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Customer Experience Journey

Retail Personalization: Attracting & Keeping Your Customers

Customer Experience Journey

Engaging the customer through personalization and relevant messaging is the key to attracting and keeping customers. Customers want to shop wherever and whenever with the benefits of both the digital and physical retail environments. Personalization plays a critical role in optimizing the customer’s shopping experience. Retailers need to know whom the customer is to create a meaningful experience based on what they want and when they want it. Each step along the customer journey offers retailers another opportunity to engage with the customer and strengthen that personal relationship to drive sales and customer loyalty.

Customer Identification

With 62% of retailers indicating that customer identification is their top customer engagement priority (2018 POS/Customer Engagement Survey), stores are still identifying customers at the point of checkout. Many fail to realize it is too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision at the checkout phase of the journey. Even though associates’ ability to custom tailor shopping experiences is currently limited the Survey shows that these capabilities are increasing.

Watch the Video Now

In a recent Retail Touch Points Video BRP Senior Vice President Gene Bornac talks about how customizing experiences around expectations is how retailers can attract and keep customers. Bornac points out that the fundamental challenge for retailers is understanding customer motivations for buying. Bornac also discusses how retailers should consider what’s relevant to the conversation regarding using personal information versus shopping trends.

Changing the Shopping Experience

Retailers should work on the transition from product-focused sales to experience-focused sales, looking to technology and customer journey planning to help move them forward. Some retailers are expanding the personalization aspect of retail into a “make shopping fun and engaging” experience. This includes gamification – where game-like interactions, rewards and incentives are offered for visiting a web site. The key to this personalization  is to tailor the interaction based on the customer’s habits. We are also seeing this augmented by artificial intelligence to keep the customer engaged and encourage further visits and interactions.

A current example of technology and customer journey combining is the launch of the Amazon Go store. With the use of multiple hardware and software technology advances the Amazon Go store is taking retail to the next level.

The Store of the Future

The store is not dead and focusing on the customer experience has never been more important. Consumers love the theater of shopping, which is why many pure-play online retailers are opening brick-and-mortar stores and store concepts continue to evolve. The in-store experience is paramount for apparel and other products that consumers want to touch, feel, demo or try on. Customers want a multi-dimensional or multi-sense purchase which leverages all their senses. For retailers selling commodity products, you could argue that the experience is the best way to differentiate their brand.

The time is now to innovate the customer experience by transforming your retail model for the new customer journey.

Download the 2018 POS/CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT SURVEY

Watch the Using Personalization To Extend The Shopping Journey Video

 

 

 

Should Your Small Business Accept Mobile Payments?

Business News Daily – In the past few years, you may have noticed a new kind of credit card terminal at cash registers, one that customers wave their smartphones over. These new mobile payment systems that use NFC technology have been cropping up everywhere, with companies like Apple, Samsung and Google hoping to make their mobile phones a new replacement for your credit cards.

Since going online in 2014, Apple Pay has been available to the roughly 90 million U.S. iPhone owners, with alternatives made available to Samsung, LG and other Android smartphones. However, most smartphone owners have not been using these virtual wallets.

While using your smartphone to pay for groceries, gas and other goods hasn’t become as synonymous as using your debit card, consumers are still interested in the convenience of carrying their cards with them virtually in their phone. According to a Boston Retail Partners study, Apple Pay, the most popular mobile wallet is currently accepted by 37 percent retailers, with 40 percent planning on accepting it in the near future. Apple’s competitors aren’t far behind either.

The more retailers offer the option for contactless, mobile payments, the more consumers will realize that it’s a viable option for payment, and vice-versa – as confidence builds that their private information will be kept secure, consumers will drive demand for more vendors to provide NFC contactless readers at the register.

Read full article: Should Your Small Business Accept Mobile Payments?

As retail transforms, luxury will be last to join the movement

Luxury Daily – Consumers today are more interested in the convenient services that automation can offer, but luxury brands will be the last to replace human interaction.

A new report on POS/Customer Engagement from Boston Retail Partners explains that the retail industry as a whole is moving towards technology-based personalized services that luxury brands are reluctant to offer. Shoppers are interested and willing to interact with automaton replacements for human counterparts in retail, as long as the experience still offers quality service.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP. “However, the legacy retail applications and infrastructure still in place at many retail organizations are not properly equipped to support changing retail models and continuously evolving customer expectations.

“To meet the demands of their customer, the retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce. Victory belongs to the agile,” he said.

Read Full Article: As retail transforms, luxury will be last to join the movement

Amid Disruptive Technology, Retailers Transform Operations

Convenience Store Decisions – As technology continues to bring disruptions and customer expectations change, retailers are evolving to keep pace with the times.

