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How Much Damage Can 1 Bad Experience Cause a Brand?

The Motley Fool – Customers’ expectations are only getting higher, and retailers may not get a second chance to meet them.

Consumers have more choices about nearly every purchase than they’ve ever had before. It’s no longer necessary to visit a physical store to buy most things, and for the vast majority of products, shoppers can pick from multiple retailers on their phone or computer.

In some measure, the so-called retail apocalypse can be traced back to this explosion of options. Shoppers no longer have any need to put up with poor selection, a lack of in-store personnel, or poor omnichannel support at one retailer when so many other chains are doing those things right.

That creates a market where people don’t have to be all that forgiving of a bad customer experience, and it makes every interaction important — especially with new customers or those who have had limited experience with a company.

Indeed, 63% of consumers said “it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience” to make them stop shopping your brand, according to BRP’s Keeping Loyal Customers Happy report.

Customer loyalty is hard to win and easy to lose. One method of delivering a positive experience is by offering a personalized touch — that’s something 44% of survey respondents said would lead to them making repeat visits. And nearly twice that number (79%) indicated that personalized service from in-store personnel would influence their store choice going forward.

“Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand,” said BRP, retail consulting firm, Senior Vice President Perry Kramer in a press release. ”

“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 preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location — all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers,” Kramer said.

Read Full Article: How Much Damage Can 1 Bad Experience Cause a Brand?

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

Study Finds Disconnect Between Consumers And Retailers

MediaPost – Retailers persist in thinking that the chance of more personalized service will persuade shoppers to share information (such as email address). But it’s not quite so, according to Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, a study by BRP, retail consulting firm.

While 37% offer better service as a perk, only 22% of consumers are convinced by it. What they want is specialized offers —3 4% say so, although only 27% of retailers are providing them. Overall, 68% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store that offers personalized rewards based on loyalty.

In addition, 26% of shoppers want credit toward future purchases, a benefit being offered by only 13% of retailers.

And the option to have the customer receipt emailed is a non-starter on both sides — 17% of retailers offer it, and 13% want it. Product incentives are more popular with retailers than they are with consumers.

For this analysis, BRP compared the results of its 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce benchmark study with its 2017 consumer study.

Read Full Article: Study Finds Disconnect Between Consumers And Retailers

Study: Consumers will trade privacy for this perk

Chain Store Age – Consumers will identify themselves when they walk into a store, for a price. According to a new study from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), “Keeping Loyal Customers Happy,” 37% of retailers offer brick-and-mortar shoppers more personalized service as an incentive to identify themselves. However, only 22% of consumers prefer personalized service in exchange for surrendering their in-store privacy.

Instead, BRP analysis shows customers are more likely to prefer monetary incentives for identifying themselves in-store. These include specialized offers (34%), product incentives (27%), and credit toward future purchases (26%).

“Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand,” said Perry Kramer, senior VP and practice lead, BRP, retail consulting firm. “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 preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location – all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers.”

Read Full Article: Study: Consumers will trade privacy for this perk

How To Keep Customers Happy

Convenience Store Decisions – BRP Consulting finds 63% of consumers are likely to stop shopping a brand if they have a bad experience. In an ever-evolving retail environment, keeping customers happy is more complicated and more important than ever. Today’s consumers connect with brands across multiple channels, which complicates the process of recognizing, servicing, and rewarding loyal customers.

According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, customers expect engaging and relevant interactions and conversations across all channels and they don’t have any tolerance for unsatisfactory shopping experiences. Customers want a personalized experience and if they are treated well, they will reward the retailer through additional purchases and brand loyalty.

“Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “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 preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location—all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers.”

Read Full Article: How To Keep Customers Happy

63% of Consumers are Likely to Stop Shopping a Brand if they have an Unsatisfactory Experience, According to New BRP Report

Enhancing customer loyalty is critical to ensure success in today’s competitive environment

Boston, MA – February 19, 2019 – Today’s consumers connect with brands across multiple channels, which complicates the process of recognizing, servicing, and rewarding loyal customers. According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, customers expect engaging and relevant interactions and conversations across all channels and they don’t have any tolerance for unsatisfactory shopping experiences. Customers want a personalized experience and if they are treated well, they will reward the retailer through additional purchases and brand loyalty.

“Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand,” said Perry Kramer, SVP and practice lead, BRP. “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 preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location – all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers.”

Keeping loyal customers happy is critical as it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience for 63% of consumers to stop shopping your brand. The most valuable customers have already established their loyalty to your brand but to keep them coming back and to encourage their advocacy of the brand, it is important to ensure each and every shopping experience, in every channel, is seamless, personal and positive.

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey and offers insights into how to enhance customer loyalty.

The SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy highlights:

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION

  • Customer expectations: 64% are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they are offered a personalized experience
  • Retailer capabilities: 63% are unable to identify their customers prior to checkout and 20% can’t identify them until after checkout or not at all

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION INCENTIVES

  • Customer expectations: 26% want credit or discounts towards future purchases as an incentive to allow retailers to identify them when they walk in the store
  • Retailer capabilities: 13% offer credit or discounts towards future purchases as an incentive to customers

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-special-report-customer-loyalty

The SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy is based on findings from BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey platinum sponsors are Aptos and Manhattan Associates, gold sponsors are TSYS, ECRS, enVista and PCMS, and the silver sponsor is STORIS.

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.

Using Biometrics to Identify Consumers – Key Considerations

As the expectations of Millennial and Gen-Z consumers continue to drive the in-store experience, there is and execution gap between customer expectations and retailer capabilities.  The Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise, exposes that many firms are still unprepared to deliver the frictionless encounter consumers expect. This reality has companies examining any technology that might aid in providing the assumed experience, even if some improvements, such as using biometrics (facial, fingerprint, iris) for patron recognition, are cemented in a debate.  For example, Marriot in China is experimenting with facial recognition to reduce the check-in process.  By using the patron’s photo and profile information, a kiosk will issue a room key, once the guest’s identity is confirmed.

Even though the application of this tech is still in the early stages, it could quickly become a crucial component in providing a frictionless experience in the future. Walmart, BurgerFi, KFC, and Caliburger are some of the first brands to experiment with utilizing this technology for purposes such as; to capture customer satisfaction, trigger loyalty programs, infuse guests’ preferences, and accelerate the transaction process.  However, even with the vast number of business applications, the controversy hovering over this technology is something to keep in mind.

Consumers right to data privacy remains a focal point for authorities both domestically, and internationally. The highly publicized cases, within both the private and public sectors, should bring caution to decision makers when examining how to leverage this technology. However, many companies are exploring these technologies as the benefits from the enhanced capabilities may outweigh the possible public pushback. Organizations should consider the following factors when building a strategy for leveraging biometric identification in-store.

Sell the benefits to both your customers (consumers and staff)

With features such as facial, and fingerprint scanning becoming a more mainstream way for users to authenticate purchases, and unlock their smartphones, it’s not surprising that customers are warming to the notion of brands using biometrics to produce a better experience. A recent BRP study revealed that 30% of shoppers are likely to allow retailers to use their biometric data to enhance the shopping experience. However, for those consumers willing to have their biometric identity collected, a substantial payoff will be expected. So, whether it is a more personal experience, timely offers, or simplifying loyalty program participation, the brand must ensure that the patron will notice the payoff.

Similar to customers, employees are cautious about having “big brother” watching over them. As more employers trend towards adopting biometrics as a means for logging onto registers, or clocking out for lunch, they will be easier to sell the benefits for implementing this new technology. Leaders will need to strive towards turning workers into promoters of these new initiatives, by proving how this solution will not only make their jobs easier to perform, but also help deliver a better experience for the customer.

Informed Opt-In, and Easy Opt-Out for Customers

If any lesson can be learned from Facebook’s ongoing battles to allow their facial recognition capabilities to be available within Canada, and the EU, is that informed opt-in, and easy opt-out is a necessity when implementing this technology. Companies must be prepared to comply with the consumer’s demands of having complete control over his/her privacy, but also the evolving regulations that continually changing. For a brand to successfully navigate through these uncertain times, they need to present customers with a well-informed and simple opt-in and opt-out processes.

