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News Briefs

  • 1/30/2024

    Podium streamlines contact management

    Podium logo

    A leading customer messaging and payment platform is making it easier for users to track customer interactions and conversations.

    The new Podium feature, Contact Status, enables users to gain instant insights into where a customer stands in their business process. By customizing and organizing statuses, users can track customers through their journey.

    The Contact Status feature is designed to empower businesses to manage customer interactions seamlessly, communicate effectively, convert leads, and ultimately increase revenue. 

    Podium users can tailor contact statuses to align with their business workflows, such as "waiting for deposit” or "received final payment." The feature also provides the ability to add emojis and edit status descriptions to enable the creation of a more personalized user experience.

    Contact Status also enables Podium users to track customers that have received estimates but haven’t responded and send them reminders. Podium listened to customer feedback and incorporated highly requested features into Contact Status. The company plans to offer more integrations across the Podium platform and additional functionalities in features such as automation and reach out as users have feedback and questions. 

    "Your success is our priority, and Podium is committed to providing the tools you need to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape," Podium said in a company blog post.

  • 1/30/2024

    Nordstrom Rack expands 2024-2025 store openings; here are the locations

    Nordstrom continues to grow the footprint of its Rack outlet division, announcing two upcoming North Carolina locations.

    Nordstrom Rack will open a 32,000-sq.-ft. store at Triangle Town Place in Raleigh, N.C., in fall 2024. The shopping center is owned and managed by Global Net Lease. In spring 2025, the company will open at Sycamore Commons, in Matthews, N.C. The center is owned and managed by InvenTrust Properties.

    Earlier this month, Nordstrom Rack unveiled plans to open at Bell Tower, in Meyers, Fla. The center is owned by Madison Marquette; leased by Colliers and managed by Avison Young.

    Below is a list of Nordstrom Rack store openings planned for 2024 and 2025 (the list does not include the three three stores from above):

    • Houston, Tex. (Meyerland Plaza)
    • Omaha, Neb. (Village Pointe)
    • Noblesville, Ind. (Hamilton Town Center)
    • Franklin, Tenn. (Cool Springs Market)
    • Pinole, Calif. (Pinole Vista Crossing)
    • Kennesaw, Ga. (Barrett Place)
    • Elk Grove, Calif. (The Ridge Elk Grove)
    • Gilroy, Calif. (Gilroy Crossing)
    • Oceanside, Calif. (Pacific Coast Plaza)
    • Wheaton, Ill. (Danada Square East)
    • Snellville, Ga. (Presidential Markets)
    • Macedonia, Ohio (Macedonia Gateway)
    • Jacksonville Beach, Fla. (South Beach Regional)
    • Queen Creek, Ariz. (Queen Creek Marketplace)
    • Bay Shore, N.Y. (Gardiner Manor Mall)
    • San Mateo, Calif. (Bridgepoint Shopping Center)
    • San Diego, Calif. (Clairemont Town Square)
    • Mason, Ohio (Deerfield Towne Center)
    • San Antonio, Texas (Bandera Pointe)
    • Mooresville, N.C. (Mooresville Crossing)
    • Davis, Calif. (The Davis Collection)

    Nordstrom operates more than 350 Nordstrom, Nordstrom Local and Nordstrom Rack locations.

  • 1/29/2024

    Survey: Marketers fear losing audience share on social media

    social media icons on phone

    A large number of marketers are concerned about losing access to their brand or retailer’s fans on social media.

    According to a new survey from marketing platform Tint, 60% of marketers are worried about losing reach due to increasing fragmentation, dissatisfaction with platform content and changes in social media algorithms.

    A large majority (82%) of consumers are more likely to purchase new product varieties because of an online brand community. In addition, 69% of consumers prefer to purchase brands that they interact with in an online community. The same percentage of consumers say the brands they buy reflect who they are and are important to how they want to be perceived.

    Consumers continue to participate in online discourse, with 40% of consumers saying their involvement in online communities will increase in 2024. However, only 28% of marketers currently have a dedicated online brand community distinct from social media. 

