Within 5 Years, 75% of Retailers Plan to Identify Customers when they Walk in the Store

Unified Commerce is the evolution of both multi-channel and omni-channel retailing that provides a
seamless experience in the store, on the Web or anywhere customers choose to shop. The key Unified Commerce initiatives, such as enhancing customer engagement, collecting and analyzing customer behavior, and personalizing the experience, are the top priorities for retailers, as evidenced by the results from the Boston Retail Partners 1st Annual CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey.

The 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey of top North CRM Study ReportAmerican retailers offers insights into retailers’ current state and planned initiatives, priorities, and future trends that relate to customer relationship management (CRM) practices associated with the retail industry’s shift to Unified Commerce.

Many retailers are now focused on implementing the technologies to deliver Unified Commerce, but there is still a lot of work to be done to deliver these capabilities. Delivering Unified Commerce requires seamless execution of the right strategy, technology, and business processes.

To deliver the seamless experience, retailers need to gather, analyze and disseminate customer, product, pricing and inventory data in real-time.  Leveraging technology, Unified Commerce provides the platform and real-time retail is key to delivering the experience. Retailers that successfully deliver Unified Commerce will understand and adopt a ‘unified’ approach for: strategic customer initiatives, technology, business processes and execution.

Key Survey Results

  • 95% of the respondents indicated customer experience/ customer engagement is one of their top three current initiatives
  • 3% have the ability to identify the customer when she walks in the store, and another 72% plan to implement this within five years
  • 16% currently have real-time retail from POS (which offers the “Amazon” experience in the store) and another 63% plan to implement within five years
  • 28% currently use mobile marketing and another 62% plan to implement this within five years (56% plan to implement mobile marketing within two years)
  • 81% have implemented some type of customer database, typically as part of a CRM or loyalty platform
  • 22% of retailers have implemented real-time analytics and 61% plan to implement it within two years.

To download the complete 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey: Click Here!

CRM Study Graph1


Is interactive Retail a “Stalker” or a “Butler?”

Stalker_or_ButlerI recently read an interesting article in The Atlantic, The Future of Retail Checkout: No Checkout at All?, that raises an interesting point about how consumers will feel as retailers collect more of their digital footprint and use this information for personalized interactions. Will customers feel like they are being “stalked” or will they value the personalized service like they would get from a “butler?”

It is a valid concern. I think the answer really depends on how the retailer uses consumers’ digital data. Successful retailers will use the customer intelligence to “help” the consumer with information that truly enhances their shopping experience. Those retailers that use the information to track consumers for added security or loss prevention will not create retail good will. In a nutshell, it is the difference between customer influence vs. customer intrusion.

Another intriguing topic discussed in the article is the concept of self- or no-checkout. With the continued decline in the cost of electronic ID tags that can be attached to products and the ability to identify customers via a network of sensors in the store, shopping could be revolutionized by technology. Imagine just picking up your products and walking out the door without any physical checkout. Since you and your products are identified as you leave the store, the cost of the products you “purchased” could be billed automatically to your payment method on your profile file with the retailer. Amazing! Wouldn’t that experience feel strange – like you were stealing?

There are unlimited possibilities…

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