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BRP Report: Consumers Want Personalized, Consistent Experience Across Channels

Convenience Store Decisions – Consumers want a personalized and consistent experience across channels, but according to BRP’s (retail consulting firm) 2019 Unified Commerce Survey of top North American retailers, only 28% of retailers offer a shared cart across channels. 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 expect a frictionless shopping experience across an entire brand and they don’t want disruptions as they cross individual channels or locations. In fact, according to the recent BRP Consumer Study, 87% of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across channels. Today’s consumers expect their experience to be seamless as their “shopping cart” and browsing history follows them throughout their journey.

“The growth of online and mobile is driving the demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization across all channels,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “To succeed in this demanding environment, retailers must undergo a transformation as they move to a true unified commerce approach to deliver the convergence of the digital and physical shopping experiences and create a holistic customer shopping experience.”

Read full article: BRP Report: Consumers Want Personalized, Consistent Experience Across Channels

Kering hopes to push industry towards sustainability with new standards

Luxury Daily – As traditional luxury brands strive to become more transparent about their sustainability practices, French luxury conglomerate Kering is the latest to introduce new standards regarding animal welfare.

Today’s shoppers, including the highly coveted millennials and Gen Zers, are becoming more vocal about their preference for sustainable brands, and many high-end brands are emerging to fill this consumer need. Meanwhile, groups of heritage labels such as Kering need to balance their identity as luxury businesses while moving in more eco-conscious directions.

While Kering hopes to lead by example regarding sustainability in luxury, other players in the industry have also revealed more stringent sourcing guidelines.

“Consumers are reading labels to learn about the source of the materials in products and often make purchasing decisions based on the sustainability standards of the product,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm. “Transparency in material sourcing is a becoming a new customer expectation and retailers are realizing the importance of aligning with higher standards for the source of materials and the environments for the animals that are used in products.”

“Ideally, there should be an independent organization that monitors and certifies farmers and manufacturing plants for ethical and sustainable practices to make it easy for consumer to know if a brand or product is in accordance with consistent standards,” Mr. Naumann said. “Brands that truly ‘walk the talk’ on these environmental issues will foster more brand loyalty among environmentally conscious consumers.”

Read Full Article: Kering hopes to push industry towards sustainability with new standards

How to Use Email Marketing Segmentation to Grow Your Business

Business 2 Community – If you asked customers what’s the one thing they want more of from retailers, they’d say personalized customer experiences. Customers don’t want to be seen as nameless faces in a sea of people; they want to be treated as individuals.

Ken Morris, Principal at Boston Retail Partners, explains personalization this way, “Effective customer engagement requires retailers to offer a personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent experience across channels.” He continues, “In today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience.”
Read Full Article: How to Use Email Marketing Segmentation to Grow Your Business

How luxury retail can leverage live streaming for consumer engagement

Luxury Daily – As live streaming becomes an increasingly popular practice in China, Western labels and retailers are catching on to the tactic as a means of driving real-time interactions with consumers.

Acting as a digital, influencer-driven version of home shopping television networks, live streaming enables brands to showcase products and stores through personalities. As more luxury shopping moves online, live video offers a way to connect the physical and the digital, enabling shoppers to get feedback and make more confident decisions.

“Live streaming in retail is essentially the intersection of QVC and HSN TV experiences with live events that are delivered via online and mobile devices,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm.

“Many consumers have a desire to be the first to have the latest fashion or product, and this passion for immediate gratification makes live events and live streaming appealing for consumers and hence retailers,” he said. “Live streaming is real-time retail in spades.”

“Live streaming creates a sense of urgency that helps stimulate impulse buying, especially if the products are only available for a limited number of minutes or there is a countdown on the number of items available,” Mr. Naumann said. “The limited availability of products is a great way to enhance a brand’s exclusive image.

“For brands that are looking to create a buzz and increase the engagement of their customers, live streaming may be worth testing,” he said.

Read Full Article: How luxury retail can leverage live streaming for consumer engagement

Survey: Retailers lag meeting key omnichannel expectations

Chain Store Age – A new survey from BRP, retail consulting firm, reveals that retailers are behind in adopting several critical omnichannel capabilities. According to BRP’s 2019 Unified Commerce Survey, 87% of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across channels. However, only 71% of retailers plan to offer the ability to “start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere” to their customers.

