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Rite Aid kicks off 24th annual Miracle Balloon fundraiser

BY Michael Johnsen

Rite Aid’s 24th annual Miracle Balloon campaign to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is now underway, the Camp Hill, Pa.-based retailer announced Monday. Customers can purchase a $1 paper Miracle Balloon at any Rite Aid to support their local children’s hospital through May 12. In return, customers will receive $8 in coupon offers for select products sold at Rite Aid.

“Rite Aid has been supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for nearly a quarter of a century, and with the help of our customers and supplier partners, we have raised more than $87 million for the organization,” Kermit Crawford, Rite Aid president and COO and president of The Rite Aid Foundation, said. “There’s no better way to truly live our core value of being a caring neighbor than by helping to make miracles happen for sick and injured children living in the communities we serve.”

“We continued to be humbled and amazed by our long-time partner, Rite Aid,” added John Lauck, president and CEO, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “The entire Rite Aid family – associates, customers and supplier partners – have been so generous in their efforts over the years to support our network of children’s hospitals, which rely on donations and community support to deliver much needed care. We look forward to celebrating another successful campaign this year.”

Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity’s Miracle Balloon icon. The funds raised through Rite Aid’s Miracle Balloon campaign stay in the community it was raised in, benefitting the local CMN Hospital and helps to provide pediatric equipment, treatments, research, therapy programs and charitable care benefitting sick and injured kids.

To help raise even more money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, many Rite Aid locations will sell special stuffed teddy bears created by Bears for Humanity, a Certified Organic toy and gift company based in San Francisco that specializes in stuffed toys. The bears are made of organic materials 100% certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard and are sewn and hand stuffed in the U.S. The stuffed bears are available in cream, pink and brown and retail for $14.99. For each bear sold through April 28, Bears for Humanity will donate one dollar to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

 

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Boomerang Commerce looks to make e-commerce smarter

BY David Salazar

Boomerang Commerce, a Mountain View, Calif.-based machine-learning tech company’s latest tool for suppliers is aiming to make it easy to maximize e-commerce growth. The company’s CommerceIQ platform is designed to use machine learning to analyze variables in real-time to recommend and automate sales, marketing and operations actions to drive growth on e-commerce channels, the company said.

“We are on a mission to empower our brand manufacturer customers with the technology they need to deliver jaw-dropping, profitable growth,” Boomerang Commerce CEO Guru Hariharan said. “Through our investment in machine learning and data science, we aspire to be the most trusted technology partner for brands – first in the context of e-commerce and eventually for omnichannel retail.”

The company noted that currently, more than half of U.S. retail purchases are made online or influenced by e-commerce, and 67% of millennials prefer online shopping to the brick-and-mortar store. With online sales at the mercy of search ranking, paid media, inventory levels, pricing wars and customer reviews, Boomerang Commerce said companies need a solution that focus on winning strategies while using technology to automate everything else.

The CommerceIQ platform includes three applications – one for sales, one for marketing and one for operations. The sales application takes action to improve search ranking and shopper conversion, the marketing application automates ad bidding on Amazon Marketing Services and balances ad spend with retailer profitability and in-stock levels. The operations application can predict out-of-stock situations to avoid products being de-listed and can provide supply chain teams with solutions targeted at digital-first retail, the company said.

“At Campbell, we are setting the pace to meet the consumer wherever they are – online or in traditional retail locations,” Campbell Soup’s vice president of e-commerce business team Veeral Shah said. “Through Boomerang’s CommerceIQ, we can automate real-time actions rooted in consumer data and insights so a brand like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish can remain the number one cracker on Amazon.com.”

Kimberly-Clark’s Amrit Patil, vice president of customer development, said, “Making data-driven decisions through platforms such as Boomerang’s CommerceIQ helps us drive our e-commerce agenda forward.”

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Walmart names new Jet.com president

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart’s e-commerce arm has a new leader.

Simon Belsham has been appointed president of Jet.com. He will report directly to Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce division (and founder of jet.com) effective Monday, March 26.

In his new role, he will oversee the full scope of operations for the Jet.com business, including driving an integrated customer experience with grocery and general merchandise. He will be based in Hoboken, N.J.

Prior to joining the e-commerce website, Belsham was CEO of venture-backed Notonthehighstreet.com, a curated gifting platform. He also spent seven years at Tesco, leading their grocery online transformation from “tablet to table” across the U.K. and 10 markets across Central Europe and Asia. Belsham also built a general merchandise platform for Ocado, a U.K.-based innovator in online grocery.

“His omnichannel experience and track record of innovation from his time in consumables and durables will help spearhead Jet’s focus to be the leading online retailer for the urban consumers,” Lore said. “With Jet grocery being an integral part of the strategy, Simon brings incredible experience in scaling grocery delivery, and his unique background in converging technology and retail to create amazing experiences for customers.”

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