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This is why online retailers need to improve the post-purchase experience

Chain Store Age – Retailers say customer loyalty is critical to their business, yet few actually measure retention.

This was according to “Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience,” a study from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm. While it is no secret that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper, the e-commerce industry continues to be mainly focused on the acquisition of new customers — a strategy that requires adopting the latest technologies and marketing strategies.

“By crafting a post-purchase experience to minimize stress and maximize convenience, retailers make an investment in a sustained relationship with their customer,” the study revealed. “Enhancing your post-purchase customer experience doesn’t necessarily mean investing heavily in the latest technologies. We believe [our best practices] can create a welcome and trusting experience for your customers to return time after time.”

Read Full Article: This is why online retailers need to improve the post-purchase experience

How to retain digital shoppers: BRP

Luxury Daily – Retailers are too focused on overall sales and figures rather than harnessing the potential of returning customers, who are proven to have lower costs for conversion and have a higher average order value.

A new study from Boston Retail Partners shows that only 40 percent of retailers measure customer retention to their detriment, especially for luxury brands who rely on loyal consumers. There are a variety of steps that retailers can take after a customer makes a purchase to build a strong connection of trust.

“Improving the post-purchase experience can have as much, if not more, impact on a retailer’s bottom line than just focusing on driving visits and customer conversion. Many improvements to the post-purchase experience, like professional packaging and enhanced communications do not require technical support or investment,” said Jeffrey Neville, SVP and practice lead at BRP, retail consulting firm. “These improvements can be made in small, iterative sprints and have a dramatic effect on the overall customer experience.”

Read Full Article: How to retain digital shoppers: BRP

Less than Half of Retailers Measure Customer Retention

Convenience Store Decisions – Studies have shown that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper. However, many retailers are focused on measuring total sales and comparative sales, while customer loyalty strategies and customer retention are not getting the attention they deserve.

“Retailers are focusing more attention on customer acquisition than loyalty. While acquiring new customers and driving top-line sales are important, building long-term relationships with customers is imperative for healthy long-term performance,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Paying more attention to the post-purchase experience and measuring its impact on sales, will increase the lifetime value of customers and maximize total revenues and profits.”

Read Full Article: Less than Half of Retailers Measure Customer Retention

Customer Loyalty is Critical to Retailers, Yet only 40% Currently Measure Customer Retention, According to Recent BRP Report

While Most Retailers Measure Average Order Value and Comparative Sales, Less than Half Rate their Customer Retention Strategies

Boston, MA – October 11, 2018– It’s not a secret that returning customers are better for your business than new customers. Studies have shown that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper. However, many retailers are focused on measuring total sales and comparative sales, while customer loyalty strategies and retention are not getting the attention they deserve.

“Retailers are focusing more attention on customer acquisition than loyalty. While acquiring new customers and driving top-line sales are important, building long-term relationships with customers is imperative for healthy long-term performance,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Paying more attention to the post-purchase experience and measuring its impact on sales, will increase the lifetime value of customers and maximize total revenues and profits.”

According to early results from BRP’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey (publishing soon), most retailers have key performance indicators (KPIs) for sales, average order value, comparative sales and conversion rates; however, less than half of retailers measure customer loyalty through customer satisfaction (net promoter score), customer retention and post-purchase customer survey results.

“What retailers should really be focused on is RFM (recency of a purchase, frequency of the purchase and the monetary value of the purchase),” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “For many years this has been the mantra for successful omnichannel retailers, but it appears that the new economy has different metrics. Maybe we need to go back to the future.”

According to the recent Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience report, your customers’ most recent experience with your company impacts the feelings they share with friends and family and the relationship they have with your brand. The satisfaction level during the post-purchase experience has a direct correlation on a customer’s decision to buy again, or not.

Retailers that meet or exceed post-purchase customer experience expectations create a unique brand experience that customers will “share” with others personally and on social media. Exceptional post-purchase customer experiences also inspire customers to build long-term relationship with brands.

To download Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-post-purchase-experience-white-paper/

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.

Offering a Digital Dining Experience is Now Table Stakes for Restaurants

It certainly is no secret that people across all demographic categories have transformed their day-to-day activities through the use of digital technologies, especially via the smartphone.  For those of us keeping tabs on the restaurant industry, we have further validation of just how impactful this digitalization, especially the mobile-centric variety, is on the consumer and their overall dining journey.

According to our most recent survey-based research report, Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations, an ever increasing number of restaurant guests, especially Millennials, are using their mobile devices at each and every point of their dining experience.

Similar to our friends in the broader retail industry, restaurant operators are witnessing rapid growth in the digital expectations of their customers, who don’t just want, but expect, a broad range of digital-driven capabilities as part of their guest experience.  As guest expectations for digital-driven dining continue to rise, all those responsible for delivering a successful guest experience – whether they are a restaurant brand, a franchisee, or independent operator – must rapidly adopt new digital technologies to enhance the entire dining journey.

