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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

New Report from BRP Retail Consulting Firm Offers OMS Solution to Solve the Great Digital Divide

Consumers state that digital influences up to 75% of pre-store visits but less than half of retailers deliver these capabilities

Boston, MA – August 29, 2018– According to a new report from BRP, retailers are not 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 the ‘great digital divide’ that is plaguing the retail industry. BRP published the special report OMS – The Brains of the Operation, based on the 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, to address retailers’ need to find a solution to meet rising digital expectations.

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 meet rising customer expectations, retailers can no longer rely on legacy systems that are not designed to accommodate today’s retail environment. Retailers realize that unified commerce is a retail imperative, but execution on that strategy is challenging. The answer may be utilizing an order management system (OMS) as the platform for unified commerce.

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 fix this problem, retailers need to rethink old paradigms and adopt a new approach to unified commerce. 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.

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

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]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 Report Shows Post-Purchase Experience Important Too

Convenience Store Decisions – As retailers prepare for the 2018 holiday season, BRP warns focusing on loyalty post-purchase is a key strategy in building your brand.

According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), the post-purchase experience is not getting the attention it deserves as retailers focus more on customer acquisition than loyalty.

BRP published the Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience report to address the importance of the time between the customer clicking the buy button and the customer receiving and using the product. This is your customers’ most recent experience with your company and impacts the feelings they share with friends and family and the relationship they have with your brand. The satisfaction level during the post purchase experience has a direct correlation on a customer’s decision to buy again, or not.

Retailers that meet or exceed post-purchase customer experience expectations create a unique brand experience that customers will “share” with others personally and on social media. Exceptional post-purchase customer experiences also inspire customers to build long-term relationship with brands.

“Retailers who communicate regular updates and reassurances on order and delivery status to customers create a moment of trust with the brand,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “Customers who shop without a sense of risk will feel more comfortable making repeat purchases in the future.”

Read Full Article: BRP Report Shows Post-Purchase Experience Important Too

Are you Offering Shoppers the Digital Experience they Expect?

New research identifies gaps between customer expectations and retail execution when it comes to digital experiences.

According to the Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv, there is a disconnect between customer expectations and retail execution. The research combines findings from surveys of 1,212 retail consumers and 60 retail executives to understand the effect digital has on the shopping experience.

“The digital divide in retail is growing, as over 75% of retail shopping traverses the digital realm, but less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire,” said Brian Brunk, principal, BRP. “Further, very few retailers offer the next generation digital technologies, like automated returns and proximity-triggered mobile coupons, that could significantly influence future purchase decisions. Retailers must transform and quickly close the digital gap to remain relevant with their customer.

Consumers are no longer confined to a linear buying journey and expect greater convenience and empowerment to shop the way they want and where they want. Digital sits at the core of that promise and it’s no surprise that most consumers research prices, reviews and product information before they set foot into a store and when they are in the store they perform these actions on their mobile devices.

“Mobile devices and the capabilities they enable are the primary catalyst for the continued evolution of the customer experience,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “The majority of today’s consumers research products and brands digitally prior to visiting a physical store and, once they are in the store, about half of them use their mobile devices to perform price comparisons, read product reviews, and even validate inventory.”

Consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that align next-gen technologies to their digital preferences; however, in many cases, retailers don’t offer the capabilities that impact consumers’ shopping preferences.

Proximity-triggered Mobile Coupons – Consumers value digital discounts and promotions on their mobile devices. 

  • 65% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

Augmented Reality Experience – Many consumers appreciate the opportunity to see products in a virtual environment.

  • 48% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 15% of retailers offer this capability

Automated Returns Process – Consumers expect the returns process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 68% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

I encourage you to download and read the complete Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report:

DOWNLOAD NOW

As always, I appreciate your insights on this topic.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

David

Retailers not yet meeting shoppers’ digital expectations: BRP

Luxury Daily – While digital influences up to 75 percent of all in-store visits, retailers have not been keeping pace with shoppers’ preferences, according to a new Boston Retail Partners report.

The consultancy’s “Retail’s Digital Crossroads” report examines how retailers who are quick to adjust to today’s non-linear, multichannel shopping journeys will attract more customers. Although retailers have been investing in the digital shopping experience, not all of these investments reflect consumers’ preferences.

“While we have intuitively known that digital had become such a pervasive element of the overall shopping experience, it was surprising to quantitatively validate how much it influences in-store consumer behavior and purchases,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, Boston. “Consumers spend a considerable amount of time researching products, checking reviews, validating inventory availability and comparing prices before they even visit a store.”

The report is based on surveys of 1,212 retail consumers and 60 retail executives in the United States. Among the shoppers surveyed, there was a 50/50 gender split and Generation Z, millennials, Generation X and baby boomers were about equally represented.

Read Full Article: Retailers not yet meeting shoppers’ digital expectations: BRP

Retailers can’t keep pace with consumers’ digital preferences

Chain Store Age – Consumers said digital influences up to 75% of their pre-store visits, and it’s leveraged in 46% of in-store shopping experiences. Yet, less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire, according to “Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations,” a report from Boston Retail Partners.

According to data, consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that align next-generation technologies to their digital preferences, and understand the impact. These customers are after more frictionless and relevant shopping experiences, however, in many cases, retailers still don’t offer the capabilities that impact consumers’ shopping preferences.

