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Study: Retailers lag shopper expectations for in-store tech

Mobile Marketer – Shoppers are ready to try new technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and cashierless checkout that improve their in-store experience but retailers are lagging in providing them, according to a survey by BRP Consulting.

Almost one-third (32%) of consumers say they’re likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience, but only 9% of retailers offer the technology to overlay digital images on a real location seen through a smartphone camera. Another 29% of retailers plan to offer AR in the next three years.

Shoppers are slightly less interested in virtual reality (VR), which requires them to wear specialized headsets to see a completely computer-generated environment. Twenty-nine percent of consumers are likely to shop at a store with VR, while 7% of retailers currently offer the technology and 23% plan to add it within three years, per BRP.

Read Full Article: Study: Retailers lag shopper expectations for in-store tech

Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Sourcing Journal – The retail storefront isn’t dead, even as large shopping centers and chain stores shut down locations nationwide. Most retail purchases, a figure around 90 percent, are still made in stores. For retailers, that means turning attention and resources toward the in-store shopping experience, even as chatbots and other tech tools redefine e-commerce channels.

BRP Consulting’s latest special report, The Future Store, illustrates how next-generation tools like video chat and AI will factor into shoppers’ purchasing processes. The report draws from two different studies, a 2019 consumer study as well as a POS/customer engagement survey targeting retailers, to envision what’s to come for retail and illuminate how brands approach supply chain management, including staffing and inventory decisions that can facilitate a seamless omnichannel experience.

The findings show consumers are willing to rely on technology in place of human interaction—but only if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. Fifty-five percent are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout instead of a store without, and 57 percent will choose a store offering automated returns if it allows them to avoid human interactions and speed up the process.

Read Full Article:Technology is Keeping Physical Stores Off of Life Support

Retailers Deploy Virtual, Augmented Reality, Voice Assistants

Media Post – Retailers are moving ahead with more in-store tech ranging from virtual and augmented reality to virtual mirrors and digital voice assistants. Nearly a third (29%) plan to add augmented reality within the next thee years and 9% already use it, according to a study by BRP.

Virtual reality is also on the agenda, with 7% of retailers already using it and 14% more planning to within the next 12 months, according to the online survey of executives at North American retailers, 58% of which had sales of more than $1 billion.

BRP estimates that nearly a third (32%) of shoppers are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality experience and 29% would like virtual reality to be part of their shopping environment.

Other technologies are also either here or coming at retail. Artificial intelligence in the form of voice-activated, point-of-sales terminals or digital assistants are already implemented by 23% of retailers with another 30% planning to add them within the next three years.

Read Full Article: Retailers Deploy Virtual, Augmented Reality, Voice Assistants

Top 5 Trends Driving Retail Innovation

Retail TouchPoints – With any technology, new or old, the biggest challenge comes not in the invention itself but in its application. AI as a concept has been around for decades, but it’s only in the past few years that retailers and solution providers have figured out how it can enhance shopper experiences and streamline internal operations. Additionally, successful technologies breed a desire for even stronger applications: with personalization, for example, it’s no longer enough to know a shopper’s past habits and favorite items — retailers also must understand which complementary items would be of interest, and how their preferred lifestyle may affect future purchases.

Turning the theoretical into the practical will be a retail industry priority in 2019. Retail TouchPoints has identified five major technology and business trends retailers should pay close attention to this year:

• AI and machine learning;
• Enhanced personalization;
• Exemplary in-store experiences;
• Sustainability and ethical retailing; and
• Unified commerce.

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VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS
With AR and VR adoption spreading, especially in certain segments, the idea of what represents retail real estate is transforming and expanding. It’s no longer just the store — it can be almost anywhere, including the customer’s home. Retail stores have traditionally been the focal point for the theater of retail, but now AR and VR allow the customer to directly control where that experience happens.

— BRIAN BRUNK, PRINCIPAL AT BRP, RETAIL CONSULTING
Read full article: Top 5 Trends Driving Retail Innovation

2019 OUTLOOK GUIDE: Top Trends Driving Retail Growth

Retail TouchPoints – Retailers are hoping that a solid 2018 holiday season will usher in an even better 2019. There’s certainly reason for optimism: high consumer confidence, low unemployment and low fuel prices are generally a winning combination. But as in previous years, every customer dollar will be hard-won. The retail transformation (some called it an apocalypse) that swept the industry in 2017 is still shaking things up, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  The 13 retail industry experts contributing to the Retail TouchPoints Outlook Guide bring a wide array of viewpoints and experience to their predictions for 2019.

