63% of Consumers use their Phone for Product Research, Pricing and Availability while they are in a Store, According to New BRP Report

The Customer Mobile Experience is a Top Priority for 49% of Retailers

Boston, MA – February 28, 2019 – There is no denying the power of mobile technology as a disruptor in the retail industry. Retailers realize that mobile devices are ubiquitous and recognize that a mobile device in the hands of the customer and associate holds tremendous opportunities to enhance the customer experience in the store. According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility, 85% of consumers have purchased a product via a mobile app, and 33% frequently purchase via their mobile device. Mobile shopping (browsing or buying) will continue to grow as 41% of consumers in the BRP Consumer Study indicate they plan to increase their shopping frequency on their phone or tablet in the next 24 months.

“As customers become more comfortable and proficient with utilizing mobile technology and researching information on their own, retailers need to offer expanded customer-facing mobile services to enhance the shopping experience,” said Marty Whitmore, SVP and practice lead, BRP. “The proliferation of tablets and mobile phones provides new opportunities for retailers to enhance customer service by offering store associates tools to ‘keep up’ with the abundance of information that customers have at their fingertips. Associates can use mobile devices to answer customer questions, provide personalized recommendations, locate products and complete the transaction anywhere in the store.”

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into how mobile devices are changing the consumer shopping journey.

The SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility highlights:


  • Customer expectations:63% of consumers utilize their mobile phone while in a store to compare prices, look for offers/coupons, check inventory, etc.
  • Retailer capabilities:49% of retailers indicate that the customer mobile experience is one of their top customer engagement priorities


  • Customer expectations:67% of consumers indicate that mobile coupons and promotions are an important factor in determining at which store they shop
  • Retailer capabilities:57% of retailers offer mobile coupons and promotions to their customers in the store


  • Customer expectations:40% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering mobile POS
  • Retailer capabilities:66% of retailers currently offer mobile POS in their stores

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: In-Store Mobility, visit:

The special report platinum sponsor is TSYS, the gold sponsors are AptosDiebold Nixdorf, ECRS and Fujitsu, 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

Shoptalk 2019: IBM helps retailers deliver happiness. Again and again.

Retail Dive – Welcome to the new economy of emotion. The 4 P’s of marketing are being eclipsed by the most complicated P of all: people. Their relationships with you are now being made (and lost) on the emotional connections you make with them at every contact.

Happiness is contagious. Dissatisfaction is viral.
We’ve all read about it. If an organization isn’t in sync with how consumers think and feel, those unhappy people tell others – and do it very loudly. But if a retailer shows true concern for shopper preferences, they’ll take notice and feel understood, maybe even validated. Because they’re happy, they may become your best advocates.

You need to remove friction from the buying process with experience-driven commerce. This means providing local content and integration throughout the process. New research from BRP, retail consulting firm, found that about 89% of retailers will put mobile solutions in the hands of their store associates over the next three years.

Read Full Article: Shoptalk 2019: IBM helps retailers deliver happiness. Again and again.

Mobile Payments Self-Checkout Future In The Hands Of New MPOS Systems

Payment Week – It’s easy to see why a lot of people like the idea of mobile payments and self-checkout. Being able to serve as your own checkout stand means that you’re always the next person in line. That speeds things up and makes your overall customer experience better for the faster pace. However, access to such tools is as yet limited, but that’s a point a lot of retailers are looking to change thanks to significant improvements in mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems.

Already, we’ve seen several brands make this leap, like Nike and Loblaw, giving customers the ability to put their mobile devices to work in handling checkout duties. In fact, within the next three years, 63 percent of retailers plan to roll this concept out in their own stores, which likely means we’ll see this show up in more familiar and larger brands soon.

There’s a good reason for this ramped-up release schedule: sheer profit potential. The global POS software market is expected to hit $30.9 billion just by 2024, and with retailers rapidly planning to introduce the systems, the chances for repeat business and happy customers goes up with it. After all, word from BRP, retail consulting firm, says that 56 percent of shoppers are more likely to shop with retailers that will let them share carts from one channel to another, like online to in-store. And in general, 73 percent of customers want access to self-service systems like self-checkout. Failing to provide at this point is like showing whole rafts of customers the door.

Read Full Article: Mobile Payments Self-Checkout Future In The Hands Of New MPOS Systems

Consumers Choose Retailers that Offer a Personalized Experience

Offering a personalized service requires identification of customers as soon as they walk in the store, but only 37% of retailers are able to identify their customers before checkout.

Customers want to shop wherever and whenever they want with the benefits of both the digital and physical retail environments. As consumers “check-in” on retailers’ e-commerce and mobile sites, they automatically receive personalized offers and recommendations based on their purchase and browsing history. However, most shoppers are still anonymous when shopping in a physical store so they don’t get the same level of personalized service.

