Executive ViewPoints

The retail industry is fortunate to include numerous executives with extensive experience — and they are willing to share their insights in the Retail TouchPoints ViewPoints section. These byline pieces focus on industry trends and do not include solution provider sales pitches. Many of the byline pieces receive the greatest number of clicks on the RTP site each year.

The Little Guy Is The New Walmart

The retail market is undergoing a significant shift, but not in the way that you think. The age of technology is upon us and presenting challenges and opportunities, but that’s not the whole story. We must pay attention to not only the how of the industry, but the who. Who exactly is getting ahead in the new market, and how can we be more like them? For many, getting a product into a major retailer is the epitome of success. Exposure, wide distribution, a recognizable name all come along with enterprise deals. And as lucrative as these deals can be, it’s not the only way anymore. These days, the little guy is actually taking market share from the Fortune 50.

How To Reduce Loss For Excess And Returned Merchandise

Consumer behavior is continuing to shift: online spending is rising while brick-and-mortar foot traffic is declining. What’s more, many stores are playing catch-up when it comes to their e-Commerce operations or are struggling to compete in a very demanding online environment teeming with competition. All this is forcing many retailers to close physical stores (we’ve seen some big names in the news lately), leaving them with millions of dollars in excess inventory to sort out behind the scenes. Instead of sending the merchandise to another store or marking individual items for closeout, the majority of it will be slated for liquidation and sold into the secondary market.

Want To Make Your Loyalty Program More Valuable? Give Customers The Power To Choose

Loyalty programs are more popular than ever before. From 2013 to 2015, the number of loyalty program memberships increased 26% – reaching 3.3 billion in the process. The $48 billion industry is worth more than the video game and movie industries combined. While such rapid growth may catch some by surprise, retailers are well aware of loyalty programs’ impact on a company’s bottom line. After all, it can be five times more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one.

The Earlier, The Better: 6 Holiday Loss Prevention Tips You Can Implement Today

Shrink is a constant threat to retailers, but the holidays bring a whole new set of challenges. Between the massive amount of product moving through the supply chain, seasonal staff that needs to be hired and trained, and an increased risk of outside theft, losses that a retailer incurs around the holidays can affect the whole year. For these reasons, the best time to start creating the holiday plan is one year in advance — right when the holidays end. But not everyone has the luxury of a whole year's worth of planning, so at the very least, start now. Six months is the bare minimum to come up with a decent plan, because by the time the season rolls around, it will be too late.

Amazon Books And The Mythical Wormhole

We all woke up this year to our commerce hero marching into Seattle and opening up a real brick-and-mortar store. The creaking wood floors and smell of pulp is live and well. Stroll down 2623 Northeast University Village and Amazon Books dominates the open air plaza. Amazon, the conquering warrior, book store is full of comfy reading chairs. Step inside and you see a display of “Read Local” books, the first time Amazon has had the ability to geo-profile without a privacy disclosure. After all the book stores Amazon has vanquished, it is now a humble tenant.  

Packaging And Monetizing Your Retail Data

The value of data and its relationship between retailers and their customers has created dramatic shifts in the power and control of consumer behavior. The latest generation of networked technologies and analytics has the potential to create a new balance between customers, retailers and the retail supply chain. Look at the information shifts that have taken place over the last 30 years, all due to analytics. Back in the 1990s, point-of-sale systems, ERP/CRM software and first-generation analytics resulted in skyrocketing sales productivity, increases in revenue and customer satisfaction — all because retailers discovered and understood what motivated customers' purchases. This changed the collective worlds of product placement, advertising and seasonal buying.

Top Grocery Trends And Technology Solutions

In a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry, grocers are always striving for continuous improvement and looking for the best ways to meet new challenges. In 2016, the pressure is on to differentiate, go small and control costs. Additionally, grocers can look to advanced technology to help improve in-store efficiency while mitigating security risks. Let’s take a look at some of the key challenges for grocers, and explore how technology can help.

