MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Toys ‘R’ Us launches digital wish finder site, app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wayne, N.J. – Toys ‘R’ Us is launching its digital wish finder, a dedicated website providing an online version of its “The Great Big Toys"R"Us Wish Finder” holiday catalog, on Nov. 2. The retailer is also launching The Toys"R"Us Wish List Wizard, a free iOS and Android app that turns parents’ smartphones into a scanner and lets kids scan items they want in-store for automatic inclusion on a digital wish list.

Toys “R” Us will give fans and followers of the company’s official Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram pages a sneak peek of all 80 pages of The Great Big Toys"R"Us Wish Finder beginning Oct. 29. And, throughout the holiday season, wishers and wish-granters alike can follow the conversation using the hashtag #WishinAccomplished.

"Among the truest signs that the holiday season has begun, is the arrival of ‘The Great Big Toys"R"Us Wish Finder’ on families’ doorsteps,” said Peter Reiner, senior VP, marketing, Toys “R” Us. “Every year, kids carefully comb through this beloved book, studying each item, and checking off the toys they hope to unwrap on Christmas morning, While children tackle the project of making their wish lists with great determination, parents also are steadfast in their hunt for great deals, and will be thrilled to find incredible savings, as well as Free Layaway, Extended Returns and Price Match Guarantee, to help make all their kids’ wishes come true when shopping at Toys ‘R’ Us."


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OPERATIONS

Pizza Hut enhances mobile ordering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Pizza Hut is introducing all-new mobile ordering apps and a refreshed mobile website. The new mobile enhancements will enable users to order in less than 30 seconds, will be GPS-enabled to assist in finding the nearest restaurant and will immediately update as new products and deals are introduced.

Digital ordering accounts for about 30% of deliveries and carryout traffic for Pizza Hut nationwide and nearly half of the company’s digital orders stem from mobile devices. That’s a 4,000% increase in Pizza Hut mobile ordering since 2010.

Pizza Hut partnered with industry-leading mobile designers and developers to produce a simplified ordering flow based on best-practice mobile navigation and user experience. The company will also add a reordering feature in the near future that will save orders enabling users to place an order in 10 seconds. In addition, Pizza Hut has added an "Inbox" and application badges for delivering deal messages to app users. Push notifications will soon be added to let customers know when their delivery order is on its way.

Other features include instant access to new menu additions without downloading updates and GPS technologies to find nearby restaurants and gain access to local deals. Current Pizza Hut app users should have received a notification update for the new mobile app. New users can download the app at the Pizza Hut website and in the Apple and Google app stores.

"When it comes to technology in the pizza category, no one has led the way like Pizza Hut," said Kurt Kane, chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut. "We’ve consistently innovated in this area with technology that improves the experience and focuses on convenience for our customers. Our new apps and mobile website again push that forward with even more speed and ease."

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FINANCE

1-800-Flowers.com keeps steady net loss in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Carle Place, N.Y. – 1-800-Flowers.com reported a net loss of about $4.5 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2014, essentially unchanged from the prior year. Revenues grew 2.9% to $123 million, from $119.6 million.

1-800-Flowers said the revenue growth for the quarter, the company’s smallest due to the lack of gifting holidays during the summer months, was driven by its gourmet food and gift baskets division and its BloomNet wire service business. This growth more than offset slightly lower revenues in the company’s consumer floral segment during the quarter.

“The revenue growth we achieved in our first quarter reflected a number of factors that we believe bode well for the current fiscal second quarter, which includes the key holiday season, and our full fiscal year,” said Jim McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com. “In particular, we saw a continuation of the rebound in our mass market gift baskets business with both increased order volumes and an expanding customer base.”

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