‘It’s the way of the future’: Express debuts a new store concept for the modern worker

Glossy – Today, Express launched a new store concept in NYC dedicated to the modern worker. It’s a testing ground for a number of experiential activations the 38-year-old retailer could roll out to its 600-plus stores.

Located on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, the longstanding store has been revamped to feature product “stories” dedicated to a variety of work styles — for example, there’s a space for the office worker and one for the more creative type. There’s also a lounge-style workspace, equipped with charging stations and WiFi. Kornberg expects that shoppers will browse, work, stay a while. The fact that updates mirror American malls’ buzzy transition to lifestyle centers was no mistake.

With its new concept store, the retailer is moving in the right direction, said David Naumann, vp of marketing at consulting firm Boston Retail Partners. “Stores must now encompass both worlds — the sensory experience generally available in the physical world, and the unique and personalized shopping experience common in the digital world,” he said. “To meet consumer expectations and survive in today’s challenging retail climate, most retailers will need to transform their retail and customer engagement models to be successful.”

Read Full Article: ‘It’s the way of the future’: Express debuts a new store concept for the modern worker

Nordstrom Deals Raise Question: Should Retailers Acquire Tech Startups?

Forbes – Nordstrom is the latest retailer trying to fill in its digital gaps through acquisitions. The department store chain last week announced the acquisition of two tech startup companies, BevyUp and MessageYes.

BevyUp is a digital selling platform that Nordstrom intends to integrate into a new app for its employees later this year. MessageYes is a conversational commerce platform that allows shoppers to interact with a retailer via text message and receive AI-generated personalized recommendations. Nordstrom expects to increase its facility with engineering, data science and machine learning through that acquisition.

While acquisition is emerging as a popular way for companies to boost their digital operations, some members of the RetailWire BrainTrust wondered in an online discussion last week if it makes sense for Nordstrom.



“Owning the development and innovation of new technology gives retailers ultimate direction and control over new feature design,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “However, this also has the potential of costing more than buying/licensing technology it could take some executive focus away from their core responsibility of increasing sales and enhancing the customer experience. You can still be a technology-focused retailer without owning the product.”

Read Full Article: Nordstrom Deals Raise Question: Should Retailers Acquire Tech Startups?

Same-Day Delivery Drives Brand Loyalty and Purchase Intent

TotalRetail – While the holidays come just once a year, a brand’s reputation can easily be damaged and customers quickly lost when expectations aren’t met during the pivotal shopping season. This past holiday season, we saw retailers make changes to their delivery options to provide shoppers with conveniences they increasingly see as essential, like same-day delivery. At the same time, in what’s become an annual ritual, the major shipping providers announced an array of rate increases and late holiday deliveries.

Managing shipping costs is a challenge for retailers, which are already facing tight margins and immense competition. While last-mile delivery, or the final transit of a product to its destination, can be the most expensive and poses numerous challenges for retailers, it’s nonetheless a key differentiator and an offering retailers can no longer ignore.

According to Dropoff’s 2nd Annual Holiday Survey, 60 percent of U.S. holiday shoppers indicated they were more likely to purchase holiday gifts from retailers that offered same-day delivery. It also showed a significant number of consumers — 67 percent — planned to do last-minute shopping, and expected retailers to accommodate their needs. Ninety percent of last-minute shoppers said they were more likely to purchase from retailers offering same-day delivery.

Interestingly enough, Boston Retail Partners’ 2017 Digital Commerce Survey showed that same-day delivery was offered by 51 percent of retailers in 2017. While that number seems significant, more than half of those described their service as “implemented and needs improvement.” It’s clear retailers are headed in the right direction, but there are a few areas to focus on to ensure you’re on the right path to delivering the most cost-effective, efficient and reliable same-day delivery for your customers.

Read Full Article: Same-Day Delivery Drives Brand Loyalty and Purchase Intent

6 Ways to Sell Point-of-Sale Systems

Business 2 Community – The good news for point of sale resellers is that today’s market is a fertile one. More merchants than ever want to adopt the latest and greatest POS devices that enable them to handle a wider variety of transactions than ever before, and harness the informational power modern POS provides. However, because the ground is so fertile, overall, there is also plenty of competition out there from other POS resellers. So the question for any reseller becomes, “What can be done to stand out from this crowded field?”

The answer boils down to the ability to sell not only POS platforms and card readers themselves, but also the services resellers provide that others may not.

At the end of the day, it’s also worth considering that merchants are not only trying to meet their own internal needs, but also those of their customers. To that end, the fact that EMV and mobile have really gained a foothold in the market, and are only likely to keep gathering momentum in this regard, makes a reseller crucial to just about any merchant, according to BRP Consulting. Merchants of all sizes now recognize that they have to confront the future head-on and deliver as much personalized, direct attention to each customer as possible. As such, recent data suggests that the majority of merchants will try to achieve those goals over the next two years or so.

