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Trending Stores: Comcast rolling out interactive store format

BY Marianne Wilson

Comcast is making its store fleet more customer centric.

The telecommunications giant is rolling out a new interactive Xfinity concept, with the first locations recently opened in Pueblo, Col.; Aventura, Fla.; Henrico, Va., and Chattanooga, Tenn. The company plans to open more than 50 of the new and enhanced Xfinity stores in high-traffic shopping centers across its service footprint in 2018. Comcast’s ultimate goal is for customers to be within a 15-minute drive of an Xfinity store.

The new Xfinity stores are laid out strategically by product area: Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Internet. The home section combines the best of home security and automation into one simple experience – customers can learn how they can control an increasing number of IoT devices from their phone, tablet or Xfinity Home touch-screen. To see a video on the concept, click here.

Customers can visit the store to upgrade or swap equipment, ask questions about their Xfinity service, troubleshoot equipment or pay a bill at an in-store kiosk. In-store appointments can be scheduled online on their local store website.

“We want to bring our customers an incredible shopping experience, which showcases the power and innovation of our Xfinity products and demonstrates how they work together,” said Tom DeVito, SVP, retail sales and service, Comcast Cable. “We have heard from our customers that they want to touch and feel our Xfinity products and understand their capabilities as they make decisions for their own home. Our Xfinity stores are the place to do that.”

For more Trending Stores, click here.

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Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. gets in on the meal kit game

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Two Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. banners will soon be selling meal kits.

Through a partnership with meal kit provider HelloFresh, 581 stores under the Giant Food and Stop & Shop banners will feature the boxed offering. The meal kits will be largely concentrated in the Northeast. The partnership also marks HelloFresh’s retail debut.

HelloFresh’s offering currently includes choices like Peppercorn Steak, Mediterranean Style Chicken, Homestyle Meatloaf, Chickpea Couscous, and Paprika Chicken. Meals range from $14.99 to $19.99, and take less than 30 minutes to cook. The company also collects more than 60,000 data points per week from customers across the United States, and uses these details to develop new recipes, according to the company.

Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. is not HelloFresh’s exclusive partner, as the company plans to expand its availability through more retailer partnerships throughout the year. The company expects this plan to help retailers revitalize the grab -and-go aisles, especially across smaller format retail chains, the company said.

“How we’ve been embraced by retail brands shows the quality product line HelloFresh has brought to market,” said Tobias Hartmann, President for North America at HelloFresh. The addition of retail, a channel well-placed to benefit from the unique data, brand and infrastructure assets we have built out over the years, allows us to better address the everyday needs for even more customers, adding what we view as a highly complementary customer segment.”

Through this partnership, Ahold Delhaize U.S.A. joins the ranks of other grocery operators adding meal kits to their offering. In March, Walmart began offering the boxed kits in some 250 stores, and plans to roll out the offering to more than 2,000 of its stores this year.

Target is working with Minnesota-based Local Crate, a winner of its Target + Techstars competition, and now sells boxed meal kits in select Minnesota Target stores. Meanwhile, Albertsons Cos. acquired prepared-meals company, Plated.

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Sephora celebrates 20th anniversary with two-day ‘beauty experience’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sephora is throwing itself an anniversary party, and festivities will take place outside of the four walls of a conventional store.

The global beauty giant will host “Sephoria,” a multi-room event on October 20-21, in The Majestic Downtown, in Los Angeles. The event, which will highlight a “House of Beauty” theme, will feature experiential and customized activities revolving around more than 50 of its most popular beauty brands. Digital solutions will enable customers to interact with merchandise, beauty advisors and social media influencers, according to the company.

For example, Sephoria will feature a range of set-ups around the “house” theme, including a kitchen where consumers can “play with ingredient-based skincare,” and a laundry room that is the backdrop for cleansers, according to Business of Fashion.

In addition to kicking off a marketing campaign in June, Sephora will also collaborate with influential top-tier beauty ambassadors for a social media campaign, the company said.

“At the heart of it, Sephoria sets out to celebrate the often indescribable euphoria you get from playing in the vast world of beauty – from discovering game-changing products or trying out a new look to engaging with digital technology that takes personalization to a whole new level,” said Deborah Yeh, senior VP of marketing and brand, Sephora. “We’ve drawn from our deep understanding of the kinds of physical and digital beauty experiences clients love from Sephora, and set out to create the ultimate event that fuses fun, education and inspiration, and gives our community a place where they can live out all of their beauty fantasies.”

Ticket sales, which will feature three tiers of pricing, begin on July 21. Sephora’s Beauty Insider Rouge and VIB loyalty members can purchase tickets in advance, according to Sephora.

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