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A Personalized Brand Experience Across Digital Channels is Imperative

Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in different channels, including online marketplaces and social media, and frequently shop for the same product across different retailers, both online and in the store. Consumers don’t think in terms of channels, they think in terms of brands and experiences.

According to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand.

The good news is that retailers recognize the importance of the cross-channel, personalized customer experience, as their top digital customer experience priorities are creating a consistent brand experience across channels (57%) and improving personalization (38%).

The challenge for retailers is to “keep up” with continually evolving customer expectations. The growth of mobile is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. The gap between consumer demand for digital experiences and retailers’ current capabilities is what we call the “great digital divide,” and is driving additional changes in the industry.

The new retail model requires retailers to transform their business and reinvent themselves to create a successful blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain their customers’ loyalty. New and innovative methods of shopping – driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods – are elevating customer expectations. The speed of these changes requires organizational agility to quickly and easily react to increasing customer expectations and changing consumer behavior.

I encourage you to download and read the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey for more insights on the cross channel digital experience:

Download Now

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

 

Jeffrey

Shopping experiences must be personalized across channels: BRP

Luxury Daily – As the lines between physical and digital stores continues to blur, retailers need to personalize shopping experiences beyond in-store and continue to create consistent brand experiences online.

A new report from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm, finds that 51 percent of consumers want a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. Currently, less than a fifth of retailers use customer-identifying technology in their stores, pointing to the potential for more customized engagement.

“To engage with the customer and personalize their experience, retailers need to quickly and easily identify the customer,” Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners. “Identifying the customer as they enter the store – via their smartphone, beacon or other technology – affords the retailer the opportunity to personalize the customer’s shopping experience.”

Three-quarters of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit, and 46 percent use mobile devices while shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores. Almost a quarter of retailers surveyed named improving mobile shopping experiences as their top priority.

Creating a consistent brand experience across channels is the top digital priority for retailers, and was named as a focus by 57 percent of respondents. Thirty-eight percent of retailers also cited wanting to improve customer loyalty, personalization and user experience.

However, retailers cannot improve personalization efforts without first identifying individual shoppers. Seventy-nine percent of respondents plan to introduce technology to better identify customers within the next three years, while 76 percent plan to integrate geolocation to improve how promotions are sent to customers.

Read Full Article: Shopping experiences must be personalized across channels: BRP

51% of Consumers Want a Personalized Brand Experience Across Digital Channels, According to BRP Report

Retailers’ Top Digital Customer Experience Priorities are Creating a Consistent Brand Experience Across Channels and Improving Personalization 

Boston, MA – October 24, 2018– Customers’ journeys are more complicated and varied than ever before. Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in different channels, including online marketplaces and social media, and frequently shop for the same product across different retailers, both online and in the store. According to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. Retailers recognize the importance of the cross-channel, personalized customer experience, as their top digital customer experience priorities are creating a consistent brand experience across channels (57%) and improving personalization (38%).

“The new retail model requires retailers to transform their business and reinvent themselves to create a successful blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain their customers’ loyalty,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “New and innovative methods of shopping – driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods – are elevating customer expectations. The speed of these changes requires organizational agility to quickly and easily react to increasing customer expectations and changing consumer behavior.”

The challenge for retailers is to “keep up” with continually evolving customer expectations. The growth of mobile is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. The gap between consumer demand for digital experiences and retailers’ current capabilities is what we call the “great digital divide,” and is driving additional changes in the industry.

BRP conducted the 2018 Digital Commerce Benchmarking Survey to understand the current retail challenges and available opportunities as we face the future of retail. This report compares retailers’ priorities with customer expectations – based on results from Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report[1]conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise – to understand how retailer priorities are aligning with customer expectations.

Key findings include:

  1. Personalization – Effective customer engagement requires retailers to know whom the customer is to be able to offer personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent services across channels.
  • 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand
  • 18% of retailers are currently utilizing customer identifying technology in the store and within three years, 79% plan to use it to personalize the experience
  1. Digital Influence – Retailers realize that mobile devices are ubiquitous and recognize that a mobile device in the customer’s hands holds tremendous opportunities to enhance the customer experience across channels.
  • 75% of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit and mobile devices are leveraged in 46% of in-store shopping experiences
  • 67% of retailers provide online customer reviews to influence and drive purchases and 76% will extend mobile offers to customers in the store within three years
  1. Augmented Reality – Through augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers are inspiring their customers and offering them the ability to see what a product looks like in their home or even on their body.
  • 48% of consumers would be more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented reality
  • 32% of retailers will utilize augmented reality within three years

To download 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-digital-commerce-survey/

The 2018 Digital Commerce Survey gold sponsors are ECRSand enVista. 

