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Delivering an Elevated Customer Experience Requires an Agile Retail Technology Platform

Marketing Outlook – Retailers that are thriving – and there are lots of them – anticipate and react to consumers’ demand for an enhanced and continuously changing retail experience, according to Perry Kramer, SVP and practice lead at BRP, retail consulting firm.  Retailers that have successfully anticipated the changing customer experience have created a technical platform, with the supporting process changes, that allows them to react quickly enough to stay ahead of a new set of customer expectations in an increasingly competitive digital retail environment.

Increasing Pressure on the Retail Model

One of the greatest hockey players ever, Wayne Gretzky, said “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”  The retailers who are profitable and continuing to grow are executing this same philosophy.

The pressure on physical stores continues, as more than 7,100 retail locations have closed this year and additional closures are expected after the holiday season. With an estimated 15% of holiday shopping moving to digital this year, the competition for share of wallet has become more intense than at any point in the digital retail era.  As retailers shift more of their sales online, additional pressures are exerted as retailers deal with the lower margin generally associated with digital sales and the need for modified business process, organizational and technology changes to remain competitive.

Read Full Article: Delivering an Elevated Customer Experience Requires an Agile Retail Technology Platform

Restoration Hardware bolsters omnichannel payment capabilities

Chain Store Age – Restoration Hardware (RH) customers will have an easier time shopping and making payments across channels. The luxury home furnishings retailer has selected Ayden as its omnichannel payments partner. The global Ayden platform will enable RH to process all major card brands, as well as accept local digital payment methods. The retailer will also be able to provide a consistent payment, and refund experience across all channels, while recognizing shoppers at checkout.

RH is implementing the Ayden omnichannel payment solution as consumers increasingly expect a smooth, seamless shopping experience. Recent analysis from BRP, retail consulting firm, indicates that only 7% of retailers offer a shared omnichannel cart. Yet 56% of customers want access to a single cart to shop across channels and be able to reach their cart via phone, computer, or in the store.
Read Full Article: Restoration Hardware bolsters omnichannel payment capabilities

Mapping Retail’s Last Mile Battleground

Retail TouchPoints – There are many reasons why the last mile has become a first-order concern for retailers. Topping the list is Amazon’s well-publicized ability to provide two-day, one day and even same-day shipping. Amazon’s ability to set a high standard for the retail industry is abetted by the fact that for more than 100 million Amazon Prime members, those shipping costs are bundled into their annual fees, making them essentially invisible and “painless.”

Another reason that last mile concerns are increasingly keeping retailers awake at night is the growing volume of digital sales and subsequent deliveries that are taking place. Results from the 2nd annual Retail TouchPoints Last Mile Benchmark Survey, which collected and analyzed responses from 138 retail executives, illustrate the last mile’s growth trajectory.

Below are pages with comments from Jeffrey Neville, SVP and Practice Lead at BRP Consulting:

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Retailers also are reshaping their internal structures and responsibilities to handle last mile challenges. “Retailers are beginning to apply the agile processes they are using on their web sites to the last mile customer experience,” said Jeffrey Neville, SVP and Practice Lead at BRP Consulting in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They are assigning a product manager to the last mile experience, giving this person the ability to test and learn about the impact technical and non-technical changes can have on the identified last mile KPIs. These product managers are also engaging consumers in feedback of the initiatives before they roll out chainwide.”

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“Meeting and exceeding the accelerating consumer expectations for fast and free delivery has retailers scrambling to figure out the most economical and reliable options,” said BRP’s Neville. “In addition, retailers must manage the costs and inefficiencies created by rushing to implement new delivery options to avoid customer disappointments.”

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“Retailers are establishing KPIs, metrics and service level agreements (SLAs) to monitor and maintain consistent delivery quality,” said BRP’s Neville. “Establishing clear expectations of service levels with third-party delivery parties is imperative to ensuring customer satisfaction.”

