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Who was essential in retail this week?

Leading e-tailer eBay is introducing a Retail Associate Platform to help retail brands improve their in-store customer engagement. The app has been designed to help retailers develop a profile for each customer, and the new personalisation technology allows them to gather specific details about consumers' behaviour.

The platform has just been completed and the company is currently working to deploy it in-store with a selection of its eBay clients.

David Geisinger, head of retail business strategy at eBay Enterprise, commented: "It's a huge opportunity for both retailers and shoppers. With more traditional retail models, if a customer walks in and doesn't buy, the retailer has no idea they even exist. Even if they do buy with a credit card, the information they have is very minimal."

Payment solutions provider MasterCard is looking to drive the growth of its prepaid business in sub-Saharan Africa, and has appointed Ezediashi Ofili as vice president and business leader for the region. Ofili will also oversee MasterCard's Global Products and Solutions team in this territory.

MasterCard has already partnered with several financial institutions to drive the development of its prepaid product offering Africa.

Ofili said: "The potential for Africa to become as technologically advanced as its counterparts in the developed world in the area of payments is enormous, and I look forward to contributing to this growth. With the African market poised to grow significantly in the coming years as the middle class expands and use of electronic payments gains traction, now is the time to ingrain prepaid card usage in our consumers' daily transactions."

HMV Group has recruited Dan Truscott as managing director of the entertainment retailer's Pure customer loyalty programme which will re-launch in the UK and be updated in Canada in October.

Previously at GE Money and more recently at Barclaycard, where he was head of business development for partnerships and loyalty and then head of merchant acquisition, Truscott has extensive experience in the loyalty and retail markets.

On a retail banking level, Barclays has announced that its partnership with BT to roll-out Wi-Fi in its UK outlets is progressing well.

The Wi-Fi hotspots introduced in branches allow customers to use any wireless-enabled PC, tablet or smartphone to connect to the internet, download apps or access the internet. Eight months after the first hotspots appeared there have been 400,000 Wi-Fi sessions recorded and 25 million Wi-Fi minutes used each month.

Barnaby Davis, Barclays managing director of the UK branch network, said: "We did not produce a traditional business case for the Wi-Fi rollout. It was about us being first for our customers with something we felt was really important."

Meanwhile, this week saw the launch of Gap's autumn global marketing campaign, which includes some unique social and digital features.

Celebrating the fashion brand's heritage, the Back to Blue campaign includes a mobile partnership with social networking site Tumblr which encourages digital artists to share what the retailer's marketing message means to them. Gap's Tumblr will feature the winning works on 29 August, before they are turned into Tumblr mobile ads. It will be the first time a brand has owned all of Tumblr's mobile ads on one day.

Seth Farbman, Gap's global chief marketing officer, said: "Just as our fall collection shares a fashion perspective that's iconic, confident and accessible, each element of our marketing campaign celebrates Gap's denim legacy in a truly authentic way."

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