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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.

The Impacts Of Global Expansion And Cross-Border E-Commerce

Global expansion into emerging markets allows U.S. entrepreneurs to bring net new dollars into the United States. With that increasing profitability is where you start to see investment opportunities for growing businesses in the U.S. This means tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs to increase the reach of their products and services. By increasing reach, entrepreneurs can expand beyond competition with established domestic brands in a vertical where all are competing for the same demographic.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mixed World

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was a groundbreaking film with a superstar cast, thrilling story and great comedy rolled into one. In fact, it was one of Hollywood’s first dramedies, bringing together the best of both comedies and drama to a single film. We’re now inundated with combined words like Wikipedia, Groupon, the cronut — all winning combinations born from creativity and ingenuity. But you don’t need the catchy title to get a great combination. Look at virtual reality, for instance. VR applications (and the related augmented reality apps) are growing more popular all the time. Consumers are increasingly calling out for unique and memorable experiences — like the Pokémon Go craze that generated $100M of revenue in just 20 days. And retailers are experimenting with these technologies to enhance their sales and marketing strategies. What they’ve created is one of those great hybrids, but it’s not a single word just yet — simply mixed reality.

6 Tips For Tackling Inventory Distortion

After any major holiday or sale, retailers start to gain a real sense for their overstock issues as returns start pouring in. Retailers also have to take a good look at inventory distortion, a problem that has cost retailers $1.1 trillion (that’s twelve zeros) globally, and it’s expected to increase tens of billions of dollars each year. Many retail strategists will tell you the issue is not “how to sell more?” Instead, it’s “how do we sell the inventory that we already have?”

Your Trip To The Mall Is Getting A Futuristic Makeover

Physical commerce isn’t going anywhere. The instant gratification and satisfaction that comes from search and discovery and interacting with goods and associates will always prevail over e-Commerce. The everyday shopping experience is changing, however, and retailers and mall owners that adapt to these changing preferences are the ones who will see continued success.    People like physical retail experiences because of the socialization that comes with real-time, real-life feedback, ostensibly impartial opinions on how something looks or works, and the unique impact a tactile relationship with a product can create (“so soft” comes to mind when shopping for clothing or even bedding). Additionally, there’s a reason that some immediate purchases, or even splurges, are called “retail therapy” — the experience of completing a purchase can be therapeutic in certain scenarios (replacing something that had a bad association in your mind, preparing for something you hope to come, etc.). Somehow clicking through on a web site doesn’t deliver that same satisfaction.

The Future Of The Corner Bank In The Cloud

In the most recent holiday season we witnessed the continued and painful decline of Main Street retail as consumers increasingly shop on their mobile devices. Retailers are deploying omnichannel strategies to mitigate lost sales in their stores and move their customers to more efficient and cost-effective cloud-based, mobile channels. Should the corner bank be concerned?

3 Retail Trends To Watch In 2017

Year after year, new trends help shape the retail industry. According to Worldpay’s 2016 Global Payments Report, more change is set to arrive in 2017 and beyond. Global payments company Worldpay compiled data on payment preferences and trends in 30 countries. Here’s a look at how three key trends from the report could shake up the retail industry for years to come. Shift To Mobile Slowly but surely, mobile wallets are on their way to becoming the world’s most common payment method. Although credit and debit cards accounted for more than 50% of the market in most countries in 2016, including the UK, U.S., Brazil and Hong Kong, the report predicts a decline in global usage by 2020. In fact, credit card usage rates could drop by as much as 4% while the use of debit cards is expected to fall by 1%.

Data Shows Most Retailers Lose Significant Sales Due To Weak Mobile Customer Experience Capabilities

The idea that all retailers must be able to sell to customers on their mobile phones first is not news. But, according to the world’s first Mobile Retail Report — a comprehensive study (conducted by my team at NewStore) of the mobile capabilities of more than 100 of the world’s top luxury, lifestyle, and fashion retail brands — data shows many brands are stuck in the stone age when it comes to providing customers with the fully integrated mobile capabilities that all retailers need, in order to capitalize on compelling (and expensive) in-store experiences and drive a significant increase in sales. In drawing these conclusions, researchers did way more than simply study a few variables. In fact, they conducted real-time research by using their own mobile devices. They bought and returned items online and offline. They performed extensive analyses of web apps and native apps across hundreds of variables. And they got a first-hand look at mobile technology capabilities of 112 of the most well-known retail stores in New York City and Boston.

The World Is (Still) Flat: The Rise Of The Global Customer

In 2005, Thomas Friedman told us that the world was flat. A New York Times columnist covering globalization and technology, Friedman presented the idea that advancements in technology — 24/7/365 information access, the ability to communicate globally in real time, etc.— had effectively leveled the playing field to allow for a truly global business ecosystem.  A little over 10 years later, omnichannel has heralded in a new age of global commerce possibilities. However, international expansion is not just icing on the cake of an organization’s existing domestic business. To be successful as a truly global enterprise, expanding into new borders must be done strategically.

