Google Wallet Launches Backed By Major Retailers


Google_WalletCirculating in the rumor mill for several months, the Google Wallet is now a reality ― announced by partners Google, Sprint, First Data, Citi and Mastercard last week. CVS and Sports Authority are two of the first retailers to perform field tests of the Google Wallet in New York and San Francisco. Macy’s plans to launch the Google Wallet in 177 of its stores beginning September 1, 2011 in five cities: New York, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Industry analysts and researchers agree that the Google announcement is a significant step towards mobile payments and Near Field Communication (NFC) adoption throughout the U.S. “Just like the Isis and Visa announcements over the past several months, the announcement today was more compelling evidence of the momentum building for deployment of mobile payments in the U.S,” said Andrew Morris, CEO of Morris Consulting.

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Retailers Share Supply Chain Successes At Manhattan Associates Conference


manh_conf_capHot Topic
increased its warehouse turnaround time by 30% and decreased its IT maintenance costs by 300%. Macy’s reached $1 billion in ecommerce sales two years earlier than expected and increased its labor efficiency by 5%. Puma recorded 20% revenue growth in 2010 over 2009. At Giant Eagle, service level increased by 2% and turns increased by 20%.

Each of these retailers attribute these successes to recent efforts around supply chain optimization. Executives from each retail organization, along with other retail executives, shared the steps of their supply chain strategic initiatives and resulting successes with the 900+ attendees at the Manhattan Associates Momentum conference in San Diego this week.

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Bulletin Board: Week of 5-23-2011

55 New Customers Adopt
Extole Social Engagement Solution

Extole has signed more than 55 new clients to its Social Engagement program during the past two quarters, including Godiva, Safeway and Shutterfly. Extole’s Social Engagement Program enables retailers to take advantage of a number of social media initiatives including: a social referral program, social sweepstakes, surveys and more. As a result, Extole customers have reported an increase in customer engagement across various online and offline channels. Redbox, for example, has found success with the Extole referral program. “The program increased engagement by generating more than 175,000 social  recommendations from our existing customers,” said Gary Cohen, Redbox SVP of Marketing and Customer Experience. “Extole’s referral solution also drove 128,000 customer friends to Redbox’s referral offer and generated 32,000 Facebook posts, leading to new customers and sales ― all in a period of 30 days.”

“Our solutions enable brands to activate their existing customer base and subsequently engage them in viral campaigns to magnify their impact,” added Brad Klaus, CEO of Extole. “The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to drive measurable results. We will continue providing new and innovative ways for brands to transform their customers into highly effective social marketers who drive marketing return on investment.”

Square Implements Mobile App and
Square Register As Payment Methods

Square implemented Square Register, an iPad Point of Sale (POS) application for small- to medium-sized brick-and-mortar retailers; and Square Card Case, an application for smartphones, targeting ecommerce companies without storefronts. Square Register is an iPad application linked to the Square credit card readers, featuring a smaller footprint designed to replace larger cash registers and credit card terminals for smaller retail establishments. The Square Card Case stores shoppers’ account information in a virtual wallet. Currently, shoppers can purchase items using a smartphone at 50 test sites. Card Case can be downloaded to the iPhone or Android. Shoppers can access the application by scanning a debit or credit card at the POS. Card Case is available  at selected locations in New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and St. Louis. Additional locations are scheduled to be added in the near future.

Making The Case For The Mobile Wallet

Casey Chroust, Executive Vice President of Retail Operations, RILA

Casey Chroust, Executive Vice President of Retail Operations, RILAWho would have thought that the day would come when the wallet would be rendered obsolete? But along with the day planner, watch and calculator, it’s happening. For some time the era of mobile payments has been closing in and very soon the mobile wallet could be making its grand debut.

Since the advent of mobile, retailers have been keeping up with the latest advancements in mobile technology and the corresponding fluctuations in consumer behaviors. It’s a challenge, but with an innovation like mobile payments, it’s also an opportunity to enhance the customer experience and expedite the checkout process. Something that all retailers strive for and consumers expect.