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Reimaging the Definition of Retail

Brian Brunk, Principal, BRP, Retail Consulting Firm

I’ve previously highlighted the “Great Retail Transformation” — the historic wave of disruption that is sweeping through retail. We continue to see the negative side of this disruption, with more than 5,000 store closings and 16 U.S. retailers filing for bankruptcy in 2018. However, we also saw some positive news with strong retail growth, 2018 YTD retail sales up 5% (through November), and great stories about retailers that are adapting their in-store experiences to experiential retail concepts that meet new customers’ expectations.

As we consider the evolving store of the future, we find ourselves asking fundamental questions like, What is retail? and What is a store? While the definition of retail has evolved, it has always centered around the concept of a market — from early local markets, to the growth of mercantile and department stores, to shopping malls, to whatever is next. Regardless of format, brick-and-mortar retail remains a real estate game. Now, we’re seeing the rise of creative uses for retail real estate, as brands create a customer experience that breaks the mold of traditional retail perceptions. The trick is to morph your store into new experiential forms that appeal to consumers.

  • Complementary Brands: Store-within-a-store is nothing new, but we’re seeing more retailers sharing real estate with complementary brands. One great example: Target and CVS, two brands that traditionally overlapped and competed. Now, Target has turned over its in-store pharmacy operations to CVS. JCPenney has experienced success with Sephora shops in its stores, and Best Buy carved out space for Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, Pacific Kitchen and Magnolia in many of its stores.
  • Multipurpose Space for Food, Beverage and Events: A growing trend is multipurpose utilization of real estate. An interesting example is the focus on adding food and beverage options, such as space for a café or restaurant. This has been a trend with both small, boutique retailers and large fashion retailers like Brooks Brothers and Tiffany’s, which have added or are exploring cafes, tea rooms, bars or even dedicated private event space, to better engage customers and maximize their real estate. Every segment seems to be exploring this in its own way, with more grocers, such as Whole Foods, adding restaurants. As shopping behavior continues to change, we expect this to become a much larger play for retailers looking for new experiential brand strategies to increase store dwell time and generate much- needed additional revenue.
  • Real Estate Sandboxes – Brands and Specialty Renaissance: As the retail landscape changes,
    online retailers are opening physical stores, and traditional retailers are experimenting with new store concepts. We are also seeing several traditional manufacturing or wholesale brands now expanding their retail presence for greater control of their brand experience. With the retail landscape morphing, we also expect to see a renaissance of more curated, specialty retail as customers demand more options and in-person experiences with knowledgeable associates. Manhattan is a great model of this, as new entrants look to take advantage of vacant retail space. For example, Brookfield Property Partners recently bought property on Bleecker Street to create an incubator space where new entrants can test brick-and-mortar strategies.
  • Virtual Showrooms – Beyond The Four Walls: With AR and VR adoption spreading, especially in certain segments, the idea of what represents retail real estate is transforming and expanding. It’s no longer just the store — it can be almost anywhere, including the customer’s home. Retail stores have traditionally been the focal point for the theater of retail, but now AR and VR allow the customer to directly control where that experience happens. Macy’s is a recent example, as they’re currently rolling out a new virtual VR across 70 locations — combined with an AR app for home use — to offer an immersive furniture shopping experience that allows browsing and visualization of a much larger assortment of furniture than a typical store. Sephora’s “Virtual Artist” app uses AR to scan your face, figure out where your lips and eyes are, and sample different looks on your smartphone.

Retail offers the vision, value and convenience offered by the curator. That is what defines retail. Consumers want to shop versus just source items, and that is what they need and want from retail. Traditionally, retail space is the theater where this takes place. The future of retail remains very interesting, as we see themes like the renaissance of specialty, brand expansion and the evolving experiential theater creating headlines that define the store of the future.

Read full report:  2019 OUTLOOK GUIDE: Top Trends Driving Retail Growth

More than half of retailers look to utilise Internet of Things in next three years, report claims

MarketingTech – A new report released by BRP, retail consulting firm, has argued that in order to offer customers a unique personalised shopping experience in every retail channel, stores must blend physical and digital strategies – including the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR).

Customers are interested in trying new technologies if they find improvement in their in-store shopping experience, the report notes. The results provided by the BRP Consumer Study are therefore interesting. It found 32% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering an AR experience over a retailer that does not offer the service; 29% would like to experience VR as part of their shopping environment.

The report also noted customers were very interested when it comes to relying on technology rather than human interaction if it makes the purchase process easier and fast. For instance, 55% of customers are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout as opposed to a store without, and 57% will go to a store that offers automated returns to speed the process.

Read Full Article: More than half of retailers look to utilise Internet of Things in next three years, report claims

What technologies draw customers to stores?

Chain Store Age – Retailers looking to create the “Store of the Future” should include a few key technology offerings. That’s according to a new study from BRP, retail consulting firm, in which 55% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout and 57% will choose a store offering automated returns to avoid human interactions and speed the process.

