OPERATIONS

Survey: E-mail, QR codes retailers’ preferred marketing tools

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — With more than 60 million Americans forecast to own a tablet computer by the end of this year, retailers say tablets are driving an increasingly larger share of their web revenue. According to the 2012 Shop.org/Forrester Research Inc.’s State of Retailing Online survey, 49% of retailers say their average order value via a tablet is now higher than traditional web sales. Nearly three in 10 (28%) retailers say they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website.

When it comes to actual sales retailers are reporting, the survey found tablet and smartphone sales as a percent of retailers’ total web sales in 2011 were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively.

“Retailers must continue to look for unique ways to elevate their brand in such a competitive market. Tablets and mobile devices offer the perfect answer, with opportunities to create specialized apps, drive web sales and create an engaging and convenient shopping experience,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers. With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns.”

For retailers, search and email are still king. Eight in 10 retailers say search and email are the top two drivers of a company’s web traffic from either a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, retailers surveyed report that, on average, 20% of emails opened in a given campaign are opened on a mobile device.

Additionally, QR codes have become more standard elements of retailers’ mobile marketing efforts within their stores and in advertising. Three-quarters (75%) say they now offer customers the 2D technology and other barcode scanning options.

For companies with less than $10 million and more than $100 million in annual online sales, QR codes rank as the leading mobile marketing tool in terms of usage. Mid-size retailers rely more heavily on mobile email optimization, with QR codes coming in second.

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INVENTORY

Family Express enhances inventory management with Retalix software

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — Family Express has improved its inventory management operations significantly by deploying Retalix Ltd.’s demand-driven replenishment solution across its convenience stores in Northwestern Indiana, Retalix said.

By using this demand forecasting and inventory replenishment system, Family Express reduced its tobacco order size by 21% while increasing its average monthly inventory turnover per store by 2.5 turns. The software application has also helped decrease the retailer’s average inventory days on hand for tobacco products by 2.4 days.

In addition, the solution has given Family Express the option to automatically re-order a significant percentage of all items in its stores, effectively reducing inventory management labor, and thus increasing customer face time. The convenience retailer is also experiencing a much reduced out-of-stock rate.

“Retalix and its Demand-Driven Replenishment solution have helped us optimize our inventory management and elevated our operations to a higher, more sophisticated level,” said Bill Nolan, VP of marketing for Family Express, Valparaiso, Ind. “The sales, turnover and inventory-on-hand improvements that we’ve witnessed illustrate that the Retalix solution accurately forecasts demand for each store and keeps our inventory at an optimal level, which ultimately impacts our bottom line.”

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News

Ascenta Retail Group uses Esri GIS analysis tools

BY Staff Writer

Redlands, Calif. — Ascena Retail Group, whose brands include Dressbarn, Maurices, and Justice, is integrating Esri GIS analysis tools, demographic data, and map visualization into its business processes.

Esri technology helps Ascena follow a customer centric approach for store development and market planning. It also helps the company identify key demographics and store profiles for each location to stratify and segment the brands. Ascena uses GIS to quickly assess the suitability of sites and market potential, streamlining the development process and reducing the cost and time to bring projects to completion.

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