2018 OMS Special Report

Report Outlines how a Unified Order Management System can Solve the Great Digital Divide Plaguing Retailers

Consumers state that digital influences up to 75% of pre-store visits but less than half of retailers deliver these capabilities

The traditional retail model is being disrupted as consumer expectations and shopping behavior rapidly evolve. A customer journey that remains in only one channel, whether online, mobile or in-store, is no longer the norm.  Customers expect to move in and out of a multitude of different channels including in-store, online, mobile, and social media, and they expect a seamless and frictionless transition from one channel to another. This creates a new requirement for retailers to host a single shared shopping cart that moves with the customer.

A common, real-time platform for all customer engagement points is a key tenet of unified commerce. Unified commerce goes beyond omni-channel, putting the customer experience first, breaking down the walls between internal channel silos and leveraging a unified commerce platform. It is not simply the future in-store or Web platform, but combines in-store POS, mobile, Web, order management, call center and clienteling into one integrated platform. Unified commerce, with a common commerce platform, supports all customer touch points and channels. This eliminates integration issues and supports real-time visibility, enabling an enterprise-wide, unified view of the customer, inventory, fulfillment, etc. Unified commerce has become the new retail imperative.

To fix this problem, retailers need to rethink old paradigms and adopt a new approach to unified commerce. To support this desired experience and increased capabilities, retailers need a robust order management solution that can serve as the anchor for the single shared shopping cart and operate as the brains of a unified commerce platform.

Download the OMS – The Brains of the Operation Report Today!

Best Practices for the Post-Purchase Experience

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 customer.

However, the e-commerce industry continues to be mainly focused on the acquisition of new customers by adopting the latest technologies and marketing strategies. While no one wants to be left behind, there is simply no substitute for having loyal patrons.

After a customer clicks “buy,” they enter a phase of uncertainty, where they are unsure whether their product will arrive on time or whether it will appear in one piece. Retailers who communicate regular updates and reassurances on the order and delivery status to customers can turn this period into a powerful moment of trust for the brand. Customers who shop without the sense of risk will feel more comfortable making repeat purchases in the future.

By crafting a post-purchase experience to minimize stress and maximize convenience, retailers make an investment in a sustained relationship with their customer. Enhancing your post-purchase customer experience doesn’t necessarily mean investing heavily in the latest technologies. We believe you can create a welcome and trusting experience for your customers to return time after time by adopting the following set of best practices:

1. Set customer expectations before the click “Buy”
2. Communicate tirelessly
3. Set a fair and competitive return policy
4. Simplify the return process
5. Deliver your products in professional packaging
6. Turn a digital experience into an omni-channel experience
7. Use your stores for something more
8. Gather customer feedback

2018 Retail Research Report

Consumers say Digital Influences up to 75% of Pre-store Visits and is Leveraged in 46% of In-store Shopping Experiences.

Rapidly evolving customer expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation in the retail industry. The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv, combines findings from surveys of 1,212 retail consumers and 60 retail executives to understand the effect digital has on the shopping experience.

Consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that align next-gen technologies to their digital preferences, however, in many cases, retailers don’t offer the capabilities that impact consumers’ shopping preferences.

Proximity-triggered Mobile Coupons – Consumers value digital discounts and promotions on their mobile devices.

  • 65% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

Augmented Reality Experience – Many consumers appreciate the opportunity to see products in a virtual environment.

  • 48% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 15% of retailers offer this capability

Automated Returns Process – Consumers expect the returns process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 68% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

2018 Restaurant Research Report

Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations

Guests expect a frictionless dining experience that empowers them with relevant information and makes it convenient for them to operate on their own time and at their pace.  This requires restaurant operators to embed digital technology across the entire dining journey.

The Millennial and Gen-Z generations have the highest expectations for digital capabilities.

The report identifies significant gaps between what younger generations feel is extremely important and where retailers offer excellent execution:

Ease of ordering and payment – Guests expect the ordering and payment process to be easy and frictionless. 

  • 74% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 45% of restaurant operators state they have excellent execution

WiFi availability – Guests expect fast and free WiFi in restaurants, especially where cell reception is limited.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 44% of restaurant operators state they have excellent execution

Discounts and Promotions – Guests expect to receive digital discounts and promotions on their computer and mobile phones.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 35% of restaurant operators state they have excellent execution

Download this report to see how your company compares to guest expectations and your competition.