To that end, modern POS is there to support those efforts in multiple ways, and resellers play a role insofar as they can provide crucial insights and help merchants follow a roadmap that will provide them with near- and long-term success.

Read Full Article: 6 Ways to Sell Point-of-Sale Systems

Retail shows power of personalisation

Bangkok Post – Most retailers are looking for ways to improve the consumer  experience with their brand, but few are equipped to apply one of the most obvious and powerful approaches available, which is personalisation, says Diebold Nixdorf, a multinational provider of comnected commerce and cash-handling products and services.

In a survey to gauge retailers’ customer experience priorities last year, the US-based retail and restaurant specialists BRP Consulting found 55% of respondents said that optimising the customer experience was their top priority. Increasing customer loyalty was a close second (50%) and improving the mobile shopping experience (45%) came third.

However, only 24% of respondents indicated that providing personalised promotions, recommendations and/or offerings was a top priority.

How to get personal?

Mr Holterman offers some advice from Jeffrey Neville, a BRP vice-president who once said: “Personalisation may be the most powerful way for retailers to differentiate their brand and enhance the customer experience. The challenge is to identify the best method to customise the experience for each customer.”

Read Full Article: Retail shows power of personalisation

The 3 Keys for Marketers to Survive in 2018

Martech Advisor – In the age of Amazon, customer expectations for tailored, personalized experiences and instant gratification — across every industry — are at an all-time high. While daunting, technological advancements in marketing have made it possible to keep pace with this changing landscape. Using data as a guiding light, brands can tell powerful stories and deliver cohesive journeys across channels. How will this play out for marketers in 2018? Read on to find out:

  1. Customers are your best marketing—give them a story to tell

A great storyteller knows his audience, and in marketing, it’s no different . Forrester’s ‘Predictions 2018’ report foresees a faction of forward-thinking brands leaping ahead of the competition by fully embracing customer-obsessed marketing. Long gone are the days of creating a customer experience in a siloed process that takes months of focus groups. Consumer preferences are evolving in real time. Increasingly, customers are doing research online before they purchase a product or service, and they’re more heavily analyzing customer reviews and social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

This means that as retailers look to create engaging customer interactions that leave a lasting impression, the unification of personalization and experimentation will play a key role. According to BRP’s 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey, 38 percent of retailers indicated that improving personalization is a top goal for digital customer experience. Truthfully though, many brands assume they have successfully achieved personalization when they really have barely scratched the surface. Companies need to combine a range of best practices to ensure they’re personalizing at scale and looking at the digital experience from both a user interface and feature level perspective. There is no silver bullet for how this will be achieved, but, rather, it will take a skillful combination of factors to gather the right data insights and take action to provide the best customer experience possible. The marketers who adopt continued testing and experimentation and collaborate with their technology and eCommerce partners to gauge customer engagement and adopt continuous innovation strategies will be the most successful in driving the right business outcome.

  1. Develop an online-offline strategy or die

Over the last few years, retailers have come to understand that online and offline markets are converging. In 2018, omnichannel retail orders will get smarter to adapt to consumer preferences – for example, retailers are seeing an increase in demand for in-store pickup of online orders, forcing the hand of marketers to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences. In fact, according to a recent BRP Digital Commerce Survey, 90 percent of retailers will offer the ability to buy online and pick up in-store by 2020. Retailers must start to analyze online and offline data together to get a more comprehensive picture of their customers’ shopping journeys  — or risk losing loyal shoppers.


Read Full Article: The 3 Keys for Marketers to Survive in 2018

Mobile holiday shopping shot past desktop in 2017: Facebook

Luxury Daily – This past holiday season, mobile shopping grew as the channel of choice for consumers in the United States. In a report conducted by Facebook, data showed that customers picked mobile over desktop at a rate of 81 percent on Singles’ Day Nov. 11 and 74 percent on Black Friday, Nov. 24. As time goes on, Facebook has seen more customers embrace mobile shopping and retailers adjust their strategies to adapt to the increased focus on the mobile channel.

“As more consumers use their mobile device for shopping and buying, retailers need to continue to optimize their e-commerce site for mobility,” said Marty Whitmore, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, Boston. “Focusing on lighter content for fast loading, better visual formats for mobile, less clicks and ‘on-click’ transactions to make the purchase frictionless.

“To attract more mobile shopping retailers will need to also shift more of their marketing spend to mobile advertising,” he said. “Mobile apps are also a great way to increase engagement with loyal customers.

“The challenge is make your app very compelling so that consumers download and use your app, as they typically will only keep three or four ‘retail’ mobile apps on their device. Key app features that add value include tracking orders and getting real-time updates on services such as delivery time.”

