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Survey: In-store shoppers want…

Chain Store Age – Almost all consumers consider one factor important when selecting a brick-and-mortar store to shop. According to “Special Report: The State of Store Technology” from BRP, retail consulting firm, 96% of consumers indicate they look for ease of in-store checkout and payment. Sixty-eight percent are likely to choose a store offering buy anywhere, ship anywhere service over one that doesn’t. And more than 55% indicate that in-store technology like self-checkout, product locator, inventory lookup, and endless aisle are important factors when choosing where to shop.

In good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, 79% of consumers say they purchase merchandise in a store frequently. In addition, 75% of brick-and-mortar retailers will have implemented a cloud-based POS system in the next three years, including 23% who have one that works well and 52% who will replace or install one.

Looking at how many retailers are using cloud-based store systems, the study finds business intelligence/enterprise reporting (40%) and CRM (35%) systems are most commonly delivered via cloud application or service, followed by inventory (27%) and order management (24%).

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.

Read Full Report: Survey: In-store shoppers want…

96% of Consumers Indicate that Ease of Checkout and Payment are Important Factors When Choosing Where to Shop, According to New BRP Report

Retailers’ immediate focus is on adding capabilities to their current POS, while future plans include moving to cloud-based commerce platforms

Boston, MA – April 24, 2019– 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 frequently purchase merchandise in a store. 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.

“Stores remain center stage in the shopping experience, and that experience is an ever-increasing factor in where consumers choose to shop,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP Consulting. “Retailers understand the importance of keeping up with customer expectations, in fact, 75% are considering cloud-based platforms as part of their in-store technology plans over the next several years.”

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.

The SPECIAL REPORT: The State of Store Technology highlights:

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

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The State of Store Technology, visit:

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

The special report platinum sponsor is TSYS, the gold sponsors are Aptos, Diebold Nixdorf, ECRS and Fujitsu, 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 http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Oracle Unveils Slate Of Solution Upgrades At NRF19

Retail TouchPoints – Oracle has launched the Retail Xstore Office Cloud service, enabling retailers to move Xstore back office store operations to the cloud. The service, which enables retailers to take advantage of cloud solutions while maintaining on-premise POS functions, is one of several updates to the Oracle Retail Omnichannel Suite announced on Jan. 13 at the NRF Big Show.

This change can help retailers update their POS systems more quickly, which has been a pain point for many companies: just 25% of POS software is less than two years old, while 30% of retailers use POS hardware that is at least six years old, according to a study by BRP, retail consulting firm.

Read Full Article: Oracle Unveils Slate Of Solution Upgrades At NRF19

Windstream banks on its consulting firm to better serve retail sector

FierceTelecom – Windstream and its retail consulting firm, BRP, are helping retailers make the transition to the cloud.

Windstream may not be among the biggest service providers in the U.S., but it does have a retail consulting firm that’s a key differentiator. Windstream acquired retail management consulting firm BRP when it bought Earthlink for $1.1 billion early last year. BRP largely helped out retail stores on the application level, but now it’s taking a network approach as retailers move more of their applications and service to the cloud.

“One of the areas that we’ve been really involved in a lot is assessing their networks and as part of that, we look at their communications and voice services,” said David Naumann, vice president at BRP, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “One of the big areas where we’re finding the biggest cost savings is replacing the POTS (plain old telephone service) lines with voice over IP and a lot of that savings can help fund other network investments that they’re making.

In addition to VoIP, some of the other things that we see driving the need for greater bandwidth in stores is greater demands on their WiFi from a consumer perspective and from connecting to the cloud. We often see an increased need and demand for greater bandwidth.”

Read Full Article: Windstream banks on its consulting firm to better serve retail sector

CLOUD STRATEGIES: Proving Key to Personalization, Product Content Enhancement

Retail TouchPoints – The retail cloud business segment is expected to reach more than $28 billion by 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9%, according to research from MarketsandMarkets. As many as 70% of retailers say cloud will be a major factor in their business by 2020, according to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit. But as more retailers jump aboard the cloud bandwagon, they should strive to gain a competitive edge with the technology that goes beyond the basic benefits of a cloud implementation.

This Retail TouchPoints Special Report will spotlight innovative strategies facilitated by cloud solutions that can help retailers achieve new business goals with speed and efficiency.

