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 Analyzes and Compares Consumer Expectations to Retailer Capabilities to Identify Opportunities

Boston, MA – May 24, 2018 – According to a new report from BRP, rapidly evolving customer expectations are driving a major transformation in retail. The 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey combines research on customer expectations with survey findings on retailers’ current capabilities and future plans to highlight areas of opportunities for retailers. As consumers will often stop shopping a brand after just one bad customer moment, it becomes critical for retailers to make the shopping experience seamless and frictionless.

“While most consumers expect the ability to shop seamlessly across channels, only 7% of retailers currently provide a complete unified commerce experience by allowing a customer to ‘start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere,’ with another 50% planning to implement it in three years,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “With customer expectations continuting to rise, it is promising to see how many retailers are focused on adding new capabilities to enhance the shopping experience.”

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

To download the complete 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, visit:

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

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

A Consistent Brand Experience Across Channels is Retailers’ Top E-Commerce Priority

Customers expect a personalized, seamless brand experience across digital and physical commerce touch points and unified commerce is key to delivering this experience. This is the new mantra in retail, according to the 2015 E-Commerce Survey, 43% of the respondents indicated that a consistent brand experience across channels is one of their top commerce priorities. A customer’s journey is no longer a linear path to purchase it’s now an exercise in connect-the-dots for retailers as they try to piece together customer information, browsing history, inventory visibility and much more to enhance the customer experience.

Retailers realize that they can no longer operate from within silos, and the convergence of digital and physical commerce is now a retail imperative. Unified commerce transcends channels and enables store associates to personalize the experience to a customer based on her digital footprint.

Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 E-Commerce Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current e-commerce initiatives, priorities, and future trends as the retail industry continues its transformation into the digital world.

Key findings in the 2015 E-Commerce Benchmark Survey include:E-Commerce Survey Cover

  • Improving the customer experience is the top priority – 43% of retailers indicating that a consistent brand experience across channels is essential
  • A unified commerce platform is critical – 78% of retailers will have a unified commerce platform implemented within 5 years
  • Mobilizing commerce remains a high priority – 45% of retailers indicated that mobile websites are their most important e-commerce capability
  • Payment options and security are essential – 63% of retailers plan to accept Apple Pay within 2 years
  • E-commerce continues to expand – 85% of retailers expect an increase in 2016 e-commerce website revenue

To download the complete 2015 E-Commerce Benchmark Survey, visit:

As always, I encourage your thoughts on this topic.  Please share your comments below.


Seeking Retailers’ Opinions – BRP E-Commerce Benchmark Survey

Nearly all retailers have an e-commerce presence and consumers expect it. Consumers typically visit a retailer’s Website for product research and comparison before they ultimately make their purchase either online, in the store or on their phone. E-Commerce and m-commerce continues to be a high growth opportunity for retailers and we are keen to learn how retailers are approaching e-commerce in their organization.

Boston Retail Partners (BRP) is pleased to announce that our E-Commerce Benchmark Survey is now available and we need your help!

This survey seeks to understand retailers’ current e-commerce and digital commerce priorities and initiatives as the retail industry continues its transformation into the digital world. The survey is now open to all qualified retailers, please take a few moments and share your thoughts on this important topic.

This brief survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and covers the following e-commerce topics:Suvey Checkboxes with Computer Mouse 01

  • E-Commerce priorities and initiatives
  • E-commerce technology
  • Website strategies
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Unified commerce capabilities
  • Mobile
  • Payments

Please share your opinions:

Our E-Commerce Benchmark Survey is open now so please take a few minutes and give us your thoughts today:


As a bonus, all qualified retailers completing the survey receive the survey report before it is released to the public and are eligible for a 30-minute complimentary post-survey briefing with Boston Retail Partners!

The results of the survey will be compiled and analyzed and we will release the final report in late August.

We appreciate your input!


Data Breach Costs Reach Galactic Proportions

The Target breach could cost more than $1 billion!

There is no single solution to the challenge facing retailers!

This isn’t a joke….

