MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Wet Seal names Iris Mobile as mobile agency

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. has named Iris Mobile as its mobile messaging agency. Iris Mobile will support the brand’s mobile marketing programs with Rich Media Messaging (RMM) to help the retailer strengthen its presence and connect more personally with its mobile customers.

RMM is Iris Mobile’s patented messaging technology that delivers device-optimized rich content to mobile handsets, with no data plan required. Work began in May 2014 with a RMM campaign allowing customers to opt-in to receive mobile messages from Wet Seal by text. Upcoming RMM campaigns, aimed to build brand loyalty and drive sales, will contain coupons and promotions, iPhone Passbook integration, the ability to set calendar reminders before offers expire, and options to share messages with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Iris Mobile’s mobile marketing platform will enable Wet Seal to send interactive messages containing pictures, videos, coupons, promotions, extended text and web links, and the ability to track campaign analytics for consumer behavior.

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Bon-Ton nabs Belk merchant for CEO job

BY CSA STAFF

Belk president and chief merchandising officer Kathryn Bufano was named president at CEO of The Bon-Ton Stores late Thursday.

Bufano spent the past six years with Belk, a higher regarded privately held operator of more than 300 mid-tier department stores in the Southeast. She will assume her new role at The Bon-Ton’s 272 store operation on August 25. Bufano fills a position previously held by Brendan Hoffman who is leaving the company after his three-year contract expires. The company said Hoffman will play an important role in working through a transition period with Bufano and was actively involved in conversations with her during the recruitment process.

“We are excited to have an executive with Kathryn’s talents and background assuming the role of president and CEO. Her years of experience in the department store industry will allow her to refine and drive the strategic growth initiatives we have put in place over the last several years,” said The Bon-Ton chairman and chief strategic officer Tim Grumbacher.

Prior to her time at Belk, Bufano served as CEO of Vanity Shops and also held apparel merchandising roles with Sears, Dress Barn, Macy’s and Lord & Taylor.

The Bon-Ton operates 272 stores, which includes 10 furniture galleries, in 25 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under banners such as Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers.

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Meijer drives early BTS sales with price drops and digital coupons

BY CSA STAFF

Meijer is generating traffic to its stores with weekly promotions and price drops on more than 300 of back-to-school items, which it plans to continue offering into September. In the past few weeks alone, customer traffic has consistently doubled, according to the retailer.

"We typically see the biggest surge in back-to-school shopping the weekend before school begins, but we’ve already seen one of our best seasonal starts as customers are clearly looking for value early in the season," said Peter Whitsett, EVP of merchandising and marketing for Meijer. "We anticipate this will continue into the school year this fall because our customers know they can find the hottest trends and classroom essentials at a great, low Meijer price."

In addition to weekly price drops, Meijer is also offering 100 back-to-school items priced at $1 or less, including select notebooks, crayons, glue sticks and binders.

And Meijer is not just focusing on its bricks-and-mortar locations. The retailer is offering its Back-to-School Bucks program not just via print coupons but also via its digital coupon program, mPerks.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer operates more than 213 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

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