Tariffs, Terrorists & Tsunamis

Minimize the Impact of Supply Chain Disruptions with Agile Strategies

The recent increases – and threat of increases – in tariffs are causing disruptions to today’s retail supply chains. According to a new report from BRP: Tariffs, Terrorists & Tsunamis: Minimize the Impact of Supply Chain Disruptions with Agile Strategies, while tariffs are currently the hot topic, supply chains are vulnerable to many unexpected disruptions, including terrorism and natural disasters. Today, more than ever before, it is vital that retailers adopt an agile approach to the development and maintenance of their global supply chains. The need to have the right organization and processes in place to continuously review and adjust the flow of goods from supplier to customer is imperative. An agile capability means that retailers can rapidly and cost effectively adapt to external forces, while maintaining, or even enhancing, service to consumers.

Most retailers rely heavily on imported merchandise, and over the last two decades, retail supply chains have become more complex and increasing global in nature. Finished goods may be sourced from many locations, supported by raw material and packaging supply chains that extend even further. At the other end of the supply chain, consumers in an omni-channel environment may be located anywhere across the globe. As products cross international borders, there is the potential for costs to increase due to tariffs – recently a very hot topic.

“While tariffs are today’s area of focus, supply chains can be unexpectedly disrupted by the three T’s – tariffs, terrorists and tsunamis,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “To combat these potential interruptions, smart retailers take an agile approach to the development and maintenance of their global supply chains and ensure they are able to rapidly react and respond.”

This report assesses the impact of tariffs and other disruptive forces on retailers’ global supply chains, and includes proactive steps retailers can take to build resilience into their global supply chains through the use of best practices in organization, processes, and systems.

The steps to taking an agile approach to global supply chains are:

  • Energize the Product Lifecycle Management Process
  • Gain Total Visibility into Global Trade Management
  • Focus on How Well Transportation Spend is Being Optimized
  • Develop a Dynamic Process Model of the Global Supply Chain
  • Create a Rigorous Spend Analytics Capability

2019 Special Report – The E-Commerce Effect

82% of Consumers Shop and Review Products Online Before Purchasing in a Store

The advent of e-commerce has elevated consumers’ expectations of the shopping experience and retailers must now provide service anytime, anywhere and any way customers’ desire. Consumers now have more shopping options than ever before with more competitive pricing, greater merchandise assortments and faster delivery to get her desired product wherever and whenever. This makes the customer journey more complicated than ever before.

Since consumers use digital devices throughout the shopping journey to research product information, compare prices and read consumer reviews, providing as much relevant information via the retailer’s website helps keep customers loyal to the brand. As e-commerce continues to represent a greater share of retailers’ revenue mix, it is imperative that retailers continue to enhance their online capabilities to keep up with their competitors that are just a click away.

Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in different channels and frequently shop for the same product across different retailers, via mobile, online or in-store. The customer expects a frictionless shopping experience across an entire brand and she doesn’t want disruptions as she crosses individual channels or locations.

According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The E-Commerce Effect, retailers indicate the following are top unified commerce priorities:

  • Create a consistent brand experience across channels (59%)
  • Improve the online experience (52%)
  • Improve personalization (45%)
  • Improve the mobile shopping experience (41%)

2019 Special Report – Mobilization of Retail

67% of Consumers are Likely to Shop with a Retailer that Offers Mobile Coupons

The proliferation and convenience of mobile devices has completely changed shopping behaviors and elevated customer expectations. Mobile shopping will continue to grow as 41% of consumers in the BRP Consumer Study[1] indicate they plan to increase their shopping frequency on a phone or tablet in the next 24 months. Shopping via a phone is just one way that mobile solutions are becoming more pervasive, as many consumers use their mobile devices as a research tool throughout the shopping journey. In fact, 34% use their phone while in a store to compare prices and 28% look for offers/coupons.

