Flash Sites and Traditional Retail Learn From Each Other

Sourcing Journal – A few years ago, flash sale sites were so hot, everyone from the Groupon to local newspapers offered bargain shoppers daily, if not hourly, deals. Some observers went so far as to say such sites would be the end to traditional retail. But then the approach to retail changed altogether: Apparel brick-and-mortars saw the disruption and raised their game, drawing on their real ace in the hole – locations. And flash sites evolved vis-à-vis their offerings and presentation.

In a 2011 article titled, “Retailing Revolution: Category Killers on the Brink,” the Harvard Business School said retailers needed to consider, “What consumer needs cannot be satisfied by e-commerce?” Apparel stores benefit greatly from shopper desire to touch and feel clothes, as well as try on garments. So stores offered deals via customer devices, increased their discount outlets — and kept the coveted designer brands to themselves.

Meanwhile, the flash sites have responded.

This article includes comments from Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.

Read Full Article: Flash Sites and Traditional Retail Learn From Each Other

TLC’s Love Lust or Run hangs up shoppable clothing on social

Mobile Commerce Daily – TLC’s Love Lust or Run is the first series to enable fans to shop in real-time via mobile platform Go2Buy and the television network’s social media accounts.

Viewers will be able to immediately purchase clothing items featured on the show by visiting on their mobile devices or checking TLC’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts for shoppable links. This type of technology brings another meaning to consumer instant gratification, and suggests that in the near future, more television programs will have second-screen components to allow viewers to receive the same featured looks with the tap of a button.

Read full article: TLC’s Love Lust or Run hangs up shoppable clothing on social

Old Navy matches flip-flops to emoji use in summer promotion

Mobile Commerce Daily –

Old Navy’s summer campaign puts a new spin on emojis with a mobile-optimized site that predicts shoppers’ perfect pair of flip-flops based on their icon use.

The apparel retailer developed a mobile-optimized emoji generator site to have fun with consumers this summer and is encouraging them to get involved by offering them a chance to win a free pair of flip-flops or a vacation. After determining which flip-flops and vacation best fit the user’s mood based off of emojis, Old Navy then features apparel-choices that coincide with the pair and destination.

This article includes quotes from David Naumann, director of marketing, Boston Retail Partners.

Read Full Article: Old Navy matches flip-flops to emoji use in summer promotion

Lilly Pulitzer brightens fan loyalty via private announcement on Instagram

Mobile Commerce Daily – Although Lilly Pulitzer’s mcommerce application rollout may be behind the times, the brand made up for its lateness by rewarding loyal social media followers with an exclusive chance to hear the announcement first.

The brand, which is known for its colorful resort wear and beach wear for women, took to its Instagram account to caution its more than half-million followers that it would be making its account private overnight in preparation for a major announcement, which later unveiled the shopping app. This move effectively leveraged Lilly Pulitzer’s passionate fan base by proving the brand’s loyalty to them in allowing them to hear the news first, a social media strategy that more marketers are beginning to employ.

This article includes several quotes from Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.

Read full article: Lilly Pulitzer brightens fan loyalty via private announcement on Instagram

CRM Gamification As A Business Growth Engine

Data2CRM – The high growth of employing the gaming aspects can be seen in retailing for increasing levels of customers in the loyalty and frequent client programs. In the 2015 CRM/Unified Commerce Survey is stated that gamification is expected to raise from 3% to 31% in this year. Continuing the trending customer-centric strategy, vendors use the personalized and customizable selling and extend the borders of communication and look for more touchpoints with clients via social media, communities and forums.

Read complete blog post: CRM Gamification As A Business Growth Engine

Real-time Retail Is the New Black

I recently wrote an article about real-time retail for Apparel Magazine and here is a recap of the article.

Woman on phoneIn apparel and fashion retailing, identifying the hottest trends and understanding your customers’ buying habits are critical to your success. Predicting what colors, fabrics, trends and styles will be popular in the upcoming seasons is crucial to maximizing sales and profitability. Buying the wrong colors or styles can be a costly mistake, so having access to your customers’ preferences in colors, sizes, styles and even how they choose to shop is key. Having this customer information in real-time not only allows you to understand your customer but also allows your associates to suggestive sell and enhance the shopping experience.

