Study: Retailers see opportunity in online customer behavior

Chain Store Age – Most retailers expect their e-commerce revenue to increase, according to a new study from BRP, retail consulting firm. According to “The E-commerce Effect,” 74% of retailers expect an increase in e-commerce revenue next year, and 72% expect higher mobile website revenue. Less than half of retailers expect revenue growth from channels such as mobile app (49%), social media (47%), and brick-and-mortar (38%).

Online consumer shopping trends lend support to these expectations. Eighty-nine percent of consumers browse merchandise online and 81% purchase merchandise online at least once per month. Eighty-two percent have shopped and reviewed products online and then purchased them in the store, while 62% compare prices online before visiting a store.

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82% of Consumers Shop and Review Products Online Before Purchasing in a Store, According to New BRP Report

59% of Retailers are Focused on Creating a Consistent Brand Experience Across Channels to Support Omni-channel Shopping Journeys

Boston, MA – June 5, 2019– The advent of e-commerce has elevated consumers’ expectations of the shopping experience and retailers must now provide service anytime, anywhere and any way customers’ desire. Consumers now have more shopping options than ever before with more competitive pricing, greater merchandise assortments and faster delivery to get their desired product wherever and whenever. This makes the customer journey more complicated than ever before.

“Since consumers use digital devices throughout the shopping journey to research product information, compare prices and read consumer reviews, providing as much relevant information via the retailer’s website helps keep customers loyal to the brand,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP.“As e-commerce continues to represent a greater share of retailers’ revenue mix, it is imperative that retailers continue to enhance their online capabilities to keep up with their competitors that are just a click away.”

Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in different channels and frequently shop for the same product across different retailers, via mobile, online or in-store. The customer expects a frictionless shopping experience across an entire brand and doesn’t want disruptions as they cross individual channels or locations.

While 59% of retailers are focused on creating a consistent brand experience across channels, it is surprising that only 18% are focused on increasing the convergence of physical and digital shopping environments. This seems like a disconnect, as converged physical and digital shopping environments are necessary to create a consistent brand experience across channels.

According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The E-Commerce Effect, retailers indicate the following are top unified commerce priorities:

  • Create a consistent brand experience across channels (59%)
  • Improve the online experience (52%)
  • Improve personalization (45%)
  • Improve the mobile shopping experience (41%)

To download the complete Special Report: The E-Commerce Effect visit:

The special report’s platinum sponsors are enVista and Kibo and the gold sponsors are Aptos, ECRS, Fujitsu, LS Retail and PCMS.

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

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.”

Read Full Article: Data Segmentation Boosts Loyalty Success

Retail Tech and Privacy

CPS Media – The dystopian novel “1984” begins with the protagonist Winston Smith hiding from a device called a telescreen. The telescreen is a combination TV and surveillance camera that the book’s fictional government uses to constantly monitor its citizens. In author George Orwell’s nightmare world, everyday people can watch programs on the telescreens, but it is always watching them back.

What does this have to do with convenience stores? More and more every day. When “1984” was published in 1949, Orwell could not imagine that we would have the ability to immediately identify almost anyone using facial recognition technology. The possibility that we as consumers might soon be surrounded by such technology in retail and restaurant settings is very real.

On one hand, facial recognition devices such as this could be the next logical step in providing the level of service customers increasingly demand. After all, BRP, a Boston-based retail analysis firm, recently released a study claiming that 79% of consumers see personalized service as an important factor when deciding where to shop. Furthermore, the study found that 64% of consumers are comfortable with retailers identifying them with their mobile phones when they enter the store if they are offered a personalized experience in return.

Read Full Article: Retail Tech and Privacy

The Power of Mobile

There is no denying the power of mobile technology as a major disruptor in the retail industry. The proliferation and convenience of mobile devices has completely changed shopping behaviors and elevated customer expectations. And there’s no sign that it’s slowing down any time soon. In fact, according to the BRP Consumer Study[1], mobile shopping will continue to grow as 41% of consumers indicate they plan to increase their shopping frequency on their phone or tablet in the next 24 months.

However, purchasing via a phone is just one way that mobile devices are becoming more pervasive. Many consumers use their mobile devices as a research tool throughout the shopping journey. In the BRP Consumer Study, we found that 34% use their phone to compare prices and 28% look for offers/coupons, all while in the store. This makes it imperative for retailers to ensure their mobile app/website offers the tools and capabilities to keep the customer shopping their brand.

A retailer’s mobile capabilities can actually be a major driver for where a consumer chooses to shop, with 67% of consumers choosing a store based on the availability of mobile coupons and 49% choosing a store based on the ability to locate products via a locator maps on their mobile device.

Unfortunately, retailers are still trying to catch up to customer expectations. While two-thirds of consumers want mobile coupons, only 23% of retailers actually offer mobile offers within the store. Half of consumers want to be able to locate products in the store with their mobile device, but only 23% of retailers currently offer it.

