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Giant Works to Live up to its Name

Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer – The Ahold banner makes a couple of bold moves in an effort to differentiate itself from mainstream competitors. With a name like Giant Food Stores, consumers tend to expect a lot. To be honest, though, the 96-year-old, Carlisle, Pa.-based chain, part of Ahold Delhaize USA, is generally viewed by shoppers as a very average supermarket, consistently ranked near the middle of the pack. “It’s a reliable, middle-of-the-road grocer, but not a destination,” confirms Karen Strauss, principal at Wilton, Conn.-based Cadent Consulting Group. That’s all well and good, she continues, except that Giant happens to operate in the same market as some pretty heavy hitters, most notably Wegman’s.

Although e- commerce reportedly represents only about 2% of total Ahold sales, “Online ordering and fulfillment are definitive ‘must-have’ services for grocers to compete both locally and nationally,” says Scott Langdoc, senior vp and practice lead at Boston-based BRP Consulting. From Kroger and Safeway to Target and Walmart, “Major national brands are pouring millions into e-commerce, and regional brands must work to keep pace as differentiating will be increasingly difficult.”

That said, Langdoc likes what he sees from Giant so far. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, the chain will have to remain “hyper-focused” on ways it can improve. “Customers expect the perfect blend of the assortment they know from Giant stores along with the most efficient, frictionless e-commerce experience possible,” he says. So although the chain is off to a good start, there’s no letting up.

Read Full Article: Giant Works to Live up to its Name

Data Segmentation Boosts Loyalty Success

Convenience Store Decisions – Analyzing customer data takes loyalty programs to a new level of personalization. Despite news of the recent Facebook data breach and other high-profile misuses, data is not something to be feared. It is something to be captured and used in a way that benefits both c-stores and the customers they enroll in loyalty programs.

“Analyzing customer data is the key to measuring the effectiveness of a loyalty program,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at retail consulting firm BRP.  “In the last couple of years, there has been an increased willingness from consumers to provide their data as part of the enrollment process, as long as they perceive a value or reward for providing the data.” That reward goes beyond five cents off gas or a free soda.

“Data segmentation enables retailers to divide their customer base into groupings for data analysis and marketing campaigns,” Kramer said. “The most effective grouping of segments will vary across retailer types. If you are a c-store that sells pizzas or fresh food, it will differ from a c-store that has made-to-order breakfast offerings and from another that has a large beer cooler.”

Kramer recommends 10 or fewer data segments, focused on key store areas and purchase history.

“Understand and continually refine the segments to tailor the value proposition to maximize enrollment and active users,” Kramer said. “Smart marketers will build customized marketing campaigns by store, region or customer demographic, which enables retailers to spend marketing and margin dollars where they are most effective instead of spreading them across the entire customer base.”

Read Full Article: Data Segmentation Boosts Loyalty Success

One week in, Stop & Shop strike has no end in sight

Grocery Dive – Analysts say customer loyalty could take a hit as workers picket without wages and stores remain closed or are operating on limited resources.

The picket lines outside Stop & Shop locations across New England are still in full force today, marking one week since 31,000 workers walked out of their jobs. Right now, dozens of stores across New England are still closed and others are operating on limited hours with a reduced product selection and limited staff. Peapod deliveries have been put on hold, which is a significant issue for shoppers who rely on grocery delivery.

Limited services and closed doors have pushed shoppers into competing stores. That could cause a significant number to permanently defect, particularly if the strike drags on for a long time, said David Naumann, vice president of marketing for BRP Retail Consulting Firm.

“The strike, in and of itself, won’t be what erodes customer loyalty the most. It is the opportunity that it gives competitors to impress new shoppers (former Stop & Shop customers) to join their loyalty programs and convince them to switch their allegiance to their brand,” Naumann wrote in an email to Grocery Dive.

Read Full Article: One week in, Stop & Shop strike has no end in sight

Survey: Older, younger consumers shop brick-and-mortar differently

Chain Store Age – Customer expectations of the in-store experience depend on whether they are older or younger than 38. According to a new survey of 1,298 consumers from BRP, retail consulting firm, “Consumer Shopping Habits – The Generation Gap,” digital consumers age 18-37 approach brick-and-mortar stores very differently than traditional consumers age 38 and up.

For example, digital consumers tend to want in-store technology that enables personalized shopping. Sixty-five percent want personalized recommendations, while 61% want a curated selection of products from stylists and 60% want recommendations based on what is in their closet.

Meanwhile, traditional consumers are more interested in technology that helps ensure product availability – 63% want associates to have the ability to order out-of-stock products and 60% want the ability to search in-store inventory availability.

Digital consumers are also more interested in having technology-enabled control of their in-store shopping experience – 87% say self-service options allow them to control their own experience and 71% like automated pickup and returns processes. In contrast, 60% of traditional consumers say self-service options allow them to control their own experience, while 49% say automated returns are nice but not necessary, and 41% say automated pickups are nice but not necessary.

Before entering a store, both digital and traditional consumers will use technology to research and prepare for the trip. However, digital consumers are more focused on prioritizing their purchases, while traditional consumers zero in on discounts, as demonstrated by differences in likelihood to perform the following activities:

• Compare prices (59% digital vs. 64% traditional).
• Look for offers/coupons (44% vs. 57%).
• Build a shopping list (62% vs. 49%).

