International Retail Design Conference


In 2017, the International Retail Design Conference will again bring together more than 350 creative minds and leaders of the sector in New Orleans. During the 3-day conference, attendees will be able to gain insight from industry experts, network with decision-makers, participate in roundtable discussions to take home a wealth of new ideas, new contacts and a renewed sense of passion for the industry.


September 5-8, 2017


The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, LA


Nike Shows No Brand Is ‘Too Good’ For Amazon

Glenn head shotWith Amazon capturing national attention with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market, the e-Commerce giant managed to keep its potential new partnership with another high-profile brand — Nike — largely under the radar.

Nike will reportedly begin selling goods on Amazon, joining top competitors Under Armour and Adidas in opening storefronts on the site, according to Bloomberg. The move apparently is designed to curb knockoffs that are often sold on the site through third-party vendors — which has been an issue for Amazon in the past.

Continue reading “Nike Shows No Brand Is ‘Too Good’ For Amazon”

Attention Amazon Competitors: Target The 35 Million Ex-Prime Members

Amazon’s stranglehold on the American consumer has been well-documented, with Prime reportedly having as many as 80 million subscribers. But what isn’t recognized is that as many as 35 million shoppers have quit using Prime at some point, according to data from Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Pam Goodfellow, Principal Analyst and Consumer Insights Director at Prosper Insights & Analytics, revealed in a Forbesarticle that the majority (78%) of consumers who have given up Amazon Prime were testing out trail memberships. Only 22% had invested in a paid subscription.

Continue reading “Attention Amazon Competitors: Target The 35 Million Ex-Prime Members”

Prada Success Story

The Prada Group uses Cloud4Wi Volare platform to transform in-store customer experience in about 500 stores worldwide

The Prada Group realized customer satisfaction and loyalty could be at risk because in-store Wi-Fi was not available.

By implementing the Cloud4Wi Volare platform, The Prada Group was able to:

  • Provide free customer Wi-Fi with fast and easy login;
  • Match shoppers’ devices with a unique digital identity; and
  • Collect better customer demographic and in-store behavior data.

Download this case study to learn more about The Prada Group’s Wi-Fi success.

The State And Future Of Loyalty

Perspectives From The Experts

Industry experts from 24 Hour Fitness, Brand Innovators, American Express and more share predictions and insights into the future of retail loyalty.

Retailers will see success by focusing on 4 key factors:

  • Engagement
  • Technology
  • Personalization
  • Omnichannel

Find out how to build successful current and future loyalty programs in this report.

Walgreens Calls Off Rite Aid Acquisition, Offers New $5.2B Deal To Buy 2,000+ Stores


1walgreensAfter 15 months of negotiations, Walgreens Boots Alliance has given up on the deal to buy drugstore rival Rite Aid. Instead, Walgreens’ counteroffer would have Rite Aid sell 2,186 stores and three distribution centers to Walgreens for $5.175 billion. The new deal also terminates Walgreens previous $950 million agreement to sell 865 Rite Aid stores to Fred’s Pharmacy, an outcome that Fred’s CEO Michael Bloom deemed “disappointing.”

Continue reading “Walgreens Calls Off Rite Aid Acquisition, Offers New $5.2B Deal To Buy 2,000+ Stores”

A Failure To Stand Out Led To Staples’ $6.9 Billion Buyout

More than a year after its failed merger with chief rival Office Depot that led to the resignation of then-Chairman and CEO Ron Sargent, Staples has agreed to sell itself to the private equity firm Sycamore Partners for approximately $6.9 billion, or $10.25 per share in cash. The transaction is subject to regulatory and stockholder approval, and is expected to close no later than December 2017.

The office supplies retailer has seen sales and store traffic sputter in recent years — enduring 14 straight quarters of same-store sales declines — and has struggled to differentiate its basic retail offerings as e-Commerce continues to thrive.

Whether Staples was selling office supplies, school supplies, computer hardware and software, printers or stationery, it had what was then considered a unique product positioning during its massive growth phase in the 1990s and early 2000s. Competing brands such as Office Depot and Office Max also expanded during this time, creating three major players within the office supplies vertical.

But as Best Buy started to become the go-to stop for tech products and Walmart sold more of the same items as the office supplies retailers, Staples and its competitors lost their differentiation advantage and ultimately suffered in the long run. Once Amazon entered the fray and other e-Commerce retailers began to sell many of the same products in an even more convenient fashion, shoppers had little reason to step into a Staples store or even go to its web site.

The downfall of Staples (and its competitors) is a lesson to retailers that there is always an opportunity for another player to disrupt a sector, and that the only way to combat this is by evolving the shopper experience. Staples not only failed to differentiate its product offerings; it also maintained a very basic in-store experience. Other than offering printing and tech support services, Staples stores largely consist of the merchandise being sold — and not much else that would stand out from any other experience.

Sycamore Bets On B2B

While Staples has shown weakness on the retail side, Sycamore Partners appears to be betting on the potential it sees in the company’s B2B delivery unit, Staples Business Advantage. The unit has been a lone economic bright spot for the Staples brand, supplying office products and expert services directly to businesses within retail, health care, education, banking and finance.

Sycamore Partners specializes in retail and consumer investments, and has scooped up the likes of Belk and the assets of now-defunct The Limited. The company’s portfolio also includes retailers such as Hot Topic, Nine West and Talbots, but Staples is the firm’s biggest bet thus far.

The transaction embodies a growing trend where more private equity companies are seeking to buy out retail properties at a low value.As many as 92% of private equity execs expect their companies to drive greater or equal M&A activity within retail in 2017, according to a survey from A.T. Kearney. With so many retailers declaring bankruptcy throughout the year, however, any acquisition will carry its fair share of risks.

Shareholders of the office supplies retailer are happy with the news — Staples stock jumped 8% in after-hours trading on June 28, 2017, marking the company’s biggest one-day gain since April 4.

Staples initially had rejected a takeover offer from Cerberus Capital Management in May because it was too low, according to a report from Bloomberg. Barclays and Morgan Stanley are acting as financial advisors to the retailer.

Despite its poor performance, Staples still has the largest share of office supply stores in the U.S. at 48%, according to Euromonitor.

Localized Research Targets Sales Goals At 770 Barnes & Noble College Stores

0aalisa malat-0613 LargeGenerating close to $2 billion in sales from 770 campus bookstores, Barnes & Noble College is the largest subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Education, a public company that is a separate entity from Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

Acknowledging competition from online sources and other competitors, Barnes & Noble College recently expanded its national and generational research initiatives by launching a detailed research strategy, called Project 770, to better understand each specific target audience for every one of the 770 stores. In total, Project 770 generated responses from 176,000 students. And as a follow up to the research findings, local store managers are empowered to implement the best strategies they see fit for their target customers in keeping with the company’s almost 50-year culture.

Continue reading “Localized Research Targets Sales Goals At 770 Barnes & Noble College Stores”