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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.

Significant Retail Trends in 2019

Jeweller Magazine – If we don’t look ahead, we risk being left behind. Perhaps nowhere is that risk greater than with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a practical retail technology. AI has left the lab and brands and retailers have seized upon it to predict individual consumer behaviour and better target their messaging. Those who begin coupling AI with the human touch in the years to come will have a huge advantage long-term. The technology gold rush will go on unabated but savvy retailers will never lose focus on people.

AI and personalised service
Retailers are using AI to personalise customer service and the trend is picking up steam. Fifty-five percent of retailers plan to leverage the technology within three years, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from BRP, retail consulting firm. Among the many applications: recommending merchandise and the ability to contact a given client at their preferred time of day.

Starbucks rolled out voice-recognition ordering in South Korea, extending its mobile order-and-pay technology by integrating with Samsung’s AI chatbot Bixby.

Customers can use their phone in a conversational way to learn more about available beverages. Meantime, The North Face has adopted IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology to help consumers find just the right jacket but here’s the thing: while AI will permit businesses of all kinds to increase client satisfaction, Starbucks and The North Face know full well that personal connections will always trump technology.

Read Full Article: Significant Retail Trends in 2019

Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Sourcing Journal – The retail storefront isn’t dead, even as large shopping centers and chain stores shut down locations nationwide. Most retail purchases, a figure around 90 percent, are still made in stores. For retailers, that means turning attention and resources toward the in-store shopping experience, even as chatbots and other tech tools redefine e-commerce channels.

BRP Consulting’s latest special report, The Future Store, illustrates how next-generation tools like video chat and AI will factor into shoppers’ purchasing processes. The report draws from two different studies, a 2019 consumer study as well as a POS/customer engagement survey targeting retailers, to envision what’s to come for retail and illuminate how brands approach supply chain management, including staffing and inventory decisions that can facilitate a seamless omnichannel experience.

The findings show consumers are willing to rely on technology in place of human interaction—but only if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. Fifty-five percent are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout instead of a store without, and 57 percent will choose a store offering automated returns if it allows them to avoid human interactions and speed up the process.

Read Full Article:Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Las Vegas stores using virtual reality for holiday shopping

Las Vegas Review Journal – Two stores in the Las Vegas area have found opposite uses for virtual reality this year — one to add people onto the sales floor, the other to remove people from the sales floor.

The Macy’s in Downtown Summerlin has added a headset to its furniture department to attract shoppers and show them what couches and other furniture look like inside a home.
Meanwhile, the Walmart near the intersection of Boulder Highway and Nellis Boulevard has added headsets to a room in the back of the store, away from the sales floor, for employees to train on how to interact with customers.

These companies are part of a growing number of retailers that experiment with new technology to directly and indirectly benefit shoppers.

Retailers tend to play catch up when it comes to adopting new technology, said David Naumann, marketing vice president at BRP, Retail Consulting Firm, which works with retailers and restaurants.

They tend to wait for someone to prove the value of new hardware or software before implementing the technology in stores.

But shoppers are increasingly demanding to shop with virtual and augmented reality — virtual reality meaning someone wears a headset and is immersed in a digital world, augmented reality meaning someone looks at a live cellphone video and sees digital elements interacting with the real world.

BRP data show that half of customers are more likely to shop with a retailer that uses virtual or augmented reality and that 32 percent of retailers plan to incorporate that technology in the next three years.

“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,” Naumann said.

Read Full Article: Las Vegas stores using virtual reality for holiday shopping

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