Tiffany & Co. names veteran retailer as chairman
Tiffany & Co. has named Roger Farah as chairman, effective Oct. 2.
Farah, 64, joined Tiffany’s board in March 2017. He succeeds Michael J. Kowalski, who has served as chairman since 2002.
Kowalski, who served as CEO of Tiffany from 1999 until his retirement in March 2015, has been acting as interim CEO since February 2017. He will relinquish that title when the company’s newly appointed CEO, Alessandro Bogliolo, takes the reins in October.
Farah has served in leadership roles at Ralph Lauren Corp. Venator Group, R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. and Federated Merchandising Services.
“Roger has significant experience as a leader in the luxury retail industry, and I and my fellow directors value tremendously his expertise and insight which have been apparent during his time on the board," Kowalski said. "With the appointment of Alessandro as our new CEO, and under Roger’s leadership on the board, I believe we are well positioned to execute on strategies to drive comparable store sales growth and stronger earnings growth in the longer-term.”
Report: Two high-profile discount retailers join call for replacement of ‘Dreamer’ legislation
Walmart and Target are among the companies pressuring political leaders to find a solution for the roughly 800,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
The retailers joined an expanded group of nearly 800 companies calling in a letter for U.S. legislation to protect immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents from deportation. Specifically, the group is asking Congress to pass a permanent replacement for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — a group of immigrants referred to as “Dreamers,” according to Reuters.
According to the report, the letter comes on the heels of a similar request penned in August by a group of businesses less than half the size and weighted toward technology companies. This correspondence was sent before President Donald Trump said he would end the program.
Both letters were spearheaded by FWD.us, a pro-immigration group co-founded by Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
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New Consumer Expectations, New Opportunities for Retailers
Consumers continue to make the majority of their purchases at the physical store. However, their constant connectivity to the cloud through smartphones, laptops, tablets and smart watches — combined with the popularity of e-commerce — is redefining their expectations of the ideal in-store experience. Today, consumers want the same convenience, personalization and simplicity they’ve grown accustomed to online.
Industry research shows that, rather than trips to just make purchases, shoppers are drawn to in-store experiences that are digitally-connected. These include:
• Using their favorite apps.
• Wanting store associates to know who they are — even if they normally shop online.
• Being rewarded for their loyalty — not with generic offers — but with personalized incentives that are relevant to them.
• Using their payment method of choice, without spending an eternity in the checkout line.
While these expectations are shared by consumers of all ages, they’re especially prevalent among millennials and other new generations that have likely never known a world without the advanced technologies embedded in society. According to a report by Seurat Group, more and more millennials are entering the workforce every year, and by 2020, they’ll represent more than 40% of consumers in the United States.
To meet the demands of these modern consumers, retailers must tear down the silos between their online and physical storefronts. Connecting both channels can provide retailers with access to the advanced consumer data and analytics needed for better targeting, consumer insights and personalization across all customer touchpoints. However, integrating online and physical storefronts in a way that is consistent and seamless from the consumer’s point-of-view is easier said than done, considering the complexity and ever-changing nature of technology, apps and regulation — not to mention the limited bandwidth of IT resources.
Fortunately, payment technology offers a solution for retailers to overcome these obstacles and efficiently break down these barriers. Recent innovations in this space have catapulted point-of-sale (POS) technology to do much more than accept payments.
Besides accommodating all payment methods, including NFC and contactless, many new payment terminals feature HD touchscreens that engage shoppers during checkout with brand messaging, special offers and other multimedia content chosen by the retailer. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), 3G/4G and Wi-Fi connectivity combined with portable ergonomic form factors allow retailers to extend the POS beyond the counter and throughout the store, helping reduce the time customers spend in checkout lines while creating a more one-on-one shopping experience. Such hardware features radically transform the shopping experience when they’re connected to the cloud. This merges in-store and online shopping channels, and allows retailers to continuously grow and expand their payment systems as consumer and business needs evolve.
From a central location, software can be uploaded or “pushed” to connected devices throughout the enterprise — streamlining compliance with ongoing PCI changes, and strengthening retailers’ ability to protect themselves and their customers against the ever-present threat of payment data breaches and cybercriminals. Cloud-based estate management tools also provide retailers with on-demand access to sales and payment processing information, which streamlines reporting processes and offers historically unavailable customer insights and business intelligence data.
Furthermore, payment device cloud connectivity expedites retailers’ ability to support popular business and consumer apps at the POS. By leveraging app marketplaces and developer tool kits, proprietary and third-party apps can be developed, tested and supported on their devices. This provides a number of benefits — from improved customer loyalty via points programs, or geo-targeted offers inside the store, to tailored incentives based on online purchases at the point of sale and improved inventory management via e-commerce and legacy system integration.
All of this is merely a snapshot to help illustrate the extent to which some of the newest payment technologies have evolved. Basic payment acceptance devices are now becoming powerful tools offering an innovative way for retailers to create the shopping experiences demanded by consumers today, with the flexibility to accommodate those they’ll want in the future.
Skip Hinshaw is the VP & general manager, North American Financial Services at Verifone.