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American Apparel has enhanced payment in store

BY CSA STAFF

American Apparel is looking to make the final step in the path to in-store purchase safer, easier and more efficient.

The specialty apparel chain is deploying a cloud-based payments infrastructure from retail software provider Index. Leveraging the Index Hosted Gateway and Semi-Integrated Payments solutions, American Apparel will obtain the ability to secure card payments at the POS with both point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and EMV authentication. This will validate the cardholder at the moment of transaction and then protect their data as it is processed.

In addition, American Apparel will be able to offer Android Pay and Apple Pay mobile payment to in-store shoppers. The retailer is also utilizing value-added services such as analytics and personalized marketing. American Apparel is integrating the Index platform with its existing in-store systems, including RetailPro POS terminals and Ingenico PIN pads.

As a result of the Index integration, American Apparel will be able to perform seamless email capture on the PIN pad, allowing one-time sign-up for digital receipts and its customer loyalty program.

“Our launch with Index provides a strong technical foundation to prepare our stores for the future,” said Brian McHale, American Apparel’s CIO. “Index is an incredibly valuable partner to help us accomplish our objective of moving major systems to the cloud and overhauling security.”

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Rue La La carries the news to customers

BY CSA STAFF

Specialty online fashion retailer Rue La La is telling all the young dudes (or dudettes) about the latest in fashion with a new content site called Rue Now.

Building on the fact that the average Rue La La member visits the site more than twice a week for purposes of learning and discovery as well as making purchases, the retailer launched the Rue Now platform will complement its daily shopping boutiques by giving customers access to timely fashion and lifestyle news.

Since Rue La La does nearly 60% of its sales on mobile, the retailer fully integrated Rue Now with its mobile app.

"Rue Members love to get fashion inspiration and discover new trends – they just don't have the time to find all the great content available,” said Steve Davis, CEO of Rue Lal La. “Rue La La knows the best bloggers and fashion inspiration out there. We live in that world daily. So, we're helping our members live there with us and we're making it easy for them to do so.”

Retailers are realizing they need to engage consumers in every step of the path to purchase, starting with initial product discovery. In addition, the more a retailer can become a trusted partner in a consumer’s life, the more loyalty (and ultimately sales) they will develop. Rue La La is meeting both those goals with Rue Now.

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Sports Authority files Chapter 11; store closings loom

BY Gina Acosta

The Sports Authority on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it plans to close or sell as many as 140 of its 463 stores nationwide. The beleaguered company has struggled in recent years under increased competition not only from online players, but also from the likes of Dick’s Sporting Goods and specialty retailers such as Lululemon that have capitalized on the “athleisure” boom in fitness apparel.

The filing was not a surprise. Sports Authority was expected to file Chapter 11 after it missed a $20 million coupon payment on Jan. 15, 2016, which triggered a 30-day grace period to work out a compromise with creditors, Reuters had reported.

The former big-box powerhouse said it would pursue either a comprehensive debt restructuring plan or a sale of all or some of its assets. The Wall Street Journal quoted anonymous sources as saying the retailer could shut down in the coming weeks unless it finds a buyer for its business. And Bloomberg reported that the retailer has been in the "early stages" of talks with Dick's Sporting Goods about selling stores and intellectual property, with the transaction one of several options being considered.

“We are taking this action so that we can continue to adapt our business to meet the changing dynamics in the retail industry,” said Michael E. Foss, CEO of Sports Authority, which was acquired by Leonard Green & Partners in 2006 for $1.3 billion. “We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to streamline and strengthen our business both operationally and financially so that we have the financial flexibility to continue to make necessary investments in our operations.”

In addition to the 140 stores it is looking to offload, retailer said it has identified two distribution centers, in Denver and Chicago, for closure in the coming months. With court approval, the majority of those stores could begin closing sales as early as Friday.

Sports Authority said it expects to have access to up to $595 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. Subject to court approval, the DIP financing, combined with the company’s cash from operations, is expected to provide sufficient liquidity during the Chapter 11 process, the company said.

Although the list of the stores affected was not immediately available, the company plans to exit markets such as Texas, Virginia Beach, Puerto Rico, Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska, the Denver Post Business reported.

Sports Authority stores nationwide remain open and continue to operate on normal schedules, the company said. Customers also may continue to shop online. The majority of Sports Authority stores are expected to continue to operate without change or interruption during the entire Chapter 11 process, the company said.

The company’s customer loyalty program is expected to continue without any changes, and the company intends to honor warranties on goods purchased at one of its stores or through its e-commerce site. Customers also should be able to make returns and exchanges in accordance with Sports Authority’s return policy and use any Sports Authority gift card with an available balance to purchase merchandise in stores or online.

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