A retailer’s mobile capabilities can be a major driver for where a consumer chooses to shop,” said Marty Whitmore, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “With 67% of consumers choosing a store based on the availability of mobile coupons and 64% choosing a store based on product information availability via a mobile device, these are essential mobile capabilities for retailers.”

The SPECIAL REPORT: The Mobilization of Retail highlights:

Mobile Shopping

  • 41% of consumers plan to increase their shopping frequency on their phone or tablet within two years
  • 41% of retailers plan to improve the mobile shopping experience to ensure they are meeting their customers’ expectations

Mobile Coupons

  • 67% of consumers are likely to shop with a retailer that offers mobile coupons instead of one that doesn’t offer them
  • 40% of retailers indicate that offering coupons/ discounts is a key feature to offer on their mobile app/website

Mobile Identification

  • 39% of consumers are comfortable with mobile identification when they walk in the store to personalize the experience
  • 61% of retailers plan to identify customers when they walk in the store using their mobile device and WiFi

2019 Unified Commerce Survey

87% of Consumers Want a Personalized and Consistent Experience Across Channels

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. Consumers expect a frictionless shopping experience across an entire brand and they don’t want disruptions as they cross individual channels or locations. In fact, according to the recent BRP Consumer Study, 87% of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across channels.

BRP’s 2019 Unified Commerce Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into the forces affecting the retail industry, the opportunities available for retailers and the future of retail.

The key findings in the 2019 Unified Commerce Survey:

The Mobilization of Retail

  • 64% of consumers choose a store based on product information availability via their mobile device
  • 41% of retailers plan to improve the mobile experience to ensure they are meeting their customers’ expectations

The E-Commerce Effect

  • 81% of consumers purchase online at least once per month and 89% browse online at least once per month
  • 71% of retailers plan to offer a live chat option on their website to enhance the online shopping experience within two years

The Changing Customer Experience

  • 68% of consumers would choose a store that offers personalized promotions/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them
  • 68% of retailers need to improve their ability to utilize customer insight to meet their customers’ expectations

The Need for Unified Commerce

  • 87% of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across all channels
  • 71% of retailers plan to offer the ability to ‘start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere’ to their customers

The Future of Retail

  • 57% of consumers would choose a store offering an automated returns process over one that doesn’t offer it
  • 38% of retailers plan to offer an automated returns process within two years to offer more self-service opportunities

2019 Special Report Store Technology

96% of Consumers Indicate that Ease of Checkout and Payment are Important Factors When Choosing Where to Shop

According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The State of Store Technology, the store is still a major part of the customer journey with 79% of consumers indicating they purchase merchandise in a store frequently. With an increased focus on customer engagement and the convergence of physical and digital, the point of sale or commerce platform plays a critical role in shaping the customer shopping experience. The right technology foundation is essential to support the best in-store customer experience.

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The State of Store Technology is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into the state of retailers’ current store technology and their future plans.

CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS:

  • 96% indicate that ease of checkout and payment are important factors when choosing where to shop
  • More than 55% indicate that in-store technologies like self-checkout, product locator, inventory lookup, and endless aisle are important factors when choosing where to shop
  • 68% are likely to choose a store offering buy anywhere, ship anywhere services over one that doesn’t

RETAILER PLANS:

  • 53% are focused on adding additional capabilities to existing POS and 48% plan to replace their POS within three years to improve the checkout experience
  • As retailers make decisions on new POS systems, 75% indicate they plan to have cloud-based solutions within three years
  • 94% plan to address holistic customer engagement with the implementation of a single unified commerce platform

2019 Consumer Shopping Survey

65% of Digital Consumers Choose to Shop at a Store that Offers Personalized Recommendations

According to BRP’s 2019 Consumer Shopping Habits – The Generation Gap report, it is essential for retailers to understand the shopping preferences of their target audience to design the right shopping experience that appeals to their customers. While the shopping journey varies depending on the customer, product and even season, there are similarities within generational groups. Digital Consumers (ages 18-37) have higher expectations for the retail experience than Traditional Consumers (ages 38+) and embrace the use of technology to make their research and buying process more convenient. Traditional Consumers are more focused on the basics of finding their desired product at the right price.

