Retailers leverage technology to increase traffic

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 152 views 

In a season of tepid retail, traffic big box operators are out to rustle up better back-to-school business by engaging shoppers online.

Beginning Friday, Target Stores will launch its “Summer Cyber Week” sale that runs through July 28, expanded two days this year featuring online exclusive deals for electronics, apparel and baby gear and some 2,000 items.

"Over the past two years our Black Friday in July sales have been a big hit with our savvy guests who appreciate bargains," Casey Carl, president, Multi-channel at Target said this week on CNCB.

Zack’s equity research analysts reported: “We believe that Target’s efficient marketing, multi-channel strategy, product innovation, compelling pricing strategy and new merchandise assortments, should help to drive comparable-store sales and operating margins in the long term. We expect the company to gain market share, and believe that more focus on consumable items should boost sales and earnings in a sluggish consumer environment.”

The Bentonville-based retail behemoth makes no secret that it doesn’t play the price promotions game but instead offers an “everyday low price” guarantee.

That said, lackluster sales and tepid traffic in June across the retail landscape has brick and mortar giants like Wal-Mart leveraging their technology know-how to engage customers where ever they find them.

Wal-Mart launched an online compilation of thousands of classroom supply lists representing schools in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. This initiative was driven by its @WalmartLabs division to make it easier for parents to get their back-to-school supplies online and in stores, the company said Wednesday (July 18).

Classrooms by Walmart enables moms to find their students’ classroom supply lists and purchase the items on or at their local Walmart store. Walmart is the first major retailer to digitize thousands of school supply lists from across the country with additional lists to be added daily throughout the summer. Local school supply lists will also be available in Walmart stores.

Retail analyst, Stewart Samuel of IGD Global, notes that Walmart’s efforts to digitize school supply lists provides convenience for shoppers by leveraging its multi-channel capabilities, through enabling them to either order directly through the website or print off a shopping list and go to the nearest store. He said innovation is at the heart of @WalmartLabs, and consumers can expect further initiatives as the retailer stretches its marketing scope to embrace the latest technology.

“Walmart classroom follows on the company’s ‘Shopycat’ and ‘Get on the shelf’ initiatives, and demonstrates the innovative and entrepreneurial approach that is being taken by @WalmartLabs to drive the retailer’s multi-channel operations,” Samuel said.

He said as shoppers face budgetary pressures given modest economic recovery, retailers across the board are firmly focused on delivering value.

“Walmart’s value credentials should serve it well over the back-to-school period which is a key trading time for retailers in the U.S,” Samuel added.