Global Blue Launches Tax Free Shopping For International Visitors To Russia

Global Blue, which offers tax-free shopping solutions for international consumers at more than 300,000 retail stores around the world, has entered into a joint venture in Russia. The affiliated merchants, which include department stores, shopping malls and iconic brands, will be able to offer the company’s Globe Shoppers savings of up to 18% on purchases for items that will be exported out of Russia. The retailers are in seven cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi.

Taking advantage of Tax Free Shopping legislation passed by the Russian government, Global Blue will implement a model with three key steps:

• Issuing a Tax Free Form in-store;

• Validating the Tax Free Form and exported goods at Customs; and

• Refunding of the VAT (Value Added Tax) with a dedicated refund network in the country’s main airports.

Initially paper-based, Global Blue plans to move to digital Tax Free Form validation within the next 12 months.

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Personalization: A C-Level Priority

0aaMukund Ramachandran DynamicYield

Achieving personalization at scale is increasingly being recognized as the “holy grail” of marketing. However, far too many CMOs are delegating the quest to their direct response teams, divorcing personalization from larger efforts to build a company’s brand. This approach is misguided and fails to leverage personalization as a tool for building brand equity while driving revenue.  

Personalization is not just an initiative for mid-level marketing managers or product people anymore. The executive team can’t afford to take a hands-off approach as too many fundamental pillars of the business are at stake. A personalized consumer experience affects so many touch points across platforms that it needs to be a C-suite priority for online retailers, publishers, and travel brands.

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Walmart Partners With Rakuten; Kroger Reportedly Mulls Alibaba Alliance

Some of the biggest names in U.S. and European retailing, including Walmart, Carrefour and possibly Kroger, are linking up with Asian e-Commerce and Internet giants — and some of the deals are having an impact on the U.S. retail marketplace.

On January 25, Walmart and Rakuten, the Japanese e-Commerce company that has grown into a diversified global conglomerate, announced a two-pronged, two-country agreement. In Japan, Walmart will launch an online grocery delivery service; orders taken via Rakuten’s online marketplace platform will be fulfilled through a Walmart-Rakuten joint venture. In the U.S., Walmart will begin selling Rakuten Kobo’s eBooks, audiobooks and Kobo eReaders in Walmart stores and online.

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Infrastructure, Trade And Immigration Top NRF Policy Priorities, With SOTU Pending

The State of the Union (SOTU) address often has served to lay out a President’s policy priorities. On the eve of the 2018 address taking place on Jan. 30, the National Retail Federation (NRF) identified its legislative and regulatory “wish list” in a blog written by NRF SVP for Government Relations David French.

Invest in infrastructure: Noting that retailers are among the nation’s largest shippers and that “decades of underinvestment has left much of the transportation system crumbling,” French called on President Trump and Congress to invest in ports, railroads and highways. President Trump has previously promised a $1 trillion plan, fueled by $200 billion in federal funding, intended to spur state, local and private sector investments, “and we hope to hear more details of how that plan will work,” said French.

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EBay, Google, Facebook, Pitney Bowes Partner With U.S. To Spur Global SMB Expansion

Google, Facebook, eBay and Pitney Bowes are collaborating with branches of the federal government to launch the Getting to Global Initiative (GtG), which aims to provide U.S. businesses with resources to grow their exports to overseas markets.

The public/private partnership will incorporate digital tools from the four participating technology companies, along with data, services and expertise from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

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Finding The ‘Glue’ That Defines Customer Engagement At TechStyle

Q&A with Traci Inglis, Brand President, Fashion Brands – JustFab and Shoedazzle, TechStyle Fashion Group

In this exclusive Q&A, Traci Inglis shares her insights into the magic behind TechStyle’s success with the brands under her purview, including JustFab and Shoedazzle. Founded in 2010, TechStyle serves more than five million VIP members across the JustFab, Shoedazzle and Fabletics brands.

Before joining TechStyle in 2013, Inglis worked in marketing at Express, held a role in Retail Real Estate and Investor Relations at Westfield, and led the Digital Marketing and CRM teams across all brands at Torrid and Hot Topic.

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Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-Chase Health Care Venture Puts Pressure On Top Pharmacy Players

Among the many predictions regarding Amazon’s next move, health care has been among the top options, particularly since the company gained approval to become a wholesale pharmaceutical distributor in 12 U.S. states. The e-Commerce giant has finally made the leap in a massive way, partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to create an independent health care company for the three companies’ U.S. employees.

The new, unnamed company seeks to improve employee satisfaction and reduce costs in an environment “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” according to a company statement.

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Evergage Acquires MyBuys Merchandising Business From Magnetic

0aaevergageEvergage, a personalization platform provider, has acquired the MyBuys merchandising products business from Magnetic, a digital advertising technology provider. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition extends Evergage’s retail penetration and brings a wider array of personalization capabilities to clients of MyBuys. This extension is vital to the company as personalization continues to play a greater role in retail.

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Office Depot Accelerates Services Offerings With Oracle Cloud

Office Depot has been adding business and IT services to its offerings through acquisitions, including BizBox and CompuCom. The retailer also has made changes to its underlying IT infrastructure that will help it manage a more complex business.

The 1,500-store retailer has selected Oracle Cloud Applications to support supply chain, human resources and financial functions. Office Depot selected Oracle in August 2017, and will go live with specific applications beginning in February 2018.

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