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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:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-special-report-ecommerce/

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 http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Despite Push For Personalization, Just 18% Of Retailers Identify Shoppers In-Store

Retail TouchPoints – A robust 61% of retailers plan to use customer-identifying technology in their stores within three years. However, there’s a lot of work to be done to turn these plans into realities: only 18% of retailers currently use this technology, and just 4% say it is implemented and working well, according to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey from BRP, retail consulting firm.

Even when retailers are able to identify the customer in the store, in many cases this doesn’t occur until the point of checkout — too late for associates to personalize the shopper’s experience. This delay presents a challenge for retailers, especially since 51% of shoppers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels.

“The new retail model requires retailers to transform their business and reinvent themselves to create a successful blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain their customers’ loyalty,” said Jeffrey Neville, Senior VP and Practice Lead at BRP in a statement. “The speed of these changes requires organizational agility to quickly and easily react to increasing customer expectations and changing consumer behavior.”

Read Full Article: Despite Push For Personalization, Just 18% Of Retailers Identify Shoppers In-Store

Shopping experiences must be personalized across channels: BRP

Luxury Daily – As the lines between physical and digital stores continues to blur, retailers need to personalize shopping experiences beyond in-store and continue to create consistent brand experiences online.

A new report from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm, finds that 51 percent of consumers want a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. Currently, less than a fifth of retailers use customer-identifying technology in their stores, pointing to the potential for more customized engagement.

“To engage with the customer and personalize their experience, retailers need to quickly and easily identify the customer,” Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners. “Identifying the customer as they enter the store – via their smartphone, beacon or other technology – affords the retailer the opportunity to personalize the customer’s shopping experience.”

Three-quarters of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit, and 46 percent use mobile devices while shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores. Almost a quarter of retailers surveyed named improving mobile shopping experiences as their top priority.

Creating a consistent brand experience across channels is the top digital priority for retailers, and was named as a focus by 57 percent of respondents. Thirty-eight percent of retailers also cited wanting to improve customer loyalty, personalization and user experience.

However, retailers cannot improve personalization efforts without first identifying individual shoppers. Seventy-nine percent of respondents plan to introduce technology to better identify customers within the next three years, while 76 percent plan to integrate geolocation to improve how promotions are sent to customers.

Read Full Article: Shopping experiences must be personalized across channels: BRP

51% of Consumers Want a Personalized Brand Experience Across Digital Channels, According to BRP Report

Retailers’ Top Digital Customer Experience Priorities are Creating a Consistent Brand Experience Across Channels and Improving Personalization 

Boston, MA – October 24, 2018– Customers’ journeys are more complicated and varied than ever before. 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. According to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. Retailers recognize the importance of the cross-channel, personalized customer experience, as their top digital customer experience priorities are creating a consistent brand experience across channels (57%) and improving personalization (38%).

“The new retail model requires retailers to transform their business and reinvent themselves to create a successful blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain their customers’ loyalty,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “New and innovative methods of shopping – driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods – are elevating customer expectations. The speed of these changes requires organizational agility to quickly and easily react to increasing customer expectations and changing consumer behavior.”

The challenge for retailers is to “keep up” with continually evolving customer expectations. The growth of mobile is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. The gap between consumer demand for digital experiences and retailers’ current capabilities is what we call the “great digital divide,” and is driving additional changes in the industry.

BRP conducted the 2018 Digital Commerce Benchmarking Survey to understand the current retail challenges and available opportunities as we face the future of retail. This report compares retailers’ priorities with customer expectations – based on results from Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report[1]conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise – to understand how retailer priorities are aligning with customer expectations.

Key findings include:

  1. Personalization – Effective customer engagement requires retailers to know whom the customer is to be able to offer personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent services across channels.
  • 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand
  • 18% of retailers are currently utilizing customer identifying technology in the store and within three years, 79% plan to use it to personalize the experience
  1. Digital Influence – Retailers realize that mobile devices are ubiquitous and recognize that a mobile device in the customer’s hands holds tremendous opportunities to enhance the customer experience across channels.
  • 75% of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit and mobile devices are leveraged in 46% of in-store shopping experiences
  • 67% of retailers provide online customer reviews to influence and drive purchases and 76% will extend mobile offers to customers in the store within three years
  1. Augmented Reality – Through augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers are inspiring their customers and offering them the ability to see what a product looks like in their home or even on their body.
  • 48% of consumers would be more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented reality
  • 32% of retailers will utilize augmented reality within three years

To download 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-digital-commerce-survey/

The 2018 Digital Commerce Survey gold sponsors are ECRSand enVista. 

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.

