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50 Retail Innovation Stats That Prove The Power Of Customer Experience

Forbes – How we shop has changed drastically in just the past few decades. Instead of window shopping in the mall, many customers now rely on AI product recommendations and shop via mobile without ever setting foot in a store. Retail technology and customer demands may be constantly changing, but one thing that will always be vitally important is customer experience. These statistics show the changing retail landscape and just how much customers depend on personalization, convenience and great relationships with brands.

  • 73% of consumers use multiple channels to shop. – Harvard Business Review
  • In 2018, 51% of e-commerce brands offered same-day delivery, up from 16% in 2017. Experts predict that within the next two years, 65% of retailers will offer same-day delivery. – BRP Consulting
  • 68% of consumers said they would be more likely to shop on sites that offer automated returns. – Windstream Enterprise

Read Full Article: 50 Retail Innovation Stats That Prove The Power Of Customer Experience

5 Important Consumer Demands Retailers Need to Know

Material Handling & Logistics – Last mile logistics are a complex undertaking that has recently been at the forefront of the dialogue around the “Amazon Effect” and how it impacts consumers, retailers and logistics companies alike. Consumer expectations for faster delivery times are growing rapidly, and retailers are tirelessly strategizing ways to provide these services. And logistics companies are looking toward new technology to make the last mile of delivery more efficient and less costly.

Nearly two times as many consumers say they took advantage of same-day delivery in the last 12 months versus the year prior. And consumers aren’t happy when same-day isn’t an option: nearly 1/3 of consumers now say they feel ‘frustrated’ when a company doesn’t offer same-day delivery.

Delivery speed has become a crucial aspect of the online shopping experience and a major decision factor for online shoppers. 53% of consumers have abandoned a purchase because of slow delivery times. That’s a lot of missed opportunity!

Over the last year, we’ve seen a number of retailers add same-day delivery to their options at checkout. In fact, Boston Retail Partners’ 2017 Digital Commerce Survey showed that same-day delivery was offered by 51% of retailers in 2017. While that may sound like retailers are making real inroads, more than half described their service as “implemented and needs improvement.”

Read Full Article: 5 Important Consumer Demands Retailers Need to Know

Deliver Us From Amazon: Why The E-Commerce Titan May Not Win The Same-Day

Investor’s Business Daily – Roadie, a startup that gets everyday folks to deliver packages while on their way to wherever they’re already driving, has notched a lot of oddball same-day delivery jobs that Amazon (AMZN) doesn’t do. A glass aquarium from Fountain Valley to Long Beach, Calif. A set of keys to someone locked out of her house in Georgia at 2 a.m. A box of trial evidence from San Francisco to Napa in time for a panicked lawyer’s court date.

The driving force behind this latest retail trend, as ever, is Amazon. Its Prime same-day delivery service follows a free-shipping perk that is now a de facto requirement for online shopping. But after scrambling to catch up to Amazon on free shipping, these old brick-and-mortar titans are rushing to stay ahead of the e-commerce giant on same-day delivery. And this next online battleground might actually tilt in their favor, some analysts say.

Speedy delivery doesn’t come cheap. Customers could pay anywhere from $5.99 to $9.99 per shipment for the pleasure. But demand continues to mount, which makes it “absolutely essential” for retailers in order to compete in this “instant-gratification economy,” said Retail Metrics head Ken Perkins, who thinks one-hour delivery might be the next goal. “People want to see a package on their door when they return from work.”

Boston Retail Partners analyst Scott Langdoc knows that serious pain. As a former C-suite exec at “mini-Webvan” delivery company PDQuick at the start of the new millennium, he says that Google Maps would have made all the difference.

“If I had the tools that are available today, starting with Google Maps but fast-forwarding to the (artificial intelligence and machine learning) tools that are available today, it’s amazing to think what I could’ve done at my scale or what Webvan or Kozmo could’ve done at their scale,” he said.

Like many of its peers of the time, PDQuick didn’t survive. It was bought out and went back to its roots as a scaled-down SoCal neighborhood delivery service, Pink Dot.

“What we’d intended to do before the 2001 implosion was basically do what Shipt did, which was to generalize the delivery and logistics capability for any retail platform so we could bring in inventory. A retailer brought in drivers and you would be able, based on location, to provide that capability,” said Langdoc.

“Fast forward 15 years, that is what Shipt is; that is what Instacart is.”

Read Full Article: Deliver Us From Amazon: Why The E-Commerce Titan May Not Win The Same-Day

How Smaller Merchants Can Get Amazon-Style Logistics

PYMNTS.com – Divey Gulati knows firsthand how challenging it can be for eCommerce merchants to fulfill and mail orders. After all, Gulati and a co-founder once had their own eCommerce business.

