OPERATIONS

Taylor Bayouth Named Director of Interactive Media

BY CSA STAFF

Los Angeles, Access 360 Media has named Taylor Bayouth Director of Interactive Media. He will manage the creation and implementation of all interactive and mobile initiatives for Access 360 Media’s retail and partner programs.

Taylor previously worked as the Technical Director of Fidelity Assets, a search engine marketing service exclusively for real estate professionals.

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Top 10 Retail Innovators

BY CSA STAFF

The sky is the limit for retailers that respond to sustainability issues and those bold enough to experiment and strike into emerging markets, according to the latest research by international food and grocery expert IGD. In its latest report, “Global Retail Innovation: Ten to Watch 2007,” IGD lists 10 retailers around the world that it feels demonstrate strong growth prospects, sound business practices and innovation.

Two U.S. companies made the list: online powerhouse Amazon.com and convenience store operator Wawa. Amazon.com was recognized for its strong launch into online grocery retail, while Wawa was noted for its “food first, fuel second” approach to quality foodservice. Also making the list were Australia’s Macro Wholefoods Market, which specializes in green, organic and fair-trade products; the United Kingdom’s Cook, a retailer of premium frozen meals that look and taste homemade and are sourced locally; and Switzerland’s Migros, whose strong ethical focus connects with shoppers.

The report found a company’s stance on sustainability is fast becoming a key factor in consumer buying decisions.

“Sustainability has to be backed up by substance and robust measures,” said Jonathan Gunz, senior business analyst, IGD, and report author. “Consumers are increasingly savvy. They will see through sustainability half-measures that aren’t backed up by genuine action.”

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BY CSA STAFF

Flash Foods Boosts Loyalty-Card Functionality

Convenience store chain Flash Foods, Waycross, Ga., is expanding the value of its loyalty program by enabling shoppers to use their loyalty card to pay for orders.

Flash Foods’ loyalty program, Rewards in a Flash, leverages the Loyalink loyalty and marketing solution, from The Pinnacle Corp., Arlington, Texas. The centralized solution also provides Flash Foods with marketing and business analytics to measure promotion, store, supplier and consumer performance.

With the help of Pinnacle and a license agreement with E-Micro Corp., Flash Foods’ loyalty cards will now support three payment options. LoyalDebit will support a lower-cost ACH payment option; LoyalPass will enable consumers to prepay for fuel- dispenser sales, reducing occurrences of fuel theft; and LoyalPay, a prepaid-card option for consumers, is designed to help retailers eliminate escalating ransaction fees.

LoyalDebit is slated to roll out to all Flash Foods stores by May. Flash Foods plans to roll out LoyalPass by July, and LoyalPay will be available by the fourth quarter.

“We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the value of the Rewards in a Flash card for our customers,” said Jenny Bullard, CIO for Flash Foods.

“These expanded features will give Flash Foods the technology needed to take our loyalty card to the highest level,” she added. “A single loyalty card will be a form of payment and provide additional discounts. Their continued support will drive revenue to our bottom line.”

Besides reducing the costs associated with credit- and debit-card processing, these alternate-payment options will also reduce losses at the fuel dispenser, “because our drive-off theft should be reduced drastically,” Bullard told Chain Store Age.

Pet Supermarket Debuts Private Network

In an effort to link and manage operations across its 110 Southeast locations, Pet Supermarket, Sunrise, Fla., is trading in an antiquated network for a new, always-available private network.

Dial-up telephone lines historically supported most of the chain’s store-level operations. However, this configuration was prone to lost connections and disrupted transactions.

By partnering with Vancouver, Wash.-based New Edge Networks, Pet Supermarket will install high-speed digital subscriber lines at each store and link them together through a private, fully managed network. Since this infrastructure does not rely on the Internet, all data traffic between stores and the corporate office will remain private.

The vendor will also coordinate installation of in-store computer applications to the wide area network, and manage all trouble reporting and ticketing.

Initially, the network will support the chain’s card payment transactions. The direct connection enables Pet Supermarket stores to send their card payment transactions over the private network directly to its card processor, First Data Corp., rather than funneling traffic through headquarters.

By gaining a direct private circuit to the payment processor, Pet Supermarket will eliminate monthly communications costs. The network also eliminates a single point of failure if a store’s connection is lost.

“This connection is especially appealing because it will help our stores continue operations and process transactions even when hurricane threats sometime force the evacuation of our headquarters staff,” said Joe Ganzi, IT manager for Pet Supermarket.

The network will also support real-time access to its loyalty data during checkout and to back-office systems for remote maintenance.

Future applications include Internet telephony service and digital video monitoring. The network is compliant with Payment Card Industry security standards for safeguarding cardholder information.

Jack in the Box Now Wireless

Needing more speed, order accuracy and overall guest service at its drive-through, Jack in the Box Inc., San Diego, recently added a wireless digital communication system and speakers at approximately 900 company restaurants.

The new Wireless IQ system and speakers from HME, Poway, Calif., enable Jack in the Box to eliminate the static and interference typically encountered with obsolete headsets, thus allowing customers to clearly communicate their orders. Its multichannel feature enables the crew to listen to the customer’s order and communicate with each other on a private channel. This quickens the food-preparation process and enhances order accuracy.

Wireless IQ’s multilingual digital voice prompts in English, Spanish or French also help drive-through employees better understand the system diagnostics and to support smooth, uninterrupted operation.

The new technology went live in 2006. Jack in the Box and HME declined to share expansion plans.

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