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The always-connected/always-on consumer

Today’s consumer is always connected and always on. The advent of the Internet and mobile phones has created a new 24/7/365 world of shopping that has forever changed customer expectations and the traditional retail model. Consumers now expect retailers to provide service anytime, anywhere and any way they want it or the customer will simply move on to the competition.

Consumers now start and stop their shopping journey in different channels and frequently shop for the same product across different retailers, via mobile, online or in-store. The path to purchase also varies by consumer and the type of product being purchased. Customers expect a frictionless shopping experience across an entire brand and they don’t want disruptions as they cross individual channels or locations. The experience must be seamless as the customer’s “shopping cart” and browsing history follow her throughout her journey.

The growth of digital – both online and mobile – is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. To survive, retailers must undergo a transformation requiring a true unified commerce approach. This approach delivers the convergence of the digital and physical shopping experiences to create a holistic customer shopping experience.

Fortunately, many retailers realize this need and are prioritizing the improvement of the customer experience. In this year’s Unified Commerce Survey retailers’ top unified commerce priorities were to create a consistent brand experience across channels (59%) by improving the online experience (52%), improving personalization (45%), and improving the mobile shopping experience (41%). Retailers realize that the online experience is a big part of their customers’ shopping experience, but delivering on customer expectations means not only improving what customers see, but also everything behind the scenes that is required to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels.

To learn more about the gap between customer expectations and retailer capabilities and see where retailers are focusing their efforts, I urge you to read BRP’s recent SPECIAL REPORT: The E-commerce Effect.

Please share your comments on this topic below.

Jeffrey

‘Competing for mindshare and market share’: W Concept aims to popularize Korean fashion in the states

Glossy – The domestic Korean market is big business for Western brands like Chanel and Vetements — Vetements said last year in W Magazine that Korea was its second-biggest market after the U.S. Now Korean brands, in turn, are working hard to boost their visibility in the states.

W Concept, a Korean e-commerce company dedicated to selling and promoting Korean fashion brands to U.S. customers, just added a new brand to its roster: the buzzy streetwear brand System. System is one of many Korean fashion brands that has recently set its sights on a global market. The U.S., overtaken by China last year, is the second-largest fashion consuming market in the world, and for many fashion brands selling in America and New York especially is a rite of passage.

“The U.S. fashion retail market is crowded with all the major global brands competing for mindshare and market share,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Korean fashion brands expanding to the U.S. need to cut through the clutter to get noticed by doing something unique, such as an event that gains media attention or collaborating with a celebrity endorser.”

Read Full Article: ‘Competing for mindshare and market share’: W Concept aims to popularize Korean fashion in the states 

Ahold Delhaize opens new tech office

Grocery Dive – Retail Business Services, Ahold Delhaize’s services company, opened a 30,000-square-foot office this week in Quincy, Massachusets, which houses 200 information technology employees and an innovation lab, according to a company press release. The effort is dedicated to discovering technologies that improve the in-store experience for customers and make grocery shopping easier, according to the company. Retail Business Services also hosts a six-month incubator program and engages in partnerships with startups, universities and other entities that focus on grocery retail.

Target and Kroger have both partnered with incubator and innovation labs to attract tech startups to reinvigorate the grocery space and stay relevant to younger, tech-savvy shoppers.

Consumers are most concerned with convenience and in-store experience these days, and technology is the main tool that retailers are using to deliver what they want, with 49% of retailers focused on in-store mobile experience, accoding to BRP Consulting. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days, making it a powerful tool for capturing customers’ interest and wallets.

Read Full Article: Ahold Delhaize opens new tech office

BRP Cloud Offers Retailers and Restaurant Operators Full Service Cloud Software Implementation and Support

75% of Retailers Plan to have a Cloud-based POS Platform within 3 years and BRP Cloud helps Retailers Accelerate Deployments and Simplify Ongoing Maintenance and Support

Boston, MA – June 18, 2019 – BRP Consulting, retail and restaurant consulting firm, announces its BRP Cloud services. BRP Cloud is a new service offering from BRP that includes turn-key services for implementation, support and maintenance of cloud-based applications. Many retailers recognize the value of cloud-based software solutions, but don’t have the internal resources to quickly deploy and support the applications.

“With the growth of cloud-based applications, retailers are eager to simplify and optimize their software systems by moving many applications to cloud-based solutions,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP and BRP Cloud. “BRP Consulting launched BRP cloud as a separate entity from its consulting business to satisfy retailers’ need to accelerate their move to the cloud and simplify their ongoing maintenance and support.”