Similarly, while 68% of consumers would choose a store that offers personalized promotions/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them, a matching 68% of retailers need to improve their ability to utilize customer insight to meet their customers’ expectations.

About two-thirds (64%) of consumers choose a store based on product information availability via their mobile device. But only 41% of retailers plan to improve the mobile experience to ensure they are meeting their customers’ expectations.

“The growth of online and mobile is driving the demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization across all channels,” said Perry Kramer, senior VP and practice lead at BRP. “To succeed in this demanding environment, retailers must undergo a transformation as they move to a true unified commerce approach to deliver the convergence of the digital and physical shopping experiences and create a holistic customer shopping experience.”

Read full article: Survey: Retailers lag meeting key omnichannel expectations

Ease of Checkout, Payment Top Consumers’ Shopping List

Convenience Store Decisions – Retailers are adding to POS capabilities now while planning eventual move to cloud-based commerce platforms. According to a new report released last week by Boston-based retail consultant BRP, brick-and-mortar stores are standing up to the seemingly massive shift to online commerce. The key, the report suggests, is in the ease of the shopping and purchasing experience.

According to the report, “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 (retail consulting firm). “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.

Read Full Article: Ease of Checkout, Payment Top Consumers’ Shopping List

Digital vs. Traditional Consumers: How Generational Gaps Define Shopping Tendencies

eMarketer – Younger, digitally engaged consumers love to use almost any technology that might make their buying process more self-sufficient, whereas traditional consumers are driven more by cost and ease of use.

According to a December 2018 report from BRP, retail consulting firm, “digital consumers” (defined as those ages 18 to 37) look for the availability of self-checkout, mobile payments or same-day delivery when choosing retailers. In comparison, “traditional consumers” (ages 38 and older) care less about technological offerings, with most being driven to retailers by free delivery. (It should be noted that per BRP, the only defining factor of digital vs. traditional consumers was age.)

After they’ve made a purchase, 61% of digital consumers are likely to share an exceptional shopping experience on social media, vs. just 29% of traditional consumers who said the same, according to BRP. This trend holds true for unsatisfactory experiences: Fifty-six percent of digital consumers said they’d post on social about a poor experience, compared with 27% of traditional consumers.

Survey respondents were not asked about sharing experiences via word-of-mouth—something that digital and traditional shoppers likely do. But there is one thing both cohorts agree on: Following an unsatisfactory shopping experience, nearly two-thirds of all digital and traditional consumers would not return to that retailer.

Above all, marketers must recognize core consumers and meet their needs accordingly. But as digital and traditional consumers often shop at the same stores, retailers should be prepared to offer a wide range of simple and value-driven experiences—as well as those that are more technologically cutting-edge.

Read Full Article: Digital vs. Traditional Consumers: How Generational Gaps Define Shopping Tendencies

The Store Still Matters

Despite what the media and industry analysts want us to believe, the store still matters. 79% of the consumers in our recent Consumer Study indicate they purchase merchandise in a store frequently. So, the store is not likely going away any time soon. In fact, this is likely to rise as 27% of consumers indicate their in-store shopping frequency will increase over the next 24 months.

With the store still a major part of the customer journey, the point of sale or commerce platform plays a critical role in shaping the customer shopping experience.Since the checkout process in stores is often the most frustrating aspect of an in-store shopping experience, it is important for retailers to ensure that this technology is efficient to make the process quick and easy. Most consumers (96%) feel that the ease of checkout and payment is an important factor in choosing where they shop so getting it correct is important.The right technology foundation is essential to support the best in-store customer experience and allow it to continue to evolve.

Instead of a simple checkout device, your commerce platform needs to serve as the link to customer information, shopping history and purchasing behavior across channels, not just in the store. Unfortunately, many retailers are utilizing old, outdated hardware and software that can’t support today’s requirements. This leads to associate and customer frustration because of slow transactions, lack of accessible information and potentially, increased theft and fraud. The challenge for retailers is to identify and implement a new holistic commerce platform across channels that addresses these issues and avoids being obsolete in a year or two.

More than half (53%) of the retailers in our 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey are focused on adding capabilities to their current POS with 41% focused on implementing a unified commerce platform so retailers are heading in the right direction. But we challenge retailers to look at cloud-based solutions to enable real-time capabilities and create a scalable and agile platform that supports your evolving business needs.