Uncovering E-Commerce Best Practices: 3 Predictions For Success

Planning and executing an e-Commerce strategy always feels a little like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Using data from a particularly busy shopping season, like holiday 2016, which saw $7B in sales over Cyber Weekend, retailers can take some of the guesswork out of their strategy and execution. After reviewing the habits of online shoppers during that period, we saw three major trends that have proved to be markers for success this year. Let’s start with the punch line: retailers that invested in leveraging extended or enriched product attributes stood to gain about 7%, and as high as 15%-20%, of additional gross margin during the holiday shopping season. Retailers that enabled their shoppers with rich product attribution (such as details regarding product features, benefits to using the product, formal or informal attributes, or ways to use the product) saw significant performance lifts in comparison to those that relied on standard attributes (such as price, color or size).

The Most Impactful Technologies Coming To Retail

You could say that many if not most of the important retail technology innovations introduced over the last couple of decades have been around “stuff.” The supply chain has been focused on building new capabilities that can quickly and efficiently move goods to stores, run lean inventories and cut operating costs. This has helped retailers become more cost-effective in serving their customers. The collection and analysis of data has been critical to these initiatives, as retailers have migrated from old paper-based planning and execution systems to more accurate and efficient digital systems. But it was still all about stuff. Retailing has now shifted its focus to people, to the consumers themselves or, as we at JDA like to say, “the New Boss.” And with this new focus on people, data science and machine learning are poised to help take retail to new levels of efficiency, profitability and customer satisfaction. JDA Labs has been leading the development of these innovations and I’d like to share with you a little bit about what we’ve been working on.

The Dreaded Return: Are Retailers Missing A Big Opportunity?

Haley Sayres, a San Francisco-based technology analyst, is the prototypical modern-day shopper. She researches purchases online, visits stores to check quality, and uses her mobile phone to compare prices and try to convince sales associates to price match. If an associate won’t negotiate, she’ll go elsewhere or buy online. One thing that isn’t negotiable for Sayres is the returns process. “I’ll actually buy more if I know there’s an easy and painless returns process,” she says. “Knowing that I can return something easily, whether online or in the store, gives me the confidence to make that initial big purchase.” Sayres points to her experience with online retailers Shopbop, Revolve, and Zappos: “They make it easy — and free — to make returns, so I shop with them frequently, even though they don’t have a physical store.”

Four Payment Tech Predictions For 2017

The world of payments is about to change dramatically in 2017, shaped in large part by shifting consumer buying habits and the evolving retail landscape. It’s going to be an exciting year, with the expected rise of Apple Pay, the evolution of the omnichannel experience and the introduction of transformative checkout-free experiences like Amazon Go. For all players in the payments world — as well as consumers — 2017 will bring more innovation than ever before. These are my top four payments predictions:

Consistent And Reliable Application Performance Powers The Personalized In-Store Experience

Envision this: When you walk into your favorite store, an associate, holding a tablet, greets you by name and, with your approval, instantly accesses your entire purchase history on their screen. To complement your recent espresso machine purchase, her tablet app pulls up the store’s line of specialty coffees, with suggestions for other supplementary products based on other customers’ recent purchases. Taking her guidance, you look at some recommendations on her tablet, which quickly flips through multiple coffee products. You remember a recent restaurant visit where you experienced a new favorite flavor, and using the voice assistant on your smartphone, you ask it to remind you what you had ordered.

Influencers Accelerate U.S. E-Commerce Sales In China

For efficient brand impact in China’s massive retail market, more U.S. retailers are turning to key opinion leaders (KOLs) to influence Chinese consumers’ online purchases. Fung Global Retail & Tech expects the emergence of KOLs as ‘cewebrities’ — popular online personalities — will continue to propel the growth of cross-border e-Commerce for foreign retailers. Why are U.S. retailers expanding into China?

Hey Big Spenders: How Brands Can Attract The Customers Prepared to Spend the Most

Demographic data has been the cornerstone of retail marketing for decades, but in order to increase advertising effectiveness and drive revenue, retailers have to consider the behavior of their consumers to drive their marketing strategies. The most successful marketers are able to identify far more nuanced customer attributes or trends to inform their external marketing strategies. Targeting consumers based on basic information such as age, gender or even income is not a powerful enough tactic to increase advertising effectiveness or drive revenue. Beyond demographic targeting, there are many more characteristics that are behavioral and psychographic, which can only be identified via first party data. This is particularly necessary when it comes to reaching out to a retailer’s biggest spenders.
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