OPERATIONS

Study: Shoppers use smartphones, social media for purchase decisions

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — The Deloitte American Pantry Study, released Tuesday, polled more than 4,000 shoppers and found that, more than ever, consumers are turning to social networks, smartphones, and tablets to meet their shopping needs.

According to the study, 90% of shoppers know what they’re buying before they arrive at a store. Three-quarters say they are smarter shoppers than they were a year ago, and 86% believe they are getting more precise in what they buy.

“With the proliferation of online shopping, smartphones and social networking, it’s vital that consumer product companies consider the use of highly targeted pre-store shopper engagement programs, which could include constant communication through new technology mediums,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s consumer products sector leader.

According to Deloitte, there are three ways that brands can engage shoppers via social networks and smartphones:

  • Become part of the planning process by embracing personalized mobile applications aimed at enhancing the pre-store planning process, and utilizing personalized mobile advertising and promotions that provide a route to consumers considering products;
  • Enhance in-store mobile and social networking experiences; and
  • Extend the product involvement to maintain post-purchase conversations. There are several benefits to extending the product experience across channels and away from home, said Conroy, including maintaining and growing brand awareness and consideration among existing customers.

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OPERATIONS

Checkers and Rally’s team with JobApp to drive operational efficiencies

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — Talent management technology-provider JobApp Network said that Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is utilizing its services to up its talent quotient and reduce turnover.

According to JobApp, after less than nine months of utilizing its core talent acquisition solution, Checkers’ own internal analysis showed a 40.9% reduction in restaurant team member turnover. And, said JobApp, turnover results from the team members at JobApp restaurants were significantly better compared to Checkers’ control group restaurants.

Eliminating paper through JobApp allowed Checkers to process 14,000 applications across its 298 corporate locations in November 2011 and entirely eliminate paper from the hiring and onboarding processes.

“Over the past four years, Checkers and Rally’s has been investing heavily in systems, including Guest Satisfaction, Speed of Service and other operational tools along with Back Office solutions that are delivering record-level results in Guest Satisfaction and other operating metrics,” said Adam Noyes, chief restaurant operations and supply chain officer.

According to Noyes, the JobApp tool has helped drive awareness to an available employment pool, and has systematized the manual system, providing Checkers managers with tools to select the very best employees. “We also partnered with JobApp on full integration with our other operating systems, so it is a win-win for our team and for our guests,” he said.

Restaurant manager surveys conducted by Checkers across more than 50 restaurants indicated that restaurant managers also clearly perceived that JobApp brought a better quality of applicant and reduced time-to-hire. In fact, the vast majority of its restaurant managers indicated an average time savings of approximately two hours per week and 92% of restaurant managers strongly recommended rolling JobApp out across the entire system.

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OPERATIONS

Boingo Wireless secures Wi-Fi rights to Westfield, Cafaro shopping centers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Angeles — Boingo Wireless has announced agreements with mall owners Westfield and Cafaro to manage and operate retail Wi-Fi networks in several of each developer’s shopping centers.

With this agreement, Boingo now manages Wi-Fi networks in 33 malls across the country.

For Cafaro, at three of its busiest malls, guests will be able to access Boingo Wi-Fi on any Wi-Fi-enabled device – including their smartphones, tablets and laptops – from anywhere in the mall. Boingo’s roaming partners, such as Skype and Verizon, will also be able to access the networks easily.

“Everyone in the mall today seems to have a device in-hand, whether they’re actively shopping, doing business with tenants or just watching the world walk by,” said Anthony Cafaro, Jr., co-president of the Cafaro Co., based in Youngstown, Ohio. “Boingo’s valuable experience in managing Wi-Fi in large venues will help us deliver more value to the shopping experience at our properties.”

For Cafaro, Boingo will install Wi-Fi networks in the Spotsylvania Towne Centre (Fredericksburg, Va.), the Eastwood Mall (Niles, Ohio) and the South Hill Mall (Puyallup, Wash.).

For Westfield LLC, the U.S. unit of the Westfield Group, Boingo will manage and sponsor Wi-Fi services at up to 17 Westfield shopping centers. Westfield guests will be able to access Boingo Wi-Fi on their smartphones, tablets and laptops as a complimentary service while shopping, dining or being entertained. The networks will also be easily accessible to customers of more than a dozen of Boingo’s roaming partners, including Skype and Verizon.

“The ability to leverage Boingo’s location-based platform in the future to deliver targeted consumer offers and messaging provides us with a growth strategy for the Wi-Fi amenity,” said Alan Cohen, Westfield’s U.S. executive VP marketing.

The first phase of implementation where Boingo will manage Wi-Fi services includes seven premium Westfield shopping centers: Westfield Garden State Plaza (Paramus, N.J.), Westfield San Francisco Centre (San Francisco), Westfield Old Orchard (Skokie, Ill.), Westfield Valley Fair (Santa Clara, Calif.), Westfield Montgomery (Bethesda, Md.), Westfield Southcenter (Seattle), and Westfield Galleria at Roseville (Roseville, Calif.). Following deployment of the first phase, Westfield and Boingo have agreed to the potential addition of up to 10 shopping centers for the second phase.

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