The Retail Technology That Millennials Want

BizTech Magazine – Millennials are getting a lot of attention from retailers today, and deservedly so. Customers born between 1982 and 2000 now outnumber baby boomers and represent a key demographic for retail sales and marketing programs. They also represent the future: Their buying power will have an impact for six decades or more.

What does it take to create successful customer engagements for this group?

Fortunately, a host of technologies can help retailers closely engage with millennials, as well as younger and older customers. Industry analysts say several key technologies may help define the future of retailing this year and for the rest of the decade.

Economic realities are positioning beacons for wider deployment this year. “Beacon prices have come down tremendously,” says Perry Kramer, vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, a research firm.

To successfully adopt beacons, retailers should look for solutions that bundle the devices with centralized management software that shows the status of each unit, including whether the coin-sized battery in a particular device is due for replacement, says Ni.

Retailers may start out with a small-scale deployment that simply presents the same coupon to everyone who enters a store. “This keeps the cost of entry low to get a proof of concept up and running,” Kramer says. “Over time, stores can then add capabilities to make the messaging more targeted for a persona-based experience.”

Read full article: The Retail Technology That Millennials Want

Sophisticated hackers call for refined payment security systems: report

Luxury Daily – As retailers innovate and enhance the omnichannel shopping experience, one of their biggest challenges will be creating an inclusive payment security strategy, according to a new report by Boston Retail Partners.

Payment security is one of the top concerns for retailers today, with hackers becoming more sophisticated and even high-profile institutions falling victim to data breaches. In order to protect themselves, brands need to update and strengthen their security systems, which may now be out-of-date.

“Hackers and fraudsters are in a constant back and forth with retailers as it relates to payment security,” said Ryan Grogman, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “As retailers close certain loops, the hackers move on to the next most vulnerable spot in the transaction, and retailers are then forced to develop new measures to address the weakness.

“This cycle has been going on for many years, and the biggest change in payment security today is the sophistication and level of technology available to both sides,” he said. “The advent of PCI standards really moved the needle forward in terms of retailer defenses, but even with these controls in place, we are seeing high-profile retailers subjected to massive data breaches and the associated public relations fallout.

“For the card issuers and banks, they are driven by a need to reduce the amount of fraudulent charges. For retailers, it is the fear of being the next company in the headlines for a breach along with having their valued customers’ sensitive information exposed that is driving many of these changes. EMV is another attempt by the issuers to deflect the fraud liability back to retailers, and that financial liability has driven many retailers to allocate more budget to enhance payment security and implement EMV.”

Boston Retail Partners’ “Payment/Data Security in an Omnichannel World” is based on data from the consultancy’s 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey.

Read Full Article: Sophisticated hackers call for refined payment security systems: report

Study: EMV lags other payment security options

Chain Store Age – Retailers have yet to make a major move toward EMV compliance, but that doesn’t mean they are ignoring the need to secure card-based transactions.

According to a new special report from Boston Retail Partners, “Payment/Data Security in an Omnichannel World,” only 10% of retailers are performing EMV-enabled transactions that are working well, with another 12% saying their EMV-enabled transactions need improvement.

However, 53% of retailers plan to implement EMV within 12 months. Thus EMV should have a significant impact on retailers’ technology activities in 2016 despite its small impact so far.

While the use of EMV-compliant terminals weakens the incentive for thieves to steal credit card information, EMV adoption by a retailer in and of itself does not do anything to actually reduce the risk of a breach. Retailers demonstrate awareness of this fact with relatively high levels of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) usage.

Read full article: Study: EMV lags other payment security options

How Retailers Can Choose Proper Retail Technology

Convenience Store Decisions – Boston Retail Partners has provided retailers with insight to help them determine what technology would best fit their store.
Boston Retail Partners (BRP) have released a new study to help retailers navigate the plethora of new location-based services (LBS) that have been created for retail applications over the last few years. Selecting the right technology for retail applications can be an overwhelming task, and Cracking the Code – Deciphering Retail Location-Based Services Technology, the white paper from BRP will provide retailers with crucial insight.

Read Full Article: How Retailers Can Choose Proper Retail Technology

Amazon: Can Anyone Beat The Retail King Of The Jungle?

Retail TouchPoints – As the rest of the retail world licked its Holiday 2015 wounds by closing stores and laying off employees, e-Commerce giant Amazon made an Olympic-sized sprint to become the premier distributor of entertainment content. The 54 million Americans who have signed up as Amazon Prime members have plenty to look forward to as Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and company upped the stakes in the final week of January.

Retail TouchPoints spoke to Ken Morris, Boston Retail Partners principal, and discussed some of the industry’s biggest concerns, some of Amazon’s weak spots, and what tactics could be utilized to potentially defeat the undisputed King of the Retail jungle.

