OPERATIONS

Staples launches omnichannel updates including Visa Checkout

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – Staples has released a series of enhancements to its omnichannel experience. The enhancements include the new Visa Checkout digital payment service, the ability to buy products online and pick them up in-store within hours, new in-store kiosks, and, Staples’ first iPad app.

Visa Checkout lets customers check-out online on any device, in just a few clicks, by entering a Visa Checkout username and password. Shoppers can use any brand of credit card with Visa Checkout, which pre-populates their shipping information and is available on Staples.com and Staples mobile website. Once enrolled, customers can then enter their username and password to complete purchases easily on any device, without ever having to leave Staples’ website. Staples first announced the availability of Visa Checkout on Staples.com in July, but it is now accessible through the retailer’s mobile sites.

“Staples continues to innovate and develop new technology to improve the customer experience, whether it’s providing convenient shipping options, making check-out faster or adding mobile platforms,” said Faisal Masud, executive VP, global e-commerce, Staples. “The recent updates will make it easier for customers to shop however and from wherever they want. This is particularly important for businesses that are always on the go and can’t wait for a delivery or delay shopping until they are in front of a desktop.”

With Staples new buy online pick-up in-store feature, customers will be able to select a “pick up today” option as they view a product on Staples.com. Staples promises to have their order ready for pick up within two hours. Customers can also permanently set their preferred store location, and Staples.com will automatically show the inventory available at the three closest stores. For products not sold in store, customers will still have the ability to ship their order to a store for pick up. Both the buy-online, pick-up in-store and ship to store options are free of charge.

Staples is also rolling out new touch-screen in-store kiosks throughout its retail locations in the U.S. during the next several months. In addition to upgrading the technology to the existing kiosks, the company will reposition them in store, with fast and free delivery for products ordered through a kiosk.

Staples has also announced the first iPad app in the company’s history. The app provides an easy-to-use tablet experience. Users can check and cash their Staples Rewards balance and reorder past purchases. Other features include:

• Direct access to Staples’ biggest and best deals.
• Product availability at the nearest store.
• Faster search and quick navigation.
• Customizable viewing of search results.
• The ability to narrow down search results by price, category and relevance.

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OPERATIONS

CEO of QVC U.S. operations resigns

BY Dan Berthiaume

West Chester, Pa. – Claire Watts has resigned from her role as CEO of QVC’s U.S. operations, effective Sept. 5, to pursue other opportunities.

With Watts’ departure, the senior U.S. leadership team, including Doug Howe, executive VP merchandising & planning, Mary Campbell, executive VP commerce platforms, and Rob Muller, senior VP U.S. strategic planning & analytics, will report to Mike George on an interim basis as QVC seeks to optimize its long-term management structure.

"While the decision to move on from QVC was not an easy one, I am proud of what the U.S. team has accomplished over the past six years," said Watts. "As I look forward to taking on new challenges, I know QVC has a strong and seasoned team in place to build upon the momentum that we have achieved in the U.S. business."

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Jos. A. Bank terminates Jim’s Formal Wear tux agreement

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fremont, Calif. – Jos. A. Bank has reached an early termination agreement with Jim’s Formal Wear, effective Dec. 31. The company will record a one-time charge of $4.5 million in its fiscal 2014 third quarter in connection with early termination of this contract to supply tuxedo rental inventory and logistics.

"We are pleased about the early termination of the Jim’s Formal Wear contract to supply tuxedo rental inventory to Jos. A. Bank,” said Doug Ewert, president and CEO of Jos. A. Bank parent company Men’s Wearhouse. “As of Jan. 1, 2015 we will be leveraging our internal tuxedo rental inventory and logistics to serve the Jos. A. Bank tuxedo operations."

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