The opt-in procedure should include full disclosure, with easy to follow documentation. There cannot be any hidden use cases. The company must be completely upfront about the information collected, and how the company uses that knowledge. Business leaders could even go further by using marketing campaigns, and press releases to communicate to consumers details on any changes to how they handle customer data.

The creation of a customer portal or application would also allow the customer to inspect the personal information collected. This portal can also provide customers with a quick way to opt-out, and to have their data wiped. Once a customer has chosen to opt-out, their data should be blacklisted moving forward. Once the new system identifies the person, all data collection should stop for that particular customer.

Preventing Service Drop off for Opt-out Customers

Some states are taking it upon themselves to ensure that business owners do not punish the opt-outs. In California, companies are awaiting clarification on whether they can offer financial incentives to those who opt into a loyalty plan with the passing of the new 2018 Act. Another concern to consider is ensuring that the consumer’s experience does not suffer for those who decide to opt-out.  Customers expect the same level of service without having to sacrifice their privacy, which firms can prevent by putting the right alternatives, staffing, and training in place.

Cover all your bases

Just recently, TSA has been voluntarily working with the ACLU to ensure that their new facial recognition, is correctly setup to deliver fair results for all patrons.  By taking the time for outside resources, legal, and advocacy groups to vet the core functionality and architecture of the proposed solution, companies can reduce the possibility of a large-scale pushback by the public. This extra effort will also result in a solution that is agile enough to handle future challenges that might surface.

Conclusion

Leaders will be looking to biometrics to aid in providing the frictionless experience expected by Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, even within a continuous elastic climate. The companies who can balance their creativity with due diligence will be more likely to benefit from utilizing this technology, while better also being better prepared to handle its challenges.

I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. Please share your opinions and comments below.

Joseph

Consumers Choose Retailers that Offer a Personalized Experience

Offering a personalized service requires identification of customers as soon as they walk in the store, but only 37% of retailers are able to identify their customers before checkout.

Customers want to shop wherever and whenever they want with the benefits of both the digital and physical retail environments. As consumers “check-in” on retailers’ e-commerce and mobile sites, they automatically receive personalized offers and recommendations based on their purchase and browsing history. However, most shoppers are still anonymous when shopping in a physical store so they don’t get the same level of personalized service.

We recently conducted our 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and compared our findings on retailer capabilities with consumer expectations from the BRP Consumer Study (report coming soon!) to identify gaps between customer expectations and retailers’ capabilities. BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Personalization gives you a closer look at what consumers expect from their shopping experience and what retailers can currently offer.

Our study found that 79% of consumers indicated that personalized service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop. Consumers understand that receiving personalized service requires retailers to identify them. While this has been the normal standard online or via mobile, identifying the customer in the store is a little more difficult and not as common.

Most retailers who identify customers in the store use the customers’ mobile phone as the identification tool paired with a combination of beacons, WiFi, MAC address, etc. While 64% of consumers are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they are offered a personalized experience, only 37% of retailers are able to identify their customers prior to checkout.

Customer identification is a requirement for any type of personalization of the shopping experience and if a retailer can’t identify the customer until she is at the checkout then it’s too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision. Without early identification of the customer, retailers miss critical engagement opportunities to deliver a personalized customer experience and increase sales. And in today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience.

The customer has spoken and she wants a personalized shopping experience in the store, how are you going to provide her that experience? Download the report now to understand how retailers are measuring up to consumer expectations.

I appreciate your opinions on this topic.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Ken

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

Customer identification remains a challenge for retailers, reveals survey

Retail Customer Experience – Just 23 percent of brick-and-mortar retailers are able to identify a customer prior to checkout, compared to 60 percent of online retailers and the inability is likely thwarting the customer personalization effort.

According to BRP 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, 13 percent of brick-and-mortar retailers identify a customer when they enter a store and 10 percent identify the customer 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, in the release.

Read Full Article: Customer identification remains a challenge for retailers, reveals survey