“For U.S.-based retailers that don’t have a global presence today the challenge will be to build a global logistics capability,” Mr. Whitmore said. “Without a global e-commerce site, is difficult to fully participate in global events like Single’s Day.

“Fortunately, there are ways to expand to global markets quickly by leveraging cross-border global commerce services that accelerate the development of global e-commerce sites and navigate cross-border logistics.”

Read Full Article: Mobile holiday shopping shot past desktop in 2017: Facebook

How the Retail Industry Rethought Delivery in 2017

eMarketer – Drones, augmented reality and algorithms are the new normal for many retailers and logistics companies. Here’s how the retail industry changed the way they deliver goods to consumers this year.

Robots and AR and Algorithms, Oh My

This year, logistics companies have been leveraging different types of technology to help meet demand for fast, cheap and consumer-centric deliveries. DHL is a prime example. Not only has the company been testing robots that roam around warehouses to pick up orders, but it has also used AR and developed in-house tools using machine learning and algorithms that streamline the delivery process. Meanwhile, UPS has been using advanced package scanning and sorting technology to increase processing speed and accuracy, and FedEx has been using sensor technologies that maximize the use of trailer space during the loading process.

Next-Day Delivery Is So 2016

Speed is a big factor in the delivery process. Nowadays, many consumers want the product they just ordered in their hands right away—as in the same day. And retailers are listening. Take Walmart—which recently acquired Parcel, a New York-based same-day and last-mile delivery startup—to provide same-day deliveries of general merchandise as well as fresh and frozen groceries from both Walmart and its unit. Then there’s Target, which earlier this year acquired Grand Junction—which offers a marketplace that connects retailers, distributors and third-party logistics providers with a network of more than 700 carriers—to help meet demand for speedy delivery. Overall, more than half of retailers in North America offer same-day delivery, according to a study from BRP (Boston Retail Partners). By comparison, just 16% offered the service in 2016.

Read Full Article: How the Retail Industry Rethought Delivery in 2017

Prime Now chief takes over Amazon food delivery units

Retail Dive – Stephenie Landry, Amazon’s vice president for Prime Now, has been handed responsibility for Amazon Fresh (the company’s grocery delivery service) and Amazon Restaurants (its restaurant delivery service), Re/Code reports.

Amazon is constantly reiterating its own innovations, so a shuffle in some of its delivery operations is hardly a surprise. Landry, who has led Prime Now for more than a decade, is an obvious person to take on other delivery efforts there. Still, it’s an indication of how dynamic the retail delivery market is at the moment, with cumbersome last-mile practices and steep costs yet rising customer expectations.

Target last week announced the acquisition of same-day delivery startup Shipt, months after its purchase of same-day delivery company Grand Junction. In that time, a slew of other retailers have also announced same-day delivery services or expansions of existing same-day services, including Office Depot, Macy’s, Best Buy and Rent the Runway, to name just a few.

Walmart in recent months said it’s testing a program where store workers make last-mile deliveries on their way home from work. The retail giant also expanded Uber delivery of grocery orders.

More than half (51%) of retailers say they now offer same-day delivery, up from 16% last year, and within two years 65% plan to offer it, according to a survey from retail management consulting firm BRP. Third-party delivery, through the likes of Uber or Lyft, has also increased, from 20% of retailers offering that last year to 32% doing so this year, according to that report.

Read Full Article: Prime Now chief takes over Amazon food delivery units

End Of Net Neutrality Creates Uncertain Future For E-Commerce

Retail TouchPoints – On Dec. 14, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal current net neutrality regulations designed to ensure that consumers have equal access to the Internet, content providers like YouTube and Netflix were not the only companies worried that their offerings could take a major hit. While effects of the repeal likely won’t be felt until 2018 at the earliest, e-Commerce retailers now must adjust to an uncertain environment — one in which they may have to pay up in order to get out in front of the consumer.

The main argument against the repeal is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) won’t be required to treat all data the same, so they could potentially charge users more to access specific sites or view certain content, or impose tighter data caps. Additionally, ISPs could force Internet companies and web sites to pay more for faster connections — potentially leading to the slowdown or even blocking of online traffic.

With these concerns, smaller players and new entrants must continue focusing on what differentiated them in the first place to stay on top.

“It’s really about personalization, and providing customers a real personalized experience, because those are the things that are going to help you retain your loyalty and help you compete effectively,” said David Naumann, VP of Marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “It’s still the basics, and ensuring that customers are brand enthusiasts. If we see the changes that we suspect might happen, where there’s a sliding scale for bandwidth and speed, companies are going to be ultra-diligent in optimizing their web site. It might actually create some opportunities for technology companies that look to boost speed and performance based on bandwidth.”

Read Full Article: End Of Net Neutrality Creates Uncertain Future For E-Commerce