Read Full Article: Survey: Older, younger consumers shop brick-and-mortar differently

Why Retailers Must Seize the Post-Purchase Opportunity to Create a “Moment of Trust”

Sourcing Journal – Writing last August about the importance of the post-purchase experience, BRP Retail Consulting SVP and practice lead Jeffrey Neville described retailers as creating a “moment of trust” when they regularly communicate order and shipping updates to consumers who would otherwise be left in the dark in the oft-ignored opportunity between purchase and package delivery.

“Customers who shop without a sense of risk will feel more comfortable making repeat purchases in the future,” Neville noted. Retailers are beginning to realize the value of the post-purchase opportunity as a time to strengthen the customer relationship and brand moments typically outsourced to third-party shippers.

Retailers that enrich the post-purchase experience stand to gain greater customer loyalty, an important move, BRP said, because these customers are between five and 25 times less costly to convert and 80 percent more likely to buy again in the future.

“By crafting a post-purchase experience to minimize stress and maximize convenience, retailers make an investment in a sustained relationship with their customer,” BRP noted.

Read Full Article: Why Retailers Must Seize the Post-Purchase Opportunity to Create a “Moment of Trust”

How much damage can one bad shopping experience cause a retail brand? A lot.

USA Today – Consumers have more choices about nearly every purchase than they’ve ever had before. It’s no longer necessary to visit a physical store to buy most things, and for the vast majority of products, shoppers can pick from multiple retailers on their phone or computer.

That creates a market where people don’t have to be all that forgiving of a bad customer experience, and it makes every interaction important – especially with new customers or those who have had limited experience with a company.

Indeed, 63 percent of consumers said “it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience” to make them stop shopping your brand, according to BRP’s Keeping Loyal Customers Happy report.

Customer loyalty is hard to win and easy to lose. One method of delivering a positive experience is by offering a personalized touch – that’s something 44 percent of survey respondents said would lead to them making repeat visits. And nearly twice that number (79 percent) indicated that personalized service from in-store personnel would influence their store choice going forward.

“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 Senior Vice President Perry Kramer, BRP, retail consulting firm.

One challenge for retailers in providing that personalized service is convincing consumers to share their preferences. Among survey respondents, 75 percent of millennials and Generation Zers said they were fine with being identified via their smartphone when entering a store as long as they got something in return (like a deal or special incentive); for the full survey group, it was 64 percent.

“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,” Kramer said.

Read Full Article: How much damage can one bad shopping experience cause a retail brand? A lot.

C-Store Loyalty Plans Spur Engagement

Convenience Store Decisions – C-store loyalty programs are enticing customers, while mobile options bring new ways for retailers to engage with shoppers.

Surprise and delight programs send customers coupons for free items, especially if they haven’t been to the store in a while, something particularly useful in driving fuel-only customers into the store.

“A loyalty program linked to a mobile application is powerful for retailers who have been able to get consumers to opt into the program,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP, a retail consulting firm.

Using today’s technological advances such as location data, geolocation, geofencing and beacon technology, retailers can leverage their ability to connect with the consumer electronically even before they pull their vehicle onto the property.

“These tools will continue to be used to speed up drive-through and in-store lines, offer personalized marketing while at the pump and in-store marketing,” Kramer said.

Unfortunately, 63% of retailers can’t identify their customer before checkout, according to BRP’s “2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey.” Kramer noted c-stores should continue to focus on loyalty programs that allow them to identify consumers and connect with them in a personalized way.

Read Full Article: C-Store Loyalty Plans Spur Engagement

How Much Damage Can 1 Bad Experience Cause a Brand?

The Motley Fool – Customers’ expectations are only getting higher, and retailers may not get a second chance to meet them.

Consumers have more choices about nearly every purchase than they’ve ever had before. It’s no longer necessary to visit a physical store to buy most things, and for the vast majority of products, shoppers can pick from multiple retailers on their phone or computer.

In some measure, the so-called retail apocalypse can be traced back to this explosion of options. Shoppers no longer have any need to put up with poor selection, a lack of in-store personnel, or poor omnichannel support at one retailer when so many other chains are doing those things right.

That creates a market where people don’t have to be all that forgiving of a bad customer experience, and it makes every interaction important — especially with new customers or those who have had limited experience with a company.

Indeed, 63% of consumers said “it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience” to make them stop shopping your brand, according to BRP’s Keeping Loyal Customers Happy report.

Customer loyalty is hard to win and easy to lose. One method of delivering a positive experience is by offering a personalized touch — that’s something 44% of survey respondents said would lead to them making repeat visits. And nearly twice that number (79%) indicated that personalized service from in-store personnel would influence their store choice going forward.

“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 BRP, retail consulting firm, Senior Vice President Perry Kramer in a press release. ”

“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,” Kramer said.

Read Full Article: How Much Damage Can 1 Bad Experience Cause a Brand?

How To Keep Customers Happy

Convenience Store Decisions – BRP Consulting finds 63% of consumers are likely to stop shopping a brand if they have a bad experience. In an ever-evolving retail environment, keeping customers happy is more complicated and more important than ever. 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, senior vice president 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.”

Read Full Article: How To Keep Customers Happy

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.