While Gulati and his co-founder managed to automate practically every function, there was just one piece of their business they couldn’t wrap their heads around — shipping and logistics.

As a result, Gulati helped build ShipBob, which provides merchants with Amazon-style logistics. An end-to-end fulfillment solution, the company provides warehousing for customers and package delivery in one to two business days, along with additional software features that help merchants manage their inventory.

 

The company is also eyeing same-day delivery, since the market is trending strongly toward same-day delivery. According to the “2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey,” conducted by Boston Retail Partners, some 65 percent of retailers will offer same-day delivery within the next two years.

As of 2017, 51 percent of retailers said they offer same-day delivery, a massive jump from the 16 percent offering it only a year before. Increasingly popular and helping to make those same-day deliveries happen, third-party apps like Uber and Lyft have moved up from 20 percent of the same-day market to 32 percent over 12 months.

In all, consumers want their purchases on their doorsteps faster than ever before. Two-day shipping just may not cut it in the future.

Read Full Article: How Smaller Merchants Can Get Amazon-Style Logistics

Same-Day Delivery Drives Brand Loyalty and Purchase Intent

TotalRetail – While the holidays come just once a year, a brand’s reputation can easily be damaged and customers quickly lost when expectations aren’t met during the pivotal shopping season. This past holiday season, we saw retailers make changes to their delivery options to provide shoppers with conveniences they increasingly see as essential, like same-day delivery. At the same time, in what’s become an annual ritual, the major shipping providers announced an array of rate increases and late holiday deliveries.

Managing shipping costs is a challenge for retailers, which are already facing tight margins and immense competition. While last-mile delivery, or the final transit of a product to its destination, can be the most expensive and poses numerous challenges for retailers, it’s nonetheless a key differentiator and an offering retailers can no longer ignore.

According to Dropoff’s 2nd Annual Holiday Survey, 60 percent of U.S. holiday shoppers indicated they were more likely to purchase holiday gifts from retailers that offered same-day delivery. It also showed a significant number of consumers — 67 percent — planned to do last-minute shopping, and expected retailers to accommodate their needs. Ninety percent of last-minute shoppers said they were more likely to purchase from retailers offering same-day delivery.

Interestingly enough, Boston Retail Partners’ 2017 Digital Commerce Survey showed that same-day delivery was offered by 51 percent of retailers in 2017. While that number seems significant, more than half of those described their service as “implemented and needs improvement.” It’s clear retailers are headed in the right direction, but there are a few areas to focus on to ensure you’re on the right path to delivering the most cost-effective, efficient and reliable same-day delivery for your customers.

Read Full Article: Same-Day Delivery Drives Brand Loyalty and Purchase Intent

5 Building Blocks For Retail Consumer Centric Success

Retail TouchPoints – Cross-Channel Demand Planning Drives Results For Aldo, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Groupe Dynamite And Others. Although 71% of retailers currently lack formal omnichannel planning processes, those that do are achieving gains, such as:

  • Aldo eliminated 95% of aged inventory;
  • Groupe Dynamite boosted automated replenishment to 80% of orders; and
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart made organizational shifts to support cross-channel collaboration rather than internal competition.

Download this white paper to find out how your company can benefit from an integrated retail optimization solution.

EXCERPTS OF FINDINGS FROM BRP SURVEY REPORTS:

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However, retailers typically aren’t organized that way. So, when consumers cross channels during their shopping journeys, retailers have limited, silo-based visibility of available inventory. While the store might be out-of-stock, the e-Commerce distribution center may be in stock and able to ship that day. Avoiding out-of-stocks, backorders or delays in delivery requires both visibility and synchronization across all inventories to allow each channel the opportunity to meet demand and its financial targets. One channel is unable to meet demand for certain products, while excess inventory languishes in a separate, disconnected supply chain. The fact is, as many as 38% of retailers still plan their brick-and-mortar locations as an individual channel, according to BRP’s Merchandise Planning Survey 2016.

A collaborative, cross-channel planning solution is essential to enable retailers to look at inventory investments in aggregate, as well as in granular detail. This o ers better buying leverage and ensures there is one version of the truth, one plan for a business that can be served through multiple channels or across multiple regions. However, the BRP report found 71% of retailers currently lack such formal omnichannel demand processes.

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A more rapid  ow of allocations to the warehouse also helps the retailer satisfy consumers’ intensifying demand for faster deliveries. According to BRP’s Digital Commerce Survey 2017, the number of retailers offering same-day delivery has more than tripled over the past year, from 16% to 51%; and within two years, 65% plan to offer this service.

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Just 11% of retailers have integrated their planning teams across channels in a way that’s working for them, and only 9% are satisfied with their approach to integrated assortments, according to the BRP study. When retailers plan their businesses separately by channel, they confuse the customer and introduce ine ciency into planning, assortments and inventory.