BRP’s 2019 Consumer Shopping Habits – The Generation Gap report is based on findings from a BRP survey of 1,298 U.S. consumers fielded in December 2018 to identify how and where they prefer to shop and which factors influence their shopping journey. Below are key findings based on generation groups.

DIGITAL CONSUMERS (ages 18-37)
As Digital Consumers research products, they seek out consumer reviews to make more educated purchase decisions. When choosing a store, 65% want the ability to receive personalized recommendations and 65% prefer the ability to pay via a mobile wallet or retailer app. Receiving merchandise quickly is important with same day delivery a reason to choose a store for 77% of these consumers. Digital Consumers are more likely than Traditional to share feedback on social media for both exceptional and unsatisfactory shopping experiences.

TRADITIONAL CONSUMERS (ages 38+)
Traditional Consumers focus on the basics when they shop – product availability and competitive pricing. While shopping for products, 63% choose a store based on the associates’ ability to order out of stock products. While they are more tolerant on the timing of deliveries, 86% will choose a store with free delivery over one that doesn’t offer this service. Traditional Consumers rarely share feedback on social media for any shopping experience, but for unsatisfactory experiences, 64% will contact the retailer to share their dissatisfaction.

2019 Special Report – Security

Only 38% of Retailers have Implemented a Single Token Solution Across the Enterprise

Retailers must continuously reexamine their policies surrounding customer payment and personal data to ensure the security of their customers’ information. Each day, new dangers emerge and enhanced security measures are necessary to adequately defend against these malicious attacks. A single security breach is enough to deal a crippling blow to many companies.

Tokenization is a top priority for many retailers, as it improves the security of sensitive customer payment data by allowing retailers to remove sensitive information from the network by substituting payment card data with a token which is used as an identifier but has no exploitable value or meaning. Tokenization technology is also valuable as a foundation to enable a seamless experience for consumer returns, customer profiles and electronic shopping carts that need to retrieve data across channels. What began as a solution to remove payment card data from a retailer’s environment has found additional value in substituting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to help drive omni-channel use cases.

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Security is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into how retailers are progressing with their security efforts to protect consumers’ payment and personal data.

The SPECIAL REPORT: Security highlights:

PAYMENT SECURITY:

  • Customer expectations: 33% are likely to allow retailers to save credit card details if it eases the checkout process
  • Retailer capabilities: 61% have implemented end-to-end encryption to offer customers greater security of their personal and payment data

PERSONAL DATA:

  • Customer expectations: 50% are likely to allow retailers to save personal details if it eases the checkout process and allows for more personalized offers
  • Retailer capabilities: 38% have implemented a single token solution across the enterprise to offer customers greater security of their personal and payment data

MOBILE WALLET/PAYMENTS:

  • Customer expectations: 38% are likely to choose a store if it offers mobile wallet/payments
  • Retailer capabilities: 59% offer mobile payment acceptance

2019 Special Report – Real-time Retail

56% of Consumers are Likely to Choose a Retailer who Offers a Shared Cart Across Channels

According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Real-Time Retail, customers want access to a single cart to shop across channels and be able to reach their cart via phone, computer, or even in the store – they want to “start anywhere and finish anywhere.” In BRP’s Consumer Study, 56% indicated that they were likely to shop at a retailer that allowed them to have a shared cart across channels instead of a retailer that does not offer this service.

The importance of real-time visibility and access to product and customer information across channels has grown significantly over the past few years as consumers’ expectations continue to rise. Today’s retail model has to venture beyond omni-channel by breaking down the walls between internal channel silos and leveraging a common commerce platform with a single order management system to deliver a holistic, real-time, personal, seamless experience.

