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63% of Consumers are Likely to Stop Shopping a Brand if they have an Unsatisfactory Experience, According to New BRP Report

Enhancing customer loyalty is critical to ensure success in today’s competitive environment

Boston, MA – February 19, 2019 – Today’s consumers connect with brands across multiple channels, which complicates the process of recognizing, servicing, and rewarding loyal customers. According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, customers expect engaging and relevant interactions and conversations across all channels and they don’t have any tolerance for unsatisfactory shopping experiences. Customers want a personalized experience and if they are treated well, they will reward the retailer through additional purchases and brand loyalty.

“Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand,” said Perry Kramer, SVP and practice lead, BRP. “Retailers that identify customers when they enter the store and equip their associates with the proper mobile tools can personalize the shopping experience based on customer preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location – all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers.”

Keeping loyal customers happy is critical as it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience for 63% of consumers to stop shopping your brand. The most valuable customers have already established their loyalty to your brand but to keep them coming back and to encourage their advocacy of the brand, it is important to ensure each and every shopping experience, in every channel, is seamless, personal and positive.

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey and offers insights into how to enhance customer loyalty.

The SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy highlights:

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION

  • Customer expectations: 64% are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they are offered a personalized experience
  • Retailer capabilities: 63% are unable to identify their customers prior to checkout and 20% can’t identify them until after checkout or not at all

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION INCENTIVES

  • Customer expectations: 26% want credit or discounts towards future purchases as an incentive to allow retailers to identify them when they walk in the store
  • Retailer capabilities: 13% offer credit or discounts towards future purchases as an incentive to customers

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-special-report-customer-loyalty

The SPECIAL REPORT: Keeping Loyal Customers Happy is based on findings from BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey platinum sponsors are Aptos and Manhattan Associates, gold sponsors are TSYS, ECRS, enVista and PCMS, and the silver sponsor is STORIS.

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.

Retail’s Flywheel Business Model

WholeFoods Magazine – A flywheel is a remarkable physics experiment but an even more remarkable business model. It’s one of the best kept secrets of Amazon’s success and other leading and disruptive companies are also using the concept. This article looks at ways to understand and adapt the flywheel business model to natural products retailers.

Other organizations have developed their own flywheel using a similar diagram. Take Uber for example, whose flywheel includes lower prices, faster pickups, more demand, more drivers, and more geographic saturation. The short takeaway is a simple and obvious conclusion that is routinely missed: No single action can be pointed to as the specific reason for success. Was it the first push on the massive wheel that created the movement that provided momentum? Hardly. In reality, it was the combined effort of the first, fourth, tenth, hundredth, etc. effort that created the momentum.

Community/Individuality (personalization):

Creating an expertise of shared experiences by consumers can result in a greater feeling of community for your customers. According to a Nielsen report, 92% of global consumers say they trust recommendations and information from family and friends above any other form of advertising. According to Boston Retail Partners (BRP) 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, 75% of consumers use digital tools prior to their in-store visit and shoppers use mobile devices in 46% of in-store shopping experiences, so natural product retailers with an online presence can take advantage of this.

Put it into practice: Through word of mouth marketing stores can encourage, or incentivize, customers to find like-minded consumers and serve as ambassadors. Natural product retailers also have an opportunity to get involved in their community by participating in local events and hosting in-store education sessions. Celebrate the uniqueness of your location, culture, products and most importantly, your customers in-store and online. Work to remember names, provide perks, encourage demos, etc. Provide education information online.

The flywheel works as a business concept and model. Natural products retailers should think of their own operation, inputs, interactions and outputs. This article presents some thinking on the unique attributes for the development of any retailer’s flywheel. The reality is that no two flywheels should be the same. The Amazon flywheel is the cornerstone of the Amazon effect. A retailer’s success can be optimized and guaranteed by the creation and implementation of a custom retail flywheel to serve as the engine of the business.

Read Full Article: Retail’s Flywheel Business Model

Are You Using Advanced Analytics to Optimize Inventory?

Convenience Store Decisions – BRP Consulting finds only 33% of retailers optimize their inventory by leveraging advanced analytics. According to BRP’s 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory.

The importance of enhanced data and analytics is not lost on retailers, however, there are further opportunities to optimize their planning and inventory.

While 67% of retailers are not using advanced analytics for merchandise planning, only 39% of retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority. This is a disconnect. As technological capabilities continue to advance, investing more resources into data utilization needs to be a critical objective for retailers.

“Analytics serve as an important tool in assisting retailers to find and interpret meaningful patterns in customer and inventory data to support decision-making,” said Robert Cuthbertson, vice president at BRP Consulting. “Insight into customer demand, product adjacencies, price sensitivity, reaction to promotions, demographics and more are key to drive merchandise plans and actions that maximize profitability. This is especially critical in an omni-channel environment, as understanding the preferences of disparate customer groups across different channels becomes more complicated.”

