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Luxury retailers need to compete with mass brands in personalization: report

Luxury Daily – Personalization in a bricks-and-mortar experience has become just as important as it is in digital, and with mass consumers expecting an elevated individualized experience, luxury brands need to work harder at delivering customized retail.

A new survey from Boston Retail Partners shows that 79 percent of consumers believe that a personalized experience from a sales associate is an important driving factor in deciding where to shop. More than half of all retailers are focusing on personalization within stores for 2019, making it more important for luxury brands to heighten their customer service.

“A key takeaway from this year’s POS survey is that retail continues to rapidly evolve, with consumers as the catalyst and their constantly increasing expectations for a better shopping experience, including more personalization and an improved mobile experience,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP. “In the uber-competitive retail environment, retailers need to adapt quickly to new customer expectations.

Read Full Article: Luxury retailers need to compete with mass brands in personalization: report

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

Personalization, Mobile Experience, and Real-Time Retail are Top Customer Engagement Priorities, According to New BRP Report

94% of Retailers Plan to Have Unified Commerce within Three Years

Boston, MA – January 9, 2018– Customers want to shop wherever and whenever they want with the benefits of both the digital and physical experience. 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 20th Annual 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 20th Annual 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

To download the complete 20th Annual POS/CustomerEngagement Benchmarking Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-pos-survey/.

The POS/Customer Engagement Survey platinum sponsor is TSYS, the gold sponsors are Aptos, Diebold Nixdorf, ECRS and Fujitsu, and the silver sponsor is STORIS.

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.

Reexamining The State Of POS: Take Steps To Accelerate The Checkout Process

Retail TouchPoints – Retailers may not realize just how much point-of-sale (POS) technology has advanced in recent years — and how quickly it continues to evolve. The POS is now much more than just a necessary workhorse; it’s also the means to address one of retail’s biggest pain points: slow checkouts. But despite the critical upgrades and improved functionality within POS platforms, many industry players still lag when it comes to implementing newer technologies: 53% of retailers report their POS software is more than five years old, according to Boston Retail Partners.

More than one-third of the retailers surveyed are planning to replace their current POS software and hardware within three years, the report said. But there are still many that don’t plan to replace their software (36%) and hardware (28%) for another five years — an indication that these retailers are being too complacent about a mission-critical set of solutions.

This Retail TouchPoints special report discusses the recent evolution of POS technologies, and explains why retailers must reexamine which facets of their systems are most important to expediting the checkout process. The report also touches on:

Why omnichannel integration and customer engagement are main drivers in the preference shift from all-in-one platforms to best-of-breed solutions;
How larger POS vendors are becoming more open to integrating microservices and other third-party APIs that add functionality and flexibility;
Why retailers must think cloud-first when upgrading their POS platform;
How ‘Apple-esque’ devices have forced vendors to consider more aesthetically pleasing POS hardware in stores;
Mobile’s continued growth and influence on POS technologies; and
The emergence of self-checkout as a frictionless payments option.

Page 3 (comments from Perry Kramer):

NEW PRIORITIES SHAPE POS DECISION-MAKING

Two growing retail imperatives — omni-channel integration and customer engagement — are shifting how retailers evaluate POS systems, according to Perry Kramer, Senior VP and Practice Lead at BRP, retail consulting firm.

“Five years ago, retailers were looking for that quick win, where they would look at one solution,” said Kramer in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They’d say: ‘I want my POS, I want my order management, customer engagement, promotions and pricing all in one suite.’ What’s changed in the last two or three years is that retailers are focusing on best-of-breed, engaging the customer with something that’s specific to them. From a tech point of view, they’re now saying: ‘We want a more modern platform that’s built on microservices technology, and if I need to swap out my order management, I’ll swap out my order management.’”

Integrating third-party microservices, which are smaller, individual applications designed to work together within a larger enterprise ecosystem, can be a safer and faster alternative to replacing larger, outdated back-end services all at once. With microservices, retailers can be more flexible in carrying out their POS strategy, including collecting and leveraging customer data within the platform. Additionally, major POS vendors are becoming more open to the different ways that third parties can integrate APIs into the ecosystem.

Page 8 (comments from Perry Kramer):

MOBILE POS GROWTH SET TO OUTPACE OVERALL POS MARKET

As many as 66% of the retailers that have adopted mobile payment terminals have done so within the past two years, with more than 90% upgrading them within the last five, according to Boston Retail Partners. However, only 31% of retailers have deployed mobile payment terminals overall, while 42% have implemented mobile devices at the POS.

