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Only 33% of Retailers Optimize their Inventory By Leveraging Advanced Analytics, According to BRP Report

Advanced Analytics and AI are Key to Improving Planning Decisions

Boston, MA – February 14,  2019 – According to BRP’s 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. The importance of enhanced data and analytics is not lost on retailers, however, there are further opportunities to optimize their planning and inventory. While 67% of retailers are not using advanced analytics for merchandise planning, only 39% of retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority. This is a disconnect. As technological capabilities continue to advance, investing more resources into data utilization needs to be a critical objective for retailers.

Advanced analytics, or predictive analytics, offers retailers the ability to predict outcomes based on sophisticated algorithms and historical data. This requires human interaction to query data, validate patterns, create and then test use cases and assumptions. Now, with artificial intelligence (AI), also known as machine learning, planning systems can reassess models and reevaluate the data, all without the intervention of a human. AI is able to test and retest data to predict every possible customer-product match, at a speed and capability no human, or team of humans, could possibly achieve. The result is far more accurate decisions.

“Analytics serve as an important tool in assisting retailers to find and interpret meaningful patterns in customer and inventory data to support decision-making,” said Robert Cuthbertson, vice president at BRP Consulting. “Insight into customer demand, product adjacencies, price sensitivity, reaction to promotions, demographics and more are key to drive merchandise plans and actions that maximize profitability. This is especially critical in an omni-channel environment, as understanding the preferences of disparate customer groups across different channels becomes more complicated.”

“The technology for AI tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years. Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting. “AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order.  While traditional logic would select the product from the closest store to the consumer, with machine learning techniques, retailers can assess the value of inventory in each store to make smarter fulfillment decisions. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

According to the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey retailers’ current and planned usage of advanced analytics by planning area includes:

  • Merchandise Planning – 33% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for merchandise planning and another 48% plan to within three years.
  • Assortment Planning – 30% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for assortment planning and another 49% plan to within three years
  • Demand Planning – 31% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for demand planning and another 54% plan to within three years.
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – 22% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for PLM and another 33% plan to within three years.

BRP conducted the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey to explore the current state of retail planning and to identify and understand retailers’ priorities as they strive to meet the needs and demands of today’s consumers. Platinum sponsors are Aptos and Mi9 Retail, gold sponsors are Celect and Retalon, and silver sponsors are ANT USA and enVista.

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.

Significant Retail Trends in 2019

Jeweller Magazine – If we don’t look ahead, we risk being left behind. Perhaps nowhere is that risk greater than with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a practical retail technology. AI has left the lab and brands and retailers have seized upon it to predict individual consumer behaviour and better target their messaging. Those who begin coupling AI with the human touch in the years to come will have a huge advantage long-term. The technology gold rush will go on unabated but savvy retailers will never lose focus on people.

AI and personalised service
Retailers are using AI to personalise customer service and the trend is picking up steam. Fifty-five percent of retailers plan to leverage the technology within three years, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from BRP, retail consulting firm. Among the many applications: recommending merchandise and the ability to contact a given client at their preferred time of day.

Starbucks rolled out voice-recognition ordering in South Korea, extending its mobile order-and-pay technology by integrating with Samsung’s AI chatbot Bixby.

Customers can use their phone in a conversational way to learn more about available beverages. Meantime, The North Face has adopted IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology to help consumers find just the right jacket but here’s the thing: while AI will permit businesses of all kinds to increase client satisfaction, Starbucks and The North Face know full well that personal connections will always trump technology.

Read Full Article: Significant Retail Trends in 2019

Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Sourcing Journal – The retail storefront isn’t dead, even as large shopping centers and chain stores shut down locations nationwide. Most retail purchases, a figure around 90 percent, are still made in stores. For retailers, that means turning attention and resources toward the in-store shopping experience, even as chatbots and other tech tools redefine e-commerce channels.

BRP Consulting’s latest special report, The Future Store, illustrates how next-generation tools like video chat and AI will factor into shoppers’ purchasing processes. The report draws from two different studies, a 2019 consumer study as well as a POS/customer engagement survey targeting retailers, to envision what’s to come for retail and illuminate how brands approach supply chain management, including staffing and inventory decisions that can facilitate a seamless omnichannel experience.

The findings show consumers are willing to rely on technology in place of human interaction—but only if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. Fifty-five percent are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout instead of a store without, and 57 percent will choose a store offering automated returns if it allows them to avoid human interactions and speed up the process.

Read Full Article:Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Retailers Deploy Virtual, Augmented Reality, Voice Assistants

Media Post – Retailers are moving ahead with more in-store tech ranging from virtual and augmented reality to virtual mirrors and digital voice assistants. Nearly a third (29%) plan to add augmented reality within the next thee years and 9% already use it, according to a study by BRP.

