Insights

Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail

BY Marianne Wilson

Some are familiar; others not so. Fast Company’s annual list of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail” covers a lot of ground in its diversity. Here’s a recap:

1. Nike: Cited for its revolutionary new products and culture of “true believers.”

2. Burberry: The company’s cutting-edge, digitally enhanced remodeled London flagship is praised “for sending brick-and-mortar stores into the next century.” The merchandise is embedded with RFID chips, which can be read by screens and mirrors. When a customer walks into fitting room with a dress, for example, one of the mirrors might respond by turning into a screen showing images of how it was worn on the catwalk, or details to the garment’s construction.

3. 7-Eleven: That’s right … 7-Eleven. It was selected for “localizing” its stores via a deal with Amazon that allows customers to have small packages delivered to their local 7-Eleven rather than their home. Currently, the arrangement is being offered in five areas: New York, Seattle, Washington, D.C., the Silicon Valley and London.

4. Sephora: Fast Company was impressed by the retailer’s Sephora + Pantone Color IQ system, designed to make selecting a foundation easier. It uses a handheld device, whose technology is based on that used in graphic design, which holds some 1,000 SKUs to determine an exact match to the customer’s skin.

5. Everlane: With nearly half a million users, the online clothing company aims to provide members with low-cost, high-quality goods by cutting out middlemen. All of its pieces are created in-house by a team of designers and manufactured in factories around the world. It has no physical stores or retail partners. According to Fast Company, it keeps demand high by using a limited batch model.

6. Black Milk Clothing: The Australian online retailer (best known for its fashionable leggings, which come in all colors and in a dizzying array of prints) lets customers contribute to the site’s product photography. Users simply tag the photo on Twitter or Instagram and it’s automatically added to the site. All pieces are made in Australia.

7. Svpply: The social shopping site, which was acquired by eBay in 2012, aims to recreate the feeling of window-shopping online with a social, curated and personalized experience. But the hook is that it also predicts what merchandise a user will like based on their social media. Fast Company says merchants are eager to sign up. More than 3,000 items are pulled daily from some 75,000 stores.

8. Crate & Barrel: Fast Company is enamored of the retailer’s 3D Room Designer, which gives customers the ability to ‘try on’ a piece of furniture in their rooms before buying it. Users simply upload a photo of the room they would like to furnish to Crate and Barrel’s online platform and provide their room’s dimensions. The photo is the wiped clean of its furniture, enabling shoppers to substitute pieces from the retailer’s online catalog and visualize them as they would appear in the room. Shoppers can then email the modified photo of their room to the nearest Crate and Barrel and schedule a personal design appointment with an associate.

9. MakerBot: I admit: I’ve never heard of this one. It’s an online company whose 3D printers allow both professional and amateur craftsmen to create and share new products.

10. Uniqlo: Fast Company picked the Japanese clothing giant “for making fast fashion actually fashionable” (a distinction that some other fast-fashion retailers might disagree with), citing its collaborations with such designers as Jil Sander and Rei Kawakubo.

If you’re curious as why Target and Amazon didn’t make the list, the answer if simple: their accomplishments are such that Fast Company doesn’t limit them to its retail list. Instead, along with Nike, they rank in the Top 10 of the magazine’s "World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies." (Check them out here.)

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S.Lerner says:
Sep-25-2013 04:29 am

Innovation
There are many companies which are fighting to take top lead in world market and the competition is growing day by day as many MBA student opt for making their own company rather than do a job and hence some good people are venturing into business. www.alamanda-polymers.com/homopolypeptides/poly-L-lysine-hydrochloride-cas26124-78-7

S.Lerner says:
Sep-25-2013 04:29 am

There are many companies which are fighting to take top lead in world market and the competition is growing day by day as many MBA student opt for making their own company rather than do a job and hence some good people are venturing into business. www.alamanda-polymers.com/homopolypeptides/poly-L-lysine-hydrochloride-cas26124-78-7

C.Zark says:
Apr-05-2013 08:42 am

Top 10 fashion companie
We are familiar with some of the companies. They all operate under same categories. All these companies brought a high course of influence under trends of fashion and clothing.Such contribution leads them to become leading companies of fashionable goods. lover the label shop

C.Zark says:
Apr-05-2013 08:42 am

We are familiar with some of the companies. They all operate under same categories. All these companies brought a high course of influence under trends of fashion and clothing.Such contribution leads them to become leading companies of fashionable goods. lover the label shop

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News

Did You Know Your Bioptic Might Already be Outdated?

BY CSA STAFF

By Mike Poldino, Motorola Solutions

Unless you have recently upgraded your point-of-sale (POS) systems, chances are the bioptic POS in your grocery store today can only scan 1D bar codes printed on the paper labels placed on items or on paper coupons. While that met the needs of yesterday’s POS, times have changed. And in order to provide your customer with the best possible experience at the POS, your POS needs to change too.

Beyond 1D — the new types of bar codes appearing in your POS lanes
While the majority of the bar codes presented at the POS may still be 1D, two new types of bar codes are also appearing – 1D GS1 DataBar stacked bar codes and 2D bar codes. Why are these bar codes appearing at the POS? The primary reason is that they are capable of holding a lot more information — information that can help streamline your business and improve the consumer’s shopping experience while better protecting their safety. The 1D bar code typically contains just the product SKU number, the GS1 DataBar and 2D bar codes can accommodate additional product details in a space that is much smaller than the average 1D bar code — such as lot number and expiration date. As a result, these types of bar codes are becoming more common on perishables, small items and items where tracking is crucial.