Disruption and adaptation are changing the customer engagement model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. Online pure-plays are opening brick-and-mortar stores and traditional retailers are experimenting with new store models: stores as showrooms, theatre, distribution centers or pop-ups. To enable the new customer experience and support its rapid evolution requires a different technology approach.

According to the Boston Retail Partners (BRP) 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, retailers recognize the urgency to transform their operations and 81% plan to have unified commerce within three years.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP. “However, the legacy retail applications and infrastructure still in place at many retail organizations are not properly equipped to support changing retail models and continuously evolving customer expectations. To meet the demands of their customer, the retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce. Victory belongs to the agile.”

“As customer expectations have been reshaped by the digital retail experience, successful retailers have shifted their focus in the physical store environment,” added Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Customers appreciate personalized offers and recommendations when shopping online or via mobile, and now they expect the same personalization, or better, when they shop in a store. Understanding the importance of personalization, 62% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority as they transform the in-store customer experience.”

To download the complete 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-pos-survey/.

Read Full Article: Amid Disruptive Technology, Retailers Transform Operations

Elevated Customer Expectations, Evolving Retail Models and Disruptive Technology are Driving the Need for Retail Transformation, According to BRP’s 2018 POS Survey

81% of Retailers Plan to Have Unified Commerce within Three Years

Boston, MA – January 10, 2018 – According to a new report from BRP, the customer journey and associated expectations continue to rapidly evolve – driving a major transformation in retail. Disruption and adaptation are changing the customer engagement model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. Online pure-plays are opening brick-and-mortar stores and traditional retailers are experimenting with new store models: stores as showrooms, theatre, distribution centers or pop-ups. To enable the new customer experience and support its rapid evolution requires a different technology approach. According to the 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, retailers recognize the urgency to transform their operations and 81% plan to have unified commerce within three years.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP. “However, the legacy retail applications and infrastructure still in place at many retail organizations are not properly equipped to support changing retail models and continuously evolving customer expectations. To meet the demands of their customer, the retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce. Victory belongs to the agile.”

“As customer expectations have been reshaped by the digital retail experience, successful retailers have shifted their focus in the physical store environment,” added Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Customers appreciate personalized offers and recommendations when shopping online or via mobile, and now they expect the same personalization, or better, when they shop in a store. Understanding the importance of personalization, 62% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority as they transform the in-store customer experience.”

Unified commerce is the key to this retail transformation. Critical to unified commerce are the four key pillars that we have identified to define the required customer experience: personal, mobile, seamless and secure.

BRP’s 2018 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 through personalization and relevance is the key to attracting and keeping customers.

  • 62% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority
  • 83% will suggestive sell based on previous purchases within three years

Mobile – The pervasiveness and ease-of-use of mobile devices offers tremendous opportunities for retailers as the customer takes control of their own retail experience across channels.  

  • 62% plan to increase their use of mobile devices as the POS by the end of 2019
  • 42% will use customer-owned mobile devices as a point of sale within three years

Seamless – Customer expectations for a personalized and seamless experience require retailers to follow customers’ journeys across channels as they research, shop and purchase.

  • 81% plan to offer unified commerce by the end of 2020
  • 91% plan to offer order visibility across channels within three years

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

  • 91% will have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by the end of 2020
  • 61% will offer a single token solution across the enterprise within three years

To download the complete 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-pos-survey/.

The 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Survey platinum sponsors are Aptos and Cayan, and the gold sponsors are Diebold Nixdorf, ECRS, Fujitsu, Manhattan Associates, and PCMS.

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 https://brpconsulting.com.

POS CHECKOUT HARDWARE: Unifying the Experience

RIS News – As technology rapidly evolves and consumer demands change, the point of sale (POS) platform of the future must be device agnostic and able to support access to real-time enterprise information. From fixed registers to mobile tablets and smartphone devices, POS checkout hardware can be varied, but should always center around the best possible customer experience. Mobile POS checkout adoption can be an important tool to increase associates’ ability to guide shoppers smoothly through checkout and differentiate the store experience. Meanwhile, retailers need to look at payment security as part of a much larger multi -layered enterprise security approach. Below are insights from Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, for retailers to consider when updating their POS checkout hardware.

As retailers continue to embrace unified commerce, what updates should they make to their POS hardware solutions?

The majority of retailers need to modify their vocabulary by replacing the term POS with the term “customer engagement platform.” To meet the constantly changing demands of consumers, the platform of the future must be device — and ideally OS — agnostic and structured so that it can operate in thin, lean and thick environments. Additionally, this new platform must be capable of supporting a real-time integration to order management, inventory, product and customer information. Most importantly, retailers should view this as a platform of tools all centered around a defined customer journey and experience. The ideal customer engagement environment may be a combination of fixed registers (fastest throughput), mobile tablets (best for full functioning mobile POS and CRM) and smartphone-sizeddevices (best for inventory and line-busting functions).

