Duane Reade Acquisition Could Signal More Aggressive Strategy For Walgreen

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duane_reade_smallLast week’s announcement that Walgreen Co. has agreed to acquire New York-based drugstore Duane Reade, marked a major change in strategy for the traditionally conservative chain. Now as the merger takes shape, analysts are speculating that the innovations being driven by Duane Reade around CRM and in-store merchandising could further reshape the combined company.

“In terms of the innovation that Duane Reade has been putting into place, I have to think that part of the rationale (of the acquisition) is not just the expanded distribution and additional store count, but getting some of the skill sets rather than developing their own loyalty or CRM program,” said Craig Johnson, President of Customer Growth Partners, LLC, a retail consultancy based in New Canaan, CT.

Walgreen said Duane Reade stores will continue to operate under their own brand name after the transaction closes, but eventually the two brands will synergize, as Walgreen is currently operating 70 stores in the New York City metropolitan area. Duane Reade has made some significant strides to modernize and remodel the stores to promote a more customer friendly and focused strategy.

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New Mobile CRM Solution From Sybase 365 Tracks End-to-End Shopper Impact

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sybase_cap2Retailers and consumer goods companies looking to take their mobile marketing programs from text message through post-purchase analytics have a new alternative with the launch of expanded Mobile Customer Relationship Management (mCRM) services from Sybase 365.

“We have focused on the customer lifecycle and putting in place a set of tools that are tied into analytics and data management,” explains Scott Miller, Director of Product Management for Sybase 365. “What is really important is having the ability to track how customers progress through the lifecycle and how their purchasing decisions change over time.”

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Managing Your Mobile Investments

Managing Your Mobile Investments
5 Strategies to Lower Your Costs & Improve Service

While mobile deployments are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in today’s retail market, the hard truth is that over 70% of the cost of owning a mobility solution can come after the initial purchase, according to a recent study conducted by the VDC Research Group, a research company that specializes in providing technology executives with the market intelligence they need to make critical business decisions with confidence.

Although there are many benefits to implementing a mobile solutions infrastructure–including the ability to speed up efficiency and improve customer service—most companies find that the large scale investments are in the “soft” costs, which can be anything from maintenance expenses to productivity losses due to worker downtime and device failure.

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RFID Rollout Helps Support Growth Plans At American Apparel

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rfid_imageMaintaining its aggressive expansion track, American Apparel has plans to open 400 stores worldwide over the next several years. To support this growth, the company continues to innovate with new technologies.

The retailer recently announced its success with RFID, as it has increased sales per store, inventory accuracy, customer satisfaction and associate productivity since implementing the Xterprise Clarity Advanced Retail Solution (ARS) system across 10 stores.

American Apparel, a brand for young adults, has over 250 retail stores in the US, Europe and Asia. Each store carries roughly 38,000 items. Since deploying the RFID solution, American Apparel now has the visibility and control of inventory at the item and store network levels.

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Searching For Strategies To Manage Your Retail Brand In Google Terms

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By Doron Levy, President, Captus Business Consulting

doron_levyYou may not be aware of this, but there is a good chance that someone has googled you. You may have been googled a few times today already. Someone may even be googling you right now. If you own a retail or customer service oriented business, those chances increase dramatically. Greater access to the internet, high speed smartphones and social media has changed the way consumers shop on the internet. Your potential customers could be making decisions about you without ever setting foot in your store.

The term googling sounds painful. It is actually a slang verb that refers to performing internet searches via Google or other search engines. If someone googles me, they are searching for Doron Levy or Captus Business Consulting through a search engine such as a Google. No power tools or medical devices involved in the process and relatively painless for the subject involved. Now, the results that come back are a different story. Those results could prove to be painful if you don’t check to see what people are saying about you. Have you googled yourself lately?

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Walgreen Co. Announces Plans to Acquire Duane Reade

Walgreen Co. recently announced a definitive agreement under which Walgreens will acquire Duane Reade from affiliates of Oak Hill Capital Partners in a cash transaction for a total enterprise value of $1.075 billion, which includes the assumption of debt.

The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including receiving regulatory approvals and would include all 257 Duane Reade stores located in the New York City metropolitan area, as well as the corporate office and two distribution centers. Walgreens will fund the purchase with existing cash and anticipates the transaction will close in its current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. Continue reading “Walgreen Co. Announces Plans to Acquire Duane Reade”

Barnes & Noble Leads Specialty Retail Category for Customer Satisfaction

Barnes & Noble leads the specialty retail sector in customer satisfaction for the third year in a row, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), research conducted in the fourth quarter, 2009. With a score of 84, Barnes & Noble is the top bookseller in the survey and is ranked significantly above the specialty retail category average of 77.

“We are delighted to receive an industry leading score in the fourth-quarter survey, and we owe it all to our customers,” B&N CEO Steve Riggio said in a recent press release. “Our customers want and deserve the highest quality customer service, which is what our booksellers strive to deliver every single day.”

New Report Offers Loyalty Satisfaction Metrics & Key Action Items

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While loyalty programs can be an integral part of the retail CRM model, new research indicates that marketers are under-valuing these programs, even as customers highly rate perks, discounts, deals and additional service opportunities. Both customers and marketers agree: deeper engagement and personalized contact drives loyalty, not mass blast communications and gimmicks, according to “Loyalty Leaders: Feeling the Love From the Loyalty Club,” the latest research from the CMO Council.

The research tapped insight from over 600 marketers and surveyed the perspectives of program recipients in an audit of over 700 consumers. The study ultimately found that loyal consumers expect marketers to understand them better and deliver more relevant and valued offers. Marketers, however, do not grade themselves highly in meeting the needs of their business, and question their ability to meet consumer needs.

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ForeSee Results and Viewpoints Network Partner to Measure Online Community Satisfaction

Focused on measuring customer satisfaction, ForeSee Results and Viewpoints Network announced a partnership to provide Viewpoints.com and Viewpoints Technology Platform clients with a scientific measure of voice of customer for their communities. Viewpoints Network, a social technology and media company, is now working with online customer satisfaction firm ForeSee Results to survey ViewPoints users to better understand how retailers can and are driving loyalty and repeat visits.

For VTP, the company’s hosted technology service designed to help brands and retailers implement a social commerce strategy to drive bottom line results, ForeSee Results will offer VTP customers data focused on leveraging solutions to help drive incremental traffic and sales, while gaining actionable insights and creating brand advocacy. Continue reading “ForeSee Results and Viewpoints Network Partner to Measure Online Community Satisfaction”

Apple’s Magic Touch Moving Closer To POS Integration With New Apps

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facecash-1Tapping a device that’s already known and loved by consumers, retail solution providers are offering an innovative approach to potentially streamline the checkout process by leveraging the iPod touch and iPhone.

As Retail TouchPoints recently reported, Apple is leveraging its own novelty in its devices to mobilize transactions within its retail stores with the EasyPay device, Apple’s iPod touch-based system.

Now the opportunity to engage customers with the ubiquitous Apple device is moving to other retailers, as vendors are unveiling technology that leverages the sleek, sophisticated capabilities of the iPod touch.

Global Bay Mobile Technologies unveiled its mobile point of sale (MPOS) for the iPod touch. The solution is designed to deploy a point of sale handheld solution with similar functionality to the Apple Easy Pay POS device. The sled component, which houses the iPod touch and comes complete with a mag stripe, will also be able to support the iPhone device within the next three months, according to Global Bay’s VP of Business Development, Harlan Eplan.

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