MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: Retailers move past channels with mobile strategies

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. – Retailers are taking an increasingly omni-channel approach to their mobile strategies, looking to combine mobile with existing channels rather than treat it as a separate entity. According to a new study from RSR Research, “Mobile in Retail: Reality Sets In,” 49% of retail respondents said the purpose of their mobile strategy is to drive traffic to the store in 2014, compared to 33% in 2013.

Similar jumps occurred in the percentage of retailers saying the purpose of their mobile strategy (more than one answer allowed) is empowering employees to meet customer service expectations (37%, compared to 29%), help employees be more efficient (35%, compared to 0%), and provide a channel for post-sale, self-service support (21%, compared to 0%).

Other notable findings include:

• Most popular mobile business challenges are consumers using mobile as part of their shopping experience and retailers need to be there (56%), difficulty coordinating with other channels to create a seamless cross-channel experience (41%), and the need to respond to significant online traffic (33%).

• 61% of retail respondents have implemented mobile searching and selecting of merchandise.

• 62% of consumer respondents want to use mobile to check prices before buying.

• The primary at-home mobile shopping activities of consumers are researching product selection (60%), comparing prices, and viewing product ratings and reviews (57% each).

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FINANCE

Report: Financing for Jos. A. Bank-Eddie Bauer purchase delayed

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hampstead, Md. – Goldman-Sachs Group, sole underwriter of a $400 million bridge loan supporting Jos. A. Bank’s tentative acquisition of Eddie Bauer, is reportedly postponing the loan. According to the Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs had previously set a Feb. 27, 2014 deadline for investors to commit to purchasing portions of the loan, and has not yet set a new deadline.

Unnamed sources did not offer a specific reason for the postponement, but it follows the Feb. 24 filing of a lawsuit by Men’s Wearhouse, which has been making public offers to purchase Jos. A. Bank since January 2014, attempting to prevent the Eddie Bauer acquisition. The suit claims the only reason for the Eddie Bauer purchase is to make a purchase of Jos. A. Bank by Men’s Wearhouse impossible. Jos. A. Bank has agreed to give 10 days’ notice of any purchase of Eddie Bauer to Men’s Wearhouse.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Indian prime minister candidate speaks in favor of big retail

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Delhi, India – Narendra Modi, candidate of opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for Indian prime minister, reportedly has made statements in favor of global online retailing and India’s small retailers learning to compete with large retailers. According to Reuters, at a meeting of the Confederation of All India Traders, Modi said small local retailers should improve the quality of their goods to a level closer to that of large global competitors, and also consider entering contracts with large online retailers to create virtual trade.

Modi, whose party still officially opposes investments by large foreign supermarket chains in India, also said the Indian government should not restrict online trade and also said he supports a nationwide goods and services tax (GST), which is seen as a way to reduce business costs and create a uniform Indian market. He did not openly speak in favor of foreign supermarkets investing in India, but also declined to repeat previous statements against that type of investment. India is expected to hold prime minister elections in April or May 2014.

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