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]Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations, July 24, 2018. https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

The store is still a winning strategy. Here’s why

Retail Customer Experience – Physical retail is thriving. The National Retail Federation’s Consumer View report shows nearly four out of five (79 percent) consumers are shopping at brick and mortar stores. This includes millennials and Generation Z. Just 34 percent of these demographics are online-only shoppers.

But simply having a store doesn’t guarantee success. The brands and retailers who succeed will adapt and embrace the changing role of physical retail, and use the store to their advantage. In collecting and analyzing billions of data points across brick and mortar stores in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, we know a thing or two about what it takes to develop a winning in-store strategy.

Unified commerce is the process of “unifying” many selling channels to provide a cohesive shopping experience and path to purchase. Most (73 percent) of retailers plan to have a unified commerce platform by the end of 2019, according to Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm.

There are many components to unified commerce. The first and most important is marrying pricing and availability of online products with those in-store. Consumers are smart. They don’t want to arrive at a store with one price in their head, only to find a different one on the shelf. Unified pricing and promotions at the micro-level is vital in building and keeping consumer trust.

Products should also be available across channels. This is where brick-and-mortar retailers should consider how online and mobile commerce (m-commerce) fit into or impact the in-store experience. Shoppers should have access to store associates with tablets or free-standing kiosks where they can buy products in the event of an out-of-stock or online-only items. Add signage for buy online, pick up in store and process online returns in a profitable way with buy online, return in store. This is all part of the seamless shopping experience consumers have come to expect.

A seamless shopping experience also means cohesive branding. Match your look and feel, and customer service across all your physical and digital platforms. This includes social media profiles like Instagram, where shoppable posts are gaining global popularity.

Read Full Article: The store is still a winning strategy. Here’s why

BRP Consulting’s Agile Approach for Retail Helps Accelerate Business Transformation

BRP’s Agile Approach can Achieve 50% Faster Implementation Times

Boston, MA – September 13, 2018– BRP announces the availability of its innovative Agile Approach for Retail that helps retailers deploy software up to 50% faster than traditional efforts.  Retail is rapidly being redefined. With the swift pace of disruption occurring today, retail winners need to accelerate the transformation of their organization, business processes and technology to align with the demands of their customers.  With its Agile Approach for Retail, BRP is uniquely positioned to help forward-thinking retailers adopt this accelerated and flexible method for tackling enterprise projects.

BRP’s Agile Approach for Retail enables organizations to get to market faster by encouraging cross-organizational teamwork, collaboration and adaptability, all while ensuring better organizational ownership and more efficient adoption of newly implemented solutions. With significantly faster project completion times, retailers reduce the associated risks and costs throughout the lifecycle of the project. BRP resources are trained in Agile methodologies and have hands-on experience in supporting organizations as they make the necessary structural shift in the way team members and management work and communicate with one another.

“Adopting an Agile mindset allows organizations to quickly respond to changing customer demands. With traditional implementation approaches, requirements need to be defined 12-18 months before implementation, but an Agile approach allows retailers to easily shift requirements during project implementation to match today’s and tomorrow’s customer demands,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “As retailers are pressured to do more with less and quickly adapt to new retail realities, an Agile approach to technology and operations, has become a new retail imperative.”

Agile’s emphasis on continuously gathering customer feedback for inclusion in upcoming functionality allows retailers to ensure that they’re always working on the latest and most valuable functionality for the business. Retailers increase their return on investment while delivering high quality products that meet and exceed customer demands via Agile’s emphasis on small value-added increments. By implementing an Agile mindset and providing team members with a collaborative environment where they’re empowered to innovate and learn from their mistakes, retailers are taking the right steps towards surviving the retail transformation.

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.

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

Multichannel – Luxury Memo special report

Luxury Daily -There are many theories, explanations and predictions for how the way people shop is changing. But one undeniable reality is that customers no longer shop through single channels.

The rise of digital, the fragmentation of retail options and the dissolution of brand loyalty have all contributed to the rise of multichannel retail. Multichannel, or omnichannel as some call it, simply means that a brand or retailer is integrating the various channels of its business, such as bricks-and-mortar stores, social media and ecommerce, into one cohesive path.

