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Back To School Retail Survival Guide – Tips for Increasing Profits and Store Loyalty

by tensator-usa 29. July 2014 15:48

The Back To School (BTS) and Back To College (BTC) shopping season is upon us. Second only to the Holiday season, BTS and BTC shopping offers retailers a great opportunity to increase their profits and their reputation of being the "go to" source for all things back to school or college. All too often however, retailers don’t order enough or the right kind of supplies, price them wisely or worse, fail to keep the items stocked and displayed attractively and logically.   

According to a recent USAToday article, back-to-school shopping is no longer a frenzied one-day spending spree. Families are spending more, but they are doing so over a longer period of time as they search for the best deals. This means repeat business and could lead to additional spending provided they have a great experience the first time.  

Families are expected to spend $670 on average on back-to-school shopping, up 5% from last year, according to the latest data from the National Retail Federation. That includes spending on school supplies, clothes and electronics. With cost conscious parents and students, and lots of in-store and online options to choose from, retailers need to make their in-store experience is one that consumers will rave about to their friends and families and return to, for additional shopping.  

Here are some easy to implement in-store retail tips to help shoppers successfully score all their BTS/BTC supplies:

  • Designate a BTS/BTC space in your store and make sure you have bold and exciting signage that helps shoppers find what they need and helps create excitement as they visualize using or wearing new products.
  • If you plan on demoing new technology, branded solutions or you are promoting celebrity, sport teams/campus themed items – consider investing in Tensator’s Virtual Assistant next generation digital signage solution with the industry’s smallest footprint and watch the items fly off the shelves!
  • Make sure you stay on top of how merchandise is displayed; shelving should be accessible (items shouldn’t be placed too high or too low) and the right kind of items should be placed on the shelves so there is a logical flow to the display (see related Chain Store Age article on "Impulse Merchandising - and Why Selling a Toaster on the Checkout Line Won't Fly").
  • Make the best possible use of every square inch of retail space and use in-queue merchandising and impulse towers for point of sale must haves – from hygiene, safety, dorm or locker room items.
  • Ensure your checkout line is clearly defined using Tensabarriers®to help efficiently guide your customers on their way.

Creating a visually appealing, well stocked, and a service first in-store experience this BTS/BTC season will help increase your profits and ensure your customers return again and again. To explore any or all of these tips further please contact our customer journey specialists

In-Store vs. Online Shopping Experience Survey

by tensator-usa 14. July 2014 15:56

Do retailers need to up their game to avoid continual losses to online rivals?

Consumers have more choices than ever before on how to shop. Armed with their mobile devices they have instant access to pricing and availability information; they can even choose Click and Collect to pick up items shipped to store or have them shipped direct to home. How does all this impact the in-store experience?

Will Webrooming, the practice of researching items online and then purchasing them in-store or Showrooming, browsing for items in a store and purchasing them online later, win the consumer heart? Are shoppers willing to wait in line or prefer going online? Is there a sustainable business model for both, and are there any crossovers?

Take a moment to fill out our in-store vs. online shopping survey and let us know what you think about the latest trends and factors impacting the shopping experience.

 

Impulse Merchandising, and why selling a toaster on the checkout line won’t fly

by tensator-usa 9. July 2014 21:37

The days of the mega big box are over, retail is shrinking and store footprints are getting smaller.

Gondolas, shelving systems and displays need to be extra space efficient in small footprints to make the most use of revenue per square foot.Impulse merchandising is a great way to maximize smaller footprints while capturing shopper interest and boosting incremental revenue especially as customers wait in line for checkout. The problem is, too many retailers try and stick large and pricey items like a toaster or a microwave on a checkout line shelving system or display thinking that because of where it is placed — it is now an impulse item. 

So are there some types of products that work better for impulse merchandising?  The answer is a resounding, yes.  

To learn more, check out Tensator Senior Business Development Manager Keith Carpentier’s perspective on impulse merchandising in this Chain Store Age article

40 years of Bar codes and the End of the Long Checkout Line

by tensator-usa 30. June 2014 19:11

A recent Globe and Mail article noted the 40 year anniversary of the introduction of the bar code to retailers and consumers alike.The anniversary commemorates the purchase of a 67-cent (U.S.) package of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio, the first-ever transaction in the world to involve scanning a bar code.That pack of gum, now on display at the Smithsonian,marked the beginning of an era in which cashiers no longer had to type in long product numbers and businesses could keep better track of their sales and inventories.According to the article, a 1970s ad from food giant Kraft trying to sell consumers on the bar code’s benefits boasted it was “the beginning of the end of the long checkout line.”

While bar code technology has impacted the speed of checking out items at retail stores and helping people check in at various sporting, trade, cultural venues and transportation hubs–it hasn’t been the end of the long checkout line–but rather an integral part of the many advancements that have been made over the course of many years in queue management to help ensure the efficiency of checkout and check-in lines.   

