Tractor Supply Company Acquires Petsense For $116 Million

0atractorTractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retail chain, has acquired Petsense, a specialty retailer of pet supplies and services, for approximately $116 million in cash and debt.

The Petsense management team will continue to run the company from Scottsdale, Ariz. as a subsidiary of Tractor Supply. With backing from the Tractor Supply team, Petsense can use the experience and resources to help expand across untested markets in the U.S., according to Bob Angstead, President and CEO of Petsense.

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Stein Mart CEO Resigns After 6-Months On The Job

0adawnSix months after accepting her role as CEO of Stein Mart, Dawn Robertson stepped down from the position, effective Sept. 27. Robertson also served as Chief Merchandising Officer during her brief tenure.

Robertson was appointed CEO of Stein Mart in March 2016, succeeding Jay Stein, the company’s founder and longtime CEO. He remains Chairman of the retailer’s Board of Directors.

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Salesforce Unveils Commerce Cloud As Part Of Demandware Integration

Three months after acquiring enterprise cloud solution provider Demandware for $2.8 billion, CRM giant Salesforce has unveiled the new Commerce Cloud offering, a suite designed to provide personalized, consistent experiences for shoppers via e-Commerce, mobile, social and in-store.

If there was ever a significant way for Salesforce to expand its footprint within retail, this offering appears to be it. The rebranded Commerce Cloud, which now integrates Salesforce’s CRM capabilities with Demandware’s core commerce offerings, enables retail businesses to manage shopping experiences across all aspects of the consumer lifecycle, including setting up online storefronts or in-store tablets and kiosks.

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Avalara Secures $96 Million For Acquisitions And Growth

1-AvalaraSales tax automation provider Avalara has raised $96 million in funding from Warburg Pincus, Sageview Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and others. The funds include $50 million for acquisitions and growth and another $46 million to repurchase shares from early investors.

“We are gratified by our investors’ continued support and commitment to Avalara,” said Scott McFarlane, Founder and CEO of Avalara in a statement. “This financing offers some long-term individual shareholders a liquidity event, while enabling more recent institutional investors to increase their stake. In addition, these funds enable Avalara to continue to accelerate the global growth of our Compliance Cloud platform.”

Avalara automates the process of sales tax collection for retailers across different jurisdictions. Avalara has a history of acquiring other companies, including EZtax, SuitePlus, HotSpot Tax and others. 

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Stores Localize Online Offerings Via Social Commerce Tool

1-Radius8New Jersey-based retail tech startup Radius8 has added cloud-based tools that allow retailers to drive foot traffic directly to their stores using Facebook. 

The new suite of tools, called R8 Social, enables retailers to take advantage of Facebook’s local advertising features by forging a direct connection between brick-and-mortar stores and the Facebook ad platform, giving retailers the ability to respond to local market dynamics. 

Sponsored Facebook posts generated through the R8 Social platform allow customers to view and reserve curated items that are in-stock and available for pickup in their local store. Retailers can track store visits and sales attributed to the curated Facebook ad while providing greater exposure for what’s available in their local stores.

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Epson, Left On Yellow Announce Strategic Partnership

1-EpsonPOS solution provider Epson American and Left on Yellow, provider of tailored integrations for retailers and restaurants, announced their partnership at the Food Service Technology Conference, FSTEC.

Left on Yellow’s “The Bus” solution provides a single point of integration for connecting POS systems to other technology platforms. Users can source data and provide direct integration back to incumbent POS systems from Epson’s OmniLink Merchant Services (OMS) platform. The Bus acts as a “POS Switch” and provides a single, seamless integration for above-store technologies such as loyalty solutions, online ordering, offer management, data warehouses and CRM systems.

“Our OMS platform works across tablets, mobile devices and multiple locations,” said Joel Doherty, Global Business Development Leader for Epson’s Business Systems Division in a statement. “With this solution, customers can leverage bi-directional data in real time.”

Even Neiman Marcus Can’t Escape Department Store Woes

Neiman Marcus reported dim results for both its Q4 and full fiscal year, marking the fourth straight quarter of sales declines for the luxury department store. With holiday season preparation already in full swing, the pressure is on for the retailer (and its competitors).

For its 2016 fiscal year, Neiman Marcus saw:

  • Comparable store sales decrease 4.1%;

  • Total revenues decrease 2.9% to $4.95 billion; and

  • Net losses totaling $406.1 million.

The massive net loss can be attributed largely to non-cash impairment write downs of $466.2 million in Q4. The write downs represent the retailer’s loss in value of some goodwill, trade names and assets such as real estate.

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Reflektion Adds Email Marketing To Portfolio Of Solutions

Reflektion, an e-Commerce personalization platform provider, launched an email marketing platform designed to extend the e-Commerce merchandising experience to the consumer’s inbox. The platform tailors content individually based on the preferences of each email recipient.

Key benefits of the individualized email content solution include:

  • Leverages individual preferences and inventory: Each email recipient sees a different assortment of products at open-time, based on his or her recent shopping behavior and history as well as the retailer’s current inventory;

  • Minimizes distribution of multiple emails to segments for one campaign: Because the solution dynamically embeds relevant email content to individual recipients, marketing teams don’t have to create a complicated matrix of multiple segment-based emails as they deploy a single email campaign; and

  • Works with all major email service providers (ESPs) including Bronto, Oracle Responsys, Salesforce ExactTarget, Selligent’s StrongView and Vero, without requiring a separate integration.

“While retailers’ web sites have become increasingly sophisticated, email — the one marketing channel customers view regularly — has remained in the old ‘batch and blast’ phase,” said Sean Moran, CEO of Reflektion. “We see a significant opportunity to reverse this trend by extending our individualized e-Commerce platform to shoppers’ inboxes.”

The email platform is an extension of the current portfolio of Reflektion solutions, which all are designed to leverage the historical preferences and current intent for individual shoppers. The personalization suite includes on-site merchandising and site search functions.

Content Marketing Enhancements Boost Astroglide Conversions 63%

Personal lubricants are not the easiest things in the world for people to discuss, so marketing them to consumers often requires an indirect, subtle approach. For BioFilm, manufacturer of Astroglide lubricants, content marketing that focuses on consumer education — while also embedding strong connections to the product’s web site — has produced impressive results:

• A 253% increase in site traffic during a one-year period, increasing from 400,000 views to 1.7 million;

• A 63% conversion rate for visitors requesting free samples of the product; and

• 10,000 keywords achieving a Google Rank of five or higher.

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