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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.

Fashion A Mobile Campaign Around Relevant Product Suggestions And Frequency Of Use

Those who dabble in the very different fields of fashion and mobile marketing have one thing in common: they both benefit from expert advice. Not everyone has the knack for eye-catching couture, and mobile marketers often struggle over which best-designed strategy will make them look good, too. Ultimately, the marketer’s solution is found in a strategy that converts app users into more frequent customers who create advocacy and revenues for the brand.

The Road To “Clicks and Mortar” – How Retailers Can Best Deploy Mobile Point Of Sale Technologies

Imagine walking into a grocery store, choosing items from the shelves and placing them in your cart or bag, and walking right out when finished. Is something missing in this fantasy? Right — there was no waiting in long lines, no scanning items at the register, no paying the cashier. At the Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle, that fantasy is a reality. Using a combination of sensor technology, machine learning and computer vision,1 Amazon Go eliminates the need to wait in line to pay, instead allowing shoppers to scan their smartphones when they enter the store, and charging their Amazon accounts after they leave. The result is a new “clicks and mortar” format — combining the technologies used when shopping Amazon online with a convenient, physical location.

Should Online Retailers Take Lessons From Cupid?

Swipe right to meet your algorithmically matched one true love? Online dating is an online marketer's success story, generating an estimated $2 billion in revenue each year. From Match.com to eHarmony, or Tinder, The League and Bumble, the market leaders and new app competitors make those erotic arrows fly based on their savvy use of technology — in particular, for a significant number, graph database technology to help members find the best matches.

Key Factors That Will Make Or Break RFID Retail Deployments

Having helped retail and other organizations with RFID implementations over the years, I’ve noticed a change in the preliminary questions being asked about the technology. Rather than asking if RFID really works, they want to know how they can fast track implementations, because they realize that RFID will make them more competitive. The business case and demonstrated value of RFID is well documented, however, achieving those benefits is where the challenge lays. Here are six factors that, if addressed properly, will enable retail organizations to get their RFID implementations live and realize ROI more quickly.

Price War: Retail’s Latest Self-Destructive Addiction

Retail can have a promising future. But the strategies to get there have been decidedly weak. This has led to a lot of finger pointing in the industry as to who or what is to blame, but until companies can comprehensively address the real issues facing their businesses, the headlines are going to remain the same. Because the pricing lever is so easy to pull and generates quick results for investors, retailers are often tempted to make quick, gut decisions to generate foot traffic with low prices. But this addiction is unsustainable and not an isolated incident. Major companies are buckling down for bigger investments on price in the absence of other avenues to compete.

How To Influence The Price-Conscious Consumer

The U.S. has become a more conservative country in recent years, and not just in its politics. Consumers today practice thriftier spending habits than they did pre-Great Recession, even though the economy has improved since 2008. Case in point: American parents. Rather than buy new baby clothing and products, more than 80% of moms and dads shop at consignment stores or buy secondhand goods from other parents — or would do so. Even those who can presumably afford to buy new items (those with household incomes of $150,000 or more) opt for more budget-friendly options.

3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Use AI To Grow Their Revenue

IBM Watson has become a household name in AI. The software was originally created to beat the best human chess players, but has since morphed into a “do anything and everything” machine. Now, it is one of the most visible examples of artificial intelligence in our world today. While AI feels futuristic because of examples like Watson, it's actually not a new concept within retail. AI and machine learning technologies have been in the industry for years, and both have already made a huge impact. Platforms like Amazon and Jet.com have been using this technology on the back end to adjust prices, monitor demand and even encourage consumers to buy more (see Jet.com’s dynamic pricing model, which lowers prices as consumers add to their cart).

