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Jelly Belly sweetens online customer experience

BY CSA STAFF

Specialty candy supplier Jelly Belly Candy Company is modernizing its direct-to-consumer website with help from cloud-based e-commerce technology provider Mozu.

Jelly Belly has replaced its homegrown e-commerce system with Mozu’s SaaS-based cloud commerce platform. With the Mozu platform: Jelly Belly has launched 40 new global sites, expanded organic site traffic by 21%, doubled the efficiency of website speeds, established a single platform for business-to-business, business-to-consumer and worldwide commerce, and increased mobile sales by 300%.

On the Mozu platform, Jelly Belly has also upgraded to a natively responsive mobile experience that is two times. The company has also increased tablet revenue by 26%. In addition, using Mozu’s open application program interface (API), Jelly Belly is able to seamlessly integrate the new e-commerce system with its homegrown enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to manage order and inventory information.

“Migrating from our homegrown platform to Mozu has given Jelly Belly the power to scale and grow much faster than we could on our own,” said Brandon Finch, director of e-business for Jelly Belly. “Having the capability to launch multiple sites and make real-time updates to our products, catalogs and promotions at the business level, without burdening IT, has been a game changer for the e-business team at Jelly Belly. Making changes to our sites used to take weeks or months, involve multiple departments, and quickly become costly projects. Now with Mozu, the same changes take one person just minutes, hours or days.”

By taking advantage of hosted cloud platforms, almost any company that sells products to consumers via retail partners can also easily offer online direct-to-consumer sales. These companies still must figure out how to scale distribution and other tasks for the consumer channel, but on the front end it is possible to deliver a high-quality customer experience without excessive in-house resources. Responsive and native mobile development can help ensure that high quality is also available on mobile devices.

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Rue La La aligns with oldest digital platform of all

BY CSA STAFF

Specialty online fashion retailer Rue La La is launching a series of themed online boutiques that tie in with the original digital consumer engagement channel – TV.

Rue La La is entering an exclusive partnership with ABC's hit show "Dancing with the Stars” by offering themed online shopping experiences. The first boutique, live at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, March 21, aligns with the premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" and is merchandised for a night of dancing for both men and women.

From there, three additional boutiques will launch in tandem with the show on March 28 and April 4 and 11, highlighting each episode’s theme of the night.

In addition, exclusive content will be featured on Rue Now, the retailer's newly launched fashion feed, and will include a special interview with "Dancing with the Stars" head costume designers Steven Lee and Daniela Gschwendtner. Rue La La is also running a special sweepstakes with a grand prize of two tickets to the “Dancing with the Stars” finale through March 30.

"Rue is approachable and fun with a little sass thrown in and Dancing with the Stars has embodied the same spirit for 21 seasons,” said Trisha Spillane, public relations and brand communications director, Rue La La. “For season 22, we can't wait to team up and share the stage. This is a very natural partnership for us."

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 recently increased its efforts to touch consumers at the beginning of the discovery cycle with its Rue Now content site. The retailer is now branching into one of the major sources of ideas and inspiration for consumer fashion choices – TV.

TV shows have long had a significant influence on what consumers buy, and retailers have responded with promotional efforts such as “shoppable episodes.” Rue La La’s themed, limited–time online boutiques are another example of how a consumer-facing technology that has been around since the 1920s is still highly relevant in guiding the shopper’s path to your purchases.

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The Bon-Ton elects new board member

BY Gina Acosta

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is adding some accounting expertise to its board of directors.

The company announced it has elected Debra K. Simon to its board, effective immediately, expanding its board membership to 10.

Simon, 57, the wife of Tim Grumbacher, chairman of the board and Strategic Initiatives Officer, has been a practicing CPA, and was employed by SF & Company (now known as Baker Tilly) for 32 years, retiring in 2015. She held various positions with SF & Company, including chief operating officer from 2010 to 2015. She was awarded a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Pennsylvania State University. Simon currently serves as the chair of the Susan P. Byrne Health Education Center.

“We are very pleased to welcome Debra as a member of our board of directors," said Grumbacher. "Debra has an extensive finance and accounting background as well as experience in strategic planning, human resources and operational management. We welcome her insight as we strive to execute our business strategies for profitable growth and increased shareholder value.”

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 267 stores, which includes nine furniture galleries and four clearance centers, in 26 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.

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