Executive ViewPoints

Executive ViewPoints allows retail thought leaders to share insights on industry trends and strategies, through bylined articles, which include a brief author bio, headshot and company link. Viewpoints articles are designed to provide retailers key strategies, recommendations and takeaways to help optimize the customer experience and improve overall business processes.

Digital Gift Cards: A Catalyst For Mobile Payments

  • Written by Ben Kaplan, President and CEO, CashStar


Over the past five years, digital gift cards have grown to become a popular choice for all gifting occasions — from birthdays and holidays to graduations, Valentine’s Day, and those “just because” moments. They are easy for consumers to purchase, personalize, send and redeem. Since they are delivered instantly via email and even text messages, gift givers can now literally wait until the last minute and still not miss a gift-worthy moment.

Retailers have embraced the digital gift card, leveraging it as another option for consumers and providing the marketing team with an additional tool to help inspire purchases. However, retailers that view digital gift cards simply as an extension of an existing program are shortsighted. As digital, mobile and social innovations continue to change the way consumers shop, retailers have a big opportunity to use the digital gift card more strategically: As a catalyst for mobile payments.

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IOE Solution: A Wireless Registry

  • Written by Gary Schwartz, President, Impact Mobile


When Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, took the stage at CES in Las Vegas last year and announced that that there was a difference between The Internet of Things (IOT) and the Internet of Everything (IOE), many cried “semantics." But there is a difference — one that ripped across the U.S. to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show at the Javits Center in New York City in January.

IOT, according to Chambers, is made up of billions of connected objects. However, IOE is the smart networks that are required to support all the data these objects generate and transmit. What will help move the IOT into the IOE and drive what Chambers predicts to be a $19 trillion in new revenue by 2020?

IOE requires a universal solution to tie the billions of sensor data into an intelligent device and system-agnostic solution.

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The Trouble With The Current State Of Search And Discovery

  • Written by Garrett Eastham, CEO, Compare Metrics


Today’s standard retail search and discovery experiences are falling further and further behind customer expectations, primarily being driven by non-retail technology advancements. Take, for instance, the next-generation semantic search capabilities being launched by Google, Apple and Walmart, the highly engaging visual shopping and personal content curation provided by Pinterest, as well as voice “search” capabilities powered by technologies like Siri. These are the new standards for engaging with consumers and retailers are faced with some steep challenges in evolving to meet them.

Limited Shared Vocabulary Between Shoppers And Merchandisers

Shopping is a decision-making process at its core. And dealing with the science of the human mind is complex. Doing so is not just a function of building technology, but about understanding who we are as people and how our mind functions. Not as a technologist, but as an interpreter of human behavior.

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Reinventing The Retail App For In-Store Success

  • Written by Bob Moul, CEO, Artisan


Why exactly does a retail store need a good mobile app? There are two reasons. First, smartphones are stealing attention from the in-store experience. And second, shoppers who use smartphones spend more money than those who don't.

According to Google, the vast majority of smartphone shoppers (84%) use their phones while in a store, and that means if they aren't tuned to your brand, their attention is being suctioned off by something else. Even more importantly, Google has found that frequent smartphone shoppers spend more in stores than consumers who only use a mobile phone occasionally. In Google's study, the median shopping cart size of frequent smartphone shoppers ran 25% to 50% higher than standard shoppers across categories like household care, electronics, appliances, and health and beauty.

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Welcome To The Customer Economy

  • Written by Misha Logvinov, Chief Customer Officer, Lithium


Consumer adoption of social media has been nothing short of breathtaking, increasing a full 356% since 2006, according to Forrester Research. Ninety-one percent of U.S. online adults use social media regularly — three times more than blogs and email. And they’re not just cooing over baby pictures on Facebook — they’re shopping.  

Social media is changing consumers — not just how they purchase, but why they purchase. This shift signals an end to the “the product economy,” where brands competed by delivering differentiated products and services, in favor of the “customer economy,” where brands compete on the relationships they cultivate with customers.

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