Half of Retailers to Offer Consumers “Start Anywhere, Finish Anywhere” Capabilities Within Five Years

Sourcing Journal – Consumers are increasingly fickle, so rather than guess where they might spend their money, retailers are choosing to cover all bases by offering the ability to shop whenever, wherever and however.

According to a recent report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), 56 percent of retailers said their top digital priority is to create a consistent experience across all channels. Moreover, 50 percent will offer people a “start anywhere, finish anywhere” option within five years, following the customer’s journey as she shops across and among channels.

“Today’s unified commerce imperative moves the heart of the transaction to a centralized platform,” stated Jeffrey Neville, vice president at BRP. “This allows retailers to become more innovative and agile with their digital commerce offerings to further enable a personalized customer experience. It is promising to see that retailers are laser-focused on delivering the seamless, cross-channel experience consumers expect.”

BRP surveyed more than 500 North American retailers in June and July (29 percent of which sell apparel, accessories and footwear), asking about their digital commerce plans, priorities and future trends.

Personalization was a top digital priority for less than half of those surveyed (40 percent), while 50 percent said they want to have customer-identifying technology within stores in two years and a further 58 percent are hoping to use geolocation by then.

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Retailers Cite ‘Unified Commerce’ as Customer Engagement Priority

Convenience Store News – Survey finds most omnichannel attempts thus far are falling short. A new customer engagement survey by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) reveals that “unified commerce” is a top retailer priority for 2016. Companies recognize the need to create a holistic experience that transcends channels for connected consumers who increasingly have the ability to shop where, when and how they want from their mobile devices.

According to the 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, 85 percent of respondents indicated that unified commerce is a top priority. The research offers insight into retailers’ current point-of-sale (POS) and customer engagement initiatives, priorities and future trends as the physical and digital worlds converge within the store.

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Growth of mobile commerce creates online and in-store opportunities: BRP

Luxury Daily – Mobile commerce creates myriad opportunities for retailers, but they must first accommodate consumers’ concerns, according to a new report by Boston Retail Partners.

Sixty-one percent of Internet usage in the United States is on mobile devices, and mobile commerce, already one-third of ecommerce sales, is set to grow over two-and-a-half times as fast as total online sales. Although mobile commerce has been seen as a lagging point for retailers, most are focusing resources on improving mobile sites and implementing other mobile-based strategies over the next few years.

“Retailers should focus on utilizing mobile as a means to enhance the shopping experience inside and outside of the physical store,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “To do this, retailers must provide rich product content, encourage product and brand reviews, and allow product or price comparisons.

“They also must provide associates with access to real-time customer and product information to encourage and enhance in-store interactions,” he said. “The goal of mobile is to enhance interactions between the brand and the customer through their mobile phone – ultimately resulting in additional sales.”

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Future Store Manifesto: Real-time Retail Changes Everything: Study

Progressive Grocer – In an era of significant, fundamental transformation within the store environment, Boston Retail Partners (BRP) has articulated its vision of the future store while identifying the challenges and imperatives retailers face in delivering on consumer expectations in its recently released “The Future Store Manifesto.”

“Stores must now encompass both worlds – the sensory experience of the physical store combined with the personalization and convenience of online shopping. The most successful retailers will seamlessly blend the physical with the digital in the future store,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “Retailers can no longer afford to operate from within silos and must transform their technology, business processes, and organization to align with their customers’ expectations.”

“The technology in stores today is outdated and broken – it can’t support the real-time connection between the consumer, the associate, inventory and pricing essential to the omni-channel experience. It’s time for change,” added Eric Olafson, SVP of store solutions for Demandware, which sponsored the Future Store Manifesto research.

Read full article: Future Store Manifesto: Real-time Retail Changes Everything: Study