TECHNOLOGY

Report: Retailers should respond to needs of ‘silver’ shoppers

BY Marianne Wilson

Convenience stores stand to benefit the most from a greying population. That’s according to new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology which looks at the impact of the growing 65-and-over population on global economies, industries and retail.

"The Silver Series IV: Retail Reconfiguration for Seniors,” noted that with smaller households and appetites, seniors shop more frequently, but make smaller purchases, favoring the convenience store sector. It predicts more but smaller, neighborhood stores, an increase in local delivery trucks and changing store layouts as retailers accommodate aging populations.

"The era of the silver generation has arrived," said Deborah Weinswig, managing director of Fung Global Retail & Technology.

Some retailers around the globe are already adapting. Japan's Lawson convenience store chain has renovated units in areas with a high concentration of silvers, widening aisles, lowering shelves and stocking more products that appeal to older shoppers, the report said.

The 7-Eleven chain in Japan offers a meal delivery service to seniors, while the Aeon Mall offers medical facilities, leisure activities, a concierge and other services for its senior shoppers.

Supermarket chains in Germany and Austria have widened aisles, provided customized shopping carts and added nonskid flooring. In the United States, CVS and Walgreens are adapting store layouts to minimize high and low shelving, and have carpeted floors in some stores and even added magnifying lenses to shelves so shoppers can read labels with small print more easily.

The global population of those aged 65 and older will account for over one-third of population growth through 2035, according to the United Nations, and will comprise more than 20% of the population overall in Japan, South Korea, Western Europe, North America and China. These households tend to be wealthier, and in the U.S., senior households spend well above the national average on household supplies and books, though less on apparel and footwear, which could be due to limited choice.

The full report can be found here.

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TECHNOLOGY

The retailer with the best digital gift card program is…

BY Marianne Wilson

Beauty giant Sephora scores the highest when it comes to online gifting.

That’s according to RSR Research’s sixth annual digital gifting benchmarking report. Sephora came out on top, scoring 55 points out of a possible 66 points, followed by Starbucks (50.5) and The Home Depot (46.5). Rounding out the top five: Dunkin’ Donuts (44.5) and Amazon (43). (The top 25 retailers in the study are listed at the end of article.)

Sephora achieved top marks this year due primarily to consistently excelling across the study’s three major categories of criteria: discoverability, purchase experience and recipient experience. RSR Research updates the criteria used for for evaluation every year to highlight differentiating capabilities, rather than the features that have become industry standards.

Of the 100 merchants evaluated in the study, “Digital Gift Cards In 2016: Where Omni-Channel Strategy Meets Customer Expectations,” 81 offered digital gift cards. In addition to focusing on the importance of mobile, this year’s report includes new evaluation criteria like omnichannel payment, bulk buying and the ability to purchase cards with credit card loyalty program points.

“Consumers are increasingly engaging with retailers through digital channels first, creating a demand for the retailer to be where the customer is,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research. “Retailers need the capabilities to handle all the things a customer wants from them when they are online and on mobile, and that includes gift cards. We’ve learned over the years just how complex digital gifting is on the desktop. This year leaders excelled at mobile. However, too many of those evaluated are continuing to struggle with mobile optimization of their programs.”

Here are the rankings for the top 25 retailers in the study:

Company Total Score
Sephora 55
Starbucks 50.5
The Home Depot 46.5
Dunkin' Donuts 44.5
Amazon 43
lululemon athletica 41.5
Bed Bath & Beyond 41
Williams-Sonoma 41
J.C. Penney 41
The Cheesecake Factory 40.5
Gap 40
Best Buy 40
Subway Restaurants 39.5
Sears 38
Dell 35
TGI Fridays 35
Crate and Barrel 34.5
Panera Bread 34.5
IHOP Restaurants 34.5
Toys"R"Us 33.5
REI 33.5
Target 33
ascena retail group, inc. (Ann Taylor) 33
QVC 33
Barnes & Noble 33

The full study, which includes details about what went right and what went wrong in the buyer and recipient experiences, as well as actionable advice for strengthening gift card programs, can be downloaded from the CashStar website.

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TECHNOLOGY

PetSmart in pet relief effort

BY Marianne Wilson

PetSmart is reaching out to help pets stranded by the Louisiana floods

The chain and its charitable nonprofit arm, PetSmart Charities, are coming to the aid of hundreds of animals left homeless by the Louisiana floods, which is being called the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Sandy.

According to news reports, the rising water forced more than 30,000 people to evacuate their homes. As well, hundreds of animals have been rescued with a high percentage of them being pets. Local animal welfare organizations are overwhelmed as they care for the rescued animals, providing shelter, food and care and working to reunite owners with their pets.

Funded by PetSmart Charities, a large 28-pallet shipment of much-needed pet supplies such as pet food, cat litter, feeding bowls, leashes, crates and beds valued at more than $80,000 arrived from the PetSmart central region distribution center to Louisiana on Monday.

PetSmart DC associates worked round the clock to get the shipment out to those in need, while grant makers at PetSmart Charities worked to provide more than $30,000 in financial support to local animal welfare organizations. The grants will help with the financial strain these nonprofits are facing due to the increased need to provide shelter, food and veterinary care for rescued animals.

“The PetSmart-PetSmart Charities team moved swiftly, and we are honored to be able to provide this emergency relief support to pets and pet parents in need in Louisiana,” said David Haworth, DVM, PhD and president of PetSmart Charities in the U.S. and Canada. “The residents of Louisiana are in our hearts. So many have lost their homes and personal property, and it’s our hope that the funding support and pet supplies help our animal welfare partners in the region to care for these rescued pets until all of them are reunited with their families. As well, we know that the impact of these floods will linger, and we will continue to provide support going forward.”

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