Wal-Mart Tests Grocery Receipt Comparison Tool
August 28, 2012

Wal-Mart is testing a program that invites consumers to send the retailer a photo of a grocery receipt from one of its competitors. Within a couple of days, Wal-Mart responds with a calculation of how much the consumer would have saved by shopping at one of its stores.

How HauteLook is Solving Nordstrom's Online Problems
August 28, 2012

Nordstrom is working on its image. Like just about every other retailer out there, the 111-year-old department store is trying to upgrade with a younger, digital-friendly twist. In the past couple years, the brand has done a bunch of things to try and make that happen: It's courted Jason Wu (straight off the smash success of his Target collab) for a younger, contemporary line and it will be launching Topshop boutiques within its stores and on its website this fall. But probably its biggest push in the young-hip-online direction has been the acquisition of flash-sale site HauteLook.

IKEA's New Catalogs: Less Pine, More Pixels
August 24, 2012

That couch catching your eye in the 2013 edition of IKEA's new catalog may not be a couch at all. It is likely the entire living room was created by a graphic artist. In fact, much of the furniture and settings in the 324-page catalog are simply a collection of pixels and polygons arranged on a computer.

Nordstrom Rolling Out 1,500 Mobile Devices to Rack Stores
August 20, 2012

Following tests that showed mobile point of sale (POS) successfully sped up the checkout process in its Rack stores, Nordstrom will roll out approximately 1,500 of the devices to its 110 Rack units by the end of this year's third quarter. This deployment is in addition to the mobile POS technology already in use in Nordstrom's 117 full-line stores. "We are constantly adding to the functionality of our mobile point-of-sale devices and their use in our stores is increasing," said Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom during a recent conference call discussing second-quarter financial results. 

Why the Cloud is So Attractive to Retail Marketers
August 14, 2012

Cloud adoption is driven by the need of businesses to get the greatest value from technology budgets through better adoption of business applications, improved collaboration and increased agility. This is particularly relevant in retail, where marketing teams have to manage an increasing number of customer touchpoints — e.g., e-commerce sites, web-enabled smartphones, social networks, etc.

Question of the Week: Is a Mobile POS System Worth the Investment?
August 13, 2012

Last week came news that luxury handbag retailer Coach has joined a growing number of retailers in deploying mobile point-of-sale (POS) technology in its factory stores. The thinking is that the added flexibility of being able to check out anywhere in its stores will lead to happier customers and in turn repeat customers, ultimately resulting in higher store sales. Will that be the case or is a mobile POS system not worth the investment? Let us know your thoughts on the future of payment technologies — both in-store and online — by going to Retail Online Integration's Facebook page to comment. We'd love to get a conversation going on this important topic. Thanks!

Microsoft to Expand its Retail Footprint
August 10, 2012

Microsoft reportedly is expanding its retail footprint in advance of its big reveal of Windows 8. Analysts say it's a smart move even as some question whether the company can generate enough buzz to make Windows a viable alternative to the iOS-Android duopoly in the mobile device market. Its got to give consumers a reason to go out there and upgrade, said Israel Hernandez, senior analyst and managing director at MKM Partners LLC. 

Coach Pilots Mobile POS in Factory Stores, Boosts CapEx to $184M
August 9, 2012

Coach has joined the growing group of retailers deploying mobile point-of-sale technology as it seeks greater productivity and transaction throughput in its factory stores. The retailer also boosted its CapEx spending by nearly 25 percent this year, with another significant investment increase planned for fiscal 2013, in part to support technology and digital enhancements. CapEx spending for fiscal 2012, which ended June 30, 2012, totaled $184 million, up from $148 million spent the previous year, according to Coach CFO Jane Nielsen. The retailer projects an even bigger increase as much as 35 percent – for the current fiscal year.

Home Depot to Buy U.S. Home Systems for $94.9M
August 8, 2012

The Home Depot said Tuesday it agreed to acquire U.S. Home Systems Inc. for $94.9 million in an effort to expand its kitchen and bath resurfacing offerings. Atlanta-based Home Depot will pay $12.50 per share in cash for U.S. Home Systems, or about $94.9 million. U.S. Home Systems had about 7.6 million shares outstanding as of March 31. The offer is a 38 percent premium over its closing share price of $9.06 on Monday. The news sent the stock up $3.35, or 37 percent, to $12.41 in morning trading.

Glitch Prompts eBay to Cancel Listings and Issue Refunds
August 6, 2012

eBay cancelled what's thought to be thousands of listings over the weekend after a glitch wiped out critical data from the item descriptions. eBay sent an email to those affected promising to issue double refunds to sellers who paid insertion fees and must now edit the listings to add back in the data and then relist them. eBay sellers were initially alarmed over the weekend when some of their listings were cancelled due to supposed "Duplicate Listing" policy violations.