Store Operations

Store Operations examines the issues and challenges facing today’s store operators. From workforce management to merchandising and new store openings, this section is designed to help retailers improve the bottom line while holding the line on costs. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Convenience Store Chain Debuts Cashierless Site In Silicon Valley

Loop Neighborhood Stores, a convenience store chain with more than 30 locations in Northern California, will open a cashierless store offering 150 SKUs this month. The gas station store, open 24/7, will offer instant receipts to customers when they exit the store. The retailer used the AiFi NanoStore template for the store, located in Campbell, Calif. in the heart of Silicon Valley. Supermarket chain Ahold Delhaize recently piloted a modular 150-square-foot cashierless convenience store using the AiFi technology in front of its Zaandam, Netherlands support office.

How Goodlife Opened A New York Storefront Without Breaking The Bank

The journey from wholesaler to e-Commerce pure play to omnichannel retailer can be fraught with peril,and the challenges can be even greater for homegrown retailers that can’t rely on large funding rounds to jumpstart their ambitions. This more gradual approach has been the business model for lifestyle brand Goodlife, which has had a “slower kind of growth trajectory compared to some other brands” since it launched in 2014, according to Founder and CEO Chris Molnar. Molnar’s background working at large fashion houses, including as Director of Sales, Men's Collection at Michael Kors, helped Goodlife get off the ground: the company started in wholesale before launching its direct-to-consumer (DTC) web site, and its products can still be found at major retailers including Nordstrom. Despite the influence of his previous work, Molnar noted that the approach taken by legacy fashion retailers carries its downsides. “I hated seeing all the overdevelopment of product from these brands that have had so much overhead,” said Molnar in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I think it's one of the reasons why some of these more niche DTC brands, including us, have been so successful. We're much more of a direct, driven brand because we have to…

The Vitamin Shoppe Brings Data-Driven Product Sampling To Innovation Stores

As part of The Vitamin Shoppe’s launch of its Innovation stores, the retailer has sought to reach one of its primary goals: to help “demystify” the wellness space and re-establish the direction of its brick-and-mortar footprint. In addition to incorporating on-demand digital product guides and access to an “Only Me” personalized supplement service, The Vitamin Shoppe has implemented an interactive digital kiosk from Vengo designed to engage consumers and trial new products, enabling the retailer to offer an in-store product sampling option. “Vengo sampling is one more element of our mission to provide personalized education and guidance to our consumers, while also providing us the opportunity to incubate new brands and be first-to-market with innovative products,” said Sharon Leite, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

Ahold Delhaize Pilots Cashierless Convenience Store Concept At U.S. Office

Ahold Delhaize USA is piloting a checkout-free store concept with the trial of its “lunchbox” technology at its Retail Business Services (RBS) office in Quincy, Mass. The technology appears to function similarly to the “Just Walk Out” technology at Amazon Go, in that shoppers can grab fresh foods, snacks and beverages within the space. Once registered within a mobile app, “shoppers simply scan in, shop and walk out,” according to Paul Scorza, EVP, IT and CIO for Retail Business Services.

Decathlon Leverages API Network To Eliminate Checkout, Streamline Inventory

Decathlon, an outdoor sporting goods retailer with more than 1,600 stores across 52 countries, opened its first full-sized brick-and-mortar store in the U.S. in April 2019. As the retailer seeks to expand its physical and digital presence throughout this market, it is building an application network to connect disparate systems and processes — such as POS software, order management and inventory data — so that employees can easily access and reuse applications and data to scale globally.

Loblaws Pilots Small-Scale Automated Fulfillment In Toronto Supermarket

Loblaws is building an automated picking facility in one of its Real Canadian Superstore locations in Toronto, converting 12,000 square feet of space to test an online order fulfillment area for its PC Express click-and-collect grocery service. Launching in 2020, the technology will support PC Express online orders in select stores located close to the automated picking facility. Takeoff Technologies developed the hyperlocal fulfillment center, which is designed to function at a fraction of the speed and cost of manual picking processes by picking orders of up to 60 items in just a few minutes.

Storytelling, Not Marketing: How The Innisfree NYC Store Immerses Shoppers Into The Brand

Placing its second New York City store next to Sephora and right across from Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue might seem like a tall order for a retailer still trying to break into the U.S. market, but South Korean beauty brand Innisfree is unafraid to compete with big name retailers to drive traffic from Millennial and Gen Z audiences. Why does the brand feel so confident? It comes down to the company’s ability to tell authentic stories based on its unique origins, create a digitally driven store with powerful visuals and rally around sustainability-related causes, all without relying on traditional marketing campaigns. The South Korean beauty brand doesn’t have promotional signage on its shelves, instead focusing on the simplicity of the products, their skincare functionality and the story behind them. Overall, the retailer sells 900 different skincare and beauty products that include naturally derived ingredients such as green tea, volcanic clusters, tangerine, orchid and bija tree.