The Future Retail Network Manifesto

Retailers Must Simplify and Optimize their Network to Increase Bandwidth, Improve Reliability and Reduce Costs

Network bandwidth is becoming a bottleneck and applications are not performing efficiently. It has become so bad at some organizations, that retail store operations personnel refer to the network as the “not-work.”

BRP published “The Future Retail Network Manifesto” to articulate its vision of the future store and identify the challenges and imperatives retailers face in delivering the experience consumers expect. The network is a key enabler of the future store and most retail networks require a transformation to support the plethora of new applications that are putting a strain on bandwidth.

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance, as the way customers shop has transformed the traditional store model. To meet consumers’ demand for the future store requires the adoption of real-time, cloud-based technologies enabled by a powerful network,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “Retailers can no longer afford to operate with outdated networks. Now is the time to transform the network to support the store of the future.”

Retailers that simplify and optimize their network realize many benefits:

+ Elimination of plain old telephone service (POTS) lines
+ Significantly increased bandwidth
+ Improved network reliability, capability and diversity
+ Reduction in total network spend

2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey

73% of Customers Want Order Tracking Across all Touchpoints but only 7% of Retailers Currently Offer “Start Anywhere, Finish Anywhere” Order Capabilities

BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce 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. The report also compares retailers’ priorities with customer expectations – based on recent results from the 2018 Retail Consumer Study conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise – to understand how retailer priorities align with customer expectations

The key survey findings are organized around the E5 of Customer Experience:

  1. Educate – Customers start the purchasing process by researching the brand and products, so it is critical to ensure they and the store associates have information and tools that are easy to access and use.
  • 62% of consumers check reviews/ratings before visiting a store
  • 61% of retailers offer consumer product reviews for research
  1. Engage – The first step in customer engagement is to identify the customer early in the process and offer associates the ability to leverage customer information to allow personalized interaction.
  • 64% of consumers are fine with retailers saving purchase history and personal perferences if more personalization is offered
  • 61% of retailers make in-store and online shopping history available to associates to tailor the customer experience
  1. Execute – To meet and exceed today’s elevated customer expectations, retailers must deliver unified commerce capabilities and empower associates with the right tools to optimize the experience.
  • 73% of consumers want the ability to track orders across all points of interaction
  • 42% of retailers offer the ability to track orders across channels
  1. Enhance – Gathering feedback to understand customers’ likes and dislikes allows for a continuous improvement loop and helps empower associates to create a desired customer experience.
  • 51% of consumers will stop shopping at a retailer after 1-2 poor in-store shopping trips
  • 62% of retailers plan to improve their in-store customer experience within three years
  1. Enablers – Delivering a personalized customer experience requires the right technology and network.
  • 68% of consumers are more likely to choose a store offering an automated returns process
  • 13% of retailers offer an automated returns process

Personalization is Key to Customer Loyalty

Personalization is Needed to Compete Against Amazon

As consumers become more technologically savvy and have access to better information, there is a widening gap as retailers struggle to meet consumers’ escalating expectations. Personalization is one of the best ways to create and maintain a connection with the brand’s most valuable and loyal customers. The 2018 Special Report – Personalization is Key to Customer Loyalty identifies how retailers are personalizing the shopping experience for their most valuable customers.

“Personalization is the best way for retailers to enhance the customer experience, especially for those customers who are already invested in your brand,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Identifying and rewarding your most valuable customers with personalized offers and services is imperative to cultivating loyal, brand enthusiasts.”

The key customer loyalty trends identified in the study include:

Customer Identification and Incentives – To engage with customers on a personal level requires retailers to identify the customer early in the process at any touch-point.

• 53% of retailers extend specialized offers to encourage customers to identify themselves with personal information

Most Valuable Customers – With 80% of a retailer’s business typically coming from 20% of its customers, identifying your most valuable customers and understanding their shopping habits is critical to cultivating loyal, brand enthusiasts.

• 77% of retailers identify their most valuable customers, however, 69% of those feel the process needs improvement

Personalizing the Experience – 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 context.

• 69% of retailers that identify their most valuable customers share this information with their associates, which represents missed opportunities for the 31% who don’t share customer information with associates.

2018 POS Survey

81% of Retailers Plan to Have Unified Commerce within Three Years

The customer journey and associated expectations continue to rapidly evolve – driving a major transformation in retail. Disruption and adaptation are changing the customer engagement model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. Unified commerce is the key to this retail transformation. Critical to unified commerce are the four key pillars that we have identified to define the required customer experience: personal, mobile, seamless and secure.

