OPERATIONS

Sterling Jewelers names COO, management shifts

BY Staff Writer

Akron, Ohio — Sterling Jewelers said Thursday it has named Ed Hrabak, senior VP merchandising, as COO to succeed Bill Montalto, who is retiring from the position in June.

Hrabak has been with Sterling for over 25 years, assuming increasingly greater management responsibility during his tenure.

Sterling also announced that Stuart Lee, VP merchandising, will be promoted to senior VP merchandising upon Hrabak’s promotion to COO.

Dawn McGuire, VP mall merchandising, will be promoted to VP merchandising, replacing Stuart Lee in that role.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Fewer than a third of leading online retailers ready for tablets

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Boston — Research results released Thursday by mobile and social merchandising solution-provider Zmags found that less than one-third of the top 100 Internet retailers are prepared for tablet shopping.

According to “Mobile & Tablet e-Commerce: Is anyone really ready?” commissioned by research firm Hawk Partners, too few retailers have optimized sites for tablet commerce. Most are simply relying on their standard websites to provide an “adequate enough” tablet shopping experience.

Other key findings of the survey include:

More than half of retailers have developed smartphone-specific offerings to provide key functionality for the smaller screen.

While over two-thirds of the retailers have developed iPhone apps, only half of that group offers the ability to purchase via the app.

All 100 retailers have Facebook brand pages, but only one (Coldwater Creek) lets consumers directly purchase from the Facebook page.

The research identified three retailers (Gilt Groupe, Disney and Urban Outfitters) as having the strongest and most robust mobile offerings across most devices and channels.

Only 19 of the top 100 retailers extended beyond ordinary HTML-type content to include more engaging material such as look books, catalogs, editorial picks, etc. However, none of them extended the dynamic environment or optimized the brand experience across the full range of smartphones, tablets and Facebook.

“What we discovered, unexpectedly, was that very few retailers — even among this elite group of marketers — are tapping into the full shopping potential of mobile and tablet devices. In fact, not even close to it,” said W. Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags. “Only one quarter of retailers are ready to take a consumer through checkout over tablets, but 49% of today’s tablet owners said they plan to shop even more next year using their device. This reflects a serious disconnect between how consumers want to shop and the inconsistent experiences they are being offered.”

All results are based on research conducted over a four-week period in November and December 2011.

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POSitive Technology teams with It’Sugar for expansion

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — POS solution-provider POSitive Technology said Thursday that It’Sugar has selected them as their POS partner to implement the Microsoft Dymanics RMS and OpSuite solutions to meet the company’s growth needs.

Candy retailer It’Sugar plans to open as many as 10 new stores in 2012, in addition to continuous updating and refreshing of inventory to keep pace with sales and customer preferences, said the company.

With 20 It’Sugar stores, It’Sugar manages some 9,728 SKUs of confectionery, gifts and other merchandise. To meet its goals, It’Sugar needed a reliable, responsive retail management system that could translate POS transactions into actionable business information for corporate management.

OpSuite’s real time sales reports allow the corporate office to see every sale within three to five seconds of the transaction.

"We track and manage inventory from our corporate offices in Florida on a daily basis," said Butch Smith, It’Sugar IT manager. "But we don’t work from warehouses. Everything is drop-shipped directly to the stores, so having a system that gives us instantaneous access to sales data lets our buyers make accurate decisions based on facts rather than gut feelings.”

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