In thelast decade we’ve seen the evolution from SMS/USSD transactions, to direct mobile billing, mobile web payment (WAP), direct operator billing and mobile barcode technology.  And this year, there has been serious talk from a number of industry stakeholders announcing their plans to explore near field communication (NFC) technology.

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Gigya Drives Social Traffic To Corporate Sites


Gigya is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology designed to enable retailers to design their social sites to direct consumers to the corporate sites, unifying identity and social providers, including Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and LinkedIn. The software enables online retailers to deepen customer relationships and tap existing friend networks to drive social registrations, word of mouth, and social interaction. In addition, Gigya provides analytics, best practices, consulting and support to optimize every implementation.

Since its inception in 2006, Gigya has focused on simplifying the connection process between business web sites and social networks, and enhancing the results from the connected experience at every level, to help companies grow their online business.

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Cloud-Ready Retail Networks: WAN Governance For Cloud Computing


wp_drc_ipanemaWAN Governance is becoming a vital part of controlling and optimizing application performance in the cloud. “To properly take advantage of what cloud computing can provide, IT organizations need to take a hard look at their internal governance processes and adapt them as necessary,” said Jim Metzler, VP, Ashton, Metzler & Associates.

To implement WAN Governance, organizations will benefit from the following information:

Oracle Releases First Of Five Retail Analytics Applications


Oracle_RA_capWith today’s launch of Retail Merchandising Analytics, Oracle has begun the process of adding five different Retail Analytics applications to its Business Intelligence (BI) offerings. Customer Marketing and Planning are scheduled for the next two releases, and two others are in the design stage, according to David Dorf, Senior Director of Technology Strategy, Oracle Retail.

Each of the Retail Analytics applications will leverage Oracle’s existing Business Intelligence (BI) platform, allowing the application to access and analyze data from multiple applications across the enterprise, such as financial, workforce management and customer relationship management (CRM).

“It is a very exciting development, particularly since Forrester’s research shows that the process driving merchandising decisions in many retailers is based on spreadsheets, and is desperately in need of an analytics boost,” said George Lawrie, Vice President and Principal Analyst with Forrester Research.

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A Debate On The Pros And Cons Of Investing In Facebook Commerce

Although many retailers are implementing strategies to drive sales using social media, some industry insiders remain skeptical because they are unable to prove the business case. This and other topics related to Facebook commerce, or F-commerce, were brought to light in a recent webinar presented by PowerReviews. The presentation featured Sucharita Mulpuru, Analyst at Forrester Research, and Cathy Halligan, SVP of Marketing and Sales at PowerReviews.

According to The State of Retailing Research, a study conducted by Forrester, 62% of social marketing strategies are unclear because the benefits of social media have not been tangible.

The webinar, titled “The Case for (and Against) Facebook Commerce,” concluded that the success of Facebook as a commerce channel is overshadowed by traditional web sites. In fact, 68% of retailers surveyed said if Facebook no longer existed, there would be no negative effect on 2011 web sales.

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Upgrade Your Customer Experience By Fine Tuning Your Checkout


Retailers remain laser-focused on improving the customer experience in every part of the store. They are improving the checkout experience, hiring more store associates and empowering managers with mobile tools. The recently released RSR store study confirms this and other trends, such as:

  • 52% of retailers see high value in modern POS hardware and software
  • 55% see high value in employee selling tools on the sales floor
  • 43% see high value in personal scanners and self-service sales

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TheFind App Reinvents Catalogs On Tablet Devices


thefind_capRetailers have reported that more than 50% of mobile traffic comes from tablet devices, noted Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president, principal analyst with Forrester Research, Inc. in the January 2011 report, Five Retail eCommerce Trends To Watch In 2011. “This is likely to lead to a new subset of mobile commerce: tablet commerce (you read it here first: T-commerce)…enabling easy browsing in a living room, during a bus commute to work, or at an airport.”

Responding to this trend, TheFind, a facilitator of online, mobile, and offline commerce and partner to thousands of stores and brands, recently announced the launch of CATALOGUE, an app that brings the $100 billion catalog shopping experience to the iPad and Android tablets.

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