‘TOPSS’ of Mind: Customer Intimacy
Virtual communities. Connecting with the shopper at the front end. Transitioning to new media to target Generation Y shoppers. These were only a few of the highlights from the fifth annual Technology & Operations Store Summit (TOPSS)—an event that revealed how using new media to achieve customer intimacy could make all the difference when operating within a challenging economic landscape.
The event, sponsored by Chain Store Age and Retail Technology Quarterly, was held at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas in June. Sin City may have been the venue, but a delegation comprised of approximately 150 retailers, technology providers and analysts were more attracted to TOPSS’ intimate, yet interactive meeting format—one that successfully encouraged discussions among peers during sessions, as well as during networking breakfasts, cocktail receptions and a luncheon.
A plethora of topics were on the agenda, but the conference’s overall message was clear: Times may be tough, but the real retail winners will be the ones that learn how to use new processes and practices to serve a fickle customer base during rough economic times.
At the core of this transition is a new focus on customer interactions. “One challenge that retailers have long struggled with is that their first interaction with the shopper is during checkout experience,” Rob Garf, VP and general manager, retail strategies, for Boston-based AMR Research said during the session, “Drive Pervasive Interactions With Advanced Selling Technologies.”
“Unfortunately, this is long after the retailer’s ability to effectively influence the shopping decision,” he said. “It is time for retailers to bring back the personal touch within the shopping experience. And since the consumer is using different media, retailers have to use new activities to reach them.”
TOPSS’ speakers couldn’t agree more. The following report explores how some TOPSS speakers took this point to heart and explained how they changed the ways their chains are attracting—and in some cases, reconnecting with—shoppers.
Target.com offers installation services
MINNEAPOLIS Target.com customers will now have access to next-day installation services for their electronics through a new deal with Zip Express Installation.
Through Zip Express, Target.com customers will have the first installation option through the retail chain and can purchase installation packages alongside any major home electronic purchases made on Target.com, with next-day installation available anywhere in the United States and Canada. The selected service is rung up with the product at checkout and the customer can then call the toll free number or visit www.zipinstallation.com immediately after purchase to schedule a specific day and hour that is most convenient for installation.
“Many retailers today rely on the additional revenue gained from installation services,” said Chris Mauzy, president and ceo of Zip Express Installation. “Our services provide retail partners with the same benefits achieved from an in-house installation service, but without the overhead required to support the in-house program themselves.”
Wal-Mart asks shoppers to share BTS savings tips
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart has announced a new promotion in which it is asking consumers to share their money-saving tips for the back-to-school season. Visitors to the company’s MakeYourDollarStretch.com site can submit their stories on how they have learned to save on back-to-school spending for the chance to win a $600 Wal-Mart gift card.
The winners will be chosen by Ellie Kay, financial expert and Web site contributor and one finalist, receiving the most votes from visitors to the site, will take home an additional $600, Wal-Mart reported.
“Considering today’s inflation pressures and the rising need families have to better manage their spending, it is becoming more important than ever for parents to think about shopping smart and looking for resources to save money,” said “We all have ideas to share, and I expect this challenge will generate even more.”