News Briefs

10/24/2022

Red Wing Shoe Company Names Allison Gettings New CEO

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Red Wing Shoe Company has named current president Allison Gettings as their new chief executive officer, effective January 1st, 2023. Gettings will be the first woman to head up Red Wing Shoe Company since it was founded in 1905.

Gettings is the great-granddaughter of J.R. Sweasy – who served as Red Wing president and CEO from 1921-1949 – making her the first fourth-generation family member to head up the company. With this latest appointment, Gettings will take over from Mark Urdahl who has served as CEO since 2016 and now plans to retire at the end of the year. 

[See Also: RIS Parent EnsembleIQ Showcases Brands That Celebrate Women Leaders

Over the course of a 14-year career at the footwear company, Gettings has spearheaded a variety of key initiatives. Most recently, Gettings oversaw the development of Red Wing’s first dedicated corporate social responsibility department, designed to facilitate a greater commitment to sustainability efforts across the company. 

Red Wing’s Chairman of the Board, Bill Sweasy, praised Gettings’ “deep understanding of the company's business, customers and values,” and “strategic thinking and ability to bring people together,” adding that he was “confident that she's prepared to guide Red Wing Shoe Company as it enters its next chapter.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Red Wing Shoe Company and excited about what the future holds,” Gettings said. “Over the past 117 years, we have garnered incredible customer 'brand love' across our portfolio of purpose-driven brands, and we have an awesome opportunity to build on that foundation. I am so grateful for the support and guidance Mark has provided me, and I look forward to working with the high-performing teams he has built as we accelerate our growth.” 

 

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10/24/2022

EV Charging Coming to Phillips 66 Fuel Stations

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Phillips 66 gas station

Phillips 66 fuel stations are getting supercharged. The company will first be installing electric-vehicle chargers at its station near Houston headquarters — marking the first ultrafast EV charging station at a convenience fuel station in the city. 

This is part of a larger plan announced earlier this year to deploy faster, battery-integrated charging tech across 7,000 Phillips 66, Conoco, and 76 branded U.S. locations. The company is partnering with FreeWire for its EV charging needs. 

The technology connects to Phillips 66’s existing infrastructure, cutting down on installation costs and permitting challenges. The batteries will charge at off-peak times when power is cheaper in order to reduce operational costs across the sites. 

[Read more: IKEA U.S. Launching Public and Fleet Charging Across 25 Locations]

“The installation of the first FreeWire EV chargers at our Phillips 66 flagship fuel station represents an important step in our EV charging journey as well as our commitment to pursue lower-carbon solutions,” said Rod Palmer, vice president of U.S. marketing at Phillips 66. “FreeWire’s charger offers consumers the fast-charging experience they’re looking for, and Phillips 66’s branded network of fueling locations places the chargers at existing, strategically located sites.”

Arcady Sosinov, FreeWire’s founder and CEO, said charging demand continues to survey, and the battery-integrated EV chargers “offer the streamlined, shovel-ready solution that many entering the EV charging space are looking for.”

10/19/2022

Kroger Expands Fulfillment Network With New Michigan Facility

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Kroger has expanded their fulfillment network with the addition of a new customer fulfillment center in Romulus, Michigan. 

Powered by Ocado Group technology, the new delivery center's services will employ a suite of technology, including advanced robotics, temperature-controlled vans and delivery trucks guided by machine learning algorithms. 

The 135,000-square-foot Romulus facility will deliver to customers located up to 90 minutes away, and will eventually employ more than 700 associates as Kroger continues their Michigan expansion, the company said.

[See Also: Kroger Revamps Loyalty Program Following Successful Expansion Pilot]

Kroger has served customers in the state of Michigan for more than a century and we are thrilled to bring Kroger Delivery to greater Detroit,” said Bill Bennett, Kroger vice president, and head of e-commerce. “We are passionate about delivering a fresh, convenient customer shopping experience with zero compromise on quality, selection, and affordability.” 

Other Retailers Expanding Fulfillment Capabilities 

Kroger is not the first retailer to channel money into growing their fulfillment footprint.  In June, Walmart  laid out plans to build four next-generation fulfillment centers over the next three years. These four facilities alone could reportedly supply 75% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping and, once built, will collectively employ more than 4,000 people. More recently, Walmart invested in a new high-tech consolidation center in Pennsylvania, designed to support all 42 of Walmart’s regional distribution centers. Once complete, this 400,000 square-foot facility will reportedly create close to 1,000 new jobs. 

Target also recently outlined a comprehensive list of priorities for modernizing their distribution centers. According to the store, the goal is to keep their network operating at or below 85% capacity to reduce costs and operational challenges. To do so, the retailer plans to build additional upstream capacity, expand the number of sortation centers across the U.S., and automate processes wherever possible across inventory management.

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10/17/2022

Rite Aid Gives the Pharmacy Experience a Modern Upgrade

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Rite Aid is looking to elevate the pharmacy experience, modernizing its vision by implementing improved insights, increased agility, and overall better customer experiences. 

