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Research report: Most retailers plan to use mobile gift cards

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

SAN DIEGO — Research released by Transaction Wireless and Aberdeen Group, which examined the benefits of mobile and digital gifting and emerging trends in mobile and social frontiers, found a shift toward digital gifting.

In fact, online gift cards have risen to prominence in the past few years and now are used by nearly one-third (28%) of retailers. More than half — 61% — plan to use mobile gift cards, and 43% of customers prefer to use the mobile medium for gift cards.

Nearly one-third (31%) of customers said they prefer a website for digital gifts, and another 31% said they prefer Facebook.

Half (51%) of retailers list the convenience for using gift cards on the mobile device as a top benefit of mobile gifting; the second most commonly cited benefit of mobile gift cards is their anytime, anywhere access.

Forty-one percent of retailers said that mobile gifting should provide an end-to-end, 360-degree unified shopper experience across multiple channels of sales and service. And, according to 38% of retailers, personalization of mobile gifting is the most important element for securing customer adoption.

“Digital gift cards are fast becoming a reality in retail and are in fact surpassing the interest in traditional plastic gift cards,” said Thomas Niedbalski, senior VP business and client development for Transaction Wireless.

A white paper detailing the report is available for download here.

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Walmart adds compliance, audit expertise to board

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Retired KPMG International chairman Timothy Flynn was named to the Walmart board of directors on Monday amid ongoing investigations into whether the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Flynn, 55, becomes the 17th member of the Walmart board and also will serve on the board’s audit committee. He brings considerable compliance and audit expertise to Walmart having spent the past 32 years at KPMG International. He served as the company’s international chairman since 2007 and retired last October. In his role as chairman, Flynn directed a global executive team responsible for the firm’s management and operations, and managed a global board of senior partners responsible for the strategy, oversight and governance of the global network, according to Walmart. He also served as chairman from 2005 to 2010 and chief executive officer from 2005 to 2008 of KPMG LLP, the U.S. and largest member firm of KPMG International.

In addition to his past experiences at KPMG, also is a member the board of trustees at University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of JPMorgan Chase & Co. He has previously served as a trustee of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, a member of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, and was a founding member of The Prince of Wales’ International Integrated Reporting Committee.

Commenting on the appointment, Walmart chairman Rob Walton, didn’t mention allegations of bribery in Mexico and the company’s ongoing investigation, but Flynn’s appointment hardly seems like a coincidence given his extensive international experience and compliance background.

"Throughout his career, Tim has demonstrated a level of professionalism and personal integrity that is synonymous with our values at Walmart,” Walton said. “He’s a talented leader whose global insights, strategic vision and expertise in business strategy and governance will be a valuable addition to our company. I look forward to working with Tim and seeing the significant contributions we know he will make.”

Flynn added, “"I have admired Walmart for years and have a deep appreciation for the principles and values of Sam Walton that still guide the company today. Not only does Walmart have a strong and successful business model, it is also making a major impact by addressing social issues like environmental sustainability and access to healthier food. I am honored to become a part of all this and to see where I can uniquely make a difference.”

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Retailers keep pertussis vaccinations simple

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Physicians’ offices already have enough on their plate that a wave of new appointments for pertussis vaccinations would overwhelm them. For that reason, it’s essential that pharmacists and retail clinicians step in to ensure that kids, and especially adults, get vaccinated against the disease.

(THE NEWS: "Supervalu makes Tdap vaccines available across chain to fight whooping cough spread." For the full story, click here.)

Whooping cough epidemics already have broken out across the country, with the one under way in Washington state particularly serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of cases there has risen nearly fivefold in less than four months, with the 640 cases reported in early April increasing to more than 3,000 as of July 20, out of the 18,000 cases nationwide reported so far to the CDC. Nine babies have died.

Because of that, the CDC recommends vaccinations for pregnant women and anyone in contact with small children and infants. Thus, efforts like Supervalu’s, as well as boosts in vaccine supplies in hard-hit states by such retailers as Walgreens and Rite Aid and MinuteClinic’s stocking of pertussis and other vaccines in preparation for the back-to-school season will go a long way toward helping stamp out the epidemic of a disease that once was a greatly feared killer of small children, but until recently had mostly been kept under control, especially because walking into a pharmacy or retail clinic is much less of a hassle than setting up an appointment by a doctor.

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