A cloud approach enables you to significantly reduce infrastructure, improve security and increase operational effectiveness by centralizing data management and processes. This allows you to be more agile so you can continue to meet your ever-changing customer needs and make sure that your store still matters.

I encourage you to download the BRP SPECIAL REPORT: The State of Store Technology for more information on what today’s store environment requires.

Brian

Outdated POS poses challenge for omnichannel retail: BRP

Luxury Daily – According to new research, almost all consumers consider the ease of a retailer’s checkout process when choosing where to shop, pointing to the importance of having up-to-date point-of-sale (POS) systems in place at bricks-and-mortar stores.

A report from Boston Retail Partners finds that about half of retailers are planning to replace their existing POS within the next three years, with many opting for updates such as cloud-based systems and mobile checkout. Even with ecommerce growth, many customers are still shopping in-store, warranting investments in making the experience as positive as possible.

“Checkout is often the most dreaded part of the shopping experience and much of it can be influenced by having the right processes and technology,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP, retail consulting firm. “In fact, 96 percent of consumers indicate that ease of checkout and payment are important factors when choosing where to shop.

“Understaffed checkout lines, or not enough, cumbersome processes for customer or loyalty lookup and slower payment processes are just a few examples,” he said. “Retailers should consider ongoing reviews for process improvements, as well as technology updates to POS and payment options. “Customers desiring self-checkout solutions is also on the rise and should be a consideration by every retailer,” he said.

Read Full Article: Outdated POS poses challenge for omnichannel retail: BRP

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…

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2019 Unified Commerce Survey

87% of Consumers Want a Personalized and Consistent Experience Across Channels

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 expect a frictionless shopping experience across an entire brand and they don’t want disruptions as they cross individual channels or locations. In fact, according to the recent BRP Consumer Study, 87% of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across channels.

BRP’s 2019 Unified Commerce Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into the forces affecting the retail industry, the opportunities available for retailers and the future of retail.

The key findings in the 2019 Unified Commerce Survey:

The Mobilization of Retail

  • 64% of consumers choose a store based on product information availability via their mobile device
  • 41% of retailers plan to improve the mobile experience to ensure they are meeting their customers’ expectations

The E-Commerce Effect

  • 81% of consumers purchase online at least once per month and 89% browse online at least once per month
  • 71% of retailers plan to offer a live chat option on their website to enhance the online shopping experience within two years

The Changing Customer Experience

  • 68% of consumers would choose a store that offers personalized promotions/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them
  • 68% of retailers need to improve their ability to utilize customer insight to meet their customers’ expectations

The Need for Unified Commerce

  • 87% of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across all channels
  • 71% of retailers plan to offer the ability to ‘start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere’ to their customers

The Future of Retail

  • 57% of consumers would choose a store offering an automated returns process over one that doesn’t offer it
  • 38% of retailers plan to offer an automated returns process within two years to offer more self-service opportunities

Personalization is Key to Customer Loyalty

Personalization is Needed to Compete Against Amazon

As consumers become more technologically savvy and have access to better information, there is a widening gap as retailers struggle to meet consumers’ escalating expectations. Personalization is one of the best ways to create and maintain a connection with the brand’s most valuable and loyal customers. The 2018 Special Report – Personalization is Key to Customer Loyalty identifies how retailers are personalizing the shopping experience for their most valuable customers.

“Personalization is the best way for retailers to enhance the customer experience, especially for those customers who are already invested in your brand,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Identifying and rewarding your most valuable customers with personalized offers and services is imperative to cultivating loyal, brand enthusiasts.”

The key customer loyalty trends identified in the study include:

Customer Identification and Incentives – To engage with customers on a personal level requires retailers to identify the customer early in the process at any touch-point.

• 53% of retailers extend specialized offers to encourage customers to identify themselves with personal information

Most Valuable Customers – With 80% of a retailer’s business typically coming from 20% of its customers, identifying your most valuable customers and understanding their shopping habits is critical to cultivating loyal, brand enthusiasts.

• 77% of retailers identify their most valuable customers, however, 69% of those feel the process needs improvement

Personalizing the Experience – Retailers that identify customers when they enter the store and equip their associates with the proper mobile tools can personalize the shopping experience based on customer context.

• 69% of retailers that identify their most valuable customers share this information with their associates, which represents missed opportunities for the 31% who don’t share customer information with associates.