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Hello Products, Panty Fresh win DSN/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Awards

BY DSN STAFF

Hello Products won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice award for its Activated Charcoal Extra Freshening Mouthwash during ECRM’s recent Personal Care, Grooming, Oral & Travel/Trial EPPS held recently in Las Vegas. Panty Fresh was a finalist for its Panties On the Go 4-in-1 Pocket Size Kit.

The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the EPPS meetings. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging.

“The winners of this year’s Personal Care, Grooming, Oral & Travel/Trial Buyers Choice awards are clear examples of the product innovation that buyers are seeking,” Tony Giovanini, SVP of HBC for ECRM, said. “One leverages the increasingly popular natural ingredient of activated charcoal, and the other addresses portability and convenience — two key hot buttons among consumers.”

Montclair, N.J.-based Hello Products develops natural oral care products that are gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free and free of synthetic dyes, artificial sweeteners/flavors, parabens, microbeads, and triclosan. These items include activated charcoal teeth whitening, breath freshening, sensitivity relief, and cavity protection products.

Its fluoride-free Activated Charcoal Extra Freshening Mouthwash is formulated to make swishing fun and friendly by harnessing the power of activated charcoal, a natural detoxifier that freshens breath. It doesn’t use alcohol and incorporates coconut oil to moisturize, tea tree oil to cleanse, and xylitol, mint, spearmint and peppermint for flavor. The rinse is designed to be paired with Hello’s best-selling Activated Charcoal Fluoride-Free Whitening Toothpaste and new BPA-Free Toothbrush with activated charcoal bristles.

Panty Fresh, Roslyn, N.Y., developed its Panties On the Go 4-in-1 Pocket Size Kit to help women feel fresh, clean and confident while on the go. Designed with portability in mind, the sachet holds four essential items, including a luxury pair of seamless reusable underwear, panty liner, a feminine fresh wipe and a wash-me bag to hold the previously worn panties for later laundering.

Available in two styles, three colors and four sizes that fit up to a size 22, the kit is meant to be “the ultimate lifesaver” for frequent uncomfortable and embarrassing surprises such as vaginal discharge, sweat, odor, periods or bladder control accidents; as well as unforeseen situations such as travel cancellations, flight layovers, long work days and unplanned sleepovers. In addition, the company donates $1 towards Autism Awareness and Autism Research for every product picture posted on Instagram using the hashtag #pantyfreshgivesback.

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EnsembleIQ acquires media brands from Lebhar-Friedman

BY DSN STAFF

EnsembleIQ announced Thursday that it purchased substantially all of the media, digital and event assets from New York City-based Lebhar-Friedman. Launched in 1925, the third-generation family business produced several leading retail brands including Drug Store News, Chain Store Age and Hardware and Building Supply Dealer. 

The transaction also includes Chain Store Age’s SPECS and X/SPECS, two strategic events focused on physical retail that bring together the nation’s top retailers and suppliers to learn, share ideas, develop business partnerships and solve problems.

The Lebhar-Friedman brands will operate under the EnsembleIQ umbrella, and will continue to be led by senior vice president John Kenlon and his management team including Gary Esposito, Eric Savitch and Seth Mendelson. President and CEO Randall Friedman will serve in an advisory role during the transition, and chairman Roger Friedman will devote his time to new ventures.

“We’re thrilled to have these iconic brands and talented employees join the EnsembleIQ family,” said David Shanker, CEO of Chicago-based EnsembleIQ. “Adding chain drug, hardware and store operations reach and expertise provides our collective subscribers and customers with a comprehensive view of retail insights and information throughout the United States and Canada.”

“The company that my grandfather Arnold founded and my father Roger ran for many years has always been focused on the retail industry,” said Randall Friedman.  “The fact that EIQ also has great brands and deep expertise in retail makes me very optimistic that the LF roots will continue to grow and bear fruit in the years to come under EIQ’s stewardship.”

EnsembleIQ is a premier business intelligence resource that exists to help people and their organizations succeed. It is structured to serve the business-to-business needs of retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, technology providers, hospitality and healthcare professionals, marketing agencies and retail service providers by using its integrated network of media and information resources designed to inform, connect and provide actionable marketplace intelligence.

EnsembleIQ is a portfolio company of RFE Investment Partners, a private equity investor with more than 30 years of experience investing in growth companies in partnership with strong management teams. Information on RFE can be found at rfeip.com.

Berkery Noyes served as the exclusive financial advisor to Lebhar-Friedman.

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Survey: Retailers struggle to provide high quality customer experiences

BY Antoinette Alexander

Brands must focus on providing high quality customer experience to gain loyalty, but retailers are missing the mark. That’s according to Forrester’s U.S. 2018 Customer Experience Index.

The CX Index found that multichannel retailers’ customer experience quality remained flat, and 36 percent of digital retailers’ scores decreased significantly since last year.

Contrary to popular belief, making customers happy is not the single best way to achieve loyalty — feeling appreciated and confident are equally as important in the retail industry. According to Forrester’s 2018 CX Index data, 86 percent of multichannel shoppers and 87 percent of digital shoppers who feel appreciated intend to spend more with the brand. According to Forrester, this is a clear indication as to why understanding which emotions evoke loyalty matters.

“Few industries have felt disruption like retail, and many are choosing the wrong path forward because they’re not focusing on the drivers that improve customer experience where it counts,” said Forrester chief research and product officer Cliff Condon. “CX is directly linked to driving revenue — Forrester estimates that a one point improvement in a big box retailer’s CX Index score can lead to an incremental $244 million in revenue — so it’s vital for retailers to identify what consumers want and invest in those elements that drive loyalty. Only then will retailers see an improvement in the CX quality that their customers now demand.”

Based on a survey of more than 110,000 U.S. online adult consumers, Forrester’s CX Index measures and ranks nearly 300 U.S. brands across 19 industries to identify how well a brand’s customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. Of the 287 U.S. brands ranked in 2018, 42 multichannel and 11 digital retailers were analyzed to determine how customers perceive their experiences and how customer experience drives loyalty.

Most notably, Trader Joe’s claimed the top spot in multichannel retail, thanks to its ability to provide the most positive experiences of all 287 brands ranked. Costco and Neiman Marcus also placed second and third on the multichannel list, while Home Shopping Network, QVC and Zappos.com were the three leaders for digital retailers.

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