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

Retail’s Superpower: Leveraging Digital to Reinvent the Enterprise

Incisiv – Recent research from Incisiv and Windstream/BRP show that retailers are actively investing in digital initiatives across the enterprise, yet they still face challenges across many areas. We sat down with two key executives to understand where retailers should prioritize and focus to ensure success.

Dave Weinand, Chief Customer Officer, Incisiv:

The increasing influence of digital is driving retailers to experiment with new store experiences and formats to deliver on customer expectations. In your opinion, what are the most compelling new in-store applications and/or formats you are seeing in the market?

Jeffrey Neville, Senior Vice President and Practice Lead, BRP Retail Consulting Firm:

One of the more compelling store formats is the “new retail” concept, called Hema, run by China’s e-commerce giant, Alibaba. The Hema stores simultaneously act as marketplaces, commerce platforms, fulfillment centers and innovation hubs where they allow customers to experience new brands and products. The 25 Hema stores are a unique and entertaining experience that act as a destination.

The in-store shopping experience is centered around the Hema mobile app and shoppers must use the app to fully optimize the services. These include:

Scan barcodes on products for information on sourcing, branding, pricing and nutritional value.
Pay for products by scanning them at a self-checkout counter and pay using the app, which is integrated with the Alibaba mobile payment service, Alipay.
Request products delivered to their home free of charge within 30 minutes. Hema associates collect the products, bag them and place them on an in-house transportation network that spans the store’s ceiling.

The mandatory use of the Hema app allows the store to leverage big data to optimize the store’s offerings.

Ken Feyder, Senior Director, IT Business Solutions, Tapestry (Coach):

With so many applications available on the marketplace, it is difficult for me to pinpoint a particular app or concept that I would rate dramatically more innovative than others. That being said, I think we are experiencing a significant shift in customer behavior. We’re seeing this globally and I’ll use as a example a scenario we experienced with the world’s foremost luxury shoppers – Chinese consumers.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I remember seeing a Chinese tourists’ group schedule for visiting Paris. It allocated more time to visiting Galleries Lafayette Department Store for shopping than it did for visiting The Louvre! Over the last decade, this notable group of customers has shaped the retail experience of many brands. The retail-centric behavior of Chinese shoppers continued to drive a more focused response from many retailers. That, in turn, created a market place for countless point-solutions related to improving a particular aspect of the shopping experience.

However, I have recently observed a shift in this group’s behavior. When traveling to tourist destinations like Paris, New York, or London, today’s Chinese tourists are less inclined to adhere to a shopping-centric itineraries in lieu of cultural experiences. Less time is being spent on shopping. To me it signifies the beginning of the evolution where a retail experience becomes a logical bi-product of tourism, as opposed to its former position “at the center” of travel. Hence, digital technology that focuses strictly on retail (i.e. improvements in payment, seamless omni-channel, ease of returns etc.) while remaining important, will only deliver marginal results. In my opinion, better focus on digital technology that is NOT dedicated to purely commerce (such as partnerships with Chinese travel service CTrip, or integrations with hospitality technology providers etc.) would ultimately deliver better results as it relates to delivering a more logical and cohesive retail experience many brands desire.

Read full article: Retail’s Superpower: Leveraging Digital to Reinvent the Enterprise

The Great Retail Digital Divide

The traditional retail model is being disrupted as consumer expectations and shopping behavior rapidly evolve. A customer journey that remains in only one channel, whether online, mobile or in-store, is no longer the norm. Customers expect to move in and out of multiple channels, including in-store, online, mobile, and social media, and they expect a seamless and frictionless transition from one channel to another. This creates a new requirement for retailers to host a single shared shopping cart that moves with the customer.

Customer expectations are only going to continue to rise, fueled by the upsurge in mobile shopping over the past few years. This is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. Unfortunately, we are seeing that retailers are not always keeping up with customer expectations. This gap between consumer demand for digital capabilities within the store and most retailers’ current ability to support this is what we call the ‘great digital divide.’ Consumers say that digital influences up to 75% of pre-store visits and is leveraged in 46% of their in-store shopping experiences; however, less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire.[1]

To support this desired experience and increased capabilities, retailers need a robust order management solution that can serve as the anchor for the single shared shopping cart and operate as the brains of a unified commerce platform.

The success of a unified commerce solution requires a common commerce platform leveraged across all customer touchpoints. The centralized order management system is key, as this is the brains of the unified commerce platform.  It provides the needed customer order visibility, order orchestration and routing optimization across channels, allowing retailers to engage their customers however they choose, and meet and exceed customer expectations.

While there are many challenges to implementing an effective unified commerce solution, the cost of doing nothing is steadily increasing and may mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the ‘great digital divide’ is likely to only increase as customer expectations grow.  Customers expect a single cart that crosses all touchpoints and using your OMS as the brains of the operation may be the most effective approach to meet these needs.

