Elevated Customer Expectations Require Integrated Planning Processes and Systems, According to BRP Report

54% of Retailers are Focused on Better Integration of Customer Data into Planning Activities

Boston, MA – December 13, 2018 – As customer shopping journeys continue to span across channels, it is imperative for retail planning processes, systems and organizations to be streamlined and integrated to meet increased customer expectations. Current disparate solutions must be transformed into one cohesive environment with the ability to offer customers a seamless shopping environment and the capability to deliver the right merchandise immediately – wherever it is needed. BRP published the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey to offer insights on the key challenges and benefits of integrating planning processes and systems and identify where retailers are on this path to providing a holistic shopping experience.

“Today’s customer journey requires retailers to use an integrated set of solutions, processes and organization to create and deliver the shopping experience consumers expect,” said Gene Bornac, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “The good news is that many retailers realize their systems and processes need improvement and are planning to replace more than 50% of their planning systems within the next three years. Retailers are also focused on improving the integration of actionable customer data into their planning activities, as customer demand is a critical variable in today’s customer-led demand planning.”

To achieve an integrated retail planning model, retailers need to:

Align the organization

  • 40% of retailer currently have an integrated planning organization across channels and 73% of those indicate it needs improvement
  • Within three years, 87% of retailers plan to have an integrated planning organization across channels

Integrate planning processes

  • 43% of retailer currently have an integrated planning business processes across channels and 84% of those indicate it needs improvement
  • Within three years, 93% of retailers plan to have integrated planning business processes across channels

Implement technology

  • 39% of retailer currently have an integrated planning systems across channels and 82% of those indicate it needs improvement
  • Within three years, 89% of retailers will have integrated planning systems across channels

Prioritize customer data

  • 54% of retailers are focused on better integration of actionable customer data into their planning activities
  • 44% of retailers utilize customer feedback in real-time to impact in-season planning

To download the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-integrated-planning-survey

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)

Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM

Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks

Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Windstream Enterprise and BRP to share insights from latest POS and Consumer Shopping Surveys at NRF 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Dec. 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)Windstream Enterprise(WE), a leading supplier of advanced network communications announced that it will be exhibiting with its subsidiary BRP, an innovative retail management consulting firm, at National Retail Federation (NRF) 2019—Retail’s Big Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, N.Y. Windstream Enterprise and BRP will be meeting with retailers in booth #4609.

Highlighting this year’s show will be the release of findings from BRP’s much-anticipated 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey. The survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current priorities and initiatives as digital and physical retail environments converge to facilitate a seamless experience across channels. BRP will also be publishing the insights from its annual Consumer Shopping Survey identifying the latest consumer shopping preferences and trends.

“Today’s retail industry is under increasing pressure to meet customers’ growing demands for faster and a more personalized experience regardless of how they choose to interact with the company,” said Layne Levine, president of Windstream Enterprise and Wholesale. “Retailers who help customers reimagine their place in an increasingly digital world are in the best position to win in the market.”

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance. The customer journey and associated expectations continue to rapidly evolve – driving a need for retailers to adopt a new mindset to meet their customers’ needs,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “Legacy retail applications and infrastructure at many retail organizations don’t support this new model. Retailers need to reimagine their organization, business processes and technology to align with the real-time demands of their customers. Victory belongs to the agile.”

Many retailers are moving applications to the cloud as it offers the quickest and surest path to seamlessly connect all e-commerce, mobile commerce and in-store POS transactions. In addition, cloud-based applications offer the benefits of speed of deployment, faster software updates, lower software costs and a real-time, single version of the truth. Windstream is  committed to being the retail cloud leader and solving business problems by transforming retail technology to a utility-based model where retailers pay for services and transport based on what they use.

Attendees looking for more ways to connect with BRP and Windstream Enterprise during NRF 2019 can follow @BRPConsulting and @Windstream or search for #WIN4Retail on Twitter to learn more about the latest retail technology trends from Retail’s Big Show. 