Virtual reality is also on the agenda, with 7% of retailers already using it and 14% more planning to within the next 12 months, according to the online survey of executives at North American retailers, 58% of which had sales of more than $1 billion.

BRP estimates that nearly a third (32%) of shoppers are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality experience and 29% would like virtual reality to be part of their shopping environment.

Other technologies are also either here or coming at retail. Artificial intelligence in the form of voice-activated, point-of-sales terminals or digital assistants are already implemented by 23% of retailers with another 30% planning to add them within the next three years.

Read Full Article: Retailers Deploy Virtual, Augmented Reality, Voice Assistants

55% of Retailers Plan to Utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) within Three Years, According to New BRP Report

IoT offers new opportunities to gather and utilize data to enhance customer expectations

Boston, MA – January 29, 2019 – According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Store, stores must now encompass both the physical and digital worlds as customers expect a personalized experience in every channel. Customers want the sensory experience generally available in the physical world, such as touching and feeling merchandise and personally interacting with a knowledgeable associate, married with the unique and personalized shopping experience common in the digital world.

Customers are willing to try new technologies if it improves their in-store shopping experience. According to the BRP Consumer Study, 32% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience over a retailer that doesn’t offer AR and 29% would like a virtual reality (VR) experience as part of their shopping environment. Consumers are very interested in relying on technology instead of human interaction if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. For example, 55% are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout vs. a store without and 57% will choose a store offering automated returns to avoid human interactions and speed the process.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the  brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Storeis based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into customer expectations for the store of the future and how retailers’ current capabilities match up with these expectations.

The Future Store key findings:

INTERNET OF THINGS

  • Retailer capabilities: 19% currently offer Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities and another 36% plan to within three years

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

  • Retailer capabilities: 23% currently utilize artificial intelligence and an additional 30% plan to within three years

AUGMENTED REALITY

  • Customer expectations: 32% are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality experience
  • Retailer capabilities: 9% offer augmented reality to their customers and another 29% plan to within three years

VIRTUAL REALITY

  • Customer expectations: 29% are likely to shop at a retailer offering virtual reality in their store
  • Retailer capabilities: 7% currently offer virtual reality capabilities to customers and 23% plan to add it within three years

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Store, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-special-report-pos-future-store/.

The special report platinum sponsor is TSYS, the gold sponsors are Aptos,Diebold Nixdorf, ECRSand Fujitsu, 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.

‘We are drowning in data’: Retailers are getting smarter about data collections

Glossy – Retailers have known for a long time that the collection and implementation of data is key to a modern, successful retail strategy — and now they’re getting smart about it.

For years, retailers were hungry for every source of data they could get their hands on, often stockpiling massive amounts of it. But now, they’re starting to understand that more data is not the goal to strive for. Instead, high-quality data — specifically, the kind that is actively given by consumers rather than collected passively — is the new goal.

“I mean we are drowning in data today,” said Jeff Neville, svp and practice lead at BRP, retail consulting firm. “I’ve spent hours getting sucked down the rabbit hole of Google Analytics, looking at various trends and things that don’t always lead anywhere. You need data that is accurate, that you can actually implement. There’s too much data around and not all of it is really useful.”

Read Full Article: ‘We are drowning in data’: Retailers are getting smarter about data collections

AI is not here to take jobs, just to make work more meaningful

F3 News – Many fear that AI is taking away jobs, but this notion is misguided. Recent trends show that companies are using artificial intelligence and automation to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and enhance communication among employees — not to cut workforces.
In fact, about 89% of retailers plan to put mobile solutions in the hands of their store associates over the next three years, according to new research from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm. Walmart recently announced that the rollout of a suite of apps to help employees with everyday tasks. These applications will enable store associates to look up inventory in real-time, or instantly find out what products have just arrived in store.

They are also designed to streamline store operations through up-to-the-minute insights, such as enabling associates to look up when a product went out of stock as well as get assistance identifying the root cause, such as shelf capacity.

Read Full Article: AI is not here to take jobs, just to make work more meaningful

2019 Retail Trends

Business 2 Community – If we don’t look ahead we risk being left in the dust, and perhaps nowhere is that risk greater than with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a practical retail technology. AI has left the lab, and although its long-range impacts and unexpected consequences remain the domain of science fiction writers, brands and retailers have seized upon it to predict individual consumer behavior and laser-target their messaging. Those who begin coupling AI with the human touch in the year to come will have a huge advantage long-term. As my 2019 trends that follow demonstrate, the technology gold rush will go unabated but savvy retailers will never lose focus on people.

Retailers are using AI to personalize customer service, and the trend is picking up steam. Fifty-five percent of retailers plan to leverage the technology within three years, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from BRP, retail consulting firm. Among the many applications: merchandise recommendations based on a customer’s response to a short survey, and the ability to contact a given client at the most favorable time of day.

Read Full Article: 2019 Retail Trends

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/