Retail Intelligence In Brief: April 2007


Paxar, Big Space Debut RFID magicmirror
Paxar Corp. and The Big Space Ltd. have introduced the RFID magicmirror, which provides consumers with an interactive shopping experience while trying on clothes. When a customer or sales associate brings a Paxar RFID-tagged piece of clothing in front of the magicmirror, the mirror displays a view of content including an in-depth description of the garment, size and color availability, mix-and-match style guides and suggested accessories. Customers can request different sizes or contact a salesperson by touching the magicmirror without leaving the fitting room. The mirrors, which cost $7,000, are designed to replace traditional dressing room mirrors and do not take up additional floor space. Retailers can set up advertising on the mirrors to help defray the cost.
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ESPRIT Invests in SAP
ESPRIT, the international lifestyle brand, has selected SAP for Retail as part of a strategy to increase sales, support global growth and further integrate its vertical business model. The IT investment also includes the SAP Apparel and Footwear application."We selected SAP because of the broad functional coverage SAP provides to both retail and wholesale processes," said Thomas Grote, president, ESPRIT Brand. "We believe SAP solutions will help us - in understanding our customers, anticipating their needs and then being able to execute better and inspire them to shop with us again and again."
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Perry Ellis Selects SkillNet for POS Rollout
Perry Ellis International is working with SkillNet and using its StoreHub solution to implement a next-generation, Java-based POS solution from Oracle Retail that is being rolled out across its stores worldwide. The system will be integrated with merchandising, inventory and sales audit systems. SkillNet's process-based and templated store integration solution will enable Perry Ellis to reduce the time and cost of implementing a new POS system while also providing the infrastructure for an enhanced customer experience. "Along with its consulting services, SkillNet's StoreHub technology ensures we can go from project start to pilot in a dramatically reduced time and at a significantly lower implementation cost," said Luis Paez, CIO, Perry Ellis International. Because of its focus on retail growth (both brick and mortar and online), Perry Ellis needed better visibility and "one picture of inventory in retail across the company," Paez told Apparel. He gave a conservative estimate that Perry Ellis would realize a 15 percent increase in sales "just due to having the right merchandise at the right time." StoreHub uses pre-fabricated integration process templates, application connectors for industry-leading applications and data transformation logic to speed the integration between store systems and other applications in the retail enterprise. It uses business standards such as NRF IXRetail and technology standards such as BPEL and XML Web services to provide the technology foundation.
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ShopKo Upgrades with SAS
Discount retailer ShopKo has upgraded its merchandise planning capabilities by investing in more pieces of the SAS Integrated Merchandise Planning suite."We're building up the portfolio of products that we use to take advantage of the suite's enhanced assortment planning features and financial planning capabilities," said Matt Lynch, senior vice president and CIO of ShopKo."SAS will help us plan our merchandise assortments more effectively," he continued, noting that the SAS suite is helping the retailer balance assortments and space plans to enable sales and margin improvements.
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i2 Addresses Multi-Channel Shopping
i2 is developing i2 Customer Order Management for Retail, designed to deliver the tools retailers need to better manage multi-channel shopping requirements, including consumers' desire to start the shopping process in one channel and finish it in another."Studies have shown that customers are about 20 percent more profitable [to the company] if they shop multiple channels," said Adam Hatch, director of retail industry marketing for i2. Hatch said the solution has strong, built-in workflow management capabilities. Specifically, it will offer:

  • the ability to allocate, promise and source to configuration, capacity and availability;
  • global visibility into demand, supply, capacity and capabilities across the supply chain;
  • the ability to track order status regardless of what channel was used to place the order and where the product is in the supply chain;
  • the ability to support the complex multi-channel selling model; and
  • the ability to leverage existing systems and solutions investments.

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Wilsons Leather Extends Deal with GSI Commerce
Wilsons Leather is extending its agreement with GSI Commerce, and will be running a variety of e-commerce functions on the GSI platform, including web technology, logistics, customer care, online marketing, e-mail marketing and design services."Wilsons Leather has a much better e-commerce business today as a result of partnering with GSI," said Wilsons Leather director of merchandising and e-commerce Teri Hilden.
Wilsons Leather launched the GSI platform in 2004.
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Raymark Announces Xpert-Series Version 7.0
Raymark has released Xpert-Series Version 7.0, the latest upgrade to its integrated head office merchandise management and store POS solution. The enterprise solution runs on Microsoft's SQL 2005 database. New features include advanced marketing functionality for head office operations with the ability to attach images at the product level to be viewed throughout the application. Version 7.0 also enables retailers to create catalogs, perform price change simulations and track marketing events, including advertising or promotional campaigns. The application also offers an accounts receivables module with billing and end-of-period functions to manage house charge accounts.
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NSB Releases Sales Audit 5.0
NSB has unveiled Connected Retailer Sales Audit 5.0, with renewed functionality. Developed on Microsoft's .NET architecture, the solution detects and corrects errors before data is fed into enterprise systems. Sales Audit also may be used on Microsoft Vista. Key features include a centralized transaction "datamart" (allowing data capture across all sales channels and from any POS device regardless of the vendor); auditing by exception; and greater analysis and reporting capabilities, including store balance, transaction list and sub-ledger. The reporting system uses Microsoft Reporting Services, which allows for flexible exports, searches and the ability to view reports via the web.
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Cognos Launches Merchandising Solution
Cognos has launched a retail performance solution designed to help chains improve top-down, bottom-up planning for merchandise sales, margin and gross profit by division, channel, department or category. The Cognos Strategic Merchandise Planning Blueprint provides a performance management framework - including planning, metrics and reporting - to help retail managers and executives meet sales objectives and profitability goals through an improved merchandise planning process, Cognos said. This process is synchronized with other parts of the organization, particularly finance, operations and marketing."Apparel retailers have difficulty with consensus between merchandisers and the rest of the organization, and we find that they are looking for better modeling tools," Patricia Vekich Waldron, retail industry director, Cognos, told Apparel. Cognos worked with Columbia Sportswear on the prototype, which was used for planning the brand's fall 2007 season at the wholesale, manufacturing and retail levels.
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Saks to Roll Out Retaligent
Saks Inc. plans to install Retaligent Solutions' Clarience 1:1 clienteling software enterprise wide by 2008. The retail chain, which operates Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, has piloted the solution in three stores, and will deploy it in 17 more stores this year before moving onto the full 54-store installation. Stephen I. Sandove, CEO of Saks Inc., said the firm chose Retaligent because "it's probably the best in the U.S. in terms of capabilities such as direct access to the Internet and e-mailing customers. It also sends messages to associates to remind them to contact customers on merchandise arrivals or special events."
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Elastic Path Offers Single-Page Checkout for Online Stores
Elastic Path Software has introduced Elastic Path One Page, a single-page checkout technology that allows returning customers to complete online orders with a single click. The solution uses 100 percent browser-based Asynchronous JavaScript, and is powered by XML (AJAX). Elastic Path says that AJAX technology enables web pages to be more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user makes a change. With a goal of reducing shopping cart abandonment, One Page provides customers with a constant snapshot of order details. The contents of the shopping cart can be adjusted at any time without losing existing data, enabling customers to, for example, see the effect of an applied promotion code without ever leaving the checkout process. Additionally, by maintaining a small size footprint, One Page loads in less than half the time of competing flash-based offerings, according to the firm.
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