As you know, customers are becoming more demanding — driven by new technology and the real-time capabilities it enables. A customer can be shopping at a store for a specific purse or sweater design and she can take a photo of it and gain instant access to the best prices from multiple competitors and information on the closest store that carries it in stock — in real-time. Customers expect this seamless experience in the store, on the web or anywhere they choose to shop. “Real-time retail” is the new retail imperative.

What is real-time retail?

When a customer walks in your door, do you know who she is? Do you know what she abandoned in her online shopping cart this morning? Do you know that she looked at your daily specials on her smartphone 30 minutes ago? Can you see current inventory at your store and all other stores and distribution centers in your chain — in real-time? These capabilities are examples of real-time retail in action. Real-time retail is the ability to deliver a seamless experience to consumers whenever, wherever or however they choose to shop by gathering, analyzing and disseminating customer, product, pricing and inventory data across all channels — in real-time.

Imagine some of the following scenarios that are possible through real-time retail:

Woman Scaning Tag• A customer walks into your store and her favorite sales associate is immediately notified on her tablet or smartphone (assuming the customer has opted-in). The associate not only can see the customer’s prior purchases, but also her recent browsing history so the associate can direct her to similar items in the store.

• Your sales associate can see a customer’s holiday purchases from last year and make suggestions for this year’s purchases when she visits the store based on these insights.

• A customer posts an item to Facebook while in the store and gets feedback from friends in real-time on whether to purchase the item.

• As a customer is shopping in the store, she finds an item she likes but it is not available in her size; your associate can access real-time inventory information to find out where the item can be found and ship it directly to the customer.

• A customer is looking at a shirt in two colors and can’t decide which one she wants. Based on current sales and inventory levels, your store can offer the customer a 10 percent off promotion to encourage her to purchase one of the colors instead of the other.

According to the recent survey of North American retailers by Boston Retail Partners (BRP), one of the top priorities for retailers in 2015 is real-time retail. Nearly half of the retail respondents in the BRP 2015 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey indicated that real-time retail is among their top three priorities for 2015.

According to the survey, retailers are focused on expanding their real-time capabilities to deliver the enhanced services their customers now expect.

Tailoring the Customer Experience Chart

Enhancing the shopping experience

Retailers that can provide associates with customer data in real-time before the customer reaches the checkout are able to provide a more personalized experience and can offer suggestions to customers that impact their purchase decisions.  Many retailers are planning to personalize the customer experience by utilizing virtual closets (or room, garage or whatever is appropriate for the retailer). By understanding what is currently in the customer’s closet, a sales associate can easily suggest products that coordinate with the customer’s current wardrobe and even show her how well items can coordinate together.

According to our survey respondents, 510 percent more retailers will know what is in their customers’ closets within three years and provide this information to sales associates in real-time.

Personalized promotions

In the past, retailers’ pricing hierarchy was based on various levels: company, division, channel, zone and store. Now there is a new pricing strategy and structure at the personal level — based on an individual shopper. According to the survey, 174 percent more retailers will be offering personalized promotions in the next three years. By understanding a customer’s purchasing habits the retailer gains insight into the price point at which the customer may be willing to purchase and can offer incentives or promotions in real-time to help close the sale.

Personalized recommendations

Woman holding shirt up to friend in clothes storeOne of the biggest growth areas over the next three years will be to offer personalized recommendations based on an individual customer’s shopping history. Currently 20 percent of retailers offer the ability for their associates to suggestive sell based on a customer’s previous purchases and 56 percent more plan to implement this feature within three years — a 280 percent increase.

Even more interesting is the fact that retailers are beginning to offer associates the ability to suggestive sell to their customers based on the customer’s online browsing history. This offers the ability to transcend channels and tailor the shopping experience to the customer. Offering personalized recommendations based on online behaviors is a key capability in the convergence of the digital and in-store experience.