Many retailers already are leveraging cloud servers for business basics like POS processes, order management and fulfillment and communications across the enterprise. More advanced cloud offerings can help them:

  • Personalize offers even before the purchase journey begins;
  • Improve delivery and quality of product content offerings, especially as the number of SKUs they carry increases;
  • Unlock and unify customer data from disparate sources; and
  • Assist with in-store, mobile-powered guided selling.

ELIMINATING THE ‘SAFETY STOCK’ PROBLEM

Despite the introduction of cloud services, many merchants still haven’t taken the proper steps to give shoppers true “real-time” access to their inventory across channels. Many retailers still struggle with “safety stock” — additional quantities of an item held in inventory to reduce the risk that the item will be out of stock, according to Ken Morris, Principal of BRP.

“Let’s say I’m selling Tag Heuer watches — I must have a safety stock of two to account for this lag,”
said Morris. “If I have two or less items in a store, I have to tell corporate I have no items, because I have to account for the lag in updates to inventories between all the distribution centers and all of the stores. Although I may have two each in every store of 1,000 stores, it’s going to read as zero to someone trying to buy online and pick up in store.”

With a cloud service that incorporates data from all stores and distribution centers, retailers would be able to generate more accurate real-time stock numbers throughout the enterprise, without worrying about products going out-of-stock. Additionally, associates would be able to access this information quicker within the store, so they could assist consumers with real-time inventory data.

MOBILE APPS GUIDE IN-STORE SALES VIA SHOPPER DATA

Cloud platforms also can help retailers match products within the store to shoppers via guided selling. Morris described how an app recently designed for a BRP retail client offers guided selling in-store based on prior shopper behavior.

“Whatever they visited or put on their wish list or basket as they walked into the store, the app would guide them around to look at what they saw online and direct them with a Google map around the store,” Morris said. “This makes retail experiences way more relevant than most are today, especially because stores are changing. Having that data while the customer is in the store is key. To be able to affect the sale before checkout is what Amazon does every day online. They know who I am, they know what I buy, they know what I’m likely to buy and they help me through that sale.”

Read Full Article: CLOUD STRATEGIES: Proving Key to Personalization, Product Content Enhancement

The Future of Retail Requires Transformation

Retail Executive Magazine – “4 key trends are shaping future strategies and tactics to help retailers survive, adapt, and win,” said Brian Brunk, Principal at BRP. The traditional retail model has experienced significant disruption over the last decade. This cycle of disruption is being driven by ever-increasing customer expectations, competitive pressures from new entrants, and the proliferation of new technology like the smartphone. Customers’ journeys are varied and much more complicated than in the past.

Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in various channels, including social media, and frequently shop for a product across different retailers, online and in the store. The path to purchase also varies by consumer and by the type of product they are purchasing. Consumers expect their experiences to be seamless and to have their “shopping cart” follow them throughout their journey. They perceive one experience across the entire brand, not broken into individual channels or locations.

As retailers adapt, customer engagement models must transform. Traditional retail lines are rapidly evolving. There is a blurring between the physical and digital environments but also an evolution of retail formats to include virtual showrooms, retail “theatre,” pop-ups, stores within stores, and more. As retailers find it more difficult to compete with commodity products, we expect to see more private-label brands as a key differentiator. In some cases, wholesale will become the new retail.

“The real disruptor on the horizon is self-driving vehicles, which will disrupt traditional supply chain models, consumer expectations, and the retail world.”

IT’S JUST RETAIL

Is this disruption new to retail? No — retail has gone through many periods of disruption over the years. The introduction of catalogs, the move to suburban malls, the rise of Walmart, and the advent of e-commerce are all examples of retail disruption cycles. However, the current rate of disruption and the subsequent transformation are probably the greatest many of us have seen or will ever see.

With the flurry of retail bankruptcies and store closure announcements, “Retail Apocalypse” has been the pervasive topic of the last 12 months. Mentions of “apocalypse” might work well when trying to grab headlines; however, the reality is something much subtler and far more interesting — the ever-evolving nature of retail and consumers. Retail is simply transforming. Overall, retail is growing, with many retailers opening new locations, increasing sales, and investing in the future. Retail is changing and, as always, there will be winners and losers.

Focusing on the “Retail Apocalypse” is liking hitting the pause button and ignoring what is really happening. Call it the “Great Retail Transformation”; it doesn’t matter. It’s the future, and it’s just retail.