If you haven’t already moved to a unified commence platform, now is the time to act. We suggest you start by looking at a unified order management system. For more information on how to bridge the ‘great digital divide’ with an order management system, we recommend reading the BRP Special Report: OMS – The Brains of the Operation.

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

Brian

[1]The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectationsreport conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Wind, stream, 07/24/18, https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

BRP: Retailers’ digital capabilities still miss the mark

Chain Store Age – The “digital divide” between retailers and consumers continues to grow, making it harder for retailers to satisfy customers’ expectations. Consumers said that digital influences up to 75% of pre-store visits and is leveraged in 46% of their in-store shopping experiences. Yet, less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire, according to “The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations.”

Retailers can no longer rely on legacy systems that are not designed to accommodate today’s retail environment. Many retailers that have cobbled systems and processes together in an attempt to deliver a seamless customer experience across channels. Instead, retailers need to adopt a new approach to unified commerce, one that requires a robust order management solution (OMS). Viewed as the brains of the operation, all transaction and customer data coming in and going out of the system is used to run the business, according to another BRP study called, “OMS — The Brains of the Operation.”

“Customer expectations are exceeding retail capabilities – creating a ‘great digital divide.’ Retailers realize that unified commerce is a retail imperative, but executing the strategy is challenging,” said David Russo, VP at BRP. “The answer may be utilizing an OMS as a unified commerce platform.”

Read Full Article: BRP: Retailers’ digital capabilities still miss the mark

Customers Demand Digital Capabilities of Retailers

Convenience Store Decisions – BRP finds less than half of retailers are providing the digital capabilities customers desire. According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), retailers are not keeping up with customers’ digital demand. This gap between consumer demand for digital capabilities within the store and most retailers’ current ability to support this is the ‘great digital divide’ that is plaguing the retail industry.

Many retailers have cobbled systems and processes together as a ‘just get something done’ approach in an attempt to deliver a seamless customer experience across channels. The unfortunate result of this quick fix approach is a ‘faux’ omni-channel model that doesn’t execute as promised and risks disappointing customers.

“While retailers understand the importance of moving to a unified commerce model, executing the strategy is challenging,” said David Russo, vice president, BRP. “It can be a daunting project when considering the scope of a commerce platform that enables and supports every customer touch point—in real-time. The answer may be utilizing an order management system as the platform for unified commerce.”

To download OMS – The Brains of the Operation, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-oms-special-report

Read Full Article: Customers Demand Digital Capabilities of Retailers

Optimizing in-store digital experience helps fashion retailers increase revenue 25 percent

FashionUnited – In a world where shopping experiences are influenced by digital in 75 percent of cases, digital already directly drives more than a third of all retail sales, and it further influences a much higher percentage, concludes a recent report by BRP & Windstream Enterprise.

‘Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations’ study reveals that within the apparel and shoes segment, digital sales make 29 percent of total sales, whereas 17 percent of store sales are attributed to digital.

A retailer with 1 billion dollars in annual revenue could potentially gain circa 260 million dollars by delivering a great in-store experience. Furthermore, reinventing the store to truly integrate digital and analogical can help retain consumers and grow their value by approximately 25 percent while acquiring new consumers from competitors.

Digital technology investment requires better alignment with consumers’ demands

However, digital in-store technology investment is misaligned as retailers’ investments haven’t kept pace with consumer expectations. Consumers value technologies that help them shop and pay at their pace, clearly favouring those retailers that give them the ability to control their checkout experience.

On a related note, while 71 percent of consumers rate highly the option of using self-checkout, just 42 percent of retailers are able to offer it. Being able to check out via mobile app is a priority for 50 percent of consumers, whereas just 42 percent of retailers actually offer this option.

Read Full Article: Optimizing in-store digital experience helps fashion retailers increase revenue 25 percent

Retailers’ Tech Capabilities Still Fall Short

eMarketer – Today’s consumers are open to various types of retail technologies, and they are even warming up to others that were once seen as too creepy.

A recent study by BRP (Boston Retail Partners) and Windstream Enterprise found that many consumers would be more likely to shop at a retailer that offered tech capabilities like automated returns, as well as augmented and virtual reality experiences. But while interest is there—and retailers are aware of the impact it could have if offered—a good number of them don’t offer such capabilities yet.

In fact, while 68% of US shoppers surveyed by BRP and Windstream said they would be more likely to shop at a retailer that offered automated returns capability, just 8% of retailers said they offer this feature.

Read Full Article: Retailers’ Tech Capabilities Still Fall Short