Tapping Consumer Passion Moments To Fuel Engagement

In a world of digitally savvy, multi-tasking consumers, it is becoming harder and harder for brands to capture consumer attention, let alone drive meaningful interactions. It’s not a surprise that many brands have resorted to using clickbait tactics, and while sensational headlines may draw consumers in, this strategy will do so at a very low cost — oftentimes resulting in little to no brand impact. In fact, a recent Harvard University study suggests the opposite to be true — finding that clickbait actually diminishes brand trust. With this in mind, marketers should focus less on serving clickbait, and more on keying into those prime moments when consumers are more receptive to meaningful interactions with brands. One of those moments is when consumers are engaged with their passions. Passions are often sparked during childhood, or emerge after a life-changing event like a health scare. They are core to who we are, and oftentimes, foundational to many of our closest relationships.

Demystifying Personalization

In an ideal world, every interaction with a consumer would be certain. We’d not only instantly process everything about them — where they live, what they have purchased in the past, what images are most compelling — we would know exactly what action is going to convert them to a buyer. While the right data architecture gets us close to this ideal, we live mostly in a world of incomplete insight.   The only standard we can hold ourselves to is to make the best decision we could in the context of all of the information available in the moment, not the best decision that we could make given a crystal ball.

5 Ways Store Associates Help Retailers Deal With Showrooming

The demise of retail stores seems to be accelerating. What’s been dubbed as the “Retail Apocalypse” has claimed big-box names like JCPenney, Kmart and Sears, with more retailers popping up in headlines every day for closing stores. Experts have pointed out the reasons — online orders are rising, sales floor staff is dwindling and resulting in dissatisfied shoppers, and pricing is much more competitive.

Tapping Into Next-Gen Talent: How Retailers Can Engage Gen Z Hourly Employees

Look out Millennials — there’s a new generation of digital natives invading the workforce. Dubbed Generation Z, this post-Millennial cohort is the first of its kind to grow up surrounded by ever-evolving technology and possesses $44 billion in estimated buying power. Born just several years after the invention of the Internet, members of Generation Z can barely imagine life without smartphones and social networking. Like their Millennial counterparts, Generation Z brings their own set of characteristics and expectations into the workforce. While a Robert Half study found that Gen Z prefers face-to-face interactions over fully remote work arrangements, they also look for employers who embrace social media, digital connectivity and jobs that provide opportunities for career growth. This group also tends to be more fiscally conservative than Millennials, having grown up through the 2008 economic recession.

Retail’s Love/Hate Relationship with Consumer Data

Consumers: we all know they’re demanding when it comes to what they want, where they want it, and when. But what if retail companies could actually use global consumer data – encompassing varying tastes and behaviors down to the local level – and combine it with their own sales data to make accurate predictions and improve decisions? To date, the ability to act on insights remains a sought-after challenge in retail. In fact, a common theme at NRF’s Big Show this past January was that the retail world, as engaged in consumer data as ever, has yet to crack this code. But that’s beginning to change.

Ready, Set, Sell! Six Things A Retail CIO Should Know In 2017

The retail industry is competitive and, with so many purchasing options either online or in-store, customers have their pick of where to get the items that they want and need. This means the pressure is on for retail brands to offer the things their customers want while delivering the best customer experience. Meanwhile, retail CIOs are also feeling pressure to equip their teams with the best tools and technology needed to best serve their customers. It’s important for CIOs to continually plan for the year ahead and beyond. Here are six things that retail CIOs should know in 2017.

Why You Need To Change The Way You Deliver Training To Make Your Associates Smarter

Picture your best business day. Your retail operation is humming right along: customers are pouring in, eager and full of questions, and your associates are right there ready with answers. Shopping carts are full, and you can just feel the sales numbers surging. Your stores are running smooth as silk, welcoming for both customers and associates alike. It’s a pretty satisfying image. The question is, how do you get there? Most would immediately go to things like the right lighting, background music, attractive displays and well-stocked shelves.  But those are just table stakes in today’s competitive retail world.  The real answer is by investing in building the expertise of your retail associates. A workforce that’s engaged and knowledgeable will make smart decisions and be ambassadors for your organization’s brand. And they’ll become your secret weapon, if you give them what they need to be successful.
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