Read Full Article: The Future of Retail Requires Transformation

The Executive's Handbook to Modern Digital Commerce

Oracle E-Book – How to get the most out of your technology investment and provide a superior shopping experience.

Ten short years ago, brands relied upon a handful of point solutions for their digital commerce needs. The mobile frontier loomed, the Internet of Things hadn’t been born, and arti cial intelligence was still a Hollywood fantasy. Nearly every brand sold more products in-store than online. In what felt like an instant, everything changed.

Mobile exploded.Technology evolved. Innovative organizations created extraordinary digital commerce experiences, which in turn heightened customer expectations across the board.

The pace of digital change left many in the dust. For the rst time in digital commerce history, key digital commerce solution providers began developing integrated cloud suites.These early offerings forced brands to choose between site performance and an ideal customer experience. Inef ciency and legacy challenges ensued.

Fortunately, today’s digital commerce teams, from marketers to developers, no longer need to choose between speed, scale, functionality, or innovative site experiences.

We created this handbook to help digital commerce leaders make a compelling case for having it all.

KEN MORRIS ON REAL-TIME CLOUD AGILITY (EXCERPT FROM PAGE 22)

“Real-time retail, through unified commerce, enables retailers to identify the customer and gather, analyze, and disseminate customer, product, pricing, and inventory data across all channels—instantly. Consumers expect a seamless experience in the store, on the web, and via their mobile device— making real-time retail the new industry imperative.

Retailers are increasingly turning to a common, unified platform to deliver consistent, relevant shopping experiences across all channels. This centralizes data storage and application integration and allows easier real-time access to information across the ecosystem (stores, distribution centers, suppliers, etc.).  According to BRP’s 2017 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, 9% of retailers currently offer a single commerce platform, with 62% planning to implement one within three years.

Cloud computing, either off or on premises, offers the quickest and surest path to seamlessly connect all ecommerce, mobile commerce and in-store transactions to order management, inventory, marketing, financials, supply chain, and customer service. Retailers are recognizing the value of centralizing applications in the cloud: speed of deployment, faster software updates, lower software costs, and a real-time, single version of the truth.”

KEN MORRIS ON OBSTACLES TO INNOVATION (EXCERPT FROM PAGE 28)

“Many retailers have started down an omnichannel path by offering services that emulate the seamless holistic shopping experience that the customer expects, but in most cases the method is manual and involves complex integration across multiple systems and processes, and often doesn’t work very well in real time.

There are several bottlenecks or challenges retailers face on the road to implementing a uni ed commerce platform, including: complicated and rigid legacy systems, inadequate network bandwidth, lack of budget/funding, limited time and staff resources, and navigating the complex, rapidly evolving solution landscape.

The first step to overcoming these challenge is to develop a long-term business and IT plan that identi es the roadmap, the strategies, the process, the organization structure, the matching application portfolio, and the mission critical ROI driven implementation sequencing retailers can execute against.”

Read Full Article: The Executive’s Handbook to Modern Digital Commerce

All CIOs Want For 2017…Is Unified Commerce

Retail TouchPoints – November 25, 2016 lived up to its name for many retailers, signaling the start of holiday shopping and revenue generation. Unfortunately, for some unprepared retailers these results were disappointing.

Black Friday, along with its digital cousin Cyber Monday, signaled the official launch to holiday commerce and kicked off a season to be jolly for those retailers with a robust technology infrastructure. But it was a Blue Holiday Season for those who did not sufficiently invest in the infrastructure and processes that lay the foundation for a true omni-channel shopping experience.

This holistic and interconnected approach – unified commerce – is increasingly the conduit for delivering a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels and touch points.
Unified commerce goes beyond omnichannel by enabling a single, holistic platform, combining in-store, mobile, e-Commerce and every other function throughout the enterprise. As such, it is quickly becoming the new retail imperative. While just 18% of retailers have implemented a unified commerce platform, another 57% plan to do so within three years.

Clearly, the presence (or absence) of unified commerce can make (or break) the customer experience – especially during the holiday season.

With the dust having settled from the holiday 2016, here are some insights into what retail CIOs and IT managers have on their wish lists for 2017…and beyond.

