Exclusive: Home furniture retailer American Signature syncs stores, site
Columbus, Ohio – As an omnichannel retailer of big ticket furniture items through the American Signature and Value City banners, 120-store American Signature Inc. knows its shoppers do their homework online before visiting a store. To link the store and digital experiences as seamlessly as possible, American Signature employs technology from Boston-based Blueport Commerce.
“We have a retail concept called Easy Pass,” explained Stephen Haffer, CIO of American Signature, in an interview with Chain Store Age. “It gives customers the ability to create a shopping cart either in-store or online, and seamlessly log in from any channel.”
EasyPass is American Signature’s branded version of Blueport’s Store-Sync solution. Customers can use Easy Pass on a home PC or mobile device, with full access to store inventory. Responsive design ensures customers can use any connected device they choose. Shoppers can continue their online activities when they reach the store, or vice versa.
The cart is also synced with store POS terminals and in-store tablets, enabling store associates to have immediate access to customer data including browsing and purchase history, as well as items they have saved in the cart.
“We enhance the store experience, rather than replacing it with the online experience,” said Haffer. “The customer journey has changed. E-commerce has gone from a side project to reinventing retail.”
American Signature uses a “tethered cloud” model to connect StoreSync in real time to its customized IBM AS/400 ERP platform and proprietary POS system. Benefits from the Store-Sync-based Easy Pass program include users being 50% more likely to shop, as well as a customer preference rating of more than 90%.
Internally, the retailer can compensate salespeople who otherwise would have lost commissions on sales that started in-store and ended online, as well as collect new data points on customers.
“Channel conflict is resolved,” said Haffer. “And, we know that over 80% of people in our stores have been researching on the web. Easy Pass brings them into our stores ready to buy, and allows us to provide them an easy, personalized shopping experience.”
ULTA Beauty continues to dazzle shoppers
ULTA Beauty is that rare breed of retailer capable of exceeding ever loftier growth expectations and it did so again with the release of first quarter results on May 28.
ULTA reported that net sales increased 21.6% to $868.1 million from $713.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Same store sales increased 11.4% compared to an increase of 8.7% in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The 11.4% same store sales increase was driven by 7.2% growth in transactions and 4.2% growth in average ticket.
“The ULTA Beauty team delivered an excellent start to 2015, with better than expected sales and earnings growth in the first quarter,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “We achieved our best comparable sales growth since 2011, driven by strong traffic growth in both retail and e-commerce, market share gains across all categories, and continued successful execution of our marketing strategies. We also drove significant operating margin expansion, with a healthy balance of product margin improvement and marketing and payroll expense leverage.”
E-commerce sales at ULTA.com grew 49.8% to $44.0 million from $29.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, representing 170 basis points of the total company comparable store sales increase of 11.4%; Net income increased 34.0% to $66.9 million compared to $50.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Income per diluted share increased 35.1% to $1.04 compared to $0.77 in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
For the second quarter of fiscal 2015, the company expects net sales in the range of $854 million to $868 million, compared to actual net sales of $734.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Same store sales for the second quarter of 2015, including e-commerce sales, are expected to increase 7% to 9%.
As of May 2, ULTA Beauty operates 797 retail stores across 48 states.
Shoppers Drug Mart offers personalized digital loyalty experience
Toronto – Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. is providing members of its Shoppers Optimum loyalty program with My Optimum. My Rewards, a new personalized digital experience. The new digital platform includes an enhanced Shoppers Drug Mart app and a digital Optimum card.
Optimum members will now receive personalized offers and points via their mobile device, email or the Web, and can load them to their digital or plastic Optimum card. They can also scan their digital Optimum card directly from their smartphone to earn and redeem points.
The digital Optimum card is now available for Apple and Android devices by downloading the redesigned Shoppers Drug Mart mobile app. The new Optimum digital platform delivers weekly load-to-card offers tailored to members' shopping preferences, including a personalized flyer picking the relevant promotions for each customer.
Optimum members will receive offers on products they want and use, allowing them to earn rewards faster on everyday purchases along with special offers on new items.
Other features include checking points balances from mobile device, prescription the management, a store finder, and the ability to add the digital card to Passbook on iOS.