BRP Cloud Services include:

  • Application and Hardware Deployment and Support – Includes deployment and support for cloud-based apps from leading vendors.
  • Application Development – Integration and customization of applications to address unique needs, including modifications for mobile devices.
  • IT Managed Services – Network management and security, device management, interfacing with digital signage and IoT.
  • Consulting Services – We leverage BRP’s industry leading consulting services for best practices, processes and integrations.
  • Business Process Outsourcing – Promotion set-up and management, digital marketing, and data analytics.
  • Application Management – Includes hosting and application management services.
  • Help Desk Support – 24/7 North America-based support is available to help at any time.

About BRP Cloud

BRP Cloud offers full-service sales, implementation and support for cloud-based applications.  BRP Cloud is a new service offering from BRP Consulting (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.

For more information on BRP Cloud, visit http://www.brpcloud.com.

What Target Should Have Done Amid Massive Register Failures

RIS News – For two days in a row this weekend, Target experienced separate incidents which impacted registers and lines at the national retail chain.
“For a retailer the size of Target, with the volume of transactions they conduct on the weekends, this was quite a significant outage with both short-term financial implications and longer-term customer service concerns,” BRP’s SVP and practice lead Ryan Grogman tells RIS.

On Saturday, an outage was the result of an “internal technology issue that lasted for approximately two hours,” Target said in a statement the same day.

“Communication is always key when it comes to customer service during a crisis or issue: let customers know there is an issue, explain what that issue means, and provide them updates on when the issue will be resolved,” Grogman advises. “There were reports from some Target stores that associates handed out snacks and drinks to customers who were waiting out the outage, which is a terrific example of trying to own the narrative. All shoppers deal with technology issues in their own life, so the more that Target can own up to the issues and work with customers as opposed to creating a divide, the better.”

“Another example that Target could have followed would be to offer the in-store customers with coupon codes for a percent off their next transaction, as a gesture for the inconvenience as well as a way to entice them to return and refill their shopping carts. Finally, because it seemed that Target’s buy-online-pickup-in-store functionality was not impacted, Target could have taken advantage of a tremendous opportunity to work with customers on their devices or via in-store computers to create online accounts and walk them through the omni-transaction in person.”

Read Full Article: What Target Should Have Done Amid Massive Register Failures

‘It’s a different play for them’: Luxury brands are turning to mega-celebs to lure young shoppers

Glossy – Seeking out collaborators with mega-star power among young audiences is trending among luxury brands. Stella McCartney is the latest, announcing on Friday a new collection with Taylor Swift tied to Swift’s upcoming album, “Lover.” Few details other than the collection’s existence have been shared — a post by Swift on Instagram said more information will be revealed closer to the album’s late-August release.

While this is Swift’s first fashion collaboration, Stella McCartney has previously worked with designers including Stan Smith and Ed Ruscha. But Swift is easily its highest-profile collaborator — with millions of young fans — and notably comes from outside the fashion industry.

This is a tactic that is becoming common for luxury brands. In March, Tommy Hilfiger debuted a collection designed with actress and singer Zendaya, who has 56 million Instagram followers. In late 2017, Helmut Lang collaborated with hip-hop star Travis Scott, who has 17 million Instagram followers.

“Luxury brands’ loyal customer bases are aging, and many of these brands realize the importance of attracting younger segments,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Some brands have added new lines to appeal to younger shoppers, such as streetwear or styles at lower price points.”

“Celebrity collaborators that are popular among younger consumers help luxury brands increase awareness among this new customer segment and inspire them to shop at a store they normally don’t,” Naumann said.

Read Full Article: ‘It’s a different play for them’: Luxury brands are turning to mega-celebs to lure young shoppers

BRP Report: 82% of Consumers Shop Online Before Purchasing In-Store

Convenience Store News – Both physical and digital shopping environments are necessary to create a consistent brand experience across channels. According a report by to retail management consulting firm BRP, only 18% of retailers are focused on increasing the convergence of physical and digital shopping environments, despite 82% of customers shopping and reviewing products online before purchasing in-store.

Because e-commerce has elevated consumers’ expectations of the shopping experience, retailers must now provide service anytime, anywhere and any way customers’ desire.

Consumers now have more shopping options than ever before with more competitive pricing, greater merchandise assortments and faster delivery to get their desired product wherever and whenever. This makes the customer journey more complicated than ever before.

“Since consumers use digital devices throughout the shopping journey to research product information, compare prices and read consumer reviews, providing as much relevant information via the retailer’s website helps keep customers loyal to the brand,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “As e-commerce continues to represent a greater share of retailers’ revenue mix, it is imperative that retailers continue to enhance their online capabilities to keep up with their competitors that are just a click away.”

