Loyalty Programs in an Omnichannel World

MarTech Series – More than ever, consumers demand a fast, seamless and flexible shopping experience. They want to maintain their preferences across all channels—web, mobile, and within a physical store – and they want the perks of their loyalty programs no matter the shopping experience they choose. A recent survey from Boston Retail Partners found that 87 percent of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across channels.

By now, most retailers and brands are on board with loyalty programs and even have a successful one implemented. However, as consumer shopping habits evolve and their demands become more complex, loyalty programs need to be adjusted to compete in an omnichannel world.

According to Boston Retail Partners, 68 percent of consumers would choose a store that provides personalized/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them. Therefore, personalization is yet another crucial aspect of a current loyalty program. Personalization should not be compromised as the customer moves from channel to channel.

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‘It’s a different play for them’: Luxury brands are turning to mega-celebs to lure young shoppers

Glossy – Seeking out collaborators with mega-star power among young audiences is trending among luxury brands. Stella McCartney is the latest, announcing on Friday a new collection with Taylor Swift tied to Swift’s upcoming album, “Lover.” Few details other than the collection’s existence have been shared — a post by Swift on Instagram said more information will be revealed closer to the album’s late-August release.

While this is Swift’s first fashion collaboration, Stella McCartney has previously worked with designers including Stan Smith and Ed Ruscha. But Swift is easily its highest-profile collaborator — with millions of young fans — and notably comes from outside the fashion industry.

This is a tactic that is becoming common for luxury brands. In March, Tommy Hilfiger debuted a collection designed with actress and singer Zendaya, who has 56 million Instagram followers. In late 2017, Helmut Lang collaborated with hip-hop star Travis Scott, who has 17 million Instagram followers.

“Luxury brands’ loyal customer bases are aging, and many of these brands realize the importance of attracting younger segments,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Some brands have added new lines to appeal to younger shoppers, such as streetwear or styles at lower price points.”

“Celebrity collaborators that are popular among younger consumers help luxury brands increase awareness among this new customer segment and inspire them to shop at a store they normally don’t,” Naumann said.

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Giant Works to Live up to its Name

Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer – The Ahold banner makes a couple of bold moves in an effort to differentiate itself from mainstream competitors. With a name like Giant Food Stores, consumers tend to expect a lot. To be honest, though, the 96-year-old, Carlisle, Pa.-based chain, part of Ahold Delhaize USA, is generally viewed by shoppers as a very average supermarket, consistently ranked near the middle of the pack. “It’s a reliable, middle-of-the-road grocer, but not a destination,” confirms Karen Strauss, principal at Wilton, Conn.-based Cadent Consulting Group. That’s all well and good, she continues, except that Giant happens to operate in the same market as some pretty heavy hitters, most notably Wegman’s.

Although e- commerce reportedly represents only about 2% of total Ahold sales, “Online ordering and fulfillment are definitive ‘must-have’ services for grocers to compete both locally and nationally,” says Scott Langdoc, senior vp and practice lead at Boston-based BRP Consulting. From Kroger and Safeway to Target and Walmart, “Major national brands are pouring millions into e-commerce, and regional brands must work to keep pace as differentiating will be increasingly difficult.”

That said, Langdoc likes what he sees from Giant so far. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, the chain will have to remain “hyper-focused” on ways it can improve. “Customers expect the perfect blend of the assortment they know from Giant stores along with the most efficient, frictionless e-commerce experience possible,” he says. So although the chain is off to a good start, there’s no letting up.

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Now public, Revolve will test investor appetite for influencer marketing

Glossy – On Friday, Revolve made its Wall Street debut, one of several online fashion companies to go public in recent months. Stitch Fix went public in November 2017, followed by Farfetch in September 2018. The RealReal filed for IPO just last month.

One of the greatest concerns when any company goes public, and one that most public retailers are grappling with, is the subsequent rate of growth expected. For Revolve, one of the biggest questions is how much more it can grow through influencer marketing, which brought in nearly 70% of sales for the brand in 2018, and experiential events like #RevolveFest.

