OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart to accept video game trade-ins

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — Starting Wednesday, March 26, Wal-Mart customers will be able to trade in their video games and apply the value immediately toward the purchase of anything sold at Walmart and Sam’s Club, both in stores and online. The traded-in games will then be sent to be refurbished and made available for purchase in like-new condition at a reduced price.

The program will work as follows:

• Customers bring their working video games, in the original packaging, to the electronics department.

• Associates scan the UPC code on the case and evaluate the game for obvious damage such as deep scratches or cracks.

• The customer is then provided with a trade-in value for each game to accept.

• The total value accepted by the customer is awarded immediately and can be applied at checkout in a Wal-Mart store or Sam’s Club, or online at Walmart.com or SamsClub.com.

Available at more than 3,100 Wal-Mart stores nationwide, the new trade-in service will accept thousands of games for popular consoles like the Sony PlayStation3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. Trade-in value will vary.

“Gaming continues to be an important business for us and we’re actively taking aim at the $2 billion pre-owned video game opportunity,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S. “When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins. They’ll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it however they want.”

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Study: Retailers face omni-channel barriers

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Organizational, operational and technology challenges are hampering retailers’ efforts to meet customers’ demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels and touchpoints. According to a new research study from Accenture and Hybris Software, retailers view omni-channel maturity as a key brand differentiator for their companies, and improving their ability to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience across all channels as a top priority.

The study, "Customer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities: Minding the Omni-Channel Commerce Gap," conducted by Forrester Consulting, shows that nearly all (94%) of retail decision makers surveyed as part of the research said that their companies face significant barriers to becoming an integrated omni-channel company. The study is based on an online survey of more than 1,500 multi-channel shoppers and 256 decision-makers from retail and manufacturing organizations across the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany.

According to the survey, 40% of retailers reported that they are having difficulty integrating back-office technology across all of their channels. Nearly half (47%) of the customers surveyed said they use in-store-pickup options to avoid online shipping costs, 25% so they can collect their orders on the day of purchase and 10% simply because they find it more convenient to pick items from a store than having them shipped to their home.

"Thirty nine percent of customers surveyed say they are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer’s store if its website does not provide physical store inventory information," said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s retail practice. "Additionally, the research also shows that retailers who struggle to implement robust seamless capabilities online also experience challenges meeting customer expectations in offline channels. So this is a particularly big challenge that requires immediate attention."

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Starbucks amends Keurig exclusivity agreement

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Starbucks Coffee Company is amending its exclusive agreement to provide Keurig Green Mountain Inc. with super-premium coffee pods. The companies have updated their agreement to continue to expand Starbucks’ range of K-Cup pack offerings and to promote expanded consumer choice.

In exchange for eliminating the super-premium coffee exclusivity terms of the existing agreement, Starbucks will receive improved business terms, including significantly expanded Starbucks K-Cup pack and variety types.

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