The King And I(ndustry)
“Amazon is the Walmart of the e-Commerce world,” Morris explained. “Amazon moves into a product segment and kills the businesses in those categories – they are a serious threat.” And while Amazon will most likely continue to dominate every segment they enter, there are ways to take some of the lion’s share of the market from them.

Read full article: Amazon: Can Anyone Beat The Retail King Of The Jungle?

Top 9 Ecommerce Trends You Need to Know for 2016

Small Business Forum – What ecommerce trends does your business need to be prepared for in 2016? A new survey from Boston Retail Partners polled some of the top North American ecommerce retailers to find out what’s on their agendas for the coming year.

Read the full article to learn more about the 2016 e-commerce trends.

Download the Boston Retail Partners Survey: 2015 E-Commerce Survey

Read full article: Top 9 Ecommerce Trends You Need to Know for 2016

Express unfurls mobile-optimized gift guides via stylish Instagram posts

Mobile Commerce Daily – Apparel retailer Express is relying on artfully curated Instagram posts to inspire last-minute holiday shoppers to click the link in its account bio and peruse mobile-optimized gift guides for men and women.

As crunch time for holiday shopping arrives in full force, consumers still in need of presents for loved ones are frequently browsing social media for seeds of gifting inspiration. Express is driving its Instagram followers to its mobile site by asking users to click the link in its bio and shop the curated top products featured in its holiday gift guides, suggesting that all major retailers should be engaging in the same tactic to bolster last-minute sales.

“Consumers appreciate gift suggestions during the holidays, especially if they are not aware of the hottest new products or designs,” said David Naumann, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Posting curated gift ideas on Instagram is great way to spark ideas and inspire immediate purchases on the Express mobile Web site and/or app.”

Read Full Article: Express unfurls mobile-optimized gift guides via stylish Instagram posts

Opportunities, Risks on the 'New Frontier' of Mobile Commerce

Convenience Store and Fuel News – As the need to connect with customers through mobile devices grows, retailers have begun to prioritize new and upgraded mobile apps and websites as a critical step, according to a recent study.

The 2015 BRP Special Report: Mobile Commerce—The Future of Retail reveals that mobile commerce has become a valuable revenue stream for retailers; however, retailers need to address security risks and privacy concerns as they prepare for the anticipated shift of fraud from stores to e-commerce and mobile-commerce sites.

“The mobile device is the cash register of the future, the sales associate of the future and the wallet of the future–or rather the now,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners (BRP), Boston. “The opportunities for mobile to influence retail sales—via direct sales through a mobile website or app or through in-store possibilities to influence sales—clearly represent the new frontier transforming retailers’ operations.”

Read full article: Opportunities, Risks on the ‘New Frontier’ of Mobile Commerce ramps up mobile loyalty for holiday season cheer

Mobile Commerce Daily – is hoping to maximize holiday cheer and sales through mobile commerce with an update to the retailer’s application that integrates its loyalty program and free-shipping offers for members.

The digital discount retailer’s rewards program members will now be able to earn points and free shipping by purchasing directly within the apps on tablet and smartphones along with free shipping. Overstock is hoping to provide a positive sentiment and streamline sales for the biggest retail sector of the year.

“As companies move to an omni-channel business model, they need to provide the same benefits to customers, regardless of how or where they shop,” said Todd Werden, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “Consumers are reaching app fatigue so it is imperative for retailers to offer valuable rewards to inspire consumers to download and use their apps.

“Overstock’s 2 percent rewards and exclusive offers, such as the daily scratch card and flash sales, are a compelling strategy to get consumers to check their app frequently for new deals,” he said.

Read full article: ramps up mobile loyalty for holiday season cheer

Interview: Ken Morris, Boston Retail Partners

Customer Insights Blog – Last month at Digital Summit in Philadelphia, after the panel “How Mobile Devices are Transforming In-Store and Customer Experiences” he moderate​d, I had the opportunity to talk with Ken Morris, Principal at Boston Retail Partners. Here is our conversation​:

Many retailers are using mobile for line-busting, which has a positive impact on revenues. However, there are many other mobile opportunities for retailers to enhance the customer experience and drive incremental sales. Having customer-facing WiFi is the first step, as many retailers currently do not offer this service. With WiFi in place, retailers can offer customers the opportunity to opt-in to your store WiFi which enables you to connect with your customers and personalize the shopping experience.

The next step for mobile is to engage with consumers via consumer-facing and associate-facing mobile apps.

For consumer apps, it’s great to offer item information, store locations/hours, and current specials/promos. However, the real differentiator is an app which can provide specific in-store data based on customer context. « Customer context” – the interrelated factors of customer insights and environmental conditions that make the shopping experience relevant – is essential to personalizing the experience.

Read Full Article: Interview: Ken Morris, Boston Retail Partners