We recently conducted our 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and compared our findings on retailer capabilities with consumer expectations from the BRP Consumer Study (report coming soon!) to identify gaps between customer expectations and retailers’ capabilities. BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Personalization gives you a closer look at what consumers expect from their shopping experience and what retailers can currently offer.

Our study found that 79% of consumers indicated that personalized service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop. Consumers understand that receiving personalized service requires retailers to identify them. While this has been the normal standard online or via mobile, identifying the customer in the store is a little more difficult and not as common.

Most retailers who identify customers in the store use the customers’ mobile phone as the identification tool paired with a combination of beacons, WiFi, MAC address, etc. While 64% of consumers 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, only 37% of retailers are able to identify their customers prior to checkout.

Customer identification is a requirement for any type of personalization of the shopping experience and if a retailer can’t identify the customer until she is at the checkout then it’s too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision. Without early identification of the customer, retailers miss critical engagement opportunities to deliver a personalized customer experience and increase sales. And in today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience.

The customer has spoken and she wants a personalized shopping experience in the store, how are you going to provide her that experience? Download the report now to understand how retailers are measuring up to consumer expectations.

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


Ready When I Get There: Mobile Takeout Is A Rising Restaurant Trend

Forbes – On a bitterly cold or snowy winter night, it’s understandable that many diners may want to order their dinners delivered. But a new study of restaurant guests and executives has found that an increasing number of people want another option: the ability to order food in advance via mobile apps and have it waiting for them when they arrive.

Now, you might say that’s the same as takeout, which restaurants have offered for generations. But instead of calling in an order and risk being placed on hold or talking to a busy place, pre-ordering via mobile app can be done with a few key strokes. And, it allows for much easier customization than might take place during a conversation.

At the moment, about 20% of diners are using a pre-order option, according to a study from BRP, retail consulting firm, and Windstream Enterprise. But mobile pre-ordering is used by about 32% of millennials, the study found. “They are less likely than older generations to dine out and more inclined to order their food for off-site consumption,” it said.

Pre-ordering can save money, since many delivery apps charge a fee to bring food to your door. There’s often a service charge, too, and the diner is generally expected to tip on top of those costs.

Plus, delivery times can be unpredictable, and food may not be in optimum shape once it arrives.

Read Full Article: Ready When I Get There: Mobile Takeout Is A Rising Restaurant Trend

Survey: Personalization critical component of in-store experience

Chain Store Age – Engaging in-store customers with personalized and relevant messaging is key to loyalty, according to a new survey.

The 20th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmark Survey from Boston Retail Partners shows 79% of consumer respondents said personalized service from a sales associate is an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop. In turn, 53% of surveyed retailers indicated personalization is one of their top customer engagement priorities.

Survey results also demonstrate that in-store customers increasingly expect an omnichannel shopping experience. Sixty-three percent of surveyed consumers use their mobile phone while shopping in a store to compare prices, look for offers/coupons, check inventory availability, etc.

Read Full Article: Survey: Personalization critical component of in-store experience

What are Retailers’ Top Customer Engagement Priorities for 2019?

As retailers look for ways to differentiate in today’s highly competitive market, customer engagement strategies like personalization, mobile experience and real-time retail are critical components for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience. In fact, according to the recent BRP Consumer Study, 79% said personalized service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop. Retailers understand the importance of personalization as 53% are focused on this for 2019, according to the 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmark Survey.

Retailers understand the imperative for change, as 94% of retailers, up from 81% last year, have indicated that they have or plan to implement a single unified commerce platform within the next three years. “It is time to reimagine the customer engagement model as yesterday’s retail is dead, and agility is paramount as retail continues to rapidly evolve,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP. “Key to this agility and transformation is a single commerce platform. Victory belongs to the agile.”

“As customer expectations for an increasingly customized experience increase and evolve, retailers are adopting new ways to identify customers and personalize their shopping journey,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Retailers continue to offer more mobile services from a consumer-facing and associate-facing perspective that include personalized recommendations, loyalty rewards, coupons, discounts and promotions. It is also interesting to note that 63% of retailers plan on having the ability to use a customer owned mobile device as a POS device within three years.

BRP’s 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current priorities and initiatives as digital and physical retail environments converge to facilitate a seamless experience across channels.

