide our customers with the benefits of up-to-date technology and enable us to focus on our core retail business, the area where we believe we have the greatest opportunity to maximize the value of the company."

Additionally, 283 employees at Sears Canada’s logistics arm will be laid off effective immediately, the company said.

Sears Canada is 51%-owned by Sears Holdings Corp. "These types of decisions are not made without considerable thought and deliberation," said Campbell. "We are planning for the future of Sears Canada and taking steps now that will allow us to continue serving customers as a viable national retailer coast to coast in stores and through our Direct channel now and in the future."

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OPERATIONS

Study: Scalability across channels critical factor in retail growth

BY Marianne Wilson

King of Prussia, Pa. — Rigid technology can be a prohibitor in omnichannel growth, especially for mid-market retailers, according to a new study by eBay Enterprise. The report, 2014 Omnichannel Benchmark Study, found that that mid-sized retailers are behind their larger competitors in implementing omnichannel experiences and inflexible technology is the biggest factor in prohibiting retailer maturity and growth.

Other key findings include:

• Large-scale retailers are still new to omnichannel customer engagement, having only invested in it over the last five years.

• Mid-sized retailers face the greatest deficiency in their ability to deliver content to consumers as they research brands and products.

• Rigid technology solutions are the biggest impediment to increasing and improving customer omnichannel experiences.

“As mid-sized retailers continue to compete with their large scale counterparts, their ability to adapt to an omnichannel environment becomes critical for profitability, loyalty and survival,” said Steve Denton, VP of marketing solutions, eBay Enterprise. “The 2014 Omnichannel Benchmark study highlighted a critical gap in the ability of mid-market retailers to provide consumers with relevant experiences that also allow them to research products and consumer behavior across multiple touch points, including in-store, online, mobile, marketplaces, and customer service, significantly impacting their ability to increase brand awareness and demand generation.”

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OPERATIONS

Verizon partners with Tesco to transform global opportunities

BY Staff Writer

London — Verizon is migrating Tesco to a single global network infrastructure, which will underpin Tesco’s ongoing application and infrastructure centralization program.

Verizon is providing secure connectivity to link Tesco’s suppliers, partners, customers and colleagues in 12 countries around the globe. Importantly, the new network infrastructure also offers a solid foundation from which Tesco can consistently deliver key business applications to all stakeholders. This will enable Tesco to roll out new technologies and services more quickly and effectively, while also achieving significant cost efficiencies.

Verizon’s technical expertise is a key enabler for Tesco’s global transformation, which aims to connect customers to quality products, affordably and conveniently; connect producers and suppliers to new markets, at home and abroad; and connect its business to its communities and help address social challenges.

Tomas Kadlec, group infrastructure IT director at Tesco Stores Limited, said: “Verizon is helping us to consolidate, centralize and converge our infrastructure across the world. This marks a step change for Tesco in terms of both security and managed networked services. The cutover to the Verizon network has gone exceptionally well, accordingly to plan and within the agreed framework.”

Mike McNamara, Tesco’s chief information officer, added: “Verizon has the scope and expertise to help us deliver on our vision wherever we are around the globe. Whether in our stores, online, or on the move, we need our infrastructure to support our business goals. Verizon combines technology innovation with pragmatic application to help us build solutions for today, and platforms to support the future of retail. We are looking forward to delivering the results of this collaboration to our stakeholders around the globe.”

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