For example, 68% of consumers are more likely to shop a retailer that offers automated returns capability versus one that doesn’t. Yet, only 8% of retailers offer this service. Similarly, 65% of consumers want to use proximity-triggered mobile coupons, but only 8% of companies offer them. Smart fitting rooms appeal to 53% of shoppers, but only 18% of retailers feature them.

Read Full Article: Retailers can’t keep pace with consumers’ digital preferences

BRP Report Shows How Digital Influences Shopping

Convenience Store Decisions – Consumers expect greater convenience and empowerment to shop the way they want and where they want. According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) and Windstream Enterprise, rapidly evolving customer expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation in the retail industry.

“The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations” report, based on research conducted by Incisiv, combines findings from surveys of 1,212 retail consumers and 60 retail executives to understand the effect digital has on the shopping experience.

“The digital divide in retail is growing, as over 75% of retail shopping traverses the digital realm, but less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire,” said Brian Brunk, principal, BRP. “Further, very few retailers offer the next generation digital technologies, like automated returns and proximity-triggered mobile coupons, that could significantly influence future purchase decisions. Retailers must transform and quickly close the digital gap to remain relevant with their customer.”

“Mobile devices and the capabilities they enable are the primary catalyst for the continued evolution of the customer experience,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “The majority of today’s consumers research products and brands digitally prior to visiting a physical store and, once they are in the store, about half of them use their mobile devices to perform price comparisons, read product reviews, and even validate inventory.”

Read Full Article: BRP Report Shows How Digital Influences Shopping

Tod’s taps WeChat’s ecommerce capabilities to launch influencer collection

Luxury Daily – Italian fashion label Tod’s is partnering with Chinese social network WeChat and influencer Mr. Bags for a new digital pop-up shop.

The pop-up combines editorial content with shopping, allowing customers to learn more about the products and their creation before making the purchase directly through WeChat. The collaboration emphasizes not only the importance of ecommerce but also the continued crossover between European luxury and China.

“Digital pop-up shops are following in the footsteps of physical pop-up shops that are currently a hot retail trend,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “Pop-ups appeal to consumers because they offer access to limited-run merchandise that continually changes.

“From a brand perspective, digital pop-ups expose customers that don’t normally shop a brand to their product, create a sense of urgency to ‘buy before it’s gone’ and present an opportunity for retailers to move slow-moving or over-inventoried products.”

“Retailers need to move beyond worrying about Amazon to finding creative ways to leverage platforms and/or partnerships that quickly expose their products to more customers while creating brand loyalty to drive incremental revenues,” Boston Retail Partners’ Mr. Neville said. “Tod’s use of WeChat’s Mini Program is a smart strategy to extend the reach of the limited-time, exclusive pop-up shop and make the purchase frictionless with WeChat Pay.

“The WeChat Mini Program is a logical extension to WeChat’s globally dominant platform, with more than 1 billion active users, that combines chat, social media and payments.”

“Consumers expect personalized shopping experiences and curated assortments,” Mr. Neville said. “Pop-up shops help consumers identify with brands that resonate with them.

“Luxury brands that offer curated products in online pop-up shops that are promoted to individuals based on customer context will have the greatest success,” he said.

Read Full Article: Tod’s taps WeChat’s ecommerce capabilities to launch influencer collection

The Future Retail Network Manifesto: Retailers Must Simplify and Optimize their Network to Increase Bandwidth, Improve Reliability and Reduce Costs

The future store requires a simple, fast, agile, reliable and secure network, according to a new report from BRP

Boston, MA – June 21, 2018– According to a new report from BRP, network bandwidth is becoming a bottleneck and applications are not performing efficiently. It has become so bad at some organizations, that retail store operations personnel refer to the network as the “not-work.” BRP published “The Future Retail Network Manifesto” to articulate its vision of the future store and identify the challenges and imperatives retailers face in delivering the expected customer experience. The network is a key enabler of the future store and most retail networks require a transformation to support the plethora of new applications that are putting a strain on bandwidth.

“We are in the midst of a retail renaissance, as the way customers shop has transformed the traditional store model. To meet consumers’ demand for the future store requires the adoption of real-time, cloud-based technologies enabled by a powerful network,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “Retailers can no longer afford to operate with outdated networks. Now is the time to transform the network to support the store of the future.”

Consumer expectations have never been higher and will continue to rise. The digital world offers consumers new ways and “places” to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, are raising consumer expectations and forcing retailers to transform and evolve to succeed. The store of the future requires a personal, mobile, relevant, ubiquitous and secure environment to meet these rising expectations.

Success requires retailers to operate in real-time with customer and product information visible and accessible across the enterprise – this necessitates the move to a unified commerce platform supported by a robust, fast, reliable and resilient network.  As retailers move more applications to the cloud, SD-WAN solutions optimize the network performance and ensures 100% uptime.

Retailers that simplify and optimize their network realize many benefits:

  • Elimination of plain old telephone service (POTS) lines
  • Significantly increased bandwidth
  • Improved network reliability, capability and diversity
  • Reduction in total network spend

To download The Future Retail Network Manifesto, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/the-future-retail-network-manifesto/

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.