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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

Retail Industry Adapts To Rapid Change

Retail TouchPoints – Headlines screamed about a “Retail Apocalypse” in 2017, but what was really happening was a highly accelerated period of retail transformation. The 17 retail industry experts contributing to the Retail TouchPoints 2018 Outlook Guide paint a collective portrait of an industry undergoing seismic shifts in multiple areas:

  • Stores are emphatically not dead
  • Voice could radically alter the existing product search paradigm, giving a huge first mention advantage to the top result;
  • Mobile devices for store associates will become the new must-have business accessory;
  • Technologies including AIIoTbots, AR and even connected carswill start to prove their worth; and
  • Customer engagement, via advanced analytics and what one contributor called “right-sized personalization,” will continue to be the ultimate competitive battleground.

 “While it might be an “apocalyptic” outlook for some, the reality is that it is just the ever-evolving nature of retail and consumers.” said Brian Brunk Principal, BRP.

To Download the full report visit: 2018 Outlook Guide: Retail Industry Adapts To Rapid Change

 

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?

Retailers Reveal Top Priorities for Customer Engagement

HFN – As the retail industry adjusts and embraces the merging of brick-and-mortar and digital experiences, BRP’s annual POS and Customer Engagement Survey said yesterday’s retail model is dead, and retailers must transform their customer engagement models to an omnichannel approach.

Unified commerce is the new retail imperative, according to the survey, which polled more than 500 top North American retailers about their planned initiatives and priorities for 2018. Unified commerce combines in-store point-of-sale (POS), mobile, Web, order management, call center and clienteling (fostering long-term relationships with customers based on their shopping habits and preferences) into one integrated platform.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP, a retail consulting firm. “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.”

Top 2018 priorities for retailers include omnichannel integration, added capabilities to current POS system upgrades, payment security, a single commerce platform, mobile POS, and hardware upgrades, according to the survey.

While legacy retail has focused on POS, customers have come to expect a personalized, seamless, and secure experience in real-time, BRP said.

“Understanding the importance of personalization, 62 percent of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority as they transform the in-store customer experience,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP.

Read Full Article: Retailers Reveal Top Priorities for Customer Engagement

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

BRP: Most retailers plan to have unified commerce within three years

Chain Store Age – More and more companies are pushing unified commerce strategies to the top of their “to-do” lists. According to Boston Retail Partners’ “2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey,” 81% plan to have unified commerce within three years — a move that will help them evolve the customer journey —and associated expectations.

Disruption and adaptation are changing the customer engagement model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. To stay relevant in this ever-changing landscape, retailers need a different technology approach to enable the new customer experience and support its rapid evolution requires.

“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,” he added. “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.”

Read Full Article: BRP: Most retailers plan to have unified commerce within three years

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.

Walmart; Valentine’s Day; Hispanic Consumers

eMarketer -Plus and Minus: Walmart said it will raise starting wages for all hourly employees in the the US to $11. The move follows a similar increase announced by Target in late September. Meanwhile, Walmart plans to shutter about 10% of its Sam’s Club locations.

War of the Sexes: Valentine’s Day preferences for dining out vary sharply. Men are much more likely to want to dine out for the romantic day, whereas women prefer to have a meal at home. An AYTM Market Research survey found that 59% of men wanted to go out, compared with 41% of women.

Hispanic Consumer Confidence: Hispanic consumers are more optimistic about their financial situation than they were in early 2017, according to a national poll from Florida Atlantic University. Its latest Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index, taken from October through December 2017, stands at 93.5—up 1.5 points from Q3 2017, and up 3.6 points from Q1.

Going Mobile: Some 62% of retailers plan to increase their use of mobile devices as the point of sale this year, according to the 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey from BRP (Boston Retail Partners). And 42% say they will use customer-owned mobile devices as the point of sale within three years.

Read Full Article: Walmart; Valentine’s Day; Hispanic Consumers