Read full article: 5 Building Blocks For Retail Consumer Centric Success

How the Retail Industry Rethought Delivery in 2017

eMarketer – Drones, augmented reality and algorithms are the new normal for many retailers and logistics companies. Here’s how the retail industry changed the way they deliver goods to consumers this year.

Robots and AR and Algorithms, Oh My

This year, logistics companies have been leveraging different types of technology to help meet demand for fast, cheap and consumer-centric deliveries. DHL is a prime example. Not only has the company been testing robots that roam around warehouses to pick up orders, but it has also used AR and developed in-house tools using machine learning and algorithms that streamline the delivery process. Meanwhile, UPS has been using advanced package scanning and sorting technology to increase processing speed and accuracy, and FedEx has been using sensor technologies that maximize the use of trailer space during the loading process.

Next-Day Delivery Is So 2016

Speed is a big factor in the delivery process. Nowadays, many consumers want the product they just ordered in their hands right away—as in the same day. And retailers are listening. Take Walmart—which recently acquired Parcel, a New York-based same-day and last-mile delivery startup—to provide same-day deliveries of general merchandise as well as fresh and frozen groceries from both Walmart and its Jet.com unit. Then there’s Target, which earlier this year acquired Grand Junction—which offers a marketplace that connects retailers, distributors and third-party logistics providers with a network of more than 700 carriers—to help meet demand for speedy delivery. Overall, more than half of retailers in North America offer same-day delivery, according to a study from BRP (Boston Retail Partners). By comparison, just 16% offered the service in 2016.

Read Full Article: How the Retail Industry Rethought Delivery in 2017

2018 Review & Outlook

RIS News – 2017 is coming to a close, and for many retailers that is a good thing. The past 12 months will go down in the record books as the year of the store closing — with over 8,500 retail locations closing up shop. As consumers continue to embrace digital shopping, retailers are undergoing an adjustment period and are redefining the path to purchase and investing in cutting-edge technologies to reinvigorate the customer experience.

With constant change as the backdrop, RIS News’ asked leading retailers, analysts and solution providers to comment on the 12 months ahead. We asked them one simple question: “What are the key themes, trends and technology that will define retail in 2018?” While the answers were as varied as the participants, a common message rings out in each response — 2018 will be all about the consumer.

Whether in-store or online the retailers that are going the weather the volatile retail landscape and succeed in these highly competitive times must put the customer first. They need to find new and exciting ways to differentiate their brands from the competition and continue to invest in their digital capabilities to streamline and invigorate the shopping experience.

Our panel of experts believes that redefining omnichannel strategies with a focus on unified commerce will remain a top priority for 2018 and beyond. A key aspect of that focus will be on reinvigorating the store with a heavy investment in IoT, RFID, fulfillment and mobility. In addition, cutting-edge solutions like artificial intelligence and voice-assisted shopping will continue to cement themselves into the retail tech stack and will forever change how consumers shop and engage with retailers.

What will the next 12 months bring for retail? No one knows for certain. But what is definite is the customer will remain front and center.

JEFF NEVILLE, VICE PRESIDENT, BOSTON RETAIL PARTNERS

With store closings up 218% during 2017 and competitive pressure increasing from Amazon and Walmart, changes are occurring quickly and will continue to accelerate through 2018. We see three major trends affecting retail over the next year: voice-assisted shopping, artificial intelligence and same-day delivery.

Voice-assisted shopping. With an estimated 55 million individuals in the U.S. using voice-enabled digital assistants at least monthly this year and Amazon Echo estimated to have an install base of more than 128 million by 2020, voice assistants will become the norm. Voice assistants are replacing traditional search engines and offer an easy hands-free way to shop, especially for basics. Retailers need to accelerate their plans to integrate their offerings with voice-assisted technology to meet this demand.

Artificial intelligence. According to BRP’s “2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey,” 45% of retailers plan to utilize AI within three years to enhance the customer experience. AI offers the ability to exploit the data gathered on customers and their preferences to personalize their shopping experience. Amazon and other multi-channel retailers are already experimenting with AI to offer purchasing suggestions based on short surveys and purchase history.

Same-day delivery. Consumers’ preference for convenience and immediate gratification drives this trend. Consumers would rather receive merchandise at home than drive to a store, but they also want their products immediately. The number of retailers offering same-day delivery has tripled in the past year to meet elevated customer expectations. Retailers are testing different ways to effectively execute same-day delivery: Walmart is utilizing store associates to perform the delivery while other retailers are using third-party delivery services like Deliv, Postmates or Uber.

To stay competitive, retailers are transforming their business models, skills and cultures to experiment with and adopt these new trends.

Read Full Article: 2018 Review & Outlook