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Wal-Mart’s tech lab buys Stylr mobile fashion app

BY Marianne Wilson

San Bruno, Calif. — @WalmartLabs, the Silicon Valley-based tech R&D and innovation arm of Wal-Mart Stores, has acquired Stylr, a mobile fashion app that helps shoppers finds clothes in nearby stores. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Stylr is @WalmartLabs’ 13th acquisition in the past three years.

Stylr will be shut down and removed from the iTunes App Store by the end of the month. Wal-Mart’s own mobile app won’t run Stylr, but the newly acquired technology will be used to develop future mobile innovations.

"As we continue to integrate digital and physical retail to create new and unique experiences for customers, we’re thrilled to add Stylr to our mobile team," @Walmart Labs wrote in a post on its website. "Over half of Walmart smartphone users have used their device in-store to assist with their shopping, and with 80% of our customers under the age of 35 owning a smartphone, we expect this to grow dramatically. We are excited about the opportunity to serve these customers with indispensable digital tools that bring the convenience of online shopping into our physical stores and integrate our online and offline experiences to enable our customers to shop anytime, anywhere."

The Stylr app offers an experience akin to looking through a rack of clothes on your smartphone. It pulls in inventory from participating local stores, and allows the customer ti reserve it at the store directly from the app’s interface. The company had grown to include thousands of products from a number of well-known retailers.

Stylr was founded by Stanford alumni Eytan Daniyalzade and Berk Atikoglu, and funded by Dreamit Ventures, a New York-based incubator. The founders will will join @WalmartLabs in San Bruno, California.

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Rapid response endearing Amazon attribute

BY CSA STAFF

The Mayday button customer service feature Amazon introduced on its Kindle Fire HDX product last fall boasts an average response time of less than 10 seconds, roughly the time it takes other organizations’ automatic voice response system to say, “your call is very important to us….”

Mayday is Amazon’s brand name for a customer service feature included on the Kindle Fire HDX the company launched last year. With the tap of a button on the screen, free tech support is available around the clock every day of the year. An Amazon expert appears on the Fire HDX screen to co-pilot users through any feature by drawing on the screen or educating customers how to perform tasks. According to the company, the Mayday button has become the most popular way for Fire HDX customers to contact customer service.

“When we set out to invent the Mayday button, we wanted to revolutionize tech support, and we’re happy to report it’s working” said Scott Brown, director of Amazon customer service. “75% of customer contacts for Fire HDX now come via the Mayday button. Even as the Mayday button has grown to become the most popular way for customers to ask questions, the team’s been able to beat the response time goal of 15 seconds or less, our average is just 9.75 seconds.”

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Francesca’s appoints new VP, head of boutiques

BY CSA STAFF

Francesca’s has tapped David Minnix Jr. as the new VP and head of boutiques. The former chief stores officer at Dots Fashion will start his job overseeing the upscale boutique chain’s operations on July 8.

Minnix has also formerly worked for retailers like Zales and Pearle Vision, and at Dots Fashion oversaw store support and loss prevention departments, among other duties. At Francesca’s Minnix will oversee the company’s 519 boutiques, each of which is meant to feel like an independent shop.

“David’s track record in nurturing and leading the sales teams makes him an ideal partner as we continue to refine the in-boutique experience for our customers,” Francesca’s CEO Neill Davis said.

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