Home furnishings giant plugs in another fuel cell system
Ikea continues to grow its U.S. renewable energy portfolio, with a goal of being energy independent by 2020.
The retailer has completed installation of its fifth biogas-powered fuel cell system in California – and in the country – at its East Palo Alto location in the San Francisco Bay area.
Expanding the Swedish company’s investment in fuel cell technology, the project complements the company’s focus on other renewable energies such as solar and wind. With the East Palo Alto fuel cell system installed, commissioned and operational, Ikea is on track to generate 1.5 MW in total of energy via fuel cells, supplementing onsite solar arrays atop all these stores.
“Plugging-in this fuel cell system is an exciting milestone that complements our existing rooftop solar array,” said Monica Varela, store manager. “Utilizing fuel cells will reduce our carbon footprint and help create an even more sustainable community here in the Bay Area.”
Slightly larger than the physical size of a commercial back-up generator, the 300-kw, biogas-powered project will produce approximately 2,630,452 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 1,193 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 252 cars or to providing electricity for 176 homes yearly.
Combined with the 302-kW solar array installed atop the store in 2011, the fuel cell project will help generate a majority of the store’s energy onsite.
For the design, development and installation of this fuel cell system, Ikea contracted Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy, a provider of solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power.
Ikea’s U.S. sustainable efforts are wide ranging and include the following: recycling waste material; incorporating key measures into buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, warehouse skylights, and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, no plastic bags in the check-out process, and selling only LED lighting.
In addition, it has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 16 stores and solar arrays at 90% of its locations, integrated two geothermal projects at two store locations and owns two wind farms.
Study: More than half of U.S. shoppers haven’t tried BOPIS
More omnichannel retailers offer buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) services to shorten their delivery windows. Yet, 60% of shoppers have yet to take advantage of the service.
That’s according to a new report, “Buy Online, Pick-up In-Store” from ChargeItSpot, which was based on responses from over 2,074 shoppers at 20 malls across the country.
Of the 40% of shoppers who have used BOPIS, shoppers between age 35 and 49 use it the most, with 49% of shoppers having used the service. Shoppers between the ages of 18-34 were the runner-up (42%), followed by shoppers aged 50-65 (39%).
“There remains much untapped opportunity for stores and shoppers to take advantage of BOPIS.” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot. “By further promoting and incentivizing customer use of these programs, retailers can more effectively increase their sales, better manage consumer fulfillment by merging online and in-store inventory, and offer their customers a more fluid, multichannel shopping experience.”
Among those that do use BOPIS, 75% have purchased something else while in the store, while 25% had not. Specifically, shoppers between the ages 50-65 were most likely to make an additional purchase while using BOPIS (79%). Meanwhile, 75% of shoppers between18-34 made additional purchases after using BOPIS, followed by 63% of shoppers aged 35-49, data revealed.
“Buying online and picking up in-store can lead to more in-store transactions for retailers,” said Baldasare. “BOPIS does what many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to do organically — get shoppers through the door. Once they are in the store, customers are likely to browse and ultimately make a purchase.”
Readers Respond: Not so up-to-date
The LBM industry has not historically been known for its tech savvy, but recent developments have given us reason to believe that the tide may be shifting in a more contemporary direction.
Notwithstanding that many retailers are getting on board with social media engagement and smart-home selling points, it seems a good number of retailers aren't necessarily keeping their IT programs current in-store.
Earlier this week, we polled our readers, asking, "When was your store's last major IT improvement project?"
The largest percentage, 48%, said "it's been a few years" since they last tackled their infrastructure.
However, the second-largest number (27%) said they made upgrades last year (in 2016), and the third-largest are in the midst of one right now.
Here's how the votes panned out:
It's been a few years: 48%
Earlier this year: 5%
We're currently rolling one out: 11%
There's still time to vote. Let us know where you stand by taking our poll here.