Friday, December 20, 2013

Phone App For Finding Parking Spaces At The Mall

American's love to find the closest parking space near a store and the new smartphone apps like ParkMe are being developed to help shoppers find parking availability in shopping malls at Christmas.

“What happens when there’s no spots? People drive around and become frustrated,” said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation. “Who wants to start their shopping experience frustrated?”

The app from ParkMe (Santa Monica, Calif.) tracks more than 28,000 locations worldwide, including shopping malls, airports, parking garages and other congested areas where parking can be a problem.
 “If there’s a way to get in off the beaten path, you can reduce stress,” said Sam Friedman, ParkMe’s co-founder and ceo.

The app works through a magnetic loop at the garage or lot that clocks the number of times the gate lifts to admit or release a car. ParkMe also lets a customer reserve a spot in certain locations.
Taubman Centers Inc. (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) has installed sensors in the garages of two of its 22 U.S. malls to show shoppers on which floors they could find open parking spots. Installation costs $50,000 to $100,000 per location.

Simon Property Group Inc. (Indianapolis) has said that use of its free app in its more than 300 properties, which includes a feature that helps shoppers locate their parked car, had increased eightfold in the last two years.

The New York Times reports that there are other parking apps gaining traction as well, like Parkopedia, which is linked to 26,000 lots in North America, and QuickPay, which plans to start in hundreds of malls in the U.S. next year.

 “Parking is the gateway to the shopping experience,” said QuickPay’s founder, Barney Pell. “It can mean the success or failure of your whole business.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kohl's Open 24 hours a day from Dec 20th to Dec 24

Kohl’s Corp. (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) has announced it will conduct a 100-hour shopathon in all 1158 stores the week before Christmas.

The retailer’s program will begin at 6 a.m. on December 20 and run until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Kohl’s was one of the retailers to open on Thanksgiving Day, doing business from 8 p.m. that Thursday straight through until midnight Friday.  It hasn’t yet commented on the results of that strategy, but estimates have been that for all retailers sales rose just 1 percent over the holiday weekend despite the extra hours.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Google building Pirate Ships or Floating Retail Stores?

Google Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) is reportedly building a barge on an island in San Francisco Bay for the purpose of launching a fleet of floating retail stores.

The web site says the barge, near Treasure Island between San Francisco and Oakland, is part of a $35 million project to construct the stores and then dock them in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

SFGate, relying on a confidential budget report it obtained, says the secretive project is code-named “Hangar 3,” an apparent reference to the Treasure Island hangar where much of the construction is being done.

Each barge is supposedly to be stacked with 80 shipping containers and flanked by rows of sails. The report, from barge-builder Turner Construction Co., an international contractor based in New York, says each barge is intended to be used as a "floating retail store."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Amazon Opens Retail Stores (Seattle) has been operating a pop-up shop in the Westfield San Francisco Centre to sell Kindle tablets and e-readers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Amazon shop is selling the devices, as well as branded covers and power adapters, from vending machines. There are sample Kindles on display for shoppers to test.
In another area of the mall, a small Amazon booth – in front of a Microsoft store – allows shoppers to test the Kindle’s self-lighting screen under simulated low-light and outdoor lighting scenarios.
Amazon’s challenge in selling Kindles has been that customers don’t have a place to play with them before buying.
The Journal says Amazon has long been expected to open brick-and-mortar storefronts, just as Apple and Microsoft have, and this installation hints at what a retail front from Amazon might look like. Kindle Paperwhite e-readers are displayed on shelves beside well-worn hardcover books, like a volume of Lord Byron’s poetry and Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers.”
An Amazon spokeswoman said the temporary stores are in a handful of malls only as part of a marketing campaign, reiterating previous company statements that it had no immediate retail store ambitions.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Jay Z Cancellation

Barneys New York and Shawn Carter (singer Jay Z) have canceled a launch party for the singer’s new fragrance initiative and otherwise changed substantial aspects of their partnership.
The shifts are primarily Carter’s response to the racial profiling charges that have been made by minority customers against the retailer’s Madison Avenue flagship store in New York.
“I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling,” said Carter in a statement on Friday night.
Initially, Carter and Barneys had announced that 25 percent of all sales from the collaboration would benefit the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides educational assistance to urban youths. Now, said Barneys, it will “donate the remaining 75 percent — so that 100 percent of sales from the ‘BNY SCC’ Collection benefit the foundation.
“Additionally, on November 20, we will donate to the foundation 10 percent of all retail sales from Barneys New York flagship stores nationwide and, with a guarantee of raising a minimum of $1 million.”
Carter is not expected to appear at the store on Wednesday, however, and there are no plans for a party celebrating the introduction of his fragrance and product line, which includes collaborations with designers like Proenza Schouler and Balenciaga.
Last month, two young African-American shoppers maintained that they had been wrongfully detained by the police after making purchases from the store. Barneys has continued to deny that anyone from the store notified the police, and has since met with various African-American leaders to discuss issues of racial profiling.
Carter, an important and popular figure in the African-American community along with his wife Beyonce, had been planning this partnership with Barneys that included the launch of products, events and a substantial amount of contributions to his foundation. After the racial issues involving the retailer, Carter has been under some pressure to pull out of the partnership.
“The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem,” he said in his statement. “I will not leave the outcome to others.”