Big-box retailers are developing indoor navigation tools to help shoppers find what they want. Some, including Target and Walgreens, have stored floor layout plans in smartphone apps. Walmart and Home Depot apps now can display aisle numbers for searched items. In May Walmart launched an "In-Store" mode in its app, and within two weeks about 15% of page views were from shoppers. But with mobile apps becoming a key sales channel, they've begun adding coupons, prices, store hours and bar code scanners. About 20% of retail sales are lost because shoppers can't find items, estimates Nathan Pettyjohn, CEO of Aisle411, …
The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts is locking horns with oven manufacturer Thermador over a marketing campaign that features Child. The foundation is suing BSH Home Appliances Corp., the manufacturer of Thermador ovens, because the company has used images and quotes from Julia Child on its website, in advertising, and on social media. Thermador's countersuit argues that its advertisments are simply stating a historical fact: Child loved her Thermador oven.
Los Angeles may be the next Silicon Valley. In 1995, before the Internet bubble was in full swing, Southern California attracted $1.3 billion of venture capital investment, second only to Silicon Valley with $1.8 billion. New England was a distant third with $0.8 billion. Then the tide shifted to New England. But over the last five years Southern California closed the gap with New England. This year SoCal again attracted more investment than any other region outside of Silicon Valley. More than New England and nearly twice as much as New York.
A new study suggests Whole Foods Market's price cutting is helping it gain share. A Wells Fargo Bank study found Whole Foods' prices beat those of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway by 7% on a basket of 100 items. The study also found that Trader Joe's prices were 4% lower than those of Whole Foods, but Whole Foods beat Sprouts Farmers Market on price by 3%, The Fresh Market by 14% and Amazon Fresh by 27%, in addition to Safeway.
Chain Store Age
Dunkin' Donuts announced the signing of multi-unit store development agreements with four franchise groups to develop 29 new restaurants in Houston and Waco, Texas, over the next several years. The Texas expansion is part of Dunkin' Donuts' goal of doubling store count over the next two decades. The company's new limited partnership agreement with the Jerry Jones Family and Troy Aikman promises 50 new Dunkin' Donuts restaurants throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth region over the next five years.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to study whether cell phones can be used safely during a flight. Current policy requires an airline to determine that interference isn't a safety risk before allowing their use. LaHood wants to help. "We must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight," he says.
The Truth About Cars
Rumors have been floating around about an entry-level Porsche, below the Boxster. But Porsche CEO Matthias Mller has repeatedly said "no." He did so again recently, but admitted that they aren't just rumors. In an interview Muller said, "Indeed, there were such plans. There is precedence in Porsche's history, the 550 was a very successful car. We would have to position this car below the Boxster, also when it comes to price. The question is, will the brand tolerate this? We think the danger of negatively impacting our brand is too big. Therefore, we shelved this project for the time …
San Francisco Chronicle
Amazon may introduce new mobile devices next month, both a new Kindle and possibly a smartphone. That could be a problem for Apple. And the two digital giants are rubbing elbows a lot: besides both selling tablets, both are in the music, movies, and e-books businesses.
Pepsi Max may be the official soft drink of the NFL, but rival Coke Zero is moving into its space one territory at a time, following up the recent signing of former Pittsburgh Steelers great Jerome Bettis by inking Chicago Bears all-pro Brian Urlacher, who will join fellow Windy City stars Derrick Rose and Patrick Sharp in a marketing campaign. Separately, Diet Coke is preparing a campaign to support the next James Bond venture, "Skyfall," due out in November.
Wal-Mart Stores wants grocery stores, corner stores, food stores, mom and pop stores, and probably any stores at all (except maybe philatelic) to hit the bricks. The gargantuan global retail chain isn't saying that, of course. Rather, it merely suggests consumers in Chicago, Atlanta and Albuquerque, N.M. compare prices. And it is going to help. Ads in those cities -- as well as on an online site -- suggest shoppers take a photo of their grocery receipt, upload it and send it to Wal-Mart, where "price-checking wizards" will compare those prices with the prices at the nearest Wal-Mart supercenter and …