“The technology for AI tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years. Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting. “AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order. While traditional logic would select the product from the closest store to the consumer, with machine learning techniques, retailers can assess the value of inventory in each store to make smarter fulfillment decisions. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

Read Full Article: Are You Using Advanced Analytics to Optimize Inventory?

Survey: Retailers missing chance to optimize inventory

Chain Store Age – A majority of retailers are not applying business intelligence in key areas of their supply chains. According to the BRP 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. In addition, only 39% of surveyed retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority.

“The technology for artificial intelligence (AI) tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP, retail consulting firm. “Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns. AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

Read Full Article: Survey: Retailers missing chance to optimize inventory

Only 33% of Retailers Optimize their Inventory By Leveraging Advanced Analytics, According to BRP Report

Advanced Analytics and AI are Key to Improving Planning Decisions

Boston, MA – February 14,  2019 – According to BRP’s 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. The importance of enhanced data and analytics is not lost on retailers, however, there are further opportunities to optimize their planning and inventory. While 67% of retailers are not using advanced analytics for merchandise planning, only 39% of retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority. This is a disconnect. As technological capabilities continue to advance, investing more resources into data utilization needs to be a critical objective for retailers.

Advanced analytics, or predictive analytics, offers retailers the ability to predict outcomes based on sophisticated algorithms and historical data. This requires human interaction to query data, validate patterns, create and then test use cases and assumptions. Now, with artificial intelligence (AI), also known as machine learning, planning systems can reassess models and reevaluate the data, all without the intervention of a human. AI is able to test and retest data to predict every possible customer-product match, at a speed and capability no human, or team of humans, could possibly achieve. The result is far more accurate decisions.

“Analytics serve as an important tool in assisting retailers to find and interpret meaningful patterns in customer and inventory data to support decision-making,” said Robert Cuthbertson, vice president at BRP Consulting. “Insight into customer demand, product adjacencies, price sensitivity, reaction to promotions, demographics and more are key to drive merchandise plans and actions that maximize profitability. This is especially critical in an omni-channel environment, as understanding the preferences of disparate customer groups across different channels becomes more complicated.”

“The technology for AI tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years. Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting. “AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order.  While traditional logic would select the product from the closest store to the consumer, with machine learning techniques, retailers can assess the value of inventory in each store to make smarter fulfillment decisions. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

According to the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey retailers’ current and planned usage of advanced analytics by planning area includes:

  • Merchandise Planning – 33% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for merchandise planning and another 48% plan to within three years.
  • Assortment Planning – 30% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for assortment planning and another 49% plan to within three years
  • Demand Planning – 31% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for demand planning and another 54% plan to within three years.
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – 22% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for PLM and another 33% plan to within three years.

BRP conducted the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey to explore the current state of retail planning and to identify and understand retailers’ priorities as they strive to meet the needs and demands of today’s consumers. Platinum sponsors are Aptos and Mi9 Retail, gold sponsors are Celect and Retalon, and silver sponsors are ANT USA and enVista.

To download the 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-integrated-planning-survey

About 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. 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.

Consumers expect in-store personalisation

MarkLives.com – Technology is bringing new life to brick-and-mortar stores as the physical and digital retail environments collide. This is according to the new BRP “2019 Special Report – Personalization”.

Today’s online shoppers are accustomed to features such as product reviews, expansive merchandise choices, one-click transaction processing and personalised recommendations. These expectations don’t dissipate when the customer walks into a physical store. In store, sales associates are an integral part of the necessary personalisation, offering relevant recommendations and offerings. According to the study, 79% of the customers indicated personalised service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop.

“Effective customer engagement requires retailers to offer a personalised, relevant, compelling and consistent experience across channels,” says Ken Morris, principal at BRP, retail consulting firm. “In today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalisation is a critical component for optimising the customer’s shopping experience. Customer identification is necessary to personalise the in-store shopping experience; however, 63% of retailers can’t identify their customers prior to checkout, which is too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision.”

Read Full Article: Consumers expect in-store personalisation

Significant Retail Trends in 2019

Jeweller Magazine – If we don’t look ahead, we risk being left behind. Perhaps nowhere is that risk greater than with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a practical retail technology. AI has left the lab and brands and retailers have seized upon it to predict individual consumer behaviour and better target their messaging. Those who begin coupling AI with the human touch in the years to come will have a huge advantage long-term. The technology gold rush will go on unabated but savvy retailers will never lose focus on people.

AI and personalised service
Retailers are using AI to personalise customer service and the trend is picking up steam. Fifty-five percent of retailers plan to leverage the technology within three years, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from BRP, retail consulting firm. Among the many applications: recommending merchandise and the ability to contact a given client at their preferred time of day.

Starbucks rolled out voice-recognition ordering in South Korea, extending its mobile order-and-pay technology by integrating with Samsung’s AI chatbot Bixby.

