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launch of its first hi-tech flagship superstore.


The location of Kiddicare’s new 33,000-square-foot superstore at Nottingham’s Castle Marina Park (pictured) was – perhaps unsurprisingly for a company founded on internet shopping – chosen by a social media fan vote earlier this year. When Morrisons acquired Kiddicare for £70 million early in 2011, it not only bought the UK’s online leader in its category, it gained the technology platform and expertise that created it. And, even though the pureplay already had a Peterborough store, it now has the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket behind it. Retail Technology caught up with Kiddicare chief executive, Scott Weavers-Wright as well as recent recruit and head of e-commerce, Paul Allen, to find out what role technology is now playing in the retailer’s multichannel evolution. “We’ve created a great customer

journey,” Weavers-Wright said. “To do this we really have technology- enabled the new store. We learned a lot from the kiosks we first installed in Peterborough.” He said the updated kiosks in the new store, running new IBM WebSphere and Endeca search-enabled user interfaces, give


he online baby products retailer is targeting store- based growth with the recent

the customer an experience of, “effectively browsing the web as opposed to a traditional kiosk”. Allen added that the kiosks now

incorporate barcode scanners so customers can carry out price checks. And specialist sections, like the car seat area, offer advanced queuing technology that can text customers when a sales associate is available, leaving them free to browse the rest of the store. “We’ve also enabled free customer Wi-Fi,” Allen said. “In return, we ask for an email address and push that information into our CRM [customer relationship management] programme, which ties back into the single customer view ambitions we have online.”

The retailer has also introduced

baby gift lists to further tie the store experience back into its online proposition. And it plans to add a social ‘crowdsourcing’ element to its list service in subsequent releases by allowing groups of friends to

contribute to purchasing gift items. The introduction of a digital signage network and 3,000 electronic shelf-edge labels (ESLs) is enabling consistent pricing, agile and efficient discounting and targeted promotions using existing central systems; while a click & collect service is also due to go live soon.

Allen highlighted how the technology investment in Kiddicare’s technology platforms, including IBM WebSphere, Endeca, Monetate, MS Navision and Salesforce, for its online operations, as well as its kiosks, apps and stores, has given it its competitive edge. “The ESLs are just an extension of that, for example, where we’ve taken out the operational time and cost of printing paper labels and distributing them,” he said. Weavers-Wright concluded: “Mobile is game changer. Stores are becoming showrooms where the customer is in control and wants transparency.”

Reiss, the international men and women’s fashion brand, has introduced iPads across its UK and US stores with a new managed Wi-Fi network. The Meraki Wi-Fi network, supplied by the retailer’s existing network

communications provider Vodat International, is designed to complement its multichannel offering and give customers full visibility of its entire product range. Alex Dixon, business systems manager at Reiss, said: “We identified a gap between the products we offered in our stores and those on our website and needed to address this. With the introduction of iPads customers are able to browse the website instore and can purchase additional items. “The Wi-Fi running the iPads is managed using cloud-based technology,” he added. “This has given us a centralised and manageable view of the estate. Store staff have access to the retail intranet, ‘The Clothes Line,’ giving them access to up-to-date information on store operations. Since the introduction of iPads we have seen an uplift in incremental sales and the project is on target to pay for itself in less than six months.”


retail brand L.K.Bennett is rolling out management module StoreActive, part of the ActiveSeries enterprise resource planning (ERP) retail suite from MNP, an integrated instore ordering platform that provides click & collect or home delivery services, with plans to add multichannel returns management.

u Waitrose TV, the first purely food-related online video channel from a retailer, will launch later in the autumn. Designed in conjunction with Red Bee Media, it will offer customers watching on their computers, tablets or smartphones a ‘buy ingredients’ button to click though and purchase recipe ingredients or related products online.

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