There is a large gap between what customers want and what retailers can currently offer. Mobile technology, and the opportunities it offers consumers, requires retailers to upgrade and replace applications and systems to stay ahead of their competitors’ customer experience offerings and to keep up with their very informed, technology-savvy customers.

To learn more about the gap between customer expectations and retailer capabilities I urge you to read BRP’s recent SPECIAL REPORT: The Mobilization of Retail.

Please share your comments on this topic below.


[1]2019 Consumer Shopping Habits – The Generation Gap, April 16, 2019

67% Pick Stores Based on Mobile Coupons

MediaPost – Despite all the new technology that continually hits the market, consumers are still looking for a deal when they shop. The technology has made the deals much more portable.

Thanks to mobile, the shopping experience has been transformed from a serial process, as in when a consumer leaves home to go to the store to shop, to an iterative process, as in a smartphone-equipped consumer is shopping all the time.

About a third (34%) of shoppers use their phone to compare prices while in a store and nearly as many (28%) use their phones to look for offers, according to a recent BRP shopping study.

The pattern is not likely to change, with 41% of consumers planning to increase their shopping frequency on their phone or tablet within the next two years.

Read Full Article: 67% Pick Stores Based on Mobile Coupons

The long, slow fall of Lord and Taylor

Glossy – The world of department stores is facing rough seas. One company that has been hit particularly hard is Hudson’s Bay Company, the Canadian owner of retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue that announced plans earlier this month to sell the floundering Lord & Taylor brand.

“The challenges for department stores are primarily the result of selling commodity products — products that are available at their competitors’ stores and also sold by the manufacturers’ branded stores,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP, retail consulting firm. “The best way to survive is to differentiate your brand through experiences, just like some of the successful European department stores such as Galeries Lafayette, Harrods and Selfridges.”

Read Full Article: The long, slow fall of Lord and Taylor

Focus on the phone

Produce Retailer – How does the average shopper experience your brand on her phone? That question should be a guide for your marketing efforts in the coming years. According to a new report by retail consulting firm BRP, 41% of consumers plan to increase how often they shop on their phone or tablet within two years. The report is based on a survey about shopping habits overall — not grocery shopping habits alone — but the findings are still relevant.

After all, the plethora of fast food options has certainly influenced what kind of products shoppers demand in grocery stores, leading to tremendous growth in fresh-cut and prepared foods sections, and the popularity of e-commerce in non-food retail sectors like clothing, books and electronics has prompted the rapid rise of grocery pickup and delivery services. We know shoppers are looking for convenience, and the BRP report indicates that for many people convenience is not just important but a make-or-break factor.

The firm found that 67% will choose a store based on the availability of mobile coupons and 64% will choose a store based on product information availability via a mobile device. BRP found that many retailers are already working to realize the opportunities those preferences present.

Read Full Article: Focus on the phone

Getting Chatty With Chatbots

E-Commerce Times – Chatbots have become an important part of the e-commerce shopping experience. They answer questions, provide information, and help customers along in their buying journey. Though they may never replace human beings entirely, they are central to many e-commerce-related interactions.

The chatbots that work best are those that are essentially human-like, and for that reason companies should hold their chatbots to the standards that apply to their human employees.

“Retailers should have the same expectations of a customer’s interaction with a chatbot as they do with their customer service representatives or sales associates,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP,  retail consulting firm.

“Chatbots should be human-like in their interactions and have a personality that matches the brand,” he told the E-Commerce Times. Chatbots also need to be able to remember past interactions with a particular customer and provide customized, relevant service.

“Like a good sales associate, they should remember past conversations, be tolerant of consumer’s typos and ambiguity, and be prepared to provide backup information for any question that can’t be answered completely,” explained Neville. “For example, ‘I’m sorry, but this part is not covered under your warranty — here is a link to our warranty policy.'”

Read Full Article: Getting Chatty With Chatbots

Mobile coupons drive customer loyalty

Retail Dive – As retailers compete for customers both online and in-stores, BRP’s report highlights the importance of building a mobile presence in tandem with a physical one, rather as separate endeavors. “A retailer’s mobile capabilities can be a major driver for where a consumer chooses to shop,” Marty Whitmore, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, said in a statement. “With 67% of consumers choosing a store based on the availability of mobile coupons and 64% choosing a store based on product information availability via a mobile device, these are essential mobile capabilities for retailers.”

The success of a mobile-meets-store experience relies on providing customers the information they want without taking too much of their information in exchange for the convenience. The plans retailers shared with BRP to offer identification by WiFi, beacons and other technology to identify customers don’t yet match customer willingness to be identified by such measures. “Even with the best technologies to identify consumers, retailers need to convince consumers to opt-in to customer identification,” BRP noted. “They need to make it ‘valuable’ enough for customers to want to be recognized.”

Read Full Article: Mobile coupons drive customer loyalty


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