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Tech Notes

BY Marianne Wilson

The customer experience is fueling IT spending like never before. That was my main takeaway from Oracle Retail CrossTalk 2012, which was held June 26 -28, in Chicago. The following are some insights and observations from a few of the speakers at the event.

Gary Penn, VP e-commerce, Quiksilver:
“Handheld traffic is growing exponentially, and so is the revenue. You have to address it. If you don’t, you are leaving a good part of your audience out in the cold.”

“Tablet users need to be addressed. Quicksilver is finding that one-fifth—20%—of its traffic is coming from tablets.”

“Don’t ask tablet users to contact you by phone. ‘Click to chat’ is growing like wildflower. If you can’t implement it, don’t ask them to call for more information. Tablets aren’t phones.”

Michael Rodgers, executive VP, CIO, Saks Fifth Avenue:
“Marketing is going to drive a lot of IT spending. The CMO and I are joined at the hip these days.”

“In the future, mobile will be part of our store layout structure…you won’t have to have these big wrap stations.”

“Retailers live on their systems, and they need to have the right ones.”

“It’s (social networks) an informational engine, not a commerce one. We have associates in our call center always looking at Facebook and Twitter. You need to be paying attention to it, to what the customer is saying about your product and service.”

David Dorf, senior director of technology strategy, Oracle Retail:
“Consumers expect to be answered quickly when they post (on a social network). Social media is a big social amplifier…it gives you the opportunity to quickly turn around something.”

“You won’t get a lot of sales on Facebook, but it’s good for driving traffic. And your e-commerce site is the place you want to drive it.”

“For large retailers, actual selling on Facebook is not the way to go.”

“The most exciting technology being used in stores now is geo-fencing. Some retailers are even geo-fencing their competitors’ stores.”

Ron Johnson, director of technology, Disney Stores:
“Endless aisle provides the ability for a customer who says ‘I’m interested in The Nightmare Before Christmas’ to browse online for a range of products associated with that film.”

Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, Oracle Retail
“Mobile users spend 91% of their Internet time in a social network.”


More As I See It entries.

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M.Lopez says:
Dec-03-2012 12:45 pm

Oracle Retail CrossTalk 2012 was great this year, hopefully the event will be back next year! I'm in the investment business myself and I really loved it.

M.Lopez says:
Dec-03-2012 12:45 pm

Oracle Retail CrossTalk 2012 was great this year, hopefully the event will be back next year! I'm in the investment business myself and I really loved it.

M.Donovan says:
Oct-30-2012 09:24 am

This is a good web-site and I am sure that it will be like you said.

M.Donovan says:
Oct-30-2012 09:24 am

This is a good web-site and I am sure that it will be like you said.

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Specialty stores hit and miss in June

BY CSA STAFF

NEWYORK — Disappointing same-store sales results in June weren’t necessarily unexpected, as the month typically trends weaker as shoppers have fewer reasons to shop.

Thomson Reuters, which polls 18 U.S. retail chains, projected its Same-Store Sales Index to inch up 0.5% in June, far below last year’s 6.7% rise for the month. Analysts have said that warm weather may have prompted consumers to make summer apparel purchases earlier than usual, shifting sales from later months like June.

Just before the July 4th holiday, the International Council of Shopping Centers trimmed its earlier June same-store sales forecast of a 1.5% to 2% rise to an even more conservative 1% to 1.5% increase.

Among the specialty store retailers, the results were hit and miss. The Limited was the big winner with a 7% rise in June same-store sales, handily beating Wall Street’s forecasted 2.4% rise. The parent to Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath and Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel said its total June sales, however, remained nearly flat at $1.1 billion.

Wet Seal and Buckle posted the weakest results in the category, with declines of 9% and 2.5% respectively.

Gap reported flat same-store sales in June, just missing the .1% gain projected by Wall Street. Overall sales for the month increased 2%.

“We’re pleased with our overall sales performance in June, especially the continued positive trend in our North America business,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO, Gap Inc.

Other specialty store results announced so far included Zumiez, which saw same-store sales rise 8.2% in June, narrowly missing analysts’ predicted 8.4% gain.

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Tide honors Team USA

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — As part of its "My Story. Our Flag." project, Tide unveiled a special flag — created in honor of Team USA — in New York’s Bryant Park on Tuesday.

The 117-ft.-by-52-ft. flag, a larger-than-life artistic rendition of the American flag, features nearly 1,500 stories collected from Tide’s Facebook and Twitter followers. Each piece of fabric making up the flag was washed in Tide prior to being sewn together, the brand said.

"Every two years during the Olympic Games, the pride we have for the red, white and blue swells as people celebrate our country’s athletes," said Alex Keith, VP of P&G North American fabric care. "We’re excited to honor Team USA with this beautiful flag created for the ‘My Story. Our Flag.’ project."

As part of the project, Tide has partnered with three Olympic athletes — including distance runner Lopez Lomong, cyclist Sarah Hammer and wrestler Henry Cejudo — and actress and singer Katharine McPhee, all of which have inspiring stories that Tide said are great examples of the rich and diverse stories we all have.

I am so thrilled to be a part of this inspirational flag," Katharine McPhee said. "To see what the red, white and blue mean to Americans across this country truly reminds us why it’s so great to be an American and gets me very excited to root on Team USA during this year’s Olympic Games."
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