“Consumers expect a seamless experience in the store, on the Web and via their mobile device – which makes ‘real-time retail’ the new industry imperative,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “In our experience, many retailers can check inventory in real-time but the inventory data they are actually accessing is from yesterday as the data is not really updated in real-time – it is faux real-time retail. As retailers move to unified commerce, full access to enterprise-wide data in real-time will become more common as it is a necessity to survive.”

The SPECIAL REPORT: Real-Time Retail highlights:

SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE:

  • Customer expectations: 56% are likely to shop at a retailer that offers a shared cart across channels
  • Retailer capabilities: 7% offer the ability for customers to have a shared cart across channels

PERSONALIZATION:

  • Customer expectations: 87% want a personalized and consistent experience across all shopping channels
  • Retailer capabilities: 53% indicate that personalization of the customer experience is a top priority

2019 Special Report – In-Store Mobility

63% of Consumers use their Phone for Product Research, Pricing and Availability while they are in a Store, According to New BRP Report

There is no denying the power of mobile technology as a disruptor in the retail industry. Retailers realize that mobile devices are ubiquitous and recognize that a mobile device in the hands of the customer and associate holds tremendous opportunities to enhance the customer experience in the store. According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility, 85% of consumers have purchased a product via a mobile app, and 33% frequently purchase via their mobile device. Mobile shopping (browsing or buying) will continue to grow as 41% of consumers in the BRP Consumer Study indicate they plan to increase their shopping frequency on their phone or tablet in the next 24 months.

As customers become more comfortable and proficient with utilizing mobile technology and researching information on their own, retailers need to offer expanded customer-facing mobile services to enhance the shopping experience. The proliferation of tablets and mobile phones provides new opportunities for retailers to enhance customer service by offering store associates tools to ‘keep up’ with the abundance of information that customers have at their fingertips. Associates can use mobile devices to answer customer questions, provide personalized recommendations, locate products and complete the transaction anywhere in the store.

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into how mobile devices are changing the consumer shopping journey.

The SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility highlights:

IN-STORE RESEARCH

  • Customer expectations: 63% of consumers utilize their mobile phone while in a store to compare prices, look for offers/coupons, check inventory, etc.
  • Retailer capabilities: 49% of retailers indicate that the customer mobile experience is one of their top customer engagement priorities

COUPONS AND PROMOTIONS

  • Customer expectations: 67% of consumers indicate that mobile coupons and promotions are an important factor in determining at which store they shop
  • Retailer capabilities: 57% of retailers offer mobile coupons and promotions to their customers in the store

MOBILE POINT OF SALE (POS)

  • Customer expectations: 40% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering mobile POS
  • Retailer capabilities: 66% of retailers currently offer mobile POS in their stores

2019 Special Report – Customer Loyalty

63% of Consumers are Likely to Stop Shopping a Brand if they have an Unsatisfactory Experience

Today’s consumers connect with brands across multiple channels, which complicates the process of recognizing, servicing, and rewarding loyal customers. According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, customers expect engaging and relevant interactions and conversations across all channels and they don’t have any tolerance for unsatisfactory shopping experiences. Customers want a personalized experience and if they are treated well, they will reward the retailer through additional purchases and brand loyalty.

Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand. Retailers that identify customers when they enter the store and equip their associates with the proper mobile tools can personalize the shopping experience based on customer preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location – all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers. Keeping loyal customers happy is critical as it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience for 63% of consumers to stop shopping your brand.

The SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy highlights:

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION

  • Customer expectations: 64% are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they are offered a personalized experience
  • Retailer capabilities: 63% are unable to identify their customers prior to checkout and 20% can’t identify them until after checkout or not at all

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION INCENTIVES

  • Customer expectations: 26% want credit or discounts towards future purchases as an incentive to allow retailers to identify them when they walk in the store
  • Retailer capabilities: 13% offer credit or discounts towards future purchases as an incentive to customers