The study, “Special Report: The Future Store,” also revealed that 32% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience and 29% would like a virtual reality (VR) experience as part of their shopping environment. However, only 9% offer AR to their brick-and-mortar customers and another 29% plan to within three years. Even fewer (7%) currently offer VR capabilities to in-store customers and 23% plan to within three years.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

Read Full Article: What technologies draw customers to stores?

55% of Retailers Plan to Utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) within Three Years, According to New BRP Report

IoT offers new opportunities to gather and utilize data to enhance customer expectations

Boston, MA – January 29, 2019 – According to BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Store, stores must now encompass both the physical and digital worlds as customers expect a personalized experience in every channel. Customers want the sensory experience generally available in the physical world, such as touching and feeling merchandise and personally interacting with a knowledgeable associate, married with the unique and personalized shopping experience common in the digital world.

Customers are willing to try new technologies if it improves their in-store shopping experience. According to the BRP Consumer Study, 32% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience over a retailer that doesn’t offer AR and 29% would like a virtual reality (VR) experience as part of their shopping environment. Consumers are very interested in relying on technology instead of human interaction if it makes the purchase process quicker and easier. For example, 55% are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout vs. a store without and 57% will choose a store offering automated returns to avoid human interactions and speed the process.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the  brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Storeis based on findings from the BRP Consumer Study and the 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and offers insights into customer expectations for the store of the future and how retailers’ current capabilities match up with these expectations.

The Future Store key findings:

INTERNET OF THINGS

  • Retailer capabilities: 19% currently offer Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities and another 36% plan to within three years

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

  • Retailer capabilities: 23% currently utilize artificial intelligence and an additional 30% plan to within three years

AUGMENTED REALITY

  • Customer expectations: 32% are likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality experience
  • Retailer capabilities: 9% offer augmented reality to their customers and another 29% plan to within three years

VIRTUAL REALITY

  • Customer expectations: 29% are likely to shop at a retailer offering virtual reality in their store
  • Retailer capabilities: 7% currently offer virtual reality capabilities to customers and 23% plan to add it within three years

To download BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Store, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2019-special-report-pos-future-store/.

The special report platinum sponsor is TSYS, the gold sponsors are Aptos,Diebold Nixdorf, ECRSand Fujitsu, 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.

The Future Store is Here

The retail industry is in the midst of a retail renaissance as we move from the ‘olden days’ of a person walking in to a store to simply purchase a commodity, into a new technologically advanced era where artificial intelligence helps customers make informed purchasing decisions leveraging associate or customer facing technology along with augmented reality that enables them to view products on their body or virtually in their homes. Technology is bringing new life to brick-and-mortar stores as the physical and digital worlds collide.

The store is not dead, it’s digitized…

Over the past twenty years, many in the retail industry have predicted the demise of the physical store. That seemed like a reasonable assumption given the accelerated growth of e-commerce and advancements in mobile technology; however, the reality is, the store is still the foundation of retailing. It is where the tactile and sensory experience comes together for the consumer, but the traditional store concept is changing.

Disruption and adaptation are changing the retail model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. Online pure-plays are opening brick-and-mortar stores and traditional retailers are experimenting with new store models and in some cases, expanded experiential brand strategies that include new revenue sources, such as services or food and beverage options. Retail is theater and with technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the retail store is no longer the only stage where the theater of retail can take place. New technology will further empower customers as they can dictate their own personal stage and experience.

The physical store remains the foundation of retail; however, a significant and fundamental transformation of retail is underway and will change the requirements for the store of the future.

We recently conducted our 20thAnnual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and compared our findings on retailer capabilities with consumer expectations from the BRP Consumer Study (report coming soon!) to take a closer look at what the store of the future looks like. BRP’s SPECIAL REPORT: The Future Store gives you a closer look at what consumers expect from the store.

Download the report now because the future store is here, ready or not.

 

Virtual reality plays growing role in retail

The Republic – Retailers in central Indiana, including the Macy’s at Castleton Square Mall and the Carmel-based franchise of California Closets, are using the technology to help customers visualize products and make purchasing decisions. For various reasons — including cost, cultural barriers and fear of the unknown — the technology is not yet in widespread retail use.

“The virtual reality experience has some barriers to it,” said Jeffrey Neville, a senior vice president and practice lead at Boston-based retail consulting firm BRP Consulting.

People might be self-conscious about wearing the goggles, and the immersive nature of the experience can cause motion sickness or dizziness.

“It’s not quite a comfortable experience just yet,” Neville said.

But in the next few years, the use of virtual reality and its close cousin, augmented reality, should become more common in the retail world, experts predict. “This technology is maturing quite quickly,” Neville said.

Read Full Article: Virtual reality plays growing role in retail