TECHNOLOGY

Well-known retail analyst joins Shoptalk team

BY Marianne Wilson

Shoptalk, the nex-gen retail and e-commerce event, has named Sucharita Mulpuru, as chief retail strategist. The company is also expanding with a new networking program.

Mulpuru, former principal analyst at Forrester Research, will contribute to Shoptalk’s overall strategy and agenda development and also oversee the launch of the Shoptalk Networking Program, a new onsite initiative planned for Shoptalk 2017 that is designed to connect key industry stakeholders, enabling them to better realize growth opportunities and manage business challenges.

In joining Shoptalk, Mulpuru brings extensive expertise in current and emerging trends shaping retail and ecommerce, ranging from the evolution of consumer preferences and expectations, to new technologies and business models.

"Sucharita is a definitive authority on all things retail and e-commerce, and has been a leader in the global conversation on innovation for more than a decade,” said Anil D. Aggarwal, founder and chairman of Shoptalk. “We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Shoptalk team, as we continue to build a catalyst for the growth and development of the commerce ecosystem, while helping to initiate and solidify the relationships that in-person events are best suited to deliver.”

Through the Shoptalk Networking Program, attendees will have access to over a dozen types of meetings/interactions curated and facilitated by the Shoptalk team, including peer group meetings for retailers, branded manufacturers and other B2C companies; and retailers and branded manufacturers meeting with tech startups to evaluate solutions that have not yet hit mainstream development roadmaps, direct-to-consumer startups to introduce them to disruptive business models and pioneering consumer products; and established technology providers and leading Internet companies. The formats for the new program will range from short one-to-one meetings and group dinners, to exhibit hall tours, technology demos and co-located group offsites.

“I am thrilled to join the company and be part of this important event that brings together an unparalleled group of industry executives ranging from early-stage disruptors and venture capital firms to recognized and established leaders of retail and e-commerce,” said Mulpuru.

Shoptalk expects to bring together 5,000 plus executives and innovators, including 500 plus CEOs, on March 19-22, 2017 at the Aria in Las Vegas. For more information, visit Shoptalk.com.

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TECHNOLOGY

Meijer launching home delivery service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Meijer is jumping into the increasingly crowded food delivery arena.

In a move to deliver even more convenience to its time-starved shoppers, the Michigan-based retailer launching an app-based grocery delivery service in Detroit and southeastern Michigan.

Beginning Sept. 15, shoppers will be able to use a smartphone app from on-demand grocery delivery provider Shipt to shop 55,000 items across 25 participating Detroit-area Meijer stores. The service enables users to choose a one-hour delivery window that is most convenient for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Participation requires a Shipt membership, which is $99 a year or $14 a month. Orders over $35 are eligible for free shipping, while those under $35 are subject to a $7 delivery charge. Customers who subscribe to Shipt prior to Sept. 15, will also receive $25 off their first delivery.

Once enrolled, members can shop a large selection of Meijer groceries and everyday essentials, including baby, health and beauty products. They can also save merchandise preferences, choose a preferred delivery window, and pay for their order directly through the app. A Shipt shopper will hand pick their items, and deliver them within one hour after the order is placed.

"This is yet one more option to make shopping at Meijer easier for our customers," said Michael Ross, the retailer’s VP of digital shopping and customer marketing. "We believe our relationship with Shipt will provide many of our customers an all-encompassing service that will save them time and add a new convenience when shopping at Meijer.”

Since the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer operates many 24-hour stores, Shipt deliveries will be available at some Meijer locations around the clock, seven days a week, with the exception of certain holidays, according to a company statement.

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TECHNOLOGY

PetSmart prepares for more ‘connected’ customer experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

PetSmart is no stranger to “using every connection to bring pet parents closer to their pets.” Reinforcing its mission statement, PetSmart will add a next-generation platform that will unify the omnichannel shopping experience, and make it easier for the brand to engage with consumers throughout their path-to-purchase.

Armed with a cloud-based platform from Demandware, PetSmart can now streamline retail operations from customer attraction through conversion. Maximizing the agility, scalability reliability and security of the cloud, the infrastructure provides a full range of capabilities that leverage a shared view of key retail data, such as customers, orders, products and prices. It also features a unified promotion and personalization engine. This functionality will enable PetSmart to keep up with continually evolving consumer expectations, and deliver seamless shopping and brand experiences, regardless of the touch-points shoppers use.

"The term 'every connection' in our mission really matters to us, and with enabling technology, we can now allow pet parents to shop and engage with us how, when and where they desire," said Mike Goodwin, senior VP and chief information officer, PetSmart. “This technology aligns with PetSmart's long-term strategy to expand our ecommerce capabilities, and omnichannel shopping and engagement experiences for pet parents everywhere.”

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