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While managing the cost of returns was the top challenge for retailers in 2018, this year the list is led by the 64% that identified minimizing fraudulent returns. This is another complex problem with no single “silver bullet” answer, according to BRP’s Neville: “Preventing or limiting theft from delivery drivers, porch thieves and dishonest reports of theft from customers is a challenge,” he noted. “Retailers need to proactively identify theft as well as arm customer service representatives with a clear policy for customer appeasement for those customers that have experienced stolen packages.”

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BRP’s Neville recommends retailers provide a preprinted return label, including a prepaid shipping label, and also enable shoppers to easily print such labels from the retailer’s web site. “The prepaid label assures that a standard set of information is included with each return (invoice number, SKUs, quantities, etc.) to assist the returns team in processing it,” he said.

Read Full Article: Mapping Retail’s Last Mile Battleground

Study: Do retailers meet customer shopping and payment expectations?

Chain Store Age – A new study indicates retailers are having varying success providing the shopping and payment options customers want.

According to “Special Report: Security” from BRP, retail consulting firm, retailers are lagging in implementing a single-token payment security solution across the enterprise. Tokenization enables retailers to remove sensitive information from the network by substituting payment card data with a token which is used as an identifier, but has no exploitable value or meaning. In addition to the increased security offered by tokenization, it is also key to enabling a shared cart across channels.

BRP analysis shows that only 38% of retailers have implemented a single token solution, and a mere 7% offer a shared omnichannel cart. Yet 56% of customers want access to a single cart to shop across channels and be able to reach their cart via phone, computer, or in the store.

“Tokenization is a top priority for many retailers, as it improves the security of sensitive customer payment data,” said Ryan Grogman, senior VP and practice lead, BRP Consulting. “Tokenization technology is also valuable as a foundation to enable a seamless experience for consumer returns, customer profiles and electronic shopping carts that need to retrieve data across channels.”

Read Full Article: Study: Do retailers meet customer shopping and payment expectations?

Only 38% of Retailers have Implemented a Single Token Solution Across the Enterprise, According to New BRP Report

Tokenization removes sensitive information from the network, improves security and enables a shared cart across channels

Boston, MA – April 3, 2019– According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Security, retailers must continuously reexamine their policies surrounding customer payment and personal data. Every day, new dangers emerge and enhanced security measures are necessary to adequately defend against these malicious attacks. A single security breach is enough to deal a crippling blow to many companies.

“Tokenization is a top priority for many retailers, as it improves the security of sensitive customer payment data,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP Consulting. “Tokenization technology is also valuable as a foundation to enable a seamless experience for consumer returns, customer profiles and electronic shopping carts that need to retrieve data across channels. What began as a solution to remove payment card data from a retailer’s environment has found additional value in substituting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to help drive omni-channel use cases. We continue to see improved security practices across the retail industry in efforts to thwart malicious attacks and remain compliant with regulations, but this is a never-ending challenge.”

Tokenization enables retailers to remove sensitive information from the network by substituting payment card data with a token which is used as an identifier but has no exploitable value or meaning. In addition to the increased security offered by tokenization, it is also key to enabling a shared cart across channels.

Retailers’ capabilities for a shared cart across channels are behind consumers’ expectations. According to the BRP Consumer Study, 56% of customers want access to a single cart to shop across channels and be able to reach their cart via phone, computer, or even in the store, yet only 38% of retailers have implemented a single token solution to enable this feature. While some retailers are on the path to offering this service by implementing a single token across the enterprise, only 7% of retailers offer this shared cart concept.

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Security is based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into how retailers are progressing with their security efforts to protect consumers’ payment and personal data.

The SPECIAL REPORT: Security highlights:

PAYMENT SECURITY:

  • Customer expectations: 33% are likely to allow retailers to save credit card details if it eases the checkout process
  • Retailer capabilities: 61% have implemented end-to-end encryption to offer customers greater security of their personal and payment data

PERSONAL DATA:

  • Customer expectations: 50% are likely to allow retailers to save personal details if it eases the checkout process and allows for more personalized offers
  • Retailer capabilities: 38% have implemented a single token solution across the enterprise to offer customers greater security of their personal and payment data

MOBILE WALLET/PAYMENTS:

  • Customer expectations: 38% are likely to choose a store if it offers mobile wallet/payments
  • Retailer capabilities: 59% offer mobile payment acceptance

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Security, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-special-report-security

The special report platinum sponsor is TSYS, the gold sponsors are Aptos, Diebold Nixdorf, ECRS and Fujitsu, and the silver sponsor is STORIS.