“Once there’s a capital infusion via an IPO, the expectations on these retailers are pretty aggressive. The whole goal of the infusion of cash or investment is really to grow the brand fast,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at management consultancy BRP Consulting. “There’s only so much you can do for growing a brand online. The biggest way to grow and scale is to open some stores.”

Read Full Article: Now public, Revolve will test investor appetite for influencer marketing

Cities of luxury: Dubai – Luxury Memo special report

Luxury Daily – As the business hub of the Middle East and one of the world’s wealthiest cities, Dubai has attracted its fair share of affluents and luxury brands. Luxury is arguably the primary industry in Dubai, as the city’s economy revolves around trade, tourism, real estate and financial services. The United Arab Emirates has increasingly become a haven for the ultra-affluent from around the globe, and brands across luxury sectors have expanded their presence in Dubai.

“Physical stores are essential for luxury brands expanding to Dubai, especially for brands that don’t have global brand awareness,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting, Boston. “When consumers are buying extremely expensive products they want to see, touch, smell and try the products. “The experience is oftentimes just as important as the product itself,” he said.“Luxury consumers love the theater of shopping and want to be treated like royalty.”

“With more than half of the population in the Arab world under the age of 26, according to Vogue Arabia, retailers need to appeal to the communication styles and mediums preferred by younger shoppers,” BRP’s Mr. Morris said. “These young shoppers will be their future customers and brands need to introduce them to the brands and inspire them become loyal customers.”

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Data Segmentation Boosts Loyalty Success

Convenience Store Decisions – Analyzing customer data takes loyalty programs to a new level of personalization. Despite news of the recent Facebook data breach and other high-profile misuses, data is not something to be feared. It is something to be captured and used in a way that benefits both c-stores and the customers they enroll in loyalty programs.

“Analyzing customer data is the key to measuring the effectiveness of a loyalty program,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at retail consulting firm BRP.  “In the last couple of years, there has been an increased willingness from consumers to provide their data as part of the enrollment process, as long as they perceive a value or reward for providing the data.” That reward goes beyond five cents off gas or a free soda.

“Data segmentation enables retailers to divide their customer base into groupings for data analysis and marketing campaigns,” Kramer said. “The most effective grouping of segments will vary across retailer types. If you are a c-store that sells pizzas or fresh food, it will differ from a c-store that has made-to-order breakfast offerings and from another that has a large beer cooler.”

Kramer recommends 10 or fewer data segments, focused on key store areas and purchase history.

“Understand and continually refine the segments to tailor the value proposition to maximize enrollment and active users,” Kramer said. “Smart marketers will build customized marketing campaigns by store, region or customer demographic, which enables retailers to spend marketing and margin dollars where they are most effective instead of spreading them across the entire customer base.”

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Stop & Shop Employees Return To Work After Strike Ends

BOSTON (CBS) – Stop and Shop employees got back to work Monday morning. Both sides have reached a tentative contract agreement, putting an end to the 11-day strike.

The first order of business was restocking the shelves after workers walked the picket lines for more than a week.
Sunday night Stop and Shop and the unions announced that they reached a tentative agreement. Thirty-one thousand workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut walked off the job on April 11.

UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 called it a “powerful victory.” The unions released a statement which says in part: The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.

“I’ve never felt so good on a Monday morning in my life,” said Anthony Pedriali, a Quincy Stop & Shop employee.
Employees said they don’t know the details of the deal, but have confidence in their union presidents.

Retail expert Ken Morris, Principal at BRP, retail consulting firm, says some customers may never return.

“When you have a good customer moment it’s great, when you have a bad customer moment, you tend not to shop as frequently at that location,” Morris said. “You get a chance to look at competitors, and perhaps you’ll go to someone else going forward.”

View Video Clip: Stop & Shop Employees Return To Work After Strike Ends

5 Things Customers Want from Retail Stores and How You Can Deliver

Small Business Trends – The world of retail is changing — perhaps faster than at any time in history. How can a small retailer keep up with what customers want? One way is by keeping up with the latest retail insights from retail consulting firm BRP. The company does a wealth of consumer surveys to find out what today’s shoppers want from retailers.