BRP’s 2018 POS/Customer Engagement 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.

The key customer experience trends driving today’s initiatives are:

Personal – Engaging the customer through personalization and relevance is the key to attracting and keeping customers.

• 62% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority
• 83% will suggestive sell based on previous purchases within three years

Mobile – The pervasiveness and ease-of-use of mobile devices offers tremendous opportunities for retailers as the customer takes control of their own retail experience across channels.

• 62% plan to increase their use of mobile devices as the POS by the end of 2019
• 42% will use customer-owned mobile devices as a point of sale within three years

Seamless – Customer expectations for a personalized and seamless experience require retailers to follow customers’ journeys across channels as they research, shop and purchase.

• 81% plan to offer unified commerce by the end of 2020
• 91% plan to offer order visibility across channels within three years

Secure – Today’s retail environment requires security beyond retailers’ current focus on payments and networks.

• 91% will have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by the end of 2020
• 61% will offer a single token solution across the enterprise within three years

2017 Merchandise Planning Survey

Customer-centricity is the Top Strategic Initiative for 47% of Retailers

Retailers must accommodate customers who “pre-shop” for merchandise online before they ever enter a store, want one-day or even same-day delivery, and expect “more” from their shopping experience – more personalization, a larger assortment, a more fulfilling experience and non-stop entertainment. Customer-led demand is driving retailers to transform their business to be more customer-centric.

Customers use technology daily to enable and control their shopping journey. Now it is up to retailers to play catch up with their organization, processes and technology to deliver the right products for the right price in the right place.

For retailers, it is imperative to take a customer-centric viewpoint. To innovate the customer experience, they must transform their disparate systems, processes and organization into one cohesive environment with the ability to offer customers a seamless shopping environment across any channel and the capability to deliver merchandise immediately – wherever it is needed. It is time to prepare for the future of retail – it is here – whether we are ready or not.

To prepare for today’s new retail model, retailers need to:

Align the organization

  • 58% of retailers currently have an integrated planning organization across channels
    Integrate planning processes
  • 64% of retailers have integrated their business planning processes across channels
    Implement the right technology
  • 33% of retailers have implemented new omni-channel demand planning systems within the last two years
    Prioritize customer insight
  • 42% of retailers incorporate real-time customer feedback into their in-season planning
    Take action
  • 19% of retailers must overcome IT/business resource constraints to advance their planning activities
    Complete the form to the right to download the 2017 Merchandise Planning Survey report.

2017 Digital Commerce Survey

65% of Retailers Will Offer Same Day Delivery within Two Years to Meet Elevated Customer Expectations

According to a new report from BRP, consumers expect quick access to products and most retailers are now responding by offering same day delivery. Currently, 51% of retailers indicate they offer same day delivery, up from 16% last year, and within two years 65% plan to offer this service. Delivery via a third party service, such as Uber or Lyft has also increased (from 20% last year to 32% this year) as retailers look at different ways to offer customers the flexibility to shop, purchase and receive their goods on their own terms.

With Amazon offering same day delivery in some markets, the push is on for retailers to get items delivered to customers as soon as possible. Autonomous delivery and distribution are the next step with self-driving cars a reality and a few food delivery start-ups already testing the concept.

Retailers need to adapt to the new customer journey to accommodate the blurred lines of retail and innovative methods of shopping driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods. To succeed, retailers may need to reinvent themselves to create an effective blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain customer loyalty.

BRP conducted the 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey to understand the current retail challenges and the available opportunities for retailers as they face the future of retail. The key customer imperatives are:

  • PERSONAL – Combining behavioral, historical and customer profile data empowers retailers to deliver tailored and relevant content to meet customers’ individual needs. 38% of retailers indicate that improving personalization is a top digital customer experience priority.
  • UBIQUITOUS – Customer expectations for a personalized, seamless experience require retailers to  follow customers’ journeys as they research and shop from anywhere. 49% of retailers will offer customers the ability to ‘start anywhere, finish anywhere’ within five years.
  • UNIFIED – Retailers’ technology, processes and organization need to be unified and aligned across channels to offer a seamless and consistent customer experience. 54% of retailers indicate that creating a consistent brand experience across channels is a top priority.