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 want a shared cart across channels

In BRP’s Consumer Study, 56% of consumers indicated that they were more likely to shop at a retailer that allowed them to have a shared cart across channels instead of a retailer that does not offer this service. Yet only 7% of retailers currently offer this shared cart concept – that’s a huge gap that retailers are struggling to bridge.

According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: Real-Time Retail, customers want access to a single cart to shop across channels and be able to reach their cart via phone, computer, or even in the store – they want to “start anywhere and finish anywhere.”

As consumer expectations continue to rise, we have seen the importance of real-time visibility and access to product and customer information across channels grow significantly. With real-time inventory visibility and access across the enterprise, retailers can reduce or eliminate safety stock, which is a significant cost savings. Knowing where your products are in real-time also increases sales and minimizes markdowns.

Today’s retail model has to venture beyond omni-channel by breaking down the walls between internal channel silos and leveraging a common commerce platform with a single order management system to deliver a holistic, real-time, personal, seamless experience.

As consumers expect a seamless experience in the store, on the Web and via their mobile device – ‘real-time retail’ becomes the new industry imperative. In my experience, many retailers can check inventory in real-time but the data they are accessing is actually from yesterday, as the data is not really updated in real-time. This is ‘faux real-time retail’ based on the traditional store and forward architecture of legacy POS and e-commerce systems. As retailers move to unified commerce, full access to enterprise-wide data in real-time becomes more common as it is a necessity to survive.

This is ‘faux real-time retail’ based on the traditional legacy POS and e-commerce architecture where copies of master files are maintained at the store and updated on the headquarters’ system each night via transaction logs (TLOG). The enterprise master data records are essentially a day behind actual data.

Your customers are telling you what they want, are you listening?

I encourage you to download the full report to better understand the necessity of real-time retail to ensure you are meeting your customers’ expectations.

Ken

Only 7% of retailers offer a shared cart across channels

Retail Dive – Fifty-six percent of consumers said they likely would shop at retailers that offer a shared shopping cart across channels, but only 7% retailers offer that capability, according to a study by BRP, retail consulting firm, entitled, “Special Report: Real-Time Retail.”

The study also found that 87% of consumers desire personalized and consistent shopping experiences across all shopping channels, while 53% of retailers rank personalization as a top priority.

BRP research revealed that customers want to be able to shop seamlessly across all channels, including their mobile devices, computers and in-store, without a disruption in access.

Read full article: Only 7% of retailers offer a shared cart across channels

Unification Nation – Unified commerce transforming the retail customer experience

Canadian Retailer – Picture this: A customer walks through a retailer’s front door. They’ve come for a click-and-collect item they purchased on their laptop 24 hours earlier. Before they leave the store, they spend a few minutes browsing (simultaneously comparing prices on the ever-ubiquitous Amazon), and as they pass relevant items, the store’s smartphone app displays in-store deals that correspond to both their location, and their buying habits. They pick up a few more products—some of which they purchase, some they leave behind. At the checkout, they seamlessly combine a physical purchase with a digital purchase. As they make their way to the parking lot, their social media feed shows an ad for one of the items they left behind, along with a coupon for 15 per cent off, which, when clicked, allows them to purchase the item in the store’s mobile app—alongside other related items—and have these delivered to their home.

Quotes from Brian Brunk (pages 10-13):

“Customer expectations in retail are increasing, regardless of a retailer’s size,” adds Brian Bunk, Principal at BRP, retail consulting firm, “and to compete, winning retailers are adopting a unified commerce strategy. The benefits are numerous: improved customer experience, increasing expectations, simplified and agile technology, cross-channel inventory visibility and availability, flexible ordering and delivery options, personalization… And most of these benefits are becoming table stakes in today’s competitive retail market.”