Casper Leads Digital Brands In Store Traffic Share, But ‘Halo Effect’ Hasn’t Met Expectations

Retail’s “halo effect” — the idea that a purchase in one channel directly impacts purchases in another — has inspired many digital natives to open brick-and-mortar stores as a way to boost sales across all channels. But top digital natives that have opened permanent retail locations are likely seeing less foot traffic than they anticipated, according to a study from global location data technology company Blis. Out of seven companies studied from May to July 2019, Casper captured 56% of in-store shoppers, well ahead of Amazon (22% of shoppers), Warby Parker (10%) and Bonobos (9%). Allbirds, Away and Rent the Runway each got a 1% share. Casper came out well ahead of the remaining retail stores in “footfall efficiency,” the term Blis uses to describe the number of unique visitors per each geofenced store location.

Are Retailers Ready For A Potential Cashierless Tech Boom?

While cashierless stores aren’t quite mainstream, they are gaining a foothold: 14% of retailers responding to the 2019 Retail TouchPoints Store Operations Benchmark Survey said they operate cashierless stores, and another 4% say they plan to open them. So while cashierless stores may currently be a niche phenomenon, they represent the next disruptive stage in the industry’s evolution. Some of the forces shaping the adoption of cashierless retail include: Customers: Shoppers already are comfortable with cashless payments and self-service, which has primed them for further friction-reducing efforts; Providers: The technology is still relatively new and expensive, but this will likely change as larger players enter the market; and Strategies: One of the hurdles to mass adoption may be retailers themselves — adopting new, unproven technology is much riskier than sticking with tried-and-true operations. Amazon is the best-known operator of cashierless stores, and the e-Commerce giant has been steadily (if slowly) adding to its Amazon Go footprint. Additionally, CNBC recently reported that the company plans to make its cashierless technology available to OTG’s CIBO Express stores at airports and Cineworld’s Regal movie theaters. Amazon has not confirmed its plans in this area. It’s only a matter of time before retailers adopt…

McKinsey & Co. Debuts Combination Store-Learning Lab In Mall Of America

McKinsey & Company has opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store in the Mall of America near Minneapolis, which includes Elevé Cosmetics, Kendra Scott, ThirdLove and type:A Deodorant. The nearly 3,000-square-foot concept, called Modern Retail Collective, is designed to serve as both a retail store and a learning lab — a place where brands can test new technology and learn what resonates with their customers prior to implementing at scale. “For the first wave, we wanted to pick a couple of brands that we thought were going to have an integrated experience for the customer,” said Tiffany Burns, Partner in McKinsey’s Atlanta office and leader of the consultancy’s retail stores practice in North America. “If you think about the store as it is today, with the combination of jewelry, intimates and beauty products throughout the store, it’s targeted towards a younger female demographic.”

Walgreens Launches Chainwide Rollout Of Hands-Free Communication Solution

Better communication can lead to a host of improvements for retailers, from enhanced customer service to lower labor costs. Walgreens is starting to reap the benefits of instant communications through the Theatro platform, which lets associates contact each other through hands-free devices. The retailer is deploying the solution at 1,000 locations in 2019, with plans to eventually equip associates at all 9,560 stores. The tool lets associates communicate both with each other and with an AI-powered assistant to retrieve information, request assistance and help them handle customer-facing tasks, without abandoning the shoppers they are dealing with.

The Container Store Stays Modern With Custom Closet Concept

Keeping up with consumer trends is the cornerstone strategy of any successful specialty retailer, and The Container Store is matching modern shoppers’ interest in customization options through its Custom Closets store concept. While the brand’s proprietary Elfa Classic and Elfa Décor lines have existed for more than 40 years, current shoppers’ desire for more than functional storage space means this market is on the rise. “We are seeing a trend of customers using storage bins, baskets and drawers that they are proud to display in their home and not hide away in a closet,” said Val Richardson, VP of Real Estate at The Container Store in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Especially with smaller spaces, storage has to help maximize space but also blend in with the interior design of the home. Our customers want to have a resource for complete storage and organization solutions; we provide both the expertise and the products to accomplish their projects.”

Exclusive Q&A: Why The Modern Workforce Needs Coaches, Not Bosses

Retaining today’s retail associates requires giving them a reason to stay, which calls for a manager who does more than bark orders. Their skills should be cultivated and refined, and they should feel they have an important role within the organization. It’s not just about the end-of-year review and the potential for a raise; the modern manager-associate relationship needs to be an ongoing process of communication. Jim Harter, Chief Scientist, Workplace at Gallup, dug through data from a survey of more than 37 million people to assess how companies must align their purpose and culture with their employees and workplaces in his book It’s the Manager, co-authored with Gallup CEO Jim Clifton.

How One Chinese Supermarket Is Leading The Global Grocery Revolution

During a recent visit to the newly opened T11 Food Market (located in the Chaoyang District in Beijing) Du Yong, CEO and Founder of the supermarket, provided a personal behind-the-scenes tour to Retail Store Tours. The visit was arranged by Kevin Peng, Secretary-General of The China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), and Philip Cheng, the Association’s Manager.Founded in 1997, CCFA is the national representative for franchise chains in China, and a leading resource for existing and potential franchisors and franchisees. Sharon Shi, strategic partner for Retail Store Tours in China, also attended the tour.
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