OPERATIONS

Walmart to launch retail gaming store experience with Angry Birds

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart announced that it will partner with Rovio Entertainment, maker of Angry Birds, on the launch of Angry Birds Space, the newest version of the world’s most-downloaded mobile game, which will be released in app stores on March 22. The partnership will integrate retail, social media and gaming components, and launch in more than 3,000 Walmart U.S. stores on March 25.

Under the program, Walmart customers able to access special “golden eggsteroid” clues that unlock four bonus levels in the game via Facebook (FB) and through clues embedded in select limited-edition Angry Birds merchandise available in Walmart stores. The discounter is also offering its more than 13 million Facebook fans the first of four special clues starting March 22 by visiting the chain’s Facebook page.

The remaining clues will be embedded in select limited-edition Angry Birds merchandise available in Walmart stores, including apparel, plush toys, mobile phones, and snacks.

Walmart is bringing fun back to the shopping experience, with interactive merchandise that brings the best of digital gaming together with in-store retail," said Seong Ohm, senior VP and general merchandise manager for entertainment, Walmart U.S. "By partnering with Rovio, we’re able to give millions of avid bird slingers bonus content by coming into our stores and shopping our broad assortment of Angry Birds Space merchandise.

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Macy’s outlines plans to target Millennial generation

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Macy’s on Wednesday outlined a new initiative to grow its business with the Millennial generation (ages 13 to 30). The group spends an estimated $65 billion each year for the type of goods sold at Macy’s.

The plan, to be implemented in progressive stages over the next three years, includes steps to enhance Macy’s assortment and shopping experience in mstylelab (the merchandise area primarily serving customers ages 13 to 22) and Impulse (primarily serving customers ages 19 to 30). As part of the strategy, the chain will undertake a number of in-store improvements, including using adjacencies, signage and technology to make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for. Visual merchandising will be refreshed more often, with presentations and displays that emphasize brands and lifestyles.

Other key elements of the strategy include:

  • Relevant omnichannel environments: Macy’s will engage Millennials through mobile and digital channels, including social media. The use of QR codes, tablets, texting, tap-and-go transaction processing and offers delivered via mobile will be refined. Local events will appeal to the sense of style and fast fashion that Millennial customers seek. The retailer will continue to add functionality to its website. Microsites within macys.com will highlight key fashions, tips and events. Plans also call for more expert bloggers on macys.com providing direction and advice to Millennials, as well as other customers.
  • Enhancing and localizing merchandise assortments: Macy’s will further develop its assortments of brands that appeal to each of the customer lifestyles for women and men in mstylelab and Impulse. In addition, the buying and planning organization will be working with its private brands organization and market vendors to bring new brands and lines to the Millennial customer at Macy’s in apparel, accessories, beauty and home.
  • Organizational structure: Macy’s is adjusting its organizational structure to support the Millennial strategy with speed in decision-making and product development, and to ensure that all thinking and resources are aligned.

"We believe we have great opportunity to accelerate sales growth among customers in this generation. Doing so requires us to think from the customer’s point of view about our assortments and store experience, and to align our internal resources so we can move quickly and with focus,” said Jeffrey Gennette, Macy’s chief merchandising officer.

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Kohl’s to launch American Idol collection

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Kohl’s Department Stores announced plans to launch an exclusive American Idol apparel collection. The newly created line — Authentic Icon (AI) — will be available exclusively at Kohl’s and Kohls.com beginning in April.

“This launch brings together a national retailer and award-winning television show to create a new collection for customers,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO. “We are excited to collaborate with American Idol, a leading entertainment platform in pop culture, and are confident this partnership makes Kohl’s an immediate consumer destination this spring.”

Positioned in the junior’s and young men’s departments, the AI spring collection will be available in Kohl’s stores through June to coincide with American Idol’s 11th season.

American Idol is produced by 19 Entertainment, a division of CKX and FremantleMedia North America. The USA Mesh division of LF USA, a subsidiary of Li & Fung Limited, will design and produce the AI collection. Kohl’s will be the exclusive retailer and support the brand with marketing such as national advertising, in store graphics, online and digital media, direct mail and public relations.

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