The key customer experience trends driving today’s initiatives are:

PERSONAL – Engaging the customer with personalized and relevant messaging is the key to customer loyalty

  • 79% of consumers said personalized service from a sales associate is an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop
  • 53% of retailers indicate that personalization is one of their top customer engagement priorities

MOBILE – The pervasiveness and ease-of-use of mobile devices offers tremendous opportunities for retailers

  • 63% of consumers use their mobile phone while shopping in a store to compare prices, look for offers/coupons, check inventory availability, etc.
  • 49% of retailers indicate that the customer mobile experience is one of their top customer engagement priorities

SEAMLESS – Today’s customer journey crisscrosses channels, requiring the retailer to provide a seamless, personalized experience

  • 56% of consumers indicate they are more likely to shop at a retailer that allows them to have a shared cart across channels
  • 94% of retailers have or plan to implement a single unified commerce platform within three years, up from 81% last year

SECURE – Today’s retail environment requires security beyond retailers’ current focus on payments and networks

  • 50% of consumers are likely to allow retailers to save purchase history, personal preferences and personal details if it eases the checkout process and allows for more personalized offers
  • 61% of retailers have implemented end-to-end encryption to offer customers greater security of their personal and payment data

I encourage you to download the complete 20thAnnual POS/CustomerEngagement Benchmarking Survey:

A special thanks goes to our POS/Customer Engagement Survey sponsors:  TSYS is the platinum sponsor, the gold sponsors are AptosDiebold Nixdorf, ECRS and Fujitsu, and the silver sponsor is STORIS.

As always, I appreciate your feedback on this report. Please share your comments and opinions below.


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

53% of Millennials use Digital to Augment Dining Experience: Study

Hospitality Technology – According to a report from BRP (restaurant consulting firm) and Windstream Enterprise, restaurant guests, especially millennials, use mobile devices to enhance their dining experiences.

Digital is becoming deeply embedded into the entire dining journey. Pre-meal research is a habit across all generations and demographics, especially for discovering new restaurant choices and selecting fine dining options. Digital ordering (whether from home, by app or at restaurant) is a growing expectation while sharing results of dining experiences with friends via social media has become a form of entertainment in itself.

Millennials use digital devices to enhance their dining experience over half the time (53%). Their digital activities range from researching where and what to eat (60%) to checking ratings/reviews while in a restaurant (51%) to sharing pictures and content (23%) during and after the visit.

Read Full Article: 53% of Millennials use Digital to Augment Dining Experience: Study

The Evolution Of Retail Tech: What We Have Learned, Where We Are And Where We’re Headed

Retail TouchPoints – Since the dawn of retail in the late 1800s, the retail industry has continued to influence present-day consumer expectations through the use of cutting-edge technologies. From the first cash register and bank-issued credit cards, which were introduced in the 1950s to provide “pay later” options and encourage more consumer spending — to the advent of online shopping enabling digital transactions between consumers and businesses, no other industry has experienced such extreme shifts in consumer behavior as a result.

Whether a startup or a seasoned household brand, longevity is more than a promise or a boardroom mantra or a rock bottom price; it’s a deliberate commitment to focus on the customer at every level, every stage and on every platform — in real time. That, according to key finding from the 2017 POS/Customer Engagement Survey conducted by Boston Retail Partners (BRP), is the future of retail, and one that will require new technology to provide the kind of unified customer experience that is personal, mobile, seamless and secure, rather than disparate technology and stand-alone systems that for decades have duplicated cost structures at almost every customer touch point. Convenience is also key to the experience.

Personal: Taking cues from those who proactively send consumers personalized offers, flash sale notifications and product recommendations, many brand manufacturers in retail are discovering that “knowing” or identifying the customer right from the start is the key to personalizing the shopping experience. That’s why 70% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority, with the most prevalent technologies including WiFi (43%) and mobile web sites (40%), both of which over 70% of retailers plan to use in the next three years.

Mobile: Mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and wearables have not only changed the way shoppers research and purchase but also elevated customer expectations toward service. That’s why 49% of retailers (up from 31% in 2016) are using mobile solutions for store associates, with 89% planning to offer a mobile solution within the next three years, while 84% plan to implement mobile POS.

Seamless: By the end of 2019, 71% of retailers plan to have a unified commerce platform in place, with cloud technologies the basis for offering a centralized POS, cross-channel and fulfillment services, real-time visibility and access to product and customer information and analytics.

Secure: With data theft and fraud a growing threat to retailers and consumers alike, most survey respondents indicated a move toward a multi-layer security plan to protect sensitive customer and organization data. In addition to 96% planning to implement end-to-end encryption by the close of 2019, 73% will offer a single-token solution within three years.

Convenience: Thriving brand manufacturers and retailers have learned that providing today’s savvy customers with what they want means offering more efficient pathways to purchase. Evidence of this can be seen in the growing use of online location finders, live chat widgets and in-stock features. Moreover, with options for curbside pick-up (such as Target’s rapidly growing Drive Up feature), 24-hour delivery and multiple shipping possibilities from potentially thousands of sites around the globe, choice is allowing customers to experience the kind of shopping they crave from beginning to end.

Read Full Article: The Evolution Of Retail Tech: What We Have Learned, Where We Are And Where We’re Headed