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Study finds widespread adoption of mobile technology among retailers

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO — The overwhelming majority of retailers offer some kind of service for mobile shoppers, and one national retail pharmacy chain was named among those leading the way, according to a new study.

Digital marketing and e-commerce company Acquity Group released results of a report showing that 82% of retailers have a mobile-optimized site, 72% have a mobile or tablet app, and 66% have both. Most of them, 88%, use basic mobile capabilities like shopping carts, while 85% use featured products, 63% use customer reviews, and 54% use contact forms.

On the other hand, the report found a number of areas where retailers could improve, such as product image zoom-in capabilities, which most offer online, but only 39% offer on mobile. In addition, only 10% offer in-store digital experiences such as augmented reality, relevant product content access, in-store loyalty applications and digital barcode coupons, and 28% offer "pay-by-phone" capabilities like PayPal and Google Wallet at their brick-and-mortar locations.

"Now that brands recognize the importance of the mobile channel, their focus must shift to adopting forward-looking mobility strategies to augment their in-store and big browser sales channels," Acquity Group EVP Jay Dettling said. "Mobile is no longer a separate channel for e-commerce."

Brands leading the way, according to the report, included Walgreens, Nordstrom, Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot, Urban Outfitters and GameStop. Meanwhile, Dollar Tree, Bath & Body Works, Big Lots, Tractor Supply and Rent-A-Center were the only retailers surveyed that didn’t have a mobile presence.

As Dettling suggested, mobile is becoming second nature for many retailers. In addition to Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS offer apps of their own — including one introduced in November 2012 by CVS that allows users to upload images from their mobile devices to a Kodak Picture Kiosk to create products like personal greetings, calendars and photo books — as do regional chains like Pharmaca. Among food retailers, Ahold has made strides in this area, with the "virtual grocery store" concept that online grocer Peapod rolled out in October 2012 at passenger rail stations in Chicago and several urban locations in the Northeast, while Stop & Shop is offering mobile services for smartphone users at some of its newer stores.

According to a recent study by Deloitte, use of apps and mobile websites while shopping accounted for a 5% increase in retail sales over the past year, equal to $159 billion in in-store sales. Investment in mobile among retailers has come just in time for the holiday season. According to a survey conducted this summer by Retail Systems Research on behalf of Bronto Software and released in October 2012, nearly half of the 179 retail respondents have invested in new mobile apps, and 43% have invested in mobile website optimization.

 

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J.EWAN says:
Jul-22-2013 01:50 am

All retailers are now interested in making their websites in mobile compatible version as they feel people are getting attracted towards it. Now internet through mobile has become popular...

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Tesco places troubled Fresh & Easy business up for sale

BY Michael Johnsen

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Tesco placed its U.S. supermarket business Fresh & Easy on the sales bloc Wednesday, in conjunction with an announcement that Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason has left the company. 

"In October, we announced that new capital investment in Fresh & Easy was to be tightly constrained whilst the business focused on reducing costs and improving the profitability of its existing stores," noted Tesco CEO Philip Clarke. "It is now clear that Fresh & Easy will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form," he said. "Following a year in which my priority for Fresh & Easy was to improve its performance, I have now made a fully-informed assessment of its longer term potential. Whilst the business has many positives, its journey to scale and acceptable returns will take too long relative to other opportunities. I have therefore decided to conduct a strategic review of Fresh & Easy, with all options under consideration."

To that end Tesco appointed independent investment bank Greenhill to assist with a review of options. "In recent months, we have had a number of approaches from parties interested in acquiring either all or part of Fresh & Easy, or in partnering with us to develop the Fresh & Easy business," Clarke said. 

Regarding Mason, Clarke stated: "Tim Mason, who leaves Tesco today, has played an important part in our success over a 30 year career with the company, and he leaves with my thanks and good wishes."

 

 

 

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Rite Aid debuts exclusive exercise equipment line from Denise Austin

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid has become the exclusive retailer of a new line of home fitness products, the retail pharmacy chain said Wednesday.

Rite Aid announced that celebrity fitness expert Denise Austin’s new Forever Fit line would be available at stores nationwide. The 33 products in the line, which range in price from $3.99 to $29.99, include yoga and exercise mats, medicine balls, exercise wheels, weights, push-up stands and others. The company said the line was focused on addressing the everyday health and fitness needs of people looking to work out at home, embodying an "active aging" approach to fitness to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and muscle strain, as well as increase cardiovascular and other health measures.

"Forever Fit is not about exhausting yourself in the pursuit of bulging biceps," Austin said. "It’s a simple, easy and safe way to help reduce our little life pains, while promoting weight loss, improving cardiovascular fitness and enhancing your overall health and wellbeing."

Products are categorized according to the health benefits associated with them: balance and flexibility, heart health, fitness and support and toning and strength. Unique items include a balance board and deluxe walking kit.

 

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