OPERATIONS

Walmart in deal with online car insurance site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Walmart is adding car insurance to its lineup of consumer services. The retailer said it is partnering with AutoInsurance.com, which helps customers comparison shop for auto insurance, to provide customers with "a one stop shop" for their auto insurance needs.

The site allows consumers to look at prices at several insurance companies, including Progressive and Esurance (owned by Allstate), and contrast them with their current insurance.

The service is already available in eight states — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas — and Walmart plans a nationwide rollout in the coming months.

Walmart will promote the AutoInsurance.com website in its stores, and receive a monthly fee in return, while AutoInsurance.com will collect commissions when insurance is sold on its site. Customers will also be able to access the site from Walmart’s own web site.

“Our business is driven by a commitment to taking products and services that are complex and pricey – and making them easy and affordable,” said Daniel Eckert, senior VP of services for Wal-Mart U.S. “Our customers too often have to settle for auto insurance policies that aren’t the best fit and cost more than they want to spend. With AutoInsurance.com, we’re helping our customers in Tennessee save money on one of their largest household expenses in a new, quick and easy way.”

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OPERATIONS

Hhgregg hires RadioShack exec as COO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Indianapolis – Hhgregg Inc. has hired Troy H. Risch as COO. Risch joins Hhgregg from RadioShack, where he served as executive VP of store operations.

Prior to this, Risch held a variety of operational leadership positions with Target Corp., including executive VP of stores. Risch will assume the COO position on May 5, 2014.

“Troy’s wealth of experience and industry knowledge will make him a key addition to Hhgregg’s executive team,” said Dennis May, president and CEO of Hhgregg. “As we continue to transform the company, Troy’s expansive experience in retail store operations and real estate will be instrumental in driving the strategic initiatives for Hhgregg’s long-term growth. We look forward to Troy joining the team.”

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Amazon opens ‘Wearable Technology’ shop on its site

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Amazon has opened a Wearable Technology store on its website, which it describes as a one-stop shop where customers can discover the latest in wearable technology and research wearable devices including activity trackers, smart watches and wearable cameras.

“Wearable technology is an exciting category with rapid innovation and our customers are increasingly coming to Amazon to shop and learn about these devices,” said John Nemeth, director of wireless and mobile electronics at Amazon. “We’re thrilled to bring our customers a store with the largest selection and great prices that helps eliminate the guesswork when deciding which wearable devices best fit their needs — whether that is tracking activity, staying connected through smart watches or capturing their next adventure with wearable cameras.”

To help customers learn more about wearable technology, the store features a “Learning Center” that includes product videos and detailed buying guides. These resources provide information about device compatibility, product comparisons and use-case suggestions to help customers find the right device for them. Customers can also take advantage of the “Editor’s Corner” to find information about wearable technology industry news and device reviews.

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