Read Full Article: BRP Report: 82% of Consumers Shop Online Before Purchasing In-Store

Giant Works to Live up to its Name

Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer – The Ahold banner makes a couple of bold moves in an effort to differentiate itself from mainstream competitors. With a name like Giant Food Stores, consumers tend to expect a lot. To be honest, though, the 96-year-old, Carlisle, Pa.-based chain, part of Ahold Delhaize USA, is generally viewed by shoppers as a very average supermarket, consistently ranked near the middle of the pack. “It’s a reliable, middle-of-the-road grocer, but not a destination,” confirms Karen Strauss, principal at Wilton, Conn.-based Cadent Consulting Group. That’s all well and good, she continues, except that Giant happens to operate in the same market as some pretty heavy hitters, most notably Wegman’s.

Although e- commerce reportedly represents only about 2% of total Ahold sales, “Online ordering and fulfillment are definitive ‘must-have’ services for grocers to compete both locally and nationally,” says Scott Langdoc, senior vp and practice lead at Boston-based BRP Consulting. From Kroger and Safeway to Target and Walmart, “Major national brands are pouring millions into e-commerce, and regional brands must work to keep pace as differentiating will be increasingly difficult.”

That said, Langdoc likes what he sees from Giant so far. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, the chain will have to remain “hyper-focused” on ways it can improve. “Customers expect the perfect blend of the assortment they know from Giant stores along with the most efficient, frictionless e-commerce experience possible,” he says. So although the chain is off to a good start, there’s no letting up.

Read Full Article: Giant Works to Live up to its Name

Manhattan Associates and BRP Consulting Work Together to Deliver Next-Generation Unified Commerce Platform

ATLANTA, June 11, 2019 – Manhattan Associates Inc.(NASDAQ: MANH) today announced an extended partnership with retail management consulting firm BRP Consulting. The companies, which have been working together since 2016, have now extended their partnership to equip retailers with next-generation omnichannel and point-of-sale solutions that help deliver a seamless, holistic shopping experience.

As consumer expectations of a unified commerce experience continue to rise, forward-looking retailers are seeking an intelligent, single-platform solution that enables network-wide, cross-channel visibility into customer, inventory and order information. Manhattan Associates delivers these solutions on a cloud-native microservices architecture designed to help brands embrace the rapid pace of omnichannel innovation. This approach provides increased flexibility and scalability, allowing retailers to quickly meet evolving demands without time-consuming, burdensome upgrades. This cloud-native technology also ensures that retailers are always on the most current software version and taking advantage of increased efficiency and profitability.

With the expanded partnership, Manhattan and BRP are working closely to expand awareness of these next-generation solutions with joint customers like Tailored Brands, a leading specialty retailer of men’s tailored clothing and the largest men’s formalwear provider in North America. Tailored Brands is elevating its customer experience by transitioning to a cloud-based unified commerce platform that incorporates robust order management, point of sale, fulfillment and customer engagement functionality to deliver a frictionless and consistent brand experience, regardless of the customer’s buying and service interaction points.

“In today’s retail environment, successful brands must deliver the seamless, personalized experience consumers expect,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP Consulting. “Making this vision possible requires an intelligent, single-source commerce platform that equips retailers with network wide, cross-functional, real-time product and customer insights. Real-time retail is now a reality and a requirement for success.”

“Manhattan has long been at the forefront of helping clients manage the changing demands and complexities of omnichannel retail,” said Kevin Swanwick, senior director of Retail Solutions for Manhattan Associates. “Combining BRP’s industry leading expertise and deep implementation experience with Manhattan’s market leading technology creates the perfect synergy to address current brand experience challenges and helps us deliver great things for our customers.”

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About Manhattan Associates

Manhattan Associates is a technology leader in supply chain and omnichannel commerce. We unite information across the enterprise, converging front-end sales with back-end supply chain execution. Our software, platform technology and unmatched experience help drive both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability for our customers.

Manhattan Associates designs, builds and delivers leading edge cloud and on-premises solutions so that across the store, through your network or from your fulfillment center, you are ready to reap the rewards of the omnichannel marketplace. For more information, please visit www.manh.com.

About BRP Consulting

BRP Consulting 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. For more information on BRP, visitwww.brpconsulting.com.

Ecommerce experience heightening consumers’ retail expectations

Luxury Daily – Consumers’ shopping habits are increasingly cross-channel, but new research finds retailers are putting more emphasis on consistency of experience rather than the convergence of their digital and physical channels.

According to a report from Boston Retail Partners, 82 percent of consumers have browsed or researched online before heading to a store to make a purchase. The more educated, ecommerce-connected consumer has raised expectations for retailers, calling for brands to ramp up their offerings to remain competitive.

“Ecommerce and mobile commerce has put additional information and enhanced functionality into the hands of both customers and associates,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “This, in turn, has increased customer expectations as she now has more shopping options than ever before with access to competitive pricing, greater merchandise assortments and faster delivery.”

Read Full Article: Ecommerce experience heightening consumers’ retail expectations