The new bar codes benefit the shopper and grocer alike. It is much easier to locate expired items, helping ensure that only fresh food is on the shelves and enabling the rapid removal of any products that are recalled, protecting consumer safety. In addition, grocers can more readily identify and locate items that are nearing expiration, translating into less time required to put those items on sale, in turn reducing waste. Finally, with more granular inventory information, grocers have a more detailed picture of what is selling, which in turn helps improve the ordering process, ensuring that shoppers find the products they want on the shelves of your store.

But if your POS is equipped with a 1D laser scanner, it will not be able to read any 2D bar codes, and GS1 DataBar codes will present a challenge — they may require multiple passes or may not be able to read the code at all. The result? Cashiers will need to manually enter any bar code they cannot scan, slowing down the POS lane, increasing the chance of errors and translating into longer lines and wait times for your customers.

Beyond the paper bar code label
There are new types of bar codes, and now they are appearing on different surfaces. Until recently, you only needed to be concerned with scanning bar codes printed on paper. But mobile bar codes have taken the world by storm and have been embraced by shoppers for the major convenience they provide. Now, instead of clipping and organizing coupons and carrying plastic loyalty cards, those items can be stored in a mobile phone in the form of electronic bar codes, known as mobile bar codes. This allows shoppers to always have everything they need in the one device that is virtually always with them — their mobile phones.

But in order to scan these mobile bar codes, your POS must be able to scan bar codes that are displayed on the screen of a mobile device as well as paper labels. And if it can’t, then the customer must hand their mobile phone to the cashier to manually enter the data into the POS resulting in shoppers frustrated that the technology in their mobile phones is more advanced than the technology in your POS systems. And you incur increased liability — if the cashier accidentally drops the customer’s mobile phone, the customer will expect your store to pay for the damage.

The fix
While your outdated bioptic POS can substantially degrade the customer service level at the POS, the solution is easy — upgrade to a next-generation imager-based bioptic POS system. This new generation of POS systems can handle the many different types of bar codes now appearing in your POS lanes — standard 1D bar codes, 1D GS1 DataBar stacked bar codes and 2D bar codes, regardless of whether they are printed on paper or displayed on the screen of a mobile phone. Expandability allows you to add the options you need in your store, such as a handheld scanner that allows cashiers to scan large items in the cart; the integration of your existing or future Checkpoint® or Sensormatic® Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) system; plus an option that allows your customers to self-scan the mobile bar codes on their mobile phones, eliminating the need to hand the phone to the cashier for scanning — and the liability you could incur should the cashier accidentally damage the phone.

The benefits of the updated POS
With an updated POS that can handle every type of bar code presented, you can maintain service quality in the busiest POS lanes:

  • Customer service, satisfaction and loyalty are improved.
  • Throughput is maximized.
  • Lines and wait times are minimized.
  • Abandoned sales due to long wait times at the POS are reduced.
  • Inventory waste is minimized.

What should you look for in an updated POS system?
The following criteria can help you choose a POS system that will deliver maximum value, providing the performance you want, the service your customers demand and the total cost of ownership (TCO) your business requires:

  • Scanning performance: You want first-time, every-time proven scanning, even on bar codes that are damaged, dirty or poorly printed — or on curved surfaces or under plastic wrap.
  • Scanning flexibility: Cashiers need to be able to easily scan just about any bar code, including 1D and 2D bar codes that are printed on paper labels or displayed on the screen of a mobile phone.
  • Customization: The ability to customize your POS system is crucial to meet your needs today as well as in the future. For example, is there an option that allows customers to be able to scan their own mobile phones instead of hand them off to cashiers? Can you easily add a handheld scanner that allows cashiers to scan large bulky items in a shopping cart, adding to convenience and protecting the customer from injury and the store from liability? Can you integrate the theft-prevention system you have today — or purchase tomorrow?

Overall, make sure you make a great “last impression” in your POS lanes
While first impressions are important, in retail, the last impression can be equally important. With an updated POS at this critical last customer touch point, checkout is fast and smooth even in the busiest POS lanes, leaving your shoppers with a great last impression that will foster increased loyalty and return visits.

Mike Poldino is VP of data capture solutions, Motorola Solutions.


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B.Wenqi says:
Mar-08-2013 02:53 am

That is very helpful. It
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B.Wenqi says:
Mar-08-2013 02:53 am

That is very helpful. It provided me a few ideas and I'll be posting them on my web site eventually. I'm bookmarking your site and I'll be back again.2013 Handbags Thank you again!

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FINANCE

J.C. Penney’s problems mount

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney Co. last Tuesday dominated the retail news as its shares dropped 10.6% to a four-year low after reports that one of its largest shareholders had sold a chunk of the troubled company’s stock. And in a late afternoon report, The Wall Street Journal said that a group of Penney directors is ready to get rid of CEO Ron Johnson, or push to sell the chain unless he can stop the company’s heavy bleeding this year.

Vornado Realty Trust sold 10 million shares of Penney stock, half of its stake, at $16.40 per share through Deutsche Bank AG, according to a Bloomberg report. Vornado chairman Steven Roth sits on the Penney board.

Penney was also in the news in regard to its ongoing battle with Macy’s. Martha Stewart testified in New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday that she did nothing wrong is entering into a deal to open up home in-store in Penney stores.

During her testimony, Stewart denied Macy’s allegations that she acted unethically in entering into the agreement with Penney. She said that she was only looking to expand and offer new opportunities for shoppers.

Macy’s claims that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia breached a contract with Macy’s when it entered into the deal with Penney.

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