H&M, New York City
The H&M flagship in Times Square is designed for maximum visual impact and customer engagement. The 42,500-sq.-ft. store has an ultra-modern, high-tech look, with talking mannequins and a digital runway (customers walk the runway floor, which triggers cameras that project their images and video onto LED screens on the store façade). In the children’s department, an illuminated carousel adds to the fun.
The high-energy environment is punctuated with a giant LED screen framed in a “glitterwall” of mirror polished stainless steel panels that are illuminated to create a shimmering effect. The “lookout,” a customer lounge area, has a floor to ceiling corner window offering views out onto Times Square. The window is framed by another glitterwall, with a 6-ft. tall neon “H&M <3 TSQ” sign for photo opportunities.
Sam’s Club gets serious about e-commerce
Former Barnes & Noble executive Jamie Iannone was named president and CEO of Samsclub.com in a restructuring that elevates and integrates Sam’s Club’s online business into the Walmart’s Global eCommerce business unit based in California.
Iannone previously served as president of digital products at Barnes & Noble and oversaw the book seller’s Nook Media unit. He also spent seven years at eBay, earned a bachelor’s degree at Princeton and an MBA at Stanford.
His appointment was announced in a joint statement distributed internally at Walmart by Sam’s Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer and Walmart Global eCommerce president and CEO Neil Ashe.
“At Walmart, we believe combining the assets of the world’s largest retailer with best-in-class ecommerce capabilities gives our customers and members a unique shopping opportunity,” according to the statement by Brewer and Ashe. “The integration of the Sam’s Club eCommerce operations with Global eCommerce allows us to build on our collective strengths. This, combined with Jamie’s leadership, gives us a competitive advantage no one else can match.”
The change indicates Sam’s is ready to elevate its online game by fully integrating it into the company’s umbrella organization created several years ago known as Global eCommerce. For example, Iannone will be based at the Global eCommerce organization’s San Bruno, Calif., headquarters and report to Ashe rather than Sam’s CEO Brewer who is based in Bentonville, Ark.
The change will result in a higher level of senior management attention as Sam’s Club ecommerce operations become a fully integrate business unit overseen by a C-level executive with solid digital credentials. Sam’s online business was previously overseen as one of many duties by John Boswell in his role as SVP of marketing, member insights and ecommerce. Boswell will be leaving Sam’s in May to lead an international mission for his church.
Overstock.com becomes first online retailer to accept Bitcoin
Overstock has announced that it now accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment on its online shopping site.
When customers shop the website they will find the digital currency listed as a payment choice along with Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.
"This is historic. Digital currency will be an important part of the future and Overstock is excited to be the first major online shopping retailer to accept it," said chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne. "As one who believes in limited government, this attracts me because it is a form of money that no government mandarin can will it into existence."
Byrne noted that Bitcoin is the world’s most widely used cryptocurrency. The Bitcoin peer-to-peer network is made up of thousands of computers run by individuals around the world and doesn’t answer to a central authority. It is similar to gold in that its supply is constrained mathematically to up to 21 million units that will grow in a predictable manner.
"Bitcoin is well suited for online transactions. It has no transaction fees and works well for international customers. Providing this convenience for the cult-following Bitcoin customer is the smart thing to do," added Byrne. "Other online companies will have to follow suit soon."
Overstock.com is partnering with Coinbase.com out of San Francisco, Calif., to process the payments and to handle the conversion of Bitcoin into U.S. dollars.