According to BRP’s survey, personalizing the shopping experience by understanding the customer’s online browsing history will increase by 1060 percent over the next three years.


Customers are forcing a fundamental reshaping of retail by demanding a seamless convergence of the in-store and digital experiences. Successful retailers realize that they can no longer divide that experience among separate channels and must work towards a holistic shopping experience that transcends channels. One of the keys to delivering this experience is real-time retail. This is why real-time retail is “the new black!” 

As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this topic.  Please enter your comments and idea below.


Is app-free mobile loyalty the way of the future?

Mobile Commerce Daily – Mobile loyalty applications can provide a rich user experience, but their proliferation threatens to make them as unappealing to consumers as the physical cards they seek to replace, causing some marketers to explore alternatives such as wallet-based programs, which have a more limited set of benefits.

The ability to save a digital loyalty card to a mobile wallet is not new, but the strategy held little appeal for marketers until recently because the adoption of wallets was so low. While this is starting to change now that a number of Android phones will soon come with Google Wallet preloaded on them and use of Apple Passbook continues to grow, this option offers a minimalistic loyalty experience that may not be right for all marketers.

“With the proliferation of loyalty programs, consumers have become inundated with plastic loyalty cards and smartphone loyalty apps,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “Unless a consumer is a very frequent shopper, they won’t invest the effort to download a retailer’s loyalty app; and those that downloaded several apps are reaching the point of app fatigue.”

Read full article: Is app-free mobile loyalty the way of the future?

Jack Rogers slings summer excitement to Instagram for countdown-themed giveaway

Mobile Marketer – Women’s shoe designer Jack Rogers ramped up excitement for summer, a big sales season for the brand known for its classic sandals, by leveraging a countdown-themed giveaway on Instagram that offered users a chance to win one pair of its most popular styles each day, proving that social media-enabled contests are still potent with consumers.

The brand took advantage of the retail hype surrounding Memorial Day weekend by giving away a pair of sandals each day on the week leading up to May 25, tapping the holiday as the unofficial start of summer and getting consumers excited about breaking out their warm weather footwear. Jack Rogers has recently been ramping up its customer outreach on social media, with a slew of flash sales and designated hashtags for users to share their branded style moments.

Read full article: Jack Rogers slings summer excitement to Instagram for countdown-themed giveaway

Boston Retail Partners' Survey Reveals 87 Percent Plan on Using Gamification

TMCnet – Retailers, especially those with a higher physical presence, are facing fierce competition from companies that only operate online. In many instances, brick-and-mortar stores have essentially become show rooms in which customers go to see a particular item they want to buy, which they then follow with an online purchase because of the lower prices. However, currently consumers still prefer purchasing inside a physical store, and if they want to maintain that lead they have to integrate both worlds into a seamless platform with omni-channel features. The latest survey from Boston Retailers Partners reveals retailers are implementing customer relationship management (CRM) solutions as a key enabler to influencing customers. And gamification has become an important tool as part of the CRM deployment.

Read full article: Boston Retail Partners’ Survey Reveals 87 Percent Plan on Using Gamification

90pc of retailers to tap gamification for omnichannel CRM shift: report

Mobile Commerce Daily – Offering enhanced gamification features, incentives and loyalty programs are tactics that retailers plan to use in their mobile strategies, with 883 percent more seeking to identify consumers upon entry within five years, according to a new report from Boston Retail Partners.

Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 CRM/Unified Commerce Survey found that top American retailers aim to create or boost their existing CRM programs into a closed-loop system that identifies customers in-store, engages and analyzes them, and retains their business with a loyalty platform after point-of-purchase. Sixty-one percent of respondents also revealed that they have leveraged gamification features in their loyalty programs, which points to the increasing in-app engagement that consumers have come to expect from rewards platforms.

“The key takeaway from the 2015 BRP CRM/Unified Commerce Survey is that customer experience and engagement continues to be the top priority for retailers,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners, Boston, MA. “Consumers expect a personalized, seamless experience wherever, whenever and however they shop.

Read full article: 90pc of retailers to tap gamification for omnichannel CRM shift: report