About Windstream

Windstream Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, businesses, enterprise organizations and wholesale customers across the U.S. Windstream offers bundled services, including broadband, security solutions, voice and digital TV to consumers. The company also provides data, cloud solutions, unified communications and managed services to small business and enterprise clients. The company supplies core transport solutions on a local and long-haul fiber network spanning approximately 150,000 miles. Additional information is available at windstream.com. Please visit our newsroom at news.windstream.comor follow us on Twitter at @Windstream.

PCI Compliance | SD-WAN Concierge™ | Unified Communications | Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) | Secure WiFi & Analytics | Managed Network Security | Hybrid Networking | Professional Services

For more information on Windstream Enterprise, visit http://windstreamenterprise.com

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)

Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM

Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks

Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Integrated Planning Solutions are Imperative to Retail Success, According to BRP Report

The BRP SPECIAL REPORT: Integrated Planning – Getting it Right, Identifies Key Challenges and Benefits of Integrated Planning Processes

Boston, MA – December 6, 2018– Streamlined and integrated planning processes are foundational to developing sound strategies and plans that align with consumers’ expectation of a seamless, cross-channel shopping journey. BRP published the SPECIAL REPORT: Integrated Planning – Getting it Right, based on the 2017 Merchandise Planning Survey, to offer insights into the key challenges and benefits of integrating planning processes and systems.

“While some retailers have been able to work with legacy tools and disjointed processes, their results have been hindered by siloed data. In order to keep up, retailers must evaluate their processes and technology, automate tactical activities, and focus on how they can position their organization for success,” said Gene Bornac, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “With the knowledge that they have the right data integrated across the process, it will improve retailers’ ability to focus on finding the right products and distributing them to the right places. Integrated planning processes and technology are key to this effort by providing a single source of truth, collaborative approach, and organizational alignment.”

Retailers are gathering more data, across multiple channels and customer touchpoints, that is being leveraged by financial plans, demand plans, assortment plans, and store plans. The importance of a fully integrated planning solution to analyze and utilize this data is key to ensuring retailers remain competitive in this rapidly changing landscape. An integrated planning solution eliminates silos, leverages the same data, streamlines decisions, and builds consensus.

Integrating planning process is important, but also challenging.  This special report acknowledges the obstacles involved to eliminate silos and integrate people, processes and technology: resource constraints, disparate systems, organizational/process challenges, and budget constraints.

To download the BRP SPECIAL REPORT: Integrated Planning – Getting it Right visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-special-report-planning

The BRP SPECIAL REPORT: Getting it Right: The Science of Planningplatinum sponsor is Aptosand the gold sponsors are enVista, Mi9, Logility, NCR, and Retalon.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformation

New Report from BRP Explains Why an Agile Approach to Operations, Technology and Implementations is the New Retail Imperative

Boston, MA – November 13, 2018 – With the swift pace of disruption occurring today, retail winners need to accelerate the transformation of their business processes, organization and technology to align with the demands of their customers.  Adopting an Agile mindset allows organizations to quickly respond to changing customer demands. The BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformation report provides valuable information on how to employ an Agile mindset and approach within your organization.

“Retailers need to quickly adapt to constantly changing and elevated customer expectations, and traditional approaches to technology and processes are not nimble enough – traditional waterfall approaches deliver last year’s requirements today,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP.  “With an Agile approach, retailers can accelerate project completion times, reduce the associated risks, match today’s requirements and lower costs throughout the lifecycle of the project.”

Agile’s emphasis on continuously gathering customer feedback for inclusion in upcoming functionality allows retailers to ensure they’re always working on the latest and most valuable functionality for the business. Retailers can increase their return on investment while delivering high quality products that meet and exceed customers’ ever-changing demands via Agile’s emphasis on small value-added increments. By implementing an Agile mindset and providing team members with a collaborative environment where they’re empowered to innovate and learn from their mistakes, retailers are taking the right steps towards surviving the retail transformation.

The BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformation report is a helpful resource for understanding what an Agile approach entails, the benefits of Agile and how to adopt an Agile mindset.

