Aptos Names Retail Veteran Lawrence Jackson To Board

Lawrence Jackson enl AptosAptos has named Lawrence Jackson, an industry veteran with high-level experience at both retail and consumer goods companies, to its board of directors. Jackson currently is Chairman of SourceMark LLC and Founder and Managing Director of Alamo Group. During his career Jackson has held senior management positions at leading companies including Walmart, Dollar General, Safeway and PepsiCo.

“With his wealth of business and retail experience, Lawrence is a great addition to our board of directors and will be a valuable strategic adviser,” said Aptos CEO and Culture Leader Noel Goggin in a statement.

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Artificial Intelligence Powers Product Recommendations For The North Face

Personalization has been a major talking point for retailers over the past few years, and many are experimenting with innovative ways to match the right products to the consumer. For example, The North Face is testing an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that bases product recommendations on natural language processing. The technology is powered by IBM Watson, which famously beat champion Jeopardy contestants a few years ago.

The North Face developed the personalized shopping experience using the Expert Personal Shopper (XPS) platform from digital commerce technology agency and software solutions provider Fluid. The retailer refers to the experience as “Your Personal Intelligent Shopper,” which is still in its beta testing stage.

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Icahn Enterprises Wins Bidding War To Buy Pep Boys As Bridgestone Drops Out

After more than two months of bidding, Pep Boys will finally get a new owner. Pep Boys agreed to be acquired by investor Carl Icahn’s company, Icahn Enterprises, for $1.03 billion in cash, or $18.50 per share. Bridgestone Americas, which had been the opposing party intent on purchasing Pep Boys, dropped out of the bidding after the holding company increased its offer.

Earlier in December, Pep Boys agreed to be acquired by Bridgestone Americas for $863 million, or $15.50 per share. The Pep Boys Board of Directors determined that Icahn’s proposal to purchase the company for $18.50 per share was “superior” to the Bridgestone deal in place.

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Holiday Prime Membership Uptick Shows Why Amazon Rules E-Commerce

Amazon, known for its dominance of the e-Commerce market, has even more reasons to be thrilled about the holiday season just past. In the third week of December alone, the e-Commerce giant gained three million new subscribers to its Amazon Prime shipping service.

The Amazon Prime service, which offers free two-day shipping for orders on the majority of items sold, now has “tens of millions” of subscribers worldwide, according to a company statement.

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E-Commerce, Women’s Apparel Spearhead 7.9% Increase In Retail Holiday Sales

Thanks to strong online sales and a high demand for women’s apparel and furniture, retail sales this holiday season have risen 7.9% from 2014 totals, according to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. E-Commerce sales further strengthened the overall totals, increasing approximately 20% from last year.

Both furniture and women’s apparel experienced growth in the double digits as well, while men’s apparel declined. Apparel in total drove high single-digit sales growth, even as warm weather raised concerns for many apparel and accessories retailers.

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Bonobos Taps Employee Strengths To Fuel Growth Strategy

As pure play e-Commerce retailers such as Bonobos grow into newer sales channels and add brick-and-mortar stores to their offering, they often need to hire employees that are based further away from the company’s headquarters. With the added distance between these employees and upper management, these retailers need to invest in platforms focused on fostering communication and reinforcing the importance of company culture.

In continuing its growth stage, Bonobos wanted to ensure that employees throughout its 20 guideshops were well-trained and able to keep in touch with the company’s New York headquarters at all times. In looking to improve internal communication as well as consumer engagement, the retailer selected learning management software provider Wisetail.

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Digital Ad Placement Startup Mabaya Gets $2.25 Million In Funding

online-advertising-arrowIn physical-world retailing, brands pay retailers to put their products at eye level in high-traffic areas. Mabaya, a Tel Aviv-based startup that aims to place ads in the most optimal spots on e-Commerce sites, has secured $2.25 million in seed funding.

Mabaya analyzes online shoppers’ preferences in real time in order to display items they will want to see. Its algorithmic in-site software applies contextual analysis to search terms and individual shoppers’ behavior to display relevant sponsored products.

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How Better Business Integration Can Add Efficiency For Retailer Operations

Lou Ennuso AdeptiaEvery dollar counts when you are running a business. This shouldn’t come as a new or surprising concept, but given the myriad solutions retailers have at their disposal today, it might be unexpected to learn that technology bottlenecks could be costing retailers millions of dollars when it comes to efficient enterprise business integration.

Case in point, it’s often the situation that suppliers and wholesalers offer retailers early payment discounts; if retailers can meet certain payment deadlines, they will receive discounts on their purchases. For example, under the terms 5/10 net 30, retailers may deduct 5% of the amount owed if the supplier is paid within 10 days instead of the normal 30 days. In other words, found money — and who doesn’t like the sound of that?

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Speech Recognition Security Tool Redacts Payment Card Numbers In Real Time

When we think about data breaches, the mental image is of a literally silent crime: hackers surreptitiously extracting payment card or personal data from online purchases, or someone sneaking away from a store’s point-of-sale with a device that has recorded the data from that day’s card transactions.

It’s easy to forget that many transactions are still conducted by voice — over the telephone with call center agents. In some retail verticals, as many as 20% to 30% of calls contain sensitive financial information, according to mobile advertising analytics firm Marchex. Safeguarding the sensitive information exchanged during these purchases involves deleting or masking the payment card numbers that are shared by customers.

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