It’s a lot to manage at once, Bunk admits—but it’s a feat made possible through the use of an accessible, cloud-based commerce platform. “The idea of a common, cloud-based, real-time commerce platform for all customer engagement points is a key tenet of unified commerce,” he says. “A unified commerce platform combines POS, mobile, web, order management, call centre and clienteling into one common integrated platform, which enables a holistic and seamless customer experience no matter how, when or where they shop with a retailer.”

And, Bunk adds, having the right technology in place can transform the customer experience even behind the scenes, through providing up-to-the moment inventory management, targeted recommendations based on data, and allowing for more nimble supply chains. “Unified commerce not only offers a unified view of customer and inventory data, but also offers retailers the ability to provide ‘endless aisle’ capabilities and the ability to ‘save the sale’ by selling merchandise from – or to – any channels,” he says. “Cross-channel inventory availability can reduce inventory management costs and enhance customer service by giving customers further purchasing options.”

And, as both Bunk and Hetu point out, a cohesive unified commerce strategy isn’t just for the big retailers. Not only will the large-scale changes required be simpler for small and mid-size businesses, but those same businesses could also run the greatest risk of being left behind. With consumer expectations constantly evolving, and retailers competing for ever-more elaborate ways of enhancing the customer experience, Bunk argues that the time for unified commerce is now.

“The store of the future will require a personal, mobile, relevant, ubiquitous and secure environment to meet rising customer expectations,” he explains. “Retailers need to operate in real-time, with customer and product information accessible across the enterprise—this necessitates cloud-based applications and a reliable, responsive network. Defining what you want your customer experience to be is key. Having the journey defined allows a retailer to deliver components of the journey based on business value and impact. Developing these components using modern technology and with a holistic view will allow the successful retailer of tomorrow to adapt as consumer expectations continue to evolve.”

Read Full Article: Unification Nation – Unified commerce transforming the retail customer experience

Charting a course to omnichannel fulfillment

Retail Dive – To meet the demands of shoppers who expect to be able to buy in the channel of their choice and receive the merchandise wherever they prefer, retailers are unwinding their channel-specific supply chains and heading toward omnichannel fulfillment. Roughly half (48%) of retailers have implemented a single commerce platform, according to BRP (retail consulting firm) 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, and an additional 46% plan to have one in place within three years.

However, retailers that claim omnichannel capabilities can be at very different places along a continuum. BRP’s 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey2 found that only 5% of retailers have achieved “shop anywhere/ship anywhere” unified commerce, while 53% reported some amount of omnichannel integration and more than one-quarter (28%) were still in the “multichannel” phase.

“Many retailers have taken the ‘just get something done’ approach over the last few years to attempt to deliver a cross-channel customer experience,” according to Ken Morris, principal, BRP. “The unfortunate result of this quick-fix approach is a ‘faux’ omnichannel model that doesn’t execute as promised and risks disappointing customers.”

Read Full Article: Charting a course to omnichannel fulfillment

Consumers Want A Single Shopping Cart For All Channels: Study

Media Post – Here’s a finding that could complicate the job of sending cart abandonment emails: Consumers now want access to a single cart across channels. That means they want to “start anywhere and finish anywhere,” from websites to stores, according to Real-Time Retail, a report by BRP, retail consulting firm.

Of the consumers polled, 56% are more likely to shop at a retailer that offers an omnichannel cart experience. But only 7% of retailers provide this. The question is pertinent because 82% of consumers have reviewed products online and purchased in a store. By contrast, 56% have shopped in-store and purchased online or via mobile.

But consumers may be challenged in doing so. Only 34% of retailers have implemented enterprise pricing/promotion features, and feel they are working well. Another 27% say they have them but see the need for improvement. And a mere 25% are upbeat about their cross-channel transaction history capabilities.

Read Full Article: Consumers Want A Single Shopping Cart For All Channels: Study