To download the BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformationreport, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-brp-insights-agile/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Nearly 50% of Consumers are More Likely to Shop at Retailers that Offer Virtual or Augmented Reality, According to BRP Report

32% of Retailers Plan to Use Virtual and Augmented Reality in Three Years, According to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey

Boston, MA – November 1, 2018– Through virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers offer new and enhanced ways for customers to experience products, like visualizing how a product would look in their home or even on their body. VR and AR offer interesting applications and opportunities, as the ability to mix virtual and real elements can be game changing – especially for furniture, home décor and apparel retailers. According to BRP’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, retailers understand the impact that VR and AR can have on the customer experience and 32% of retailers plan to use virtual and augmented reality within three years.

Consumers also see the benefit of VR and AR, as nearly half of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer utilizing virtual or augmented reality, according to a recent study by Incisiv, sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise.[1]As consumers shop for a new couch or bedroom set, it is very helpful to see what the furniture will look like in their house or browse a virtual array of options like colors and fabrics, rather than just viewing in a catalog or on a website – and VR and AR apps can make it happen. Many retailers have already introduced AR apps and testing and deployment of VR apps is increasing.

Macy’s is a recent example, as they’re currently rolling out a new virtual reality experience across 70 locations, combined with an AR app for home use, to offer an immersive furniture shopping experience that allows browsing and visualization of a much larger assortment of furniture than a typical store. Sephora’s “Virtual Artist” app uses AR to scan your face, figure out where your lips and eyes are, and lets you try different looks on your smartphone. Foot Locker’s “The Hunt” AR scavenger hunt inspired smartphone-toting sneakerheads to venture across Los Angeles to unlock geo-targeted AR clues throughout the city earning the chance to be among the first to acquire new limited-edition LeBron 16 King “Court Purple” sneakers. As more and more retailers adopt VR or AR technology over the next few years, this will increase customers’ expectations for the same from other retailers that they shop.

“Immersive technology like VR and AR is redefining the way consumers can experience and buy products, leveraging the advantages of physical space, like the store or the customer’s home, without being constrained by the space,” said Brian Brunk, Principal, BRP. “Traditional retail lines continue to blur as retail realities are rapidly evolving and the stage where the theater of retail takes place can be dictated by the customer.”

To download 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-digital-commerce-survey/

The 2018 Digital Commerce Survey gold sponsors are ECRSand enVista.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

[1]Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations, July 24, 2018. https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

51% of Consumers Want a Personalized Brand Experience Across Digital Channels, According to BRP Report

Retailers’ Top Digital Customer Experience Priorities are Creating a Consistent Brand Experience Across Channels and Improving Personalization 

Boston, MA – October 24, 2018– Customers’ journeys are more complicated and varied than ever before. Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in different channels, including online marketplaces and social media, and frequently shop for the same product across different retailers, both online and in the store. According to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. Retailers recognize the importance of the cross-channel, personalized customer experience, as their top digital customer experience priorities are creating a consistent brand experience across channels (57%) and improving personalization (38%).

“The new retail model requires retailers to transform their business and reinvent themselves to create a successful blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain their customers’ loyalty,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “New and innovative methods of shopping – driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods – are elevating customer expectations. The speed of these changes requires organizational agility to quickly and easily react to increasing customer expectations and changing consumer behavior.”

The challenge for retailers is to “keep up” with continually evolving customer expectations. The growth of mobile is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. The gap between consumer demand for digital experiences and retailers’ current capabilities is what we call the “great digital divide,” and is driving additional changes in the industry.

BRP conducted the 2018 Digital Commerce Benchmarking Survey to understand the current retail challenges and available opportunities as we face the future of retail. This report compares retailers’ priorities with customer expectations – based on results from Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report[1]conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise – to understand how retailer priorities are aligning with customer expectations.