    Tint found that 47% of brand marketers surveyed already own or are in the process of building an online brand community distinct from social media. A vast majority (85%) of marketers believe having a branded online community positively impacts core operations.

    "2024 is the year of owned brand communities and Zero Party Data," said Sameer Kamat, Tint CEO. "We have seen how quickly social platforms can change and fall out of favor. Brands are taking back their relationships with consumers."

  • 1/30/2024

    WHSmith to open 50-plus stores in airports across North America


    WHSmith is betting big on North America.

    The UK-based retailer is on track to open over 110 stores this year, including over 50 in North America, where it continues to make “excellent progress,” the company stated.

    “The growth opportunities in North America are substantial and there is a good pipeline of tenders,” stated group CEO Carl Cowling. “We have a strong airport store opening programme in the year with the majority of these stores due to open in the second half, as expected.”

    Cowling said the company is seeing passenger number growth and “strong “demand for its travel essentials categories.  

    WHSmith’s Marshall Retail Group’s (MRG) airport and resort business now represents approximately 50% of the revenue of its North American division.

    WHSmith is a leading global retailer in news, books and convenience for travelers, with more than 1,700 stores across 30 countries worldwide. the Company has a growing international business with over 600 stores primarily across the world's leading airports. 

    In November 2018, WHSmith acquired InMotion, a global technology retailer in U.S. airports, now operating over 120 stores, including stores in the UK, Spain and Australia. 

    In December 2019, WHSmith acquired Marshall Retail Group, a leading and fast-growing U.S. travel retailer with over 170 stores.

  • 1/29/2024

    CEO of Office Depot parent company to return after medical leave

    Office Depot

    The ODP Corporation has provided a leadership update.

    ODP, whose operating companies nclude Office Depot and Office Max, ODP Business Solutions and Varis, Inc, said that, following his temporary medical leave, Gerry Smith will resume his position as CEO effective February 1, 2024. Upon his return, Joseph S. Vassalluzzo, who had been appointed by the company’s board to assume Smith’s authority and responsibilities during his medical leave, will return to his sole role as independent non-executive chairman of the board.

    “I would like to thank everyone for the support they showed during my leave, and especially to Joe for stepping in and leading the company during my absence,” said Smith. “I am very excited about returning to the helm, and eager to continue driving our corporate transformation and maximizing value for our stakeholders.”

    In addition, David Szymanski, a member of ODP’s board, notified the company of his intention to retire from the board, effective February 13. Szymanski has served as a director of the company and its predecessor, OfficeMax Incorporated, since 2004.

    “It has been a pleasure for me to serve on ODP’s Board over the last decade,” Szymanski said, “With the company well positioned for future growth, and supported by an exceptional leadership team, I feel that now is the right time for me to step aside and provide others with the opportunity to participate and contribute to this great company as it moves forward.”

  • 1/29/2024

    Michaels enters educational purchasing partnership


    Creative supplies retailer Michaels has announced a new purchasing partnership in Texas that will allow public schools and organizations to order items in bulk.

    Michaels has been awarded the new Educational School Supplies cooperative contract through OMNIA Partners by Region 4 Education Service Center (Region 4), one of 20 regional education service centers in Texas.

    The publicly solicited cooperative contract enables public schools, organizations, or other eligible agencies registered with OMNIA Partners to shop more than 300,000 items through the MichaelsPro Education website and receive cost benefits including low minimums and free standard shipping on orders over $49. According to its website, Region 4 serves an eight-county area comprised of 48 public school districts and 41 open-enrollment charter schools.

    “Central to our mission at MichaelsPro Education is making it easier and more affordable for schools to purchase everything they need to infuse creativity into their curriculum and cultivate vibrant learning spaces,” said Bryan Waugaman, director of education and B2B sales at Michaels. “Through our agreement with OMNIA Partners, we’re enabling districts and teachers to spend less time thinking about the supply procurement process and more time fostering their students’ creativity and growth.”

    Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Michaels operates over 1,290 stores in 49 states and Canada.

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