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Unified Commerce Makes You Invaluable to Your Customer

Flexe – It’s a fine line giving shoppers what they want. Consumer expectations for what it means to shop have changed, according to Perry Kramer, SVP and Practice Lead at BRP, retail consulting firm. Today’s expectations include in-store and online, and demands continue to evolve. On one hand, many want to be left alone when they shop—free to discover products on their own; others expect a much more personalized experience—one in which their customer profiles are easily identified and catered to.

Identifying how your customers want to be treated and then delivering on that experience means continuously improving the integration between in-store, online, and enterprise operations. For any retailer with both an online and physical store, there can no longer be any separation between the two. This is the essence of a new retail model called unified commerce—the next generation of omnichannel.

Unified commerce centers around what’s right for your customers. For some, this means providing faster delivery options by shipping more inventory from stores to fulfill online sales. Some will convert stores into virtual show rooms and ship store purchases from nearby warehouses. Others will rely on data and technology to help store associates understand personal details about their in-store shoppers.

It’s a fine line giving shoppers what they want.

The ultimate goal of unified commerce is to enable deeper engagement with consumers and a more holistic approach to the customer journey. No matter where an order starts or ends, the customer has visibility to it—it’s a fluid transaction.

That means retailers are connecting with customers long before they get to the store or website, and continuing to engage long after they leave. In some cases, the customer may never even enter the store. Sometimes the journey begins on social media and results in a digital transaction and follow through.

Read Full Article: Unified Commerce Makes You Invaluable to Your Customer

Report: 79% of consumers want personalized in-store experience

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods – Today’s online shoppers are accustomed to features such as product reviews, expansive merchandise choices, one-click transaction processing and personalized recommendations.

Personalization and technology are bringing new life to brick-and-mortar stores, according to a report published by BRP, retail consulting firm. However, retailers must infuse digital features into the store environment to exceed customer expectations, compete more effectively and offer a more complete and personalized shopping experience.

Today’s online shoppers are accustomed to features such as product reviews, expansive merchandise choices, one-click transaction processing and personalized recommendations. These expectations don’t dissipate when the customer walks into a physical store. In fact, customer expectations are likely magnified across all channels because most consumers shop more than one channel as part of their shopping journey and expect the same benefits across channels.

“Effective customer engagement requires retailers to offer a personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent experience across channels,” says Ken Morris, principal. “In today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience. Customer identification is necessary to personalize the in-store shopping experience; however, 63% of retailers can’t identify their customers prior to checkout, which is too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision.”

Read full article: Report: 79% of consumers want personalized in-store experience

Customer identification is key to personalization—yet most are anonymous until checkout

Bulldog Reporter – Customer identification is the first step necessary to personalize the shopping experience, yet most in-store shoppers are anonymous until they check out. According to the newly released 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from retail management consulting firm BRP, only 13 percent of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store and another 10 percent identify customers pre-checkout. Retailers fare better online, as 30 percent identify customers when they enter the website and another 30 percent identify customers pre-checkout.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president at BRP, in a news release.”

Read Full Article: Customer identification is key to personalization—yet most are anonymous until checkout

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/

A Personalized Brand Experience Across Digital Channels is Imperative

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. Consumers don’t think in terms of channels, they think in terms of brands and experiences.

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.

The good news is that 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 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.

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. 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.

I encourage you to download and read the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey for more insights on the cross channel digital experience:

Download Now

As always, I appreciate your insights on this topic.  Please share your feedback and opinions below.

 

Jeffrey

Shopping experiences must be personalized across channels: BRP

Luxury Daily – As the lines between physical and digital stores continues to blur, retailers need to personalize shopping experiences beyond in-store and continue to create consistent brand experiences online.

A new report from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm, finds that 51 percent of consumers want a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. Currently, less than a fifth of retailers use customer-identifying technology in their stores, pointing to the potential for more customized engagement.

“To engage with the customer and personalize their experience, retailers need to quickly and easily identify the customer,” Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners. “Identifying the customer as they enter the store – via their smartphone, beacon or other technology – affords the retailer the opportunity to personalize the customer’s shopping experience.”

Three-quarters of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit, and 46 percent use mobile devices while shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores. Almost a quarter of retailers surveyed named improving mobile shopping experiences as their top priority.