This trend has been incredibly influential over the last few years, with brands across the luxury world radically reorganizing the way they do business to capture shoppers across touchpoints.

“Shopping today is all about digital, digital and digital,” said Brian Bunk, principal at Boston Retail Partners retail consulting firm, Boston. “With the advent of mobile commerce, consumers expect to shop whenever and wherever they want.

“The customer journey continues to evolve as consumers move across channels to research, purchase and review products with easy access to merchandise and information right in the palm of their hands,” he said. “According to a recent research report, Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations, digital influences up to 75 percent of all in-store visits and mobile is leveraged in almost half of all in-store shopping experiences.”

“A major trend is a focus on a holistic and personalized customer experience across any and all touchpoints,” Boston Retail Partners’ Mr. Bunk said. “Too many omnichannel efforts have failed because their main focus was on a technology or solution versus focusing on the desired customer experience.

“For many retailers, there should be more of a focus on the personalized digital experiences within the store, and the capabilities to support anywhere, anytime, anyhow shopping that customers now desire and expect,” he said. “Buy online, pick up in the store (BOPIS) is simply the table stakes for retailers, and the key is to execute it flawlessly.

“With increasing expectations, we are also seeing new twists on the BOPIS model to provide customers options, such as buy in-store, ship to home; buy online, ship to home; and buy anywhere, ship or pick-up anywhere.”

Read Full Article: Multichannel – Luxury Memo special report

The Great Retail Digital Divide

The traditional retail model is being disrupted as consumer expectations and shopping behavior rapidly evolve. A customer journey that remains in only one channel, whether online, mobile or in-store, is no longer the norm. Customers expect to move in and out of multiple channels, including in-store, online, mobile, and social media, and they expect a seamless and frictionless transition from one channel to another. This creates a new requirement for retailers to host a single shared shopping cart that moves with the customer.

Customer expectations are only going to continue to rise, fueled by the upsurge in mobile shopping over the past few years. This is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. Unfortunately, we are seeing that retailers are not always 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 what we call the ‘great digital divide.’ 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 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.

The success of a unified commerce solution requires a common commerce platform leveraged across all customer touchpoints. The centralized order management system is key, as this is the brains of the unified commerce platform.  It provides the needed customer order visibility, order orchestration and routing optimization across channels, allowing retailers to engage their customers however they choose, and meet and exceed customer expectations.

While there are many challenges to implementing an effective unified commerce solution, the cost of doing nothing is steadily increasing and may mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the ‘great digital divide’ is likely to only increase as customer expectations grow.  Customers expect a single cart that crosses all touchpoints and using your OMS as the brains of the operation may be the most effective approach to meet these needs.

If you haven’t already moved to a unified commence platform, now is the time to act. We suggest you start by looking at a unified order management system. For more information on how to bridge the ‘great digital divide’ with an order management system, we recommend reading the BRP Special Report: OMS – The Brains of the Operation.

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

Brian

[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/

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/

Optimizing in-store digital experience helps fashion retailers increase revenue 25 percent

FashionUnited – In a world where shopping experiences are influenced by digital in 75 percent of cases, digital already directly drives more than a third of all retail sales, and it further influences a much higher percentage, concludes a recent report by BRP & Windstream Enterprise.

‘Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations’ study reveals that within the apparel and shoes segment, digital sales make 29 percent of total sales, whereas 17 percent of store sales are attributed to digital.

A retailer with 1 billion dollars in annual revenue could potentially gain circa 260 million dollars by delivering a great in-store experience. Furthermore, reinventing the store to truly integrate digital and analogical can help retain consumers and grow their value by approximately 25 percent while acquiring new consumers from competitors.

Digital technology investment requires better alignment with consumers’ demands

However, digital in-store technology investment is misaligned as retailers’ investments haven’t kept pace with consumer expectations. Consumers value technologies that help them shop and pay at their pace, clearly favouring those retailers that give them the ability to control their checkout experience.

On a related note, while 71 percent of consumers rate highly the option of using self-checkout, just 42 percent of retailers are able to offer it. Being able to check out via mobile app is a priority for 50 percent of consumers, whereas just 42 percent of retailers actually offer this option.

Read Full Article: Optimizing in-store digital experience helps fashion retailers increase revenue 25 percent