Key findings include:

  1. Personalization – Effective customer engagement requires retailers to know whom the customer is to be able to offer personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent services across channels.
  • 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand
  • 18% of retailers are currently utilizing customer identifying technology in the store and within three years, 79% plan to use it to personalize the experience
  1. Digital Influence – Retailers realize that mobile devices are ubiquitous and recognize that a mobile device in the customer’s hands holds tremendous opportunities to enhance the customer experience across channels.
  • 75% of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit and mobile devices are leveraged in 46% of in-store shopping experiences
  • 67% of retailers provide online customer reviews to influence and drive purchases and 76% will extend mobile offers to customers in the store within three years
  1. Augmented Reality – Through augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers are inspiring their customers and offering them the ability to see what a product looks like in their home or even on their body.
  • 48% of consumers would be more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented reality
  • 32% of retailers will utilize augmented reality within three years

To download 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-digital-commerce-survey/

The 2018 Digital Commerce Survey gold sponsors are ECRSand enVista. 

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

[1]Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations, July 24, 2018. https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

Customer Identification is Key to Personalizing the Shopping Experience, Yet Most Customers are Anonymous until Checkout at Stores

Only 23% of Retailers Identify Customers Before Checkout in Stores Compared to 60% Online, According to BRP Report

Boston, MA – October 17, 2018– Customer identification is the first step necessary to personalize the shopping experience, yet most in-store shoppers are anonymous until they check out. According to BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, only 13% of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store and another 10% identify customers pre-checkout. Retailers fare better online, as 30% identify customers when they enter the website and another 30% identify customers pre-checkout.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president, BRP. “Those online experiences have heightened customer expectations for personalization and they now expect the same level of service while shopping in a store. This is tremendous opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience – turning anonymous shoppers into loyal customers.”

It is critical to identify the customer early, as soon as they enter the store or begin researching online. This allows retailers to personalize the experience and influence customers’ shopping behaviors. Unfortunately, in most cases customer identification still happens at the point of checkout in the store, which is too late to empower associates to influence the current purchase decision. Without early identification of the customer, retailers miss critical engagement opportunities, such as clienteling and guided selling, which can increase sales and deliver an enhanced customer experience. Even more concerning that 20% of retailers still have no ability to identify their customers in the store, even at checkout, which eliminates any opportunities for improving the post-purchase experience or customer loyalty.

To download 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-unified-commerce-survey/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks

Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Customer Loyalty is Critical to Retailers, Yet only 40% Currently Measure Customer Retention, According to Recent BRP Report

While Most Retailers Measure Average Order Value and Comparative Sales, Less than Half Rate their Customer Retention Strategies

Boston, MA – October 11, 2018– It’s not a secret that returning customers are better for your business than new customers. Studies have shown that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper. However, many retailers are focused on measuring total sales and comparative sales, while customer loyalty strategies and retention are not getting the attention they deserve.

“Retailers are focusing more attention on customer acquisition than loyalty. While acquiring new customers and driving top-line sales are important, building long-term relationships with customers is imperative for healthy long-term performance,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Paying more attention to the post-purchase experience and measuring its impact on sales, will increase the lifetime value of customers and maximize total revenues and profits.”

According to early results from BRP’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey (publishing soon), most retailers have key performance indicators (KPIs) for sales, average order value, comparative sales and conversion rates; however, less than half of retailers measure customer loyalty through customer satisfaction (net promoter score), customer retention and post-purchase customer survey results.

“What retailers should really be focused on is RFM (recency of a purchase, frequency of the purchase and the monetary value of the purchase),” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “For many years this has been the mantra for successful omnichannel retailers, but it appears that the new economy has different metrics. Maybe we need to go back to the future.”

According to the recent Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience report, your customers’ most recent experience with your company impacts the feelings they share with friends and family and the relationship they have with your brand. The satisfaction level during the post-purchase experience has a direct correlation on a customer’s decision to buy again, or not.

Retailers that meet or exceed post-purchase customer experience expectations create a unique brand experience that customers will “share” with others personally and on social media. Exceptional post-purchase customer experiences also inspire customers to build long-term relationship with brands.

