DFS, Michael Kors bring well-traveled positioning together in-store

Luxury Daily – LVMH-owned travel retailer DFS is embracing Michael Kors’ jet-set lifestyle through exclusive products and in-store enhancements.

This September, DFS’ T Galleria locations will host an exclusive Michael Kors collection of men and women’s apparel and accessories, including an edition of the Mercer handbag, which will only be found at DFS this fall. DFS often works with brands to curate duty-free shopping experiences because of travel retail’s mass appeal to consumers making their way through airport terminals.

“Gamification certainly entices customers to enter bricks-and-mortar establishments and promotes true involvement in the culture of a brand,” said Laura Sossong, manager at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “Experiential elements are a key differentiator in today’s competitive retail environment, as they create powerful moments that last long after a purchase.”

“DFS is wise in adopting new themes and ideologies concurrent with the launch of new brands, as it allows them to continuously offer elements of ‘surprise and delight,'” BRP’s Ms. Sossong said. “This plays well in generating the interest of today’s fickle consumer, and should be particularly effective in emerging Eastern markets.”

Read Full Article: DFS, Michael Kors bring well-traveled positioning together in-store

73% Of Retailers Plan To Have Unified Commerce Platforms By 2019

Retail TouchPoints – Retailers have ambitious plans to move toward the goal of “unified commerce.” While only 22% of retailers currently have a unified commerce platform in place, 73% plan to have a unified commerce platform implemented by the end of 2019, with order management capabilities at the center, according to a survey report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP).

Additionally, 56% indicate that creating a consistent brand experience across channels is a top digital priority. Given the tremendous growth of e-Commerce and mobile retailing, it may not be enough to simply optimize these channels; retailers must ensure that the offerings on every channel reflect the brand value.

The BRP report, titled: 2016 Digital Commerce Survey, emphasizes three digital commerce phrases that drive retailer’s priorities: personal, ubiquitous and unified. In implementing a platform that takes on all three priorities, the retailer gains a single consolidation point for all transactions, inventory management, pricing, order management, CRM and call center interactions.

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Retailers Need a Social Media Makeover

CRM Magazine – Social media provides a wealth of opportunities for retailers to create memorable, highly personalized shopping experiences for customers, but most are not successfully executing their social media strategies, according to a report from retail management consulting firm Boston Retail Partners (BRP).

“There’s a lot of room for improvement in [retailers’] social media presence, social media campaigns, and how they use [social media] to support their overall businesses,” says Brian Brunk, principal at BRP.

Brunk says that many retailers still don’t have the right personnel, technology, processes, or priorities in place to adequately deal with the unique requirements of social media. “There’s an expectation for a quick response, but not all retailers are set up for that, and so they end up with frustrated customers,” he says.

Luckily, retailers are not simply burying their heads in the sand. They, too, see the need for improvement. In fact, in BRP’s research, 81 percent of retailers using social media to engage with customers admitted that they could use help with the channel. Sixty-nine percent see greater opportunities for using social media to improve customer journeys, and 59 percent plan within three years to use brand advocacy and social media endorsements as a way to identify their most valuable customers.

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Snickers backs up campaign with fictitious Web site

Mobile Marketer – Mars’ Snicker brand is building a multifaceted experience for its latest installment of You’re Not You When Your Hungry campaign, bringing a fake online service to life.

The Snicker brand is taking a page from modern editorial content by creating a real Web page for a fictional business featured in its latest ad campaign. The candy brand has launched a new TV spot and mobile ad campaign that advertises a fictitious service that gives customers football predictions from a psychic, supported by a real online site.

“Many retailers are executing cohesive campaigns across all channels; however, this Snickers campaign is certainly unique and will break through the clutter of traditional advertising.” said Paul Dubie, manager at BRP. “It will be interesting to see if it inspires consumers to click through to the online ordering site and actually purchase Mars products or if it annoys and alienates consumers.

“This campaign seems pretty risky for a company with a strong brand reputation,” he said.

Read full article: Snickers backs up campaign with fictitious Web site

In Pursuit Of The Perfect Payments-As-A-Service Pairing – When it comes to full-service payments, one size does not fit all. With more options available than ever before, PYMNTS spoke with Perry Kramer, vice president of Boston Retail Partners, about how his team helps retailers adopt new payments solutions. You can find that, plus the latest headlines and a directory of 75 global players, inside the October Payments as a Service Tracker™.

To find out how companies can choose the best solutions for their needs, PYMNTS recent caught up with Perry Kramer, vice president of Boston Retail Partners, to talk about the state of the full-service payments industry, the method his team uses when helping retailers find and adopt new payments solutions and what he sees coming down the pike.

Here’s a preview:

The glut of full-service features and solutions in the marketplace is having an effect not only on the modern merchant but also on the modern consumer.

As more retailers roll out experiences designed to improve their customer in-store experience, consumers are beginning to expect merchants to cater to their various whims. That may include faster or mobile checkout processes, loyalty programs, targeted promotions or many other perks or benefits.

Kramer noted that many merchants come to him and his team looking to solve this challenge by upgrading their payment systems so that they can offer their customers some of these features.

“Everything right now is centered around understanding the customer and being more in touch with them,” Kramer said. “It’s about identifying … what they want and finding out how we give them a personalized experience and, on the payments side, a frictionless experience.”
Read full article: In Pursuit Of The Perfect Payments-As-A-Service Pairing

Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?

Retail Wire – According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), 81 percent of retailers using social media to engage with customers indicate that their processes need improvement.