The ENTIRE digital journey?  Absolutely. The role of digital engagement is now firmly implanted in every single step of that journey, starting well before and ending well after the actual restaurant visit.  Pre-meal research is a habit across all generations and demographics, especially for discovering new restaurant choices and selecting fine dining options. Digital ordering (whether from home, by app or at the restaurant) is a growing expectation while sharing results of dining experiences with friends via social media is a new form of entertainment. These expanded engagement areas shine a light on how restaurant operators need to think about the entire lifecycle of a guest’s dining experience – including how the intersection of restaurant operations, existing processes and legacy IT platforms need to quickly transform to support these new data-driven demands and influence needs.

As we noted (and not unexpectedly), Millennials are leading and driving this charge by using digital devices to enhance their dining experience over half the time (53%).  Specific measures of their digital activities include:

  • 60% research where and what to eat
  • 51% check ratings/reviews while in a restaurant
  • 23% share pictures and content during and after the visit.

It’s not a secret that the dining journey has radically changed, as have guest expectations of what makes a great dining experience. Digital-driven influences are no longer at the periphery of the dining experience, as they influence 40% of all dining visits.

Simply said, they are required tickets to entry.

Therefore, embedding a wide array of full digital dining capabilities – everything from social engagement to guest WiFi to flexible ordering options, and real-time and personalized guest promotions – should be part of every restaurant’s strategic DNA.

To download the complete Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectationsreport, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-restaurant-research-report/.

As always, I appreciate your opinions – both on the insight from the report and across the broader restaurant and hospitality space.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

Scott

 

Can Artificial Intelligence Improve Customer Service?

The Motley Fool – Customer service isn’t just about having a pleasant attitude or adopting a “the customer is always right” policy. Those things are important, but they’re only a few of the things a company needs to do to meet the needs of its patrons. Attitude and a willingness to serve become almost irrelevant if a store’s shelves don’t have the right merchandise, or a retailer does not offer the delivery or pickup model that meets a customer’s needs.

Currently, most retailers try to figure out the right mix to keep their customers happy using old-school techniques like observation and satisfaction surveys. Only 7% of retailers currently use artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance customer service. But that’s going to change: Another 48% plan to start using artificial intelligence technologies with 3 years according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey.

“The convergence of AI with traditional customer service has the ability to transform the shopping experience,” said BRP President Perry Kramer in a press release. “AI offers the ability to exploit the vast amounts of customer preference and transaction data gathered and reach a much larger group of consumers on a personal level to enhance the customer experience.”

The challenge — and it’s a line that has not been fully fleshed out yet — is that consumers may not know they are interacting with an AI. Some may not be happy to find out that the helpful “person” on the other end of their conversation is actually a robot/AI.

“Transparency is a big discussion for AI. Do you want the customer to think they’re speaking with a real human being or should you disclose that this is a conversation with Watson or some other AI technology,” said BRP Senior Vice President Jeffrey Neville in the press release. “That’s a decision retailers have to make right now, as AI using voice is probably going to mess up the conversation at some point, and the customer is going to realize that they’re talking to a computer.”

Read Full Article: Can Artificial Intelligence Improve Customer Service?

Rotarity aims to be the streetwear answer to Rent the Runway

Glossy – The relentless pace, exorbitant price and intensely of-the-moment nature of modern streetwear have all combined to make keeping a rotating, relevant closet of the latest pieces incredibly difficult. But just as Rent the Runway shook up the luxury fashion industry, a new platform is hoping to change streetwear.

For Rotarity founder Chris Hasek-Watt, the inspiration to create a rental service for streetwear came from a very pragmatic place: his own unwillingness to spend massive amounts of money on clothes he would only wear a few times.

“The designs are cool and flashy, but you can only wear it a few times before it starts to look like you’re wearing the same thing every day,” he said.

“The biggest challenges for streetwear rental services are price point and customer base,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP retail consulting firm. “There is probably a minimum price point for streetwear to be profitable for a rental model. The other potential challenge is that the target audience for streetwear rental may be a different demographic than the traditional fashion rental consumer, which may require more advertising and education on the value proposition.”

Read Full Article: Rotarity aims to be the streetwear answer to Rent the Runway

AGILE IN ACTION: Achieving 50% Faster Implementation Times

With traditional IT projects, requirements are typically defined up front (sometimes 12-18 months before go-live), and are rarely revisited during the project implementation. However, by adopting an Agile mindset, organizations can quickly respond to changing customer demands, which is essential for today’s retailers.   An Agile approach allows organizations to easily revisit their requirements during the entire project implementation in order to keep up with a dynamic set of business drivers. In addition, by employing an Agile methodology, retailers are able to greatly reduce the disconnect between business unit expectations and project delivery, as there are constant iterations of incremental delivery which can be reviewed and accepted by project sponsors. As retailers are pressured to do more with less and quickly adapt to new retail realities, and an agile approach makes this possible.