  • Unified Commerce Environment
  • Enhanced Mobile Capabilities
  • Virtual POS
  • Robust Network

Like water flowing out of a spigot, customer traffic – whether in-store, online or in-app – is a precious commodity that can pass through a business, never to return, if the resources aren’t there to capture it. Shoppers are in control, and their loyalty is only as strong as their next shopping experience.

Those retailers who remain slow in delivering a unified commerce experience will likely see the impact by the 2017 holiday shopping season – in the form of sluggish sales.

And those who are willing and able to effectively execute on omni-channel services are destined to have Happy Holidays, indeed.

Read Full Article: All CIOs Want For 2017…Is Unified Commerce

Unified Commerce is Changing POS Forever

RIS News – Retailers are in the midst of an arduous but essential transition from siloed channels to unified commerce. Much of that work entails transforming the underlying infrastructure that controls the way merchandise is planned, orders are managed, inventory is distributed and customer data is accessed.

But the unified commerce transformation also changes the end points that feed off that foundation. POS, long considered the heart of a retailer’s store systems, is now disrupted. At the same time retailers are shifting their cultures and infrastructure, they must reconsider how POS functions in this new world.

“Traditional in-store POS capabilities are becoming modularized and are being migrated to a single commerce platform,” says Brian Brunk, principal, Boston Retail Partners (BRP). “With the increasing sophistication of today’s network technology, we will see a more rapid movement of these capabilities to the cloud. POS as we know it today will be changed forever.”

Why Unified Commerce
Eight-five percent of retailers consider unified commerce a top priority, according to BRP’s “17th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey,” but 37% also report their POS software is more than five years old. So at the same time they are working to integrate or replace disparate backend systems, those retailers need to revisit the role of POS in the customer experience, and consider how they can align new solutions with both where they are now and where they want to go. That’s a lot to take on.

In the company’s benchmarking survey, BRP’s Bunk, called this singular approach “the game changer, as it fundamentally changes how retailers think about POS and is driving much of the activity we are seeing in the solution marketplace.”

Read Full Article: Unified Commerce is Changing POS Forever

How are Retailers Progressing on the Journey to the “Future Store?”

One year after The Future Store Manifesto was published, BRP issued a scorecard to evaluate how retailers are progressing along the road to the “future store.” The Future Store Manifesto – 2016 Scorecard, sponsored by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, highlights how retailers are changing their initiatives to align with the key future store imperatives: mobile, relevant, personal, ubiquitous and secure.

“It is impressive to see how many retailers are making the five critical elements of the future store a top priority, however, many retailers have a long way to go. The physical store will continue to be the heart and soul of retail operations for the foreseeable future, however, a transformation is in process. While the store isn’t going away, it’s already starting to get a whole lot more connected, mobile and smarter.” – Ken Morris, principal at BRP.

The digital world is infiltrating brick and mortar stores, where consumers are equipped with smartphones and a new set of expectations. Over the past twenty years, many in the retail industry have predicted the demise of the physical store. But the reality is, the store is still the foundation of retailing. It is where the tactile and sensory experience comes together for the consumer. To succeed, retailers are infusing digital features into the store environment to personalize the shopping experience, compete more effectively with online pure-play retailers and exceed customer expectations. The store is not dead, it’s digitized!

“The unified consumer experience is table stakes today, and retailers know it. They don’t question  why they should do unified commerce. They question how – as in, how to break down the silos between digital and store systems to get to the omni-channel use cases. It all starts with a move to a single, real-time view of the consumer, prices and inventory availability across all channels.” –  Eric Olafson, SVP Stores, Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

future_store_manifest_2016_coverHere are a few of the key findings in this special report:

  • Mobile – 78% of retailers plan to use mobile POS to enable associates to complete a customer’s purchase on the sales floor by the end of 2018
  • Relevant – 58% of retailers plan to utilize geolocation within two years
  • Personal – 51% of retailers plan to offer suggested selling based on what is in the customer’s closet by mid-2019 
  • Ubiquitous – 50% of retailers will allow a customer transaction to start anywhere, finish anywhere within five years 
  • Secure – 88% of retailers plan to have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) implemented to ensure data security by 2019

I encourage you to download and read The Future Store Manifesto – 2016 Scorecard:

https://brpconsulting.com/future-store-manifesto-2016-scorecard/

I hope you enjoy the report. As always, I appreciate your insights and opinions on this topic. Please share your thoughts below.

David