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Fashion’s infatuation with AR continues, but only certain use cases inspire consumer engagement

Glossy – As fashion brands are embracing augmented reality, the question remains of whether there is an actual appetite for such tools or if brands are pushing them in spite of apathy from consumers.

Over the past few years, augmented reality has become a powerfully appealing idea among Silicon Valley elites and marketing teams across industries, and some reports put the AR market at $83 billion by 2021. What’s more, a number of new AR-powered initiatives from brands in streetwear, luxury and mass fashion show that the fashion industry has confidence in the technology, but how much of that enthusiasm is reciprocated by consumers?

“The retail categories that are best suited for augmented reality are those with products that are very visual, like apparel and cosmetics, and those that are expensive to display in multiple assortments of style and color, such as furniture and décor items,” said Jeffrey Neville, svp and practice lead at BRP Consulting Firm. “Since approximately 50 percent of consumers say they are more likely to shop at retailers that offer augmented reality, it is something retailers should be evaluating.”

Read full article: Fashion’s infatuation with AR continues, but only certain use cases inspire consumer engagement

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

Why Should Retailers use Augmented or Virtual Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual (VR) 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.

Consumers 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. 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.

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. 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.

I encourage you to read the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey for more insights:

Download Now

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

Brian

[1]Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations, July 24, 2018. https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

Selfridges ramps up menswear offerings with streetwear destination

Luxury Daily – British department store chain Selfridges is looking to attract both male and female shoppers with a menswear space devoted to high-end streetwear, leaning in to luxury fashion’s increasingly gender neutral, casual aesthetic.

Dubbed the “Designer Street Room,” the retail concept has found a home in the menswear department and was developed with brand mixing and cross-category shopping in mind, including luxury labels such as Gucci and Versace. Selfridges’ latest opening reflects consumers’ high-low shopping patterns, as they curate wardrobes that blend a bevy of brands.

“Selfridges understands that the shopping experience for designer streetwear is different than their typical Selfridges’ customer shopping experience,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm. “The target audience for streetwear enjoys an immersive and social experience – they appreciate the theater of shopping.” Mr. Naumann is not affiliated with Selfridges, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

“Skateboarding is a common sport for streetwear consumers and creating a full-blown skate park within the Street Room is a clever way to capitalize on consumers passion for the sport,” Mr. Naumann said. “With other unique things to see and experience, such as the classic green and yellow Range Rover in the middle of the room, shoppers can continue to be entertained and surprised.”

“Selfridges’ customer base has a higher skew of older and more affluent consumers,” BRP’s Mr. Naumann said. “Streetwear is moving upscale into luxury brands and the Street Room concept is a great opportunity to attract younger audiences to Selfridges.”

Read Full Report: Selfridges ramps up menswear offerings with streetwear destination

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

Customer Identification is Key to Personalizing the Shopping Experience, Yet Most Customers are Anonymous until Checkout at Stores

Only 23% of Retailers Identify Customers Before Checkout in Stores Compared to 60% Online, According to BRP Report

Boston, MA – October 17, 2018– 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. “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.”

It is critical to identify the customer early, as soon as they enter the store or begin researching online. This allows retailers to personalize the experience and influence customers’ shopping behaviors. Unfortunately, in most cases customer identification still happens at the point of checkout in the store, which is too late to empower associates to influence the current purchase decision. 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 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.

To download 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-unified-commerce-survey/

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.

Free People launches in-house fragrance to test market opportunities in beauty

Glossy – With the launch of its first in-house set of fragrances, Free People wants a coveted place on the vanity.

The fragrances are free from synthetic ingredients, parabens, colorants and more, making it a clean perfume option. Currently, there is a dearth of fragrance options available at Free People, Richards said, adding that Free People’s own line helps fill a white space. Free People’s in-house scents join a burgeoning category of clean fragrance, alongside brands like Skylar Body and Phlur. Free People’s beauty and wellness offerings include crystals, sexual wellness, makeup, oral care and aromatherapy, and has grown from 395 SKUs at launch in 2016 to 1152 SKUs today.

Rather than partnering with a third-party manufacturer, Free People opted to develop its fragrance in-house by hiring a dedicated fragrance product developer to create brand equity, said Richards. “I didn’t want people to think we just found some juice and stuck on our name on the label,” she said.

That the company not only created the fragrance in-house but also owns the distribution rights helps with positioning it in the space, according to Erin Smith, a senior consultant at BRP retail consulting firm.

“If Free People releases this fragrance and is the sole distributor, I can’t go to Amazon to get it. I have to go online or in-store,” she said. “It’s an additional asset that they have; instead of sourcing goods and selling them, they now also have this other model where they produce products themselves, and that increases the value of the company.”

Read Full Article: Free People launches in-house fragrance to test market opportunities in beauty

This is why online retailers need to improve the post-purchase experience

Chain Store Age – Retailers say customer loyalty is critical to their business, yet few actually measure retention.

This was according to “Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience,” a study from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm. While it is no secret that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper, the e-commerce industry continues to be mainly focused on the acquisition of new customers — a strategy that requires adopting the latest technologies and marketing strategies.

“By crafting a post-purchase experience to minimize stress and maximize convenience, retailers make an investment in a sustained relationship with their customer,” the study revealed. “Enhancing your post-purchase customer experience doesn’t necessarily mean investing heavily in the latest technologies. We believe [our best practices] can create a welcome and trusting experience for your customers to return time after time.”

Read Full Article: This is why online retailers need to improve the post-purchase experience