The retail pharmacy has entered into a multi-year agreement with Google Cloud, migrating key applications to Anthos, the software’s platform for application deployment. The technology will provide Rite Aid’s 2,350 pharmacies with cloud computing capabilities on-site. 

Through the upgrade, Rite Aid can ensure elevated care even through volatile events such as natural disasters, ensuring robust patient information, advanced prescription management, and continued recommendations without having to connect to a centralized, legacy mainframe. 

[Read more: Rite Aid Opens New Modern Headquarters in Philadelphia]

As part of the partnership, Rite Aid will migrate its enterprise data to Google Cloud using BigQuery, allowing the pharmacy to improve visibility into its finances, inventory, and customer information. 

Rite Aid customers will experience an improved search functionality, providing more precise results on the e-commerce site and mobile app. In the back-end, Rite Aid will have a better understanding of customer intent. 

Additionally, Rite Aid will update its current pharmacy benefits management application suite to a cloud-first experience with artificial intelligence- and machine learning-driven capabilities. This will help the pharmacy benefits manager better manage prescription benefits on behalf of health insurers.

"The power of pharmacies, and the important role pharmacists play in the health of their communities, greatly expanded during COVID. Realizing that potential means making strategic investments in technology that can truly help our customers and maximize the capabilities of our pharmacists," said Justin Mennen, executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer at Rite Aid. "Google Cloud's solutions are uniquely positioned to run at each pharmacy location to allow our store teams to help our customers to achieve whole health for life."

"As a healthcare company with a retail footprint, Rite Aid is at the intersection of two quickly evolving industries and making strategic technology investments to meet rising customer expectations," said Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer solutions, Google Cloud. "Through these innovations, Rite Aid is defining the modern pharmacy."

10/17/2022

Walmart To Offer Supply Chain Partners Free Basic-Level Data Insights

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Last year, Walmart launched Walmart Luminate, a system that analyzes data from Walmart’s hub of consumers and offers insights into audience behavior, perception, and channel performance for the various brands at Walmart. Now the retailer said it will be providing a Basic package free of cost to select suppliers.

Basic subscribers will gain access to a subset of Channel Performance insights, including the standard operational metrics needed to run their business. Walmart Luminate Basic is expected to become available in 2023.

Walmart said in 11 months it grew revenue over 80% quarter-over-quarter.Earlier this year, Brett Biggs, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the new data monetization business had over 75% growth quarter-over-quarter “as more supplier partners collaborate with merchandisers to utilize new customer insights in our platform.”

While Walmart will move to give some insights away for free, Charter-level subscribers will continue to receive the full suite of Channel Performance insights, in addition to Shopper Behavior and Customer Perception insights. Access to a dedicated account team and engineering support for API ingestion will still only be available to Charter subscribers. Charter-level subscribers will also get additional incremental data sets as Walmart adds them. For example, digital product transactability (i.e., insights regarding items added to cart and purchased via grocery pick-up and delivery) has been added to the roadmap for the upcoming fiscal year.

Walmart also said it’s exploring new ways to embed Walmart Luminate insights into other areas of its business.

“For example, we are working to directly integrate Walmart Luminate insights into existing merchandising tools to better facilitate data collaboration with suppliers. We are also piloting ways for actionable Walmart Luminate insights to be deployed, automated, and scaled across Walmart Connect’s advertising ecosystem, and have seen positive results to date.

Walmart said it will be communicating with suppliers directly about how to receive exclusive access and updates to the Basic package, but those interested in learning more about Walmart Luminate Charter can get in touch today.

10/12/2022

Saatva Sees Significant Results From Digital Experience Analytics Investment

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Luxury mattress brand Saatva has seen a notable uptick in exposure rates, conversion rates and overall engagement through their new digital experience analytics investment. 

Over the last 10 months, Saatva has been working closely with digital experience platform Contentsquare, running A/B tests, conducting zone-based heat mapping to pinpoint certain trends, carrying out merchandising analysis and looking into customer journeys. 

[See Also: Saatva Brings Its Online Retail Experience to Brick and Mortar] 

Contentsquare is now also the primary platform Saatva uses for digital analysis and quantitative/qualitative testing. The mattress company says they have gleaned particularly useful insights from Contentsquare’s “Session Replay” tool, which essentially recreates an individual user's visit time on a webpage. Using this information, Saatva can look into visitor engagement with certain design elements and rearrange the page based on these findings. Data gathered on key metrics such as hover, clicks, time spent, scroll rates, and bounce rates have also helped Saatva optimize their conversion rates, the company said. 

“Based on Saatva’s 3-5 year trajectory goal, Saatva needed tools that were able to handle our growth while simultaneously adapting to our growing digital landscape,” said Natalie O’Flaherty, vice president of analytics, Saatva, adding that Contentsquare’s capabilities integrated well with their existing tech stack and has allowed the company end-to-end visibility into the consumer journey.