To download Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-post-purchase-experience-white-paper/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

53% of Millennials use Digital Capabilities to Augment their Dining Experience, According to Recent BRP Report

Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations Report Identifies how Guests Utilize Mobile Before, During and After Dining

Boston, MA – October 3, 2018– According to a report from BRP and Windstream Enterprise, restaurant guests, especially Millennials, use mobile devices to enhance the full breadth of their dining experiences. The Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise, combines findings from surveys of 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.

“Like retailers have seen with their customers’ continued increase in digital expectations, restaurant operators are witnessing similar focus and interest from dining consumers who expect a broad range of digital capabilities to improve their overall dining experience,” said Scott Langdoc, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “As guest expectations continue to rise, restaurant brands, franchisees and operators must rapidly adopt new technologies to digitally enhance the dining experience.”

Digital is becoming deeply embedded into the entire dining journey. Pre-meal research is a habit across all generations and demographics, especially for discovering new restaurant choices and selecting fine dining options. Digital ordering (whether from home, by app or at restaurant) is a growing expectation while sharing results of dining experiences with friends via social media is a new form of entertainment. This has significant impact on how restaurant operators need to think about the entire lifecycle of a guest’s dining experience, including how restaurant operations, processes and IT platforms need to quickly transform to support this new data-driven demand and influence. Millennials lead this charge by using digital devices to enhance their dining experience over half the time (53%). Their digital activities range from researching where and what to eat (60%) to checking ratings/reviews while in a restaurant (51%) to sharing pictures and content (23%) during and after the visit.

The dining journey has radically changed, as have guest expectations of what makes a great dining experience. Digital-driven influences are no longer at the periphery of the dining experience, as they influence 40% of all dining visits. Therefore, embedding full digital dining support – everything from social engagement to guest WiFi to flexible ordering options, and real-time promotions – should be part of every restaurant’s strategic DNA.

To download the complete Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations report, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-restaurant-research-report/.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

55% of Retailers Plan to Utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Improve Customer Service within Three Years

BRP’s Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey Addresses the Customer Experience of the Future

Boston, MA – September 27, 2018– Retailers recognize the value of using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance customer service, as 55% plan to leverage this technology within three years. According to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, 7% of retailers are currently using AI as digital assistants and chatbots, and another 48% plan to implement this capability within three years.

Artificial intelligence is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building to learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention. Some retailers are experimenting with AI to offer purchasing suggestions based on customer responses to a series of questions or to pinpoint the most convenient time of day to reach out to consumers with products they would be willing to purchase based on past clicks and website visit data.

“The convergence of AI with traditional customer service has the ability to transform the shopping experience,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “AI offers the ability to exploit the vast amounts of customer preference and transaction data gathered and reach a much larger group of consumers on a personal level to enhance the customer experience.”

Amazon and other multi-channel retailers are currently experimenting with AI to offer purchasing suggestions based on responses to a series of questions and past purchase history. Sephora, using a Kik chatbot, offers customers “conversational commerce” by offering a one-on-one mobile chat experience to offer ideas on new makeup looks and identify products in tutorials to offer customers a better shopping experience. In-store, the chatbot is becoming a personal shopping assistant by offering product recommendations, reviews and ratings.

While chatbots can be a useful customer service tool, some consumers may not know if they are talking to a real person or a bot until they’ve already entered the interaction. That lack of clarity may turn off some consumers, which can negatively impact your brand.

“Transparency is a big discussion for AI. Do you want the customer to think they’re speaking with a real human being or should you disclose that this is a conversation with Watson or some other AI technology,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “That’s a decision retailers have to make right now, as AI using voice is probably going to mess up the conversation at some point, and the customer is going to realize that they’re talking to a computer.”

For more details and other retail insights, download the complete 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-unified-commerce-survey/.

The 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey platinum sponsors are Aptos and Manhattan Associates, gold sponsors are CayanECRS, enVista and PCMS, and the silver sponsor is STORIS.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.