While some of the research is most applicable to larger retail chains with bigger budgets than small retailers, there is still a lot to learn. You’ll want to pore over the massive report yourself, but here are some of the key takeaways.

What Retail Store Customers Want:

1. Provide Personalized Customer Service
2. Offer Online/Offline Integration
3. Make the Most of Mobile Technology
4. Lure Them with Loyalty Rewards
5. Offer Store Financing

What do retail customers want? It changes from day to day. But since 63% of consumers will stop shopping at your store after just one unsatisfactory shopping experience, you’d better offer it.

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One week in, Stop & Shop strike has no end in sight

Grocery Dive – Analysts say customer loyalty could take a hit as workers picket without wages and stores remain closed or are operating on limited resources.

The picket lines outside Stop & Shop locations across New England are still in full force today, marking one week since 31,000 workers walked out of their jobs. Right now, dozens of stores across New England are still closed and others are operating on limited hours with a reduced product selection and limited staff. Peapod deliveries have been put on hold, which is a significant issue for shoppers who rely on grocery delivery.

Limited services and closed doors have pushed shoppers into competing stores. That could cause a significant number to permanently defect, particularly if the strike drags on for a long time, said David Naumann, vice president of marketing for BRP Retail Consulting Firm.

“The strike, in and of itself, won’t be what erodes customer loyalty the most. It is the opportunity that it gives competitors to impress new shoppers (former Stop & Shop customers) to join their loyalty programs and convince them to switch their allegiance to their brand,” Naumann wrote in an email to Grocery Dive.

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Mapping Retail’s Last Mile Battleground

Retail TouchPoints – There are many reasons why the last mile has become a first-order concern for retailers. Topping the list is Amazon’s well-publicized ability to provide two-day, one day and even same-day shipping. Amazon’s ability to set a high standard for the retail industry is abetted by the fact that for more than 100 million Amazon Prime members, those shipping costs are bundled into their annual fees, making them essentially invisible and “painless.”

Another reason that last mile concerns are increasingly keeping retailers awake at night is the growing volume of digital sales and subsequent deliveries that are taking place. Results from the 2nd annual Retail TouchPoints Last Mile Benchmark Survey, which collected and analyzed responses from 138 retail executives, illustrate the last mile’s growth trajectory.

Below are pages with comments from Jeffrey Neville, SVP and Practice Lead at BRP Consulting:

Retailers also are reshaping their internal structures and responsibilities to handle last mile challenges. “Retailers are beginning to apply the agile processes they are using on their web sites to the last mile customer experience,” said Jeffrey Neville, SVP and Practice Lead at BRP Consulting in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They are assigning a product manager to the last mile experience, giving this person the ability to test and learn about the impact technical and non-technical changes can have on the identified last mile KPIs. These product managers are also engaging consumers in feedback of the initiatives before they roll out chainwide.”

“Meeting and exceeding the accelerating consumer expectations for fast and free delivery has retailers scrambling to figure out the most economical and reliable options,” said BRP’s Neville. “In addition, retailers must manage the costs and inefficiencies created by rushing to implement new delivery options to avoid customer disappointments.”

“Retailers are establishing KPIs, metrics and service level agreements (SLAs) to monitor and maintain consistent delivery quality,” said BRP’s Neville. “Establishing clear expectations of service levels with third-party delivery parties is imperative to ensuring customer satisfaction.”

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While managing the cost of returns was the top challenge for retailers in 2018, this year the list is led by the 64% that identified minimizing fraudulent returns. This is another complex problem with no single “silver bullet” answer, according to BRP’s Neville: “Preventing or limiting theft from delivery drivers, porch thieves and dishonest reports of theft from customers is a challenge,” he noted. “Retailers need to proactively identify theft as well as arm customer service representatives with a clear policy for customer appeasement for those customers that have experienced stolen packages.”

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BRP’s Neville recommends retailers provide a preprinted return label, including a prepaid shipping label, and also enable shoppers to easily print such labels from the retailer’s web site. “The prepaid label assures that a standard set of information is included with each return (invoice number, SKUs, quantities, etc.) to assist the returns team in processing it,” he said.

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