Creating a consistent brand experience across channels is the top digital priority for retailers, and was named as a focus by 57 percent of respondents. Thirty-eight percent of retailers also cited wanting to improve customer loyalty, personalization and user experience.

However, retailers cannot improve personalization efforts without first identifying individual shoppers. Seventy-nine percent of respondents plan to introduce technology to better identify customers within the next three years, while 76 percent plan to integrate geolocation to improve how promotions are sent to customers.

Read Full Article: Shopping experiences must be personalized across channels: BRP

Most in-store shoppers anonymous until checkout: Report

Fibre2Fashion – Customer identification is the first step necessary to personalise the shopping experience, yet most in-store shoppers are anonymous until they check out, according to a recent report. It further adds that merely 13 per cent of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store and another 10 per cent identify customers pre-checkout.

Retailers fare better online, as 30 per cent identify customers when they enter the website and another 30 per cent identify customers pre-checkout, as per the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey by BRP, an innovative retail consulting firm.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalised experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president, BRP, retail consulting firm. “Those online experiences have heightened customer expectations for personalisation and they now expect the same level of service while shopping in a store. This is tremendous opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience – turning anonymous shoppers into loyal customers.”

Read Full Article: Most in-store shoppers anonymous until checkout: Report

Turn Anonymous Customers into Loyal Customers

At what point in the shopping journey do you identify your customers? If it is not until they reach the checkout, you might be in the majority, but that is too late to influence their purchase decisions.

Creating a more personalized shopping experience is one of the highest priorities retailers are facing, and the first step towards that personalization is customer identification.  However, an inability to identify customers early means that most in-store shoppers are essentially anonymous until they check out. According to BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, only 13% of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store and another 10% identify customers pre-checkout. Retailers fare better online, as 30% identify customers when they enter the website and another 30% identify customers pre-checkout.

While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers. Those online experiences have heightened customer expectations for personalization and they now expect the same level of service while shopping in a store. This is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience – turning anonymous shoppers into loyal customers.

The logical question is: How can I identify customers before they get to the checkout? As with most challenges in 2018, there are both technology and business process solutions to address this gap.  From a technology perspective, the most effective solution lies with your customers themselves – the fact that nearly all of them will be walking into your stores with mobile devices. Many retailers are taking advantage of this by using in-store WiFi as a way to capture customer sign-on information, while others are using their mobile app log-ins, or identifying customers by their MAC addresses on those devices. From a process perspective, forward-thinking retailers are providing their associates with mobile devices and placing them on the sales floor in order to increase their engagement with customers and to capture information early in the shopping visit to provide suggestive sell recommendations or other purchase incentives.

Without early identification of the customer, retailers miss critical engagement opportunities, such as clienteling and guided selling, which can increase sales and deliver an enhanced customer experience. Even more concerning is that 20% of retailers still have no ability to identify their customers in the store, even at checkout, which eliminates any opportunities for improving the post-purchase experience or customer loyalty.

Are you identifying your customers early and personalizing their shopping experience? What ways have you found most effective for capturing customer information?

As always, I am interested in your opinions on this topic.  Please share your comments below.

Ryan

Retailers’ in-store customer identification efforts are lagging

Chain Store Age – Customer identification is the first step to personalizing the shopping experience, yet most customers remain anonymous until they check out. Only 13% of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store, and another 10% identify customers pre-checkout, according to the “2018 Customer Experience/ Unified Commerce Survey” from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior VP, Boston Retail Partners.

“Those online experiences have heightened customer expectations for personalization and they now expect the same level of service while shopping in a store,” he added. “This is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience – and turn anonymous shoppers into loyal customers.”

Read full article: Retailers’ in-store customer identification efforts are lagging

Customer Identification Key to Creating Personalized Shopping

Convenience Store Decisions – BRP finds customer identification in the store continues to challenge most retailers. How well do you know your customers? Customer identification is the first step necessary to personalize the shopping experience, yet most in-store shoppers are anonymous until they check out.

According to BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, only 13% of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store and another 10% identify customers pre-checkout. Retailers fare better online, as 30% identify customers when they enter the website and another 30% identify customers pre-checkout.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president, BRP, retail consulting firm. “Those online experiences have heightened customer expectations for personalization and they now expect the same level of service while shopping in a store. This is tremendous opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience – turning anonymous shoppers into loyal customers.”

Read Full Article: Customer Identification Key to Creating Personalized Shopping