Customers can use their phone in a conversational way to learn more about available beverages. Meantime, The North Face has adopted IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology to help consumers find just the right jacket but here’s the thing: while AI will permit businesses of all kinds to increase client satisfaction, Starbucks and The North Face know full well that personal connections will always trump technology.

Read Full Article: Significant Retail Trends in 2019

What Do Consumers Want From a Retail Store?

The Motley Fool – A new survey on shopping satisfaction indicates it may not be what you think. It’s often easier to shop from home than it is to visit a store, but that does not mean brick-and-mortar retailers have no advantages over their digital rivals. Traditional stores can obviously offer shoppers the ability to handle merchandise, try it on, and see exactly what it looks like. That can minimize returns and lead to higher customer satisfaction. But it’s not the most important thing to consumers, according to a new study from BRP.

The retail management consulting firm found that 79% of survey respondents “indicated personalized service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop.” The study also found that 64% of consumers “are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they are offered a personalized experience.”

Consumers want the same thing in a brick-and-mortar store, but they want personalized service from a person. That’s not as easy to deliver as technology-based suggestions, but it has the potential to be more rewarding.

“Effective customer engagement requires retailers to offer a personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent experience across channels,” said BRP Principal Ken Morris in a press release. “In today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience.”

Read Full Article: What Do Consumers Want From a Retail Store?

In a sneaker market dominated by resale, Foot Locker is aiming to stay relevant

Glossy – Last week, Foot Locker invested $100 million into sneaker resale platform GOAT, which merged with boutique brick-and-mortar sneaker reseller Flight Club last year. The investment is reportedly the largest-ever single investment into a sneaker resale platform, dwarfing similar investments like the $44 million investment StockX got from Google’s investment arm GV and Battery Ventures last year. (Stadium Goods received an undisclosed amount from LVMH in February 2018.)

This news is proof that sneaker resale is a huge market. The major platforms like GOAT, StockX and Stadium Goods are all worth well over $100 million each. Stadium Goods was acquired by Farfetch earlier this year for $250 million. While Foot Locker is by no means a bit player in the sneaker world, it is clear that resellers have a lot of buzz and dollars floating around them. By investing heavily into GOAT, Foot Locker seems to be planning for the future by making itself more visible to lucrative sneakerheads.

“The greatest benefit to Foot Locker in investing in GOAT is the potential to elevate its brand among sneakerheads,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm. “Sneakerheads are extremely passionate. Associating Foot Locker with GOAT and making their stores a location to order or pick up their cool shoes will make sneakerheads think more highly of Foot Locker. They may even pick up another standard shoe or T-shirt or something while they’re in the store.”

Read Full Article: In a sneaker market dominated by resale, Foot Locker is aiming to stay relevant 

HAPPY 100th FOOD CITY!

Frozen and Refrigerated Buyer – At first glance, Abingdon, Va.-based Food City would appear to have little in common with heavy hitters Kroger, H-E-B, Safeway and Wegmans. But the 131-store chain recently joined the elite group after becoming the latest to mark 100 years in the grocery game. Although the chain was purchased by the Smith family in 1984, the first Food City opened its doors in 1918 in Greeneville, Tenn. A century later, the banner operates in small towns throughout Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee (all represented in parent company K-VA-T Food Stores’ name), as well as North Georgia, where two new stores opened just last month.

Many Food City shoppers have deep roots in the area — and the chain takes great pride in serving generation after generation — so community involvement is key.

“It’s a smart business model that distinguishes the company’s ability to source local products (and demonstrate its support of the community) and also service customers in smaller-format ‘local’ stores that offer easy-in, easy-out convenience — forget the 200,000-square-foot supercenter,” says Perry Kramer, senior vp and practice lead at BRP, retail consulting firm. “This market is hard to serve,” he adds. “We’ve seen many large retail chains try and fail to penetrate these kinds of markets even with smaller footprint stores” because they don’t know the customers and they don’t have the community connection.

So far, that appears to be Food City’s strategy, though it did enter the Chattanooga, Tenn., market in 2015. In fact, the two North Georgia stores it opened last month (Dalton and Oglethorpe/Fort Ringgold) are both Chattanooga suburbs — a little different from the chain’s typical small town. Food City CEO Steve Smith has told various news outlets he can also imagine expanding into North Carolina and Alabama, though it remains to be seen exactly which markets it would enter.

“Retailers like Food City that rely on their brand heritage and nostalgic following can find it difficult to expand into new markets,” says Kramer. But if the chain is strategic about growth, expanding only to nearby communities “then it can leverage existing brand awareness from consumers that have shopped at Food City in other towns.”

One area where Food City may want to invest more resources is its private label program. Though the chain offers more than 20 different store brands through Topco, including Food City-branded items in high-volume categories, “a more cohesive brand that spans multiple categories would create stronger brand loyalty and awareness,” says Kramer.

Read Full Article: HAPPY 100th FOOD CITY! (pages 26-30)