Whether it’s a high-end specialty store or a big-box discounter, flooring can go a long way toward setting the right mood — and making shoppers feel comfortable. “It’s naturally innate in us to look down at the ground,” said Nathan Lee Colkitt, CEO, Colkitt&Co., an architectural firm with offices in San Diego and New York City. “If we get the lay of the land, we feel safer and more comfortable.”
Signage continues to gain importance in overall branding efforts, as retailers seek to differentiate themselves with signs tailored to local markets and to create department ambiance. And increasingly, there is a lot more participation by marketing and advertising departments in developing signage programs.
“It is not just the construction or store planning departments anymore,” said Tony Camilletti, executive VP, D/Fab, Madison Heights, Mich.
Social media giant Facebook is generating lots of buzz with the debut of its app launcher, Facebook Home, which turns existing Android smartphones into a Facebook-centric mobile device. (App launchers are applications that allow users to customize the home screen on their personal devices and add various other functionalities to it.)
The use of mobile devices by sales assistants and other associates presents retailers with new opportunities — and new challenges. Of the latter, one of the most critical has do with managing and maintaining the devices. According to one expert, the help desk can't be expected to do it all.
"Every device needs to be configured and supported and managed in some way," said Alan Dabbiere, chairman of AirWatch, a provider of mobile security and enterprise mobile management, in a presentation at the National Retail Federation Conference & Expo.
After a successful pilot, Best Buy Canada is expanding its use of fully integrated, enterprise mobile point (mPOS) solutions on its selling floor. The new, tablet-based technology has improved customer service, including reducing checkout times, and staff productivity.
Retailers are putting an increased emphasis and value on how and when they use their workforce. And in doing so, they are on the right path, according to research from The Wharton School. The study found the associate payroll was the most important factor in determining revenue. A mere additional dollar (properly applied) on labor could reap rewards of $4 to $28 in return.