Craft Prices, Continuously and Intelligently: The Case for Dynamic Pricing

Change is constant. In retail, the speed of change is unprecedented. As pressures mount, retailers face daunting challenges. Among them: The path to purchase keeps getting shorter; consumers are more in control than ever and they want the right products for the right price RIGHT NOW.  As Amazon and new market entrants like continue to shake up the retail landscape with aggressive pricing and fulfillment, adopting real-time competitive insights and dynamic pricing is a must or retailers risk losing market share, competitive position, profits and shopper loyalty.  In hopes of attracting more customers, retailers are responding with more promotions and competitive price matching, which results in a race to the bottom — margin erosion and leaky profits. Successfully executing dynamic pricing isn’t just about the velocity of price changes, but also about a retailer’s ability to be strategic versus tactical, gather real-time competitive and shopper data and insights and…

Your Secret Weapon Against Online Fraud: Data

When you’re in a store, there are plenty of signs that shoppers might be trying to rip you off — what they’re wearing, their behavior while walking through a store, or the time they spend in a dressing room. While visual indicators are always good tools to help you identify fraudsters in the store, what happens when you don’t have access to those physical cues? It used to be that retailers didn’t have any insight to fraudsters’ identities when shopping online. But with the advance of new technology and solutions, there are now more opportunities to obtain data that you can leverage to identify and combat fraud. These insights mean you can create profiles for your shoppers in order to make better informed risk decisions.

Holiday Preview: Five Keys For Successful Omnichannel Retail

Last holiday season, my friend found herself in a bit of a gift-giving fiasco. A present her brother had purchased for her — a subscription to a “Tea of the Month” club — had failed to arrive by December 25, making her the proud recipient of a printed sales confirmation on Christmas morning. Because her brother had ordered the gift from a third-party website, he needed to call two different customer service lines, speak to three different agents and give his order number at least as many times just to find out that her gift would be delivered sometime after Valentine’s Day. The kicker? My friend doesn’t even like tea.

Analyze This: 6 Ways Retailers Put Artificial Intelligence To Work

When a shopper walks into a retail store or visits a retailer’s website, data science isn’t likely top-of-mind. But everything — whether it’s physical or online — is strategically placed to optimize the customer experience and maximize sales for the retailer, or at least it should be. From store location, product placement, items on sale, which employees are working, etc., there is strategy behind these seemingly simple things to ensure the retailer makes the most out of every aspect of its operation. And the early adopters are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to solve their most pressing data-driven problems. Here are six ways retailers are putting AI to work.

5 Ways To Use Context To Drive Personalization

In the increasingly competitive retail e-Commerce battlefield, shoppers are truly demanding a more personalized experience and retailers are struggling to determine which move to make in order to deliver a successful solution. Customers expect brands to keep up with their personal shopping preferences across all channels — online and in-store. Digital Trends found that 73% of consumers prefer to do business with retailers who use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant, while Infosys found that 78% of consumers are more likely to be a repeat customer if a brand provides them personalized offers. These trends have huge implications for retailers looking to enhance their personalized digital marketing strategies.

A Shifting Retail Landscape: A Closer Look At Sports Authority

With Sports Authority adding itself to the list of distressed retailers joining the order of bankruptcy, it is definitely safe to say we are amid a time of rapidly-shifting retail trends. In fact, having followed many of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) consumer retail and luxury market outlook reports published over the past few years, retailing is almost a misnomer. The same products of before can no longer simply be presented to consumers — brands must draw consumers in with engaging content in addition to products alone. Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 2nd, Sports Authority offers us a more intimate glimpse into the paradigm shifts in retail sales. Let’s analyze the case of Sports Authority more closely, as I see it.

The Retail Tech And Talent Growth Crunch

Finding the right talent is currently one of the growth retail market’s biggest challenges. Once you’re over the $10 million mark in annual online revenue, things can change quickly. You could be an owner/operator whose brand is taking off and find yourself in need of your first dedicated e-Commerce Director. Or the first person to own that role could have moved on.
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