Like our introduction of single line electronic call forward which has been proven to reduce walkaways by 96%, to the use of next generation digital signage and virtual queue management systems, Tensator applauds the 40 year anniversary of the bar code as we continue to forge ahead in delivering innovative technology solutions that help better manage the customer journey.To explore our complete range of offerings, please contact our queue management experts.

Airports and Airlines Easing the Passenger Journey

by tensator-usa 6. June 2014 13:17

 

Although summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, Memorial Day weekend kicked off the traditional summer travel season with airports and airlines gearing up for extra volume. Nationally, airlines expect to carry over 210 million passengers this summer, up 1.5 percent from the same season last year. According to the industry group A4A, international travel will reach an all-time high with 29.9 million people on international flights from the U.S. this summer.

Extra-long lines at airport check-in, customs, and baggage claim can put added pressure on employees and travelers alike as temperatures and tempers rise.  But by combining tried and true queue management with both low and high tech solutions, both inefficiency and frustration can minimized to positively impact passenger loyalty and an airport’s or airline’s bottom-line.

Aside from tried and true queue management solutions,forward thinking airports like Boston’s Logan and Washington’s Dulles International have already successfully implemented next generation digital signage at customs and at baggage claim areas to minimize wait time and help increase employee efficiencies by freeing them up to focus on more critical tasks at hand.

By leveraging Tensator’s Virtual Assistants – both airports have successfully made the passenger journey safer and quicker.

 At Boston Logan Airport captivating Virtual Assistants deployed at Terminals A, B, C and E provide essential security information including messages on ID and boarding passes, federal regulations regarding liquids, garment removal and x-ray machine instructions.  Messages are delivered 24/7 in both English and Spanish, providing passengers with consistent, surround sound audio accompanied by highly visual information to ensure passengers clearly understand all the information they need to know in order to improve efficiency, passenger flow and their overall airport experience. 

In the International Arrivals Building at Dulles International, the custom designed Tensator Virtual Assistant captivates passengers with its 3D look and feel, providing essential Customs and Border Protection information and guidance for connecting flights round the clock. Over 3,000 daily passengers are provided with consistent, surround sound audio and visual information ensuring they have ready access to the information they need to know – from instructions on the preparations they need to make before going through customs, to how to get to connecting flights quickly and efficiently.

Tensator’s airport and airline queue management solutions add safety, security, and efficiency to managing the increased flow of passengers. In fact, Fast Company named Tensator one of The World's Most Innovative Companies – among the Top 10 companies delivering innovation in the travel industry. Tensator has been recognized for the valuable role the Tensator Virtual Asistants have taken on at airports -- speaking in multiple languages, answering passengers' questions about security, flight and gate locations, and providing overall airport navigation - round the clock - freeing up airline staff and security teams to focus on critical and important responsibilities.   

To learn more about what Tensator can do for you, talk to one of our passenger journey experts today.

Clarins Wows Customers With Virtual Assistant – a RetailTouchPoints Feature Success Story

by tensator-usa 4. June 2014 14:52

While some consumers who visit department stores are shopping with a purpose, others are browsing casually, hoping that something catches their eye. If executed successfully, in-store signage and merchandise displays can help pique shopper interest, leading to increased engagement and overall sales. 

Clarins Fragrance Group is luring shoppers with new virtual assistants designed to promote “Alien Eau Extraordinaire,” a new perfume from its Thierry Mugler brand. Clarins Fragrance Group unveiled full-height Virtual Assistants from Tensator in three flagship stores. A next-generation digital signage solution, the Virtual Assistant creates the illusion of a real person. Adorned in a shimmering dress and glowing outline, the goddess-like character creates a powerful and intriguing image for department store customers.

“The installations definitely caused a wow factor and the sites really drew a crowd,” said Vicky Barrett, Design and Merchandising Manager for Clarins Fragrance Group, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. Click here to read the full feature retail success story on the Retail TouchPoints website.

VA Health Care Wait Times - A Need for Scheduling Transparency

by tensator-usa 21. May 2014 16:47

The 1,700 hospitals and clinics in the VA system — the nation's largest integrated healthcare network — handle over 80 million outpatient visits a year. 

As seen in recent news coverage, the wait times for patients have been inconsistent and unreliable, resulting in some cases in fatalities and overall in fostering nationwide frustration and distrust. Aside from inconsistent policies across VA medical centers -- outdated scheduling systems that even if used, have not been able to effectively handle medical appointment scheduling or ensure compliancy.  

While many issues need to be resolved, a critical area of focus for the VA must be empowering their patients with transparency into the scheduling of their medical appointments. Given the availability of technology driven advancements such as virtual queuing, this is one major aspect that can be fixed easily and cost efficiently while ensuring compliancy.

Today's virtual queue management solutions allow patients to see the next available dates and times when they can book their own appointments. Virtual queuing enables appointments to be booked either onsite at reception, via self-service kiosks, online and via mobile devices including Android smartphones, iPhones or tablets. The system automatically ensures patient, doctor and procedure match up and the systems can be customized to meet specific requirements. Real-time statistical data gained from a virtual queue management system further enables decision makers to ensure swifter appointment times, improved operational efficiencies and increased patient satisfaction by matching correct staff members to patient requirements and even optimize available resources to deliver patient service level improvements and cost savings.

