Programs
 
Ulta Beauty Enhances Loyalty Program with Google Cloud
The Ultamate Rewards Loyalty Program has provided the beauty retailer with ample data, which it plans to leverage. Through the partnership, Ulta has “increased engagement with customers in store and online. The retailer has also developed new tools and capabilities, including a new virtual beauty advisor tool to deliver tailored recommendations and help shoppers choose the right products, and a customer conversation platform.”
 
Customer Experience
 
Elliott Challenges Amazon with UK Blueprint for Barnes & Noble
If you asked someone to pick a traditional retailer to take on the world of e-commerce, he or shee probably wouldn’t say Barnes & Noble. But someone is making that bet. “Paul Singer’s New York hedge fund believes it has the right model to take on Amazon.com, and will employ James Daunt, Chief Executive Officer of the British bookstore chain, to run Barnes & Noble as well.”
 
Walmart to Launch “Direct-to-Fridge” Deliveries
Direct-to-Fridge delivery will soon be available “to about a million households in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Vero Beach, Florida through a service called Walmart InHome that executives believe can roll nationally in short order.” Employees will be trained to enter customers’ homes with care, although this service may make some consumers uneasy.
 
Virgin America Disappears
Air-travelers in the United States didn’t quite go for flair. “The last vestiges of the Virgin America brand are now aviation history, bringing a formal end to Richard Branson’s brash, groundbreaking effort to put some European flair—replete with cheeky branding and mood-lighting—into U.S. skies.” Increased comfort and stronger loyalty strategies are most likely to be the key to success for the airline industry.
 
Leadership
 
True Kitchen Creates Chief People Officer Position
We’ve seen an increase in positions such as Chief Customer Officers. Now, True Kitchen has appointed its first Chief People Officer, Peggy Rubenzer. “I envision this role as leading the softer, human side of restaurant operations,” Rubenzer told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Developing more robust hiring, training, and career development programs are the table stakes that great employees expect. My vision for the future is to put True Food Kitchen on the top of everyone’s ‘I want to work there’ list.”
 
 

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