I recently participated in a large and complex point of sale (POS) software implementation project using BRP’s Agile Approach for Retail, and the benefits of this approach really are remarkable. Our team successfully launched the POS solution in a pilot store in less than six months, which is about 50% faster than a standard implementation. The successful launch of this minimally viable product (MVP) approach was instrumental in not only obtaining store feedback as quickly as possible, but also in building credibility for the project team around the overall approach and efforts.

This retailer was now able to recognize the many business benefits of this POS solution much quicker than they would have with a traditional waterfall project approach. For example, the retailer can now offer personalized customer service by providing its associates easy access to information required to satisfy shopper expectations, from product and promotion data to customer purchase history. The store managers and sales associates now have instant, on-the-go access to the tools they need to enhance service and productivity by completing end-to-end POS transactions, looking up items, locating stock and much more, without ever leaving the customer’s side.

And we were able to help deliver these benefits in less than six months.

With the swift pace of disruption occurring in the industry, retailers need to accelerate the transformation of their organization, business processes and technology to align with customer demands, and an Agile approach to technology and operations can mean the difference between successful operations and bankruptcy.

If you have not already explored an Agile Approach for your implementation projects, I suggest you consider this option – the benefits are too great to ignore.  BRP’s Agile Approach for Retail offers forward-thinking retailers an accelerated and flexible method for tackling enterprise projects, and if you would like some help understanding and implementing an Agile Approach, BRP can help assess your Agile readiness and accelerate your implementation time.

I welcome your thoughts on Agile and any insights from projects where you had success with an Agile Approach.  Please share your comments below.

Ryan

From Conspicuous to Conscious, the Definition of Luxury Evolves

Sourcing Journal – Bleecker Street in New York City’s West Village neighborhood was once an epicenter of luxury retail
with a disproportionate number of Marc Jacobs storefronts, a destination for tourists and local
shoppers alike. That is, until roughly 2017, when most of the clothing retailers located in the area
shuttered thanks to high-rent blight.

Today, the area is seeing a new kind of luxury retail staking its claim on the famed street. Naadam, a
three-year-old mid-priced luxury cashmere brand, just open a new, permanent retail location there,
representing a reinvention of both Bleecker Street and, more generally, the definition of luxury.
Naadam is but one of a handful of newer brands leading the charge toward a new luxury: Denham
focuses on premium denim materials; Edun supports African trade with its mission-based philosophy;
Cuyana ethically sources Chinese silks and prioritizes philanthropy for abuse victims.

“The products end up being timeless, and I think that’s the key on the brand side,” said Ken Morris,
principal at Boston Retail Partners retail consulting firm. “If you can create a timeless product, it doesn’t matter
when it’s purchased, and instead it becomes an investment in clothing.”

To call these nascent brands disrupters is perhaps a bit premature, though they’re certainly influencing
consumer perceptions of what it means to shop responsibly, as well as industry standards for
sustainability. In a $1.4 trillion luxury goods market, European conglomerates may not yet feel the pain
or pressure brands like Naadam and KOTN do, but Morris says they’d better take note because young
and mature shoppers alike have become more aware of what’s going on.

“As more people enter that luxury market, they are more socially conscious, focused on more of a social
mission and they want to know their product isn’t being made by underage children in Pakistan, or
they want to know the wood they buy for furniture isn’t stripped from a forest in the northwest United
States,” Morris said.

“Plus, [the big European houses] would be crazy not to invest in this space,” he said. “As those older
brands age, so to speak, this new blood is invigorating the older houses to change things up a bit.”

Read Full Article:

From Conspicuous to Conscious, the Definition of Luxury Evolves (.pdf)
From Conspicuous to Conscious, the Definition of Luxury Evolves (Web – subscription required)

Three Years Out: That’s When Shoppers Can Expect To See Great, AI-Driven Service

Email Insider – Retailers are embracing a new model, using AI, breaking down internal channel silos and fielding single-order management systems to deliver a superior customer experience. At least that’s the dream. In reality, almost half are plagued by budget constraints and/or disparate systems, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey by BRP, retail consulting firm.

And this apparently is having an impact. For instance, 48% plan to deploy AI to fuel their customer service within three years, but only 7% are doing so now. In addition, 31% plan to use augmented reality within three years, and 21% virtual reality — again, within three years.

And email? The study shows that 81% are using personal email as a means of customer interaction with the brand. But only 36% say it is working well, and 45% feel they need improvement.

Social media is utilized by 94%, with 36% saying it works well and 48% saying they need improvement. And 81% are using call centers, with 36% saying they need improvement.

Read Full Article: Three Years Out: That’s When Shoppers Can Expect To See Great, AI-Driven Service