By using a virtual queue management system, transparency in booking appointments can even help identify and mitigate problems that contribute to wait times. It’s time to bring this kind of advanced scheduling queue management to resolve the VA Health Care wait time issues.   

With an American heritage dating back to 1881, Tensator has a wealth of experience in helping its customers efficiently manage wait times. Contact Tensator queue management experts to see how we can help bring transparency to patient appointment scheduling with cutting edge virtual queue management solutions.

Shoplifting Costs Retailers $37 Billion Annually – Automated Gates are an Affordable Deterrent

by tensator-usa 1. May 2014 16:10

A recent Miami Herald story headlines how officials were able to bust a $15 million retail theft ring – arresting 23 people who appeared to be ordinary shoplifters trolling pharmacies and supermarkets day after day “swiping pricey diabetes strips, pain killers and heartburn medication” in what turned out to be a major organized crime racket.

As noted, most of the stolen goods were small items easy to hide, and had the possibility of a quick resale. Items like fashion accessories, jeans, lingerie, Apple products, electronic games, mobile device accessories and OTC drugs disappear from stores to the tune of $35 million per day. Officials in the article go on to say that shoplifted goods costs retailers nationwide up to $37 billion annually, driving prices up for everybody.

To combat this astronomical loss, retailers are turning to cost effective deterrents.  Access Control solutions from Tensator are a proven first line of defense. Take a look at this recent post to see how shoplifters were successfully thwarted.

Tensator’s Automatic Gates successfully discourage and prevent shoplifters from walking out with stolen merchandise in bags, or in their pockets, or pushing out shopping carts with stolen goods from stores. Once the gate is forced, an alarm sounds, and staff is instantly alerted.The gates also prevent flash robs – by preventing mob exodus.At unused checkout lanes, wall-mounted Tensabarriers® effectively block shoplifters from making their escape and Tensator’s single line call forward systems help reduce 'sweethearting' a form of employee theft where a customer chooses their cashier, usually a friend, who only scans the lower value items in their basket or cart.  

While it is a testament to everyone involved in rounding up the retail theft ring, retailers can help deter theft by making sure shoplifters think twice. If your store is a target for shoplifters, Tensator’s access control experts can help you implement a cost-effective and proven first line of defense against retail shrinkage.

Tensator Virtual Assistant Quenches WSWA Attendees Thirst for Knowledge about TY KU Sake

by tensator-usa 15. April 2014 14:55

Last week at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV, Tensator was invited to join TY KU, the world’s smoothest sake and spirits company and VeeV, innovator of superfruit cocktails at the 71st Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention.

Tensator’s Virtual Assistant next generation digital signage provided attendees with deep, rich, and of course highly visual information on TY KU Sake  –  The Tensator Virtual Assistant covered everything  you need to know about TY KU Sake -- from how the sake is prepared, how to enjoy various different kinds of TY KU Sake and even provided recommendations on best food pairings and how to serve.

Attendees’ thirst for knowledge about TY KU Sake was quenched and their taste buds were prepped and ready to try some!

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Advice and knowledge | event | Exhibitions | General news

Tensabarriers Showcase and Protect University of Michigan Solar Car

by tensator-usa 7. April 2014 16:05

University of Michigan Solar Car Team is a student-run organization that designs, builds and races unique solar-electric vehicles. Since its establishment in 1990, the team has built 12 custom solar-electric vehicles and won 7 National Championships, establishing itself as America’s #1 team.

Just recently, the team exhibited its newest state-of-the-art car, “Generation,” at  the Tech Tip-Off session of the Automotive Manufacturing Summit and Symposium presented by Electro-Matic and Siemens. 

Tensator, a sponsor of the University of Michigan Solar Car, provided its world famous patented Tensabarriers to clearly define the showcase area and establish the necessary boundaries needed to ensure Generation’s solar array was kept safe from curious fingertips. 

“Using the Tensabarriers helps us to project the professional image we strive to uphold and they define a 360 degree viewing space that also prevents people from crowding in and touching or accidentally damaging the solar array or the car,” said Mikhail Gorelik, Business Director, University of Michigan Solar Car Team. 

“Tensator USA congratulates the hard work and dedication of the University of Michigan Solar Car Team, said Darrell Zorn, Business Development Manager, Tensator.“Our Tensabarriers have a rich history of innovation in guiding and protecting people while clearly designating the best viewing spaces.We are proud to be a sponsor and delighted that our Tensabarriers are helping ensure “Generation” is displayed professionally and that this state-of-the-art investment is well protected.”

The Tensabarriers will continue to travel with the team around the world.  This summer, the team will race from Austin, Texas to St. Paul, Minnesota to defend its championship. Tensator hopes its Tensabarriers will be used to define the winner’s circle for the University of Michigan Solar Car Team. 

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