The report explored five key areas where retailers can use social media to improve the customer journey:

  • Experience: Sixty-nine percent of retailers see opportunities to make use of social media to enhance the customer experience. While social media can influence shoppers’ purchase decisions and personalize their shopping experiences, retailers remain uncertain how to best use it, according to BRP’s recent surveys;
  • Interaction: Seventy-five percent support customer interaction via social media, but 81 percent of those retailers feel that the current interaction needs improvement. Outside of the direct in-store experience, social media is becoming the preferred customer communication forum, and expectations are high. Customers want responses to questions, feedback and complaints quickly or they feel slighted.
  • Endorsement: Fifty-nine percent of retailers plan to utilize brand advocacy/social media endorsement as a source for identifying their most valuable customers within three years. While social media has made it easier to identify brand advocates, retailers are uncertain how to measure brand advocacy and then use that information to boost revenue;
  • Satisfaction: Fifty-nine percent of retailers use social media comments as a means of measuring customer satisfaction, yet 45 percent of those claim it needs improvement. Beyond ensuring that brand advocates are happy, understanding satisfaction levels can help retailers refine their message and quickly address any potential dissatisfaction.
  • Insights: Sixty percent of retailers capture customer feedback and insights from social media and online comments.

However, few “tried and true” tools are available for retailers to use as a guide for social media analytics. According to BRP’s 2015 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey, only 23 percent of retailers currently use social media data product development; 29 percent plan to use it within two years. Only 31 percent have any plans for utilizing social media data in assisting with allocation.

Read full article: Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?

The Future POS

RIS News – Tomorrow’s POS will be mobile, virtual and unified. Point-of-sale (POS) devices have advanced tremendously over the past 30 years, but during the next five years this evolution will really accelerate. With the pervasive adoption of mobile devices among retailers and consumers and fast, reliable and secure networks, it is the perfect storm to truly revolutionize POS. The traditional fixed POS device will be augmented, and in many cases totally replaced, with a combination of new technologies that are mobile, virtual and unified.

Read the complete POS Special Report: Sparking POS Innovation

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Cha-Ching! Gamification Rings Up Results

SMB Retail – Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ve heard of the wildly popular gaming app Pokémon GO (we recently reported on it here), where players participate in a virtual reality scavenger hunt trying to catch characters anywhere and everywhere they spontaneously appear. The media is in a full-on frenzy, with headlines covering everything from the game’s $200 million revenues to freak accidents, cybersecuirty implications and business perks.

According to Boston Retail Partner’s 2015 CRM Survey, 87 percent of retailers plan to use gamification to engage customers within the next five years. Robert Cuthbertson, VP at Boston Retail Partners, writes, “In the past, it was as simple as bumper stickers on a car, scratch-off tickets, or being the 100th customer. Now, with AR (augmented reality), retailers can enhance the game, offer a richer customer experience, and learn something about the customer in a fun and engaging way. Instead of flicking virtual Poké balls at digital cartoon characters, AR can be used to help customers learn about products and promotions. In fact, several brands are already leveraging AR. For example, Lego uses AR to show customers what a completed kit would look like, Converse helps customers try on new shoes and Ikea helps customers envision the placement of furniture in their house. While interesting, this is just scratching the surface of the power of AR.”

Love it, hate it, or sick of hearing about it, the Pokémon sensation has fueled curiosity about gamification among retailers struggling to find the right mix of loyalty and rewards to bring customers in the door. They’re asking themselves if gamifying loyalty is the key to opening the elusive millennial wallet. And according to one company, the answer is yes, and then some.

Read Full Article: Cha-Ching! Gamification Rings Up Results

J. Crew sells out Instagram-exclusive product, showcasing new mobile sales opportunities

Mobile Commerce Daily – J. Crew enabled its Instagram followers to be the first to purchase a new pair of sunglasses available in limited quantity by clicking the link in its bio, resulting in all merchandise being sold out within several hours.

The retailer informed social media users of the promotion by sharing the news via Instagram’s new Stories feature, which lets users post content in real time. Yesterday, J. Crew’s Instagram followers were given the opportunity to be the first to purchase a pair of its pink Jane sunglasses, showcasing how brands can simultaneously reward social engagement and incite sales by leveraging the aspect of exclusivity.

“This is the next extension of customer engagement,” said Robert Cuthbertson, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “What is usually reserved for members of loyalty programs, J. Crew is expanding to interact with its most loyal customers in a more informal setting.

“By offering these limited and exclusive opportunities to their social media followers, retailers look to build excitement around new products and reward those who are their biggest fans,” he said. “With that said, retailers will need to be careful on how frequently and exclusively they initiate these offers to avoid alienating customers who are unable to participate.”

Read Full Article: J. Crew sells out Instagram-exclusive product, showcasing new mobile sales opportunities

Ulta’s scratch-off giveaway ushers in traditional retail tactics to mobile

Mobile Commerce Daily – Ulta Beauty is courting its audience with giveaway incentives that excite the modern beauty fan, mixed with an interesting user experience that serves users a digital scratch off on mobile, enabling them to claim their prize.

Ulta Beauty’s rewards members and newsletter subscribers are now able to enter to win a grand prize, as well as instant-win prizes, in a bid to drum up rewards sign-ups and sales. The retailer is giving extra points for purchases and giving away prizes such as gift cards and discounts to spark more buying.

“Ulta is providing consumers with a large incentive to participate by offering free prizes that are of significance to their target market,” said Laura Sossong, senior consultant at Boston Retail Partners. “The gift card and beauty bags encourage further purchases, as consumers continue to explore and identity new Ulta products to add to their must-have cosmetic collections.

“This campaign is an effective way for Ulta to garner further brand affinity and relevance in the marketplace,” she said.

Read Full Article: Ulta’s scratch-off giveaway ushers in traditional retail tactics to mobile