BRP’s Kramer estimates that there will be anywhere between a 40% to a 70% reduction in the number of lanes within a store as mobile POS terminals gain popularity. “Some specialty retailers already have gotten rid of the lanes and they’re trying to do everything on the tablets,” Kramer said. “You’re going to see retailers trying to grab back some of the space that is used during only 20% of the year. If you walk into a LOFT or a TJ Maxx, you’ll notice 20 lanes across the front. That’s a very expensive set of real estate that is only [fully] used two months out of the year. In four or five years, the consumers are going to be trained on mobile POS and expect to walk into a store, scan their barcode and see if that product is available in another store. Because the consumers are expecting it, you have to make it available to your sales associate as well.”

Read Full Article: Reexamining The State Of POS: Take Steps To Accelerate The Checkout Process

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

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.

 

Unified Commerce Solutions Booming; A Third of Smartphone Users Will Pay via Mobile by 2018

ExchangeWire – RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: Unified commerce solutions booming; A third of smartphone users will pay via mobile by 2018; and Mobile email marketing draws level with desktop as m-commerce grows.

Unified commerce solutions booming

By the end of 2020, 81% of retailers will deploy unified commerce platforms, to support commerce across the enterprise’s stores, mobile users and the web, according to a survey by Boston Retail Partners (BRP). This is seen as essential to competing in the omnichannel environment.

The survey finds that 28% of respondents have implemented unified commerce, compared to 9% the previous year. Retailers are making progress on implementing unified commerce platforms. Last year, BRP predicted 73% of retailers would have such a platform in place by 2019, and 22% already had one deployed.

Moving forward, the top three priorities of retailers for the year ahead are:

– Customer identification and personalisation of the customer experience (62%)

– Alignment of the customer experience across mobile apps the web (54%)

– Empowering associates with mobile tools (51%)

Retailers are modifying the technology used to identify customers in their stores by decreasing their use of mobile websites, which declined from 40% in 2017 to 28% in 2018, and increasing the use of Media Access Control (MAC) addresses as unique identifiers by 26%. Also on the rise are beacons (19%), and Bluetooth (16%).

Read full article: Unified Commerce Solutions Booming; A Third of Smartphone Users Will Pay via Mobile by 2018

Survey: 81% Of Retailers Will Deploy Unified Commerce Platforms By 2020

Retail TouchPoints – Retailers understand that gaps between shoppers’ personalized experiences online and in brick-and-mortar stores are problematic, and they are employing technology to satisfy consumers across every channel, at any time and via the method of their choosing.

Boston Retail Partners (BRP) identifies cloud-based unified commerce — the use of a single platform to support commerce for stores, mobile and the web — as the linchpin to competing in a fast-changing, omnichannel environment. In an online survey of 500 top North American retailers, BRP found that 28% of respondents have already implemented unified commerce, more than three times the percentage (9%) reporting that capability last year. By the end of 2020, 81% of retailers will have deployed unified commerce.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, Principal at BRP in a statement. Because legacy retail applications and infrastructure are not equipped for today’s requirements, “retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce.”

Three Top Customer Engagement Priorities For 2018

In its 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, BRP evaluated retailers’ progress in implementing technology solutions to meet customers’ ever-rising expectations. Retailers’ three top priorities for 2018 are:

  • Customer identification/personalization of the customer experience (62%);
  • Alignment of the customer experience across mobile apps and the web (54%); and
  • Empowering associates with mobile tools (51%).

Read Full Article: Survey: 81% Of Retailers Will Deploy Unified Commerce Platforms By 2020

With Amazon Go’s popularity, luxury must determine the cashierless model’s relevance

Luxury Daily – The long-awaited Amazon Go retail store has finally opened and there has been immense praise for its cashierless model, but is the concept one that can be emulated by luxury?

Amazon’s in-store concept works by letting users sign into an Amazon Go account on a mobile device, and then simply pluck desired items from the shelves and walk out with them while the smartphone tracks what was picked up, automatically charging the goods to the consumer’s account. While it is clear that the idea has immense potential, two questions arise: is it possible and is it right for luxury brands?

“The question is ‘Do other retailers have the competency?’ and that’s unclear,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “More likely, there are pieces of the Amazon Go model that retailers should look at incorporating as they plan for their store of the future.

“Part of the benefit of the Amazon Go experience is speed and convenience for the customer, for the luxury market, this grab-and-go technology doesn’t necessarily make sense since a large part of luxury shopping is the time evaluating a high-ticket item and the interaction with the sales associate asking questions about fit, care and use,” he said. “However, the elimination of the traditional POS may open the door for retailers to redesign their stores and eliminate the classic cash wrap desk to enable more customer- associate interaction.”

Read Full Article: With Amazon Go’s popularity, luxury must determine the cashierless model’s relevance