Q Mobile POS checkout is rapidly growing and can improve the customer experience. In what ways are retailers integrating mobility from a POS perspective?

Mobile POS checkout adoption varies widely by retail segment. In the high-ticket, lower transaction volume retail locations and select areas in department stores, we are seeing success and adoption of a full-functioning mobile device for processing all aspects of customer engagement. In traditional front-line retailers like Burlington, we are seeing tremendous success with a smaller footprint device for line-busting. In sporting goods stores, we are seeing tremendous adoption and success with a smartphone-sized device to check shoe availability in the stockroom without leaving the customer’s side. Additionally, many retailers are equipping sales associates with endless aisle capabilities on mobile devices to “save the sale.”

Q What cutting-edge POS features can help retailers solve the engagement and loyalty challenge?

Offering closed-loop payment capabilities on the consumers’ mobile device is one of the best customer engagement innovations we have seen in the last two years. This is evidenced by recent statistics revealing that Walmart Pay has overtaken Apple Pay as the most used mobile wallet in the U.S. Many retailers have created their own branded mobile wallet to enable a frictionless payment transaction and to facilitate the identification of the customer at the POS while capturing all of their purchase history. This is surprisingly easy to implement with the recent innovations in token technology and it significantly enhances CRM and loyalty while creating a frictionless checkout in-store and online. Another hot customer engagement technology is the use of beacons and expanded use of in-store WiFi to identify consumers and their path through the store.

Q Payment systems continue to be breached at an alarming rate. What can retailers do to secure their POS hardware solution against sophisticated cyber thieves?

It is amazing how many retailers think they have implemented a comprehensive set of leading payment practices, but in reality, they have not. Having an external review of your payment systems every two to three years, beyond an annual PCI assessment, is now a best practice. Meeting PCI standards is table stakes and it is still not nearly enough to stay ahead of sophisticated criminals. Most retailers have a part-time team assigned to payments while the criminals are working full-time with rapidly evolving technology. Retailers need to look at payment security as part of a much larger multi-layered enterprise security approach that leverages encryption and tokenization in all critical systems including CRM, HR and finance.

Read Full Article: POS CHECKOUT HARDWARE: Unifying the Experience

The Most Popular Mobile Payments Platform Might Surprise You

Payment Week – A recent study from Boston Retail Partners managed to pin down what mobile payments platform is the most popular right now. Right now, the study points to Apple Pay as being the most popular, thanks to a hefty number of retailers that accommodate the system.

The Boston Retail Partners study found that 36 percent of North American retailers take Apple Pay, and another 22 percent are planning to do so within a year of the study being taken. While Apple Pay had some real trouble getting started—better than 97 percent of the merchants in the United States didn’t have the necessary near-field communications (NFC) terminals required to let Apple Pay work—three years later, many businesses made such upgrades.

That led Apple’s Luca Maestri, its chief financial officer, to declare Apple Pay “…by far the number one NFC payment service on mobile devices, with nearly 90 percent of all transactions globally.” Recently, Apple Pay added another four countries to the roster of lands that accept Apple Pay, which gave the company a score of 20 such nations overall. It also shows no signs of stopping; it’s planning to carry on with that expansion for at least some time to come.

Read full article: The Most Popular Mobile Payments Platform Might Surprise You

Here's Why Apple Is Poised To Outperform

Seeking Alpha – Cupertino-based Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has a long history of topping Wall Street estimates and the iPhone maker is set to repeat it after the closing bell today. According to Zacks Equity Research, the iPhone maker is expected to earn $1.86 per share on revenues of $51.2bn in the fiscal fourth-quarter 2017, up from $1.66 per share on $46.6bn in the year-earlier period. iPhone shipments, which constitutes between 60% and 65% of Apple’s sales, are projected to reach 46.4 million units in the fiscal fourth-quarter 2017, backed by accelerating sales of iPhone in China. This represents a 2.1% increase from 45.5 million units shipped in the year-earlier period.

While iPhone continues to be the major driver of its top line, Apple’s services segment consisting of App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and other services has become a major growth catalyst with over 185 million subscribers. With the release of iOS 11, the company expects to pull in more revenues from its App Store during the quarter. Revenues from iTunes, software and services are expected to be $7.6bn in the fiscal fourth-quarter 2017, up a staggering 20.4% from last year. Additionally, Apple is witnessing strong demand for iPad among schools driven by the wide range of multimedia features of iOS applications focused on the education sector. For the fiscal fourth-quarter 2017, iPad shipments are expected to reach about 10 million units, up 7.4% from the last year.