According to John Kindervag, the vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research, “I don’t see how they’re getting out of this for under a billion, over time,” he said, adding, “$150 million in a quarter seems almost like a bargain.” The New York Times, August 5, 2014

And Costs in the US are among the highest in the world!

Based on an independent study conducted by Ponemon Institute, consolidated findings show that malicious or criminal attacks are the most costly data breaches incidents in all nine countries. US and German companies experience the most expensive data breach incidents at $277 and $214 per compromised records, respectively.

Protect your data. Protect your customers. Protect your brand. Protect your job.Credit-Card-with-Chains-and-Lock-01-1024x854

Data security is the most important issue facing retailers today. One of the foundational principles of security is to take a layered approach. An integrated approach of combining Tokenization, EMV, and Network Segmentation is the best way to reduce a company’s risk. Anything less than all three leaves a company at the top of the target list for criminals.

Remember the intangible Costs when prioritizing your security initiatives

That’s obvious, but not everyone realizes the indirect effect data breaches have beyond the tangible costs. The impact on customer perceptions and purchase behaviors for brands that have highly publicized breaches have significant costs that could potentially exceed the tangible costs. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget that many breaches result in “key” individuals getting fired!

When evaluating and implementing changes in this rapidly changing area rely on industry experts to assist in the development of short-term and long-term designs.

Gaining Ground in the Retail Battle Against Amazon

When it comes to offering competitive prices, convenience, and a superior customer service experience, many traditional brick and mortar businesses are struggling to keep up with intermediating retailers like Amazon and Google. As these industry giants have drastically raised the bar in terms of customer expectations and satisfaction metrics, the remaining marketplace players are left strategizing on how to stay relevant to consumers.

AmazonUnder this industry backdrop, there are a few strategic elements for retailers to prioritize when fashioning their competitive approach to remain contenders in the retail game.

Marketing, Mindshare and Brand Awareness

Building top-of-mind awareness for the consumer is key, particularly in today’s vast e-commerce marketplace. Nearly every product imaginable is available for purchase on the web with a quick click of a mouse. Today’s retailers face unparalleled competition from intermediating retailers, who are remarketing product using browsing history and rapidly chipping away at the potential market share. Consequently, brand awareness is more critical than ever. To successfully compete, retailers need a clear, cohesive strategy to direct their online product offerings and brand experience in order to build lasting brand loyalty and affinity. Thinking outside of the box will allow retailers to craft creative and unique marketing initiatives to reinvigorate consumer affection. First and foremost, brand is king.

Fulfillment Experience

With Amazon now offering Sunday delivery via the U.S. Postal Service and expanding upon their existing 100 fulfillment centers, retailers are facing increased pressure to shave down delivery windows. Though most chain brick and mortar retailers operate largely from their legacy central distribution centers, they are nonetheless well positioned to offer same day and next day delivery utilizing ship from store services. Large store chains were built around servicing the surrounding population throughout the majority of the U.S., and as a result have great potential to compete in this arena. However, offering an improved fulfillment experience is contingent upon a retailer’s ability to expose actual store inventory to their customers across all channels in real-time and execute the last mile delivery, which takes us to the importance of unified commerce.

Unified Commerce

Hand in hand with offering all-star fulfillment comes the “Unified Commerce” model. To distribute goods as quickly and efficiently as possible, a retailer’s internal systems must fully support a real-time fulfillment strategy. By breaking down all of the traditional silos between store retail and online fulfillment and offering an “endless aisle” of goods, retailers provide consumers with a seamless purchasing channel between in-store, online, and mobile channels. Possessing unified commerce capabilities and executing strategic plans in conjunction with best in class fulfillment practices allow for enhanced supply chain efficiencies and customer satisfaction that significantly promotes industry advantage.

Posted by Laura Sossong

About Laura Sossong, Management Consultant
Laura is an experienced individual with core competencies in merchandising and retail strategy, product optimization, technological innovation, and team training and restructuring. Her efforts have been instrumental in the execution of various organizational strategies and solutions. She has effectively introduced and implemented initiatives for American Eagle Outfitters and MGM Resorts International, among others.