The iPhone maker is also giving stiff competition to the online payment giant PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) in the digital payment space. According to a new research from Boston Retail Partners, 36% of North American retailers are accepting Apple Pay, more than any other payment method, and another 22% plan to accept the Apple’s payment solution within the next 12 months. On the other hand, PayPal is currently being accepted at about one-third of North American retailers, and that is expected to rise to more than half within the next year – yet still short to take the No. 1 spot. Total transaction value of US digital payments is forecast to hit $738.3bn in 2017 and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 12.8% to reach $1,194.4bn by the end of 2021.

Read Full Article: Here’s Why Apple Is Poised To Outperform

Guess Which Digital Payment Method Is Most Popular (Hint: It Isn't PayPal)

The Motley Fool – Mobile payments will eventually replace credit cards. The dynasty of credit card companies is coming to an end. So says CEO Michael Corbat ofCitigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), the world’s largest provider of credit cards. In an exclusive interview with The Australian Financial Review, Corbat said, “We know, at some point, cards are going to go away, and it’s just going to be digital wallet, digital payments.”

That type of pronouncement by an industry leader in credit cards confirms a trend that many had already recognized — digital payments are the wave of the future, and the future is arriving more quickly than you might think. In a recent survey, 64% of consumers reported having made a mobile payment in the past 12 months, and the total transaction value of digital payments is forecast to top $738 billion this year.

New research from Boston Retail Partners reveals that 36% of North American retailers accept Apple Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple Pay, more than any other payment system. Another 22% say they plan to accept the iPhone-maker’s payment solution with the next 12 months.

Read full article: Guess Which Digital Payment Method Is Most Popular (Hint: It Isn’t PayPal)

Retail Apocalypse Vs. Retail Transformation

Retail Apocalypse Vs. Retail Transformation

This is an article I wrote for Retail Executive magazine…

For retailers who are not well into their transformation to a ubiquitous, real-time retailcustomer journey, the key to survival is to redouble their efforts before the competition puts them out of business.

With a flurry of bankruptcies and store closure announcements in 2017, the “Retail Apocalypse” phrase has become the topic of many conversations. While the doom and gloom of an apocalypse is not likely to be a reality, there is no argument that change, turmoil, and disruption is reshaping the world of retail.

To meet consumer expectations and avoid a potential retail apocalypse, successful retailers are transforming their retail and customer engagement models.

Retailers need to deliver this experience to thrive and, in many cases, increase their store count and profits. Retailers who are successfully meeting these evolving customer expectations are taking a holistic approach to defining their customer’s journey and understand that change is needed at almost every point in their enterprise. Critical focus points for success include optimizing customer engagement, adopting mobile technology, and achieving real-time retail across the enterprise.

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Top retailers realize that evolving and improving the way they engage the customer is key to surviving. According to BRP’s 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce survey, 55 percent of retailers indicate that optimizing the customer experience is their top priority. Retailers realize they need a new approach to enable a unified experience, an approach that supports the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, as they engage their customers in a consistent and ubiquitous experience.

MOBILE

Consumers increasingly use mobile devices as a key shopping tool with statistics indicating that a whopping 84 percent of shoppers use their mobile devices in physical stores for competitive shopping, product information, or consulting with friends. For retailers not already leveraging mobile tools, the customer with a mobile device has more information than an employee without a mobile tool. With a wealth of information at consumers’ fingertips, retailers need to equip their store associates with mobile technology to access more information than their customers have. Mobile capabilities enable sales associates to never leave the customer’s side to “find a product or look up something,” which helps avoid customer abandonment, adds personalization, and saves the sale.

REAL-TIME RETAIL

To keep the customer as the epicenter of the retail transaction, retailers need to migrate to an environment that offers real-time access to enterprisewide product information, customer preferences, and transaction history across all channels. To meet the new set of customer expectations, modern customer engagement, merchandising, order management, and inventory management systems must be integrated in real time and seamlessly accessible by the sales associate. Top retailers have adopted and implemented a unified commerce platform with real time retail information at the fingertips of their sales associates.

Most retailers are working to meet these rapidly changing customer expectations, as 84 percent of retailers surveyed in the BRP survey indicated they would have real-time retail implemented within three years. Many retailers have implemented some pieces of this future-state requirement, but only the very successful have been able to extend the real-time technology so that it touches the customer consistently across all channels.

While retail is definitely going through challenging times, the transformation is exciting with new technologies and opportunities arising to enhance the customer journey. The next year will bring further transformation driving fundamental changes in retail. The time is now to innovate the customer experience by transforming retail operations for the new customer journey. The future of retail is here — ready or not.

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

Perry