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 Retail Tech And Talent Growth Crunch

1Darren Hill WeblincFinding 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.


5 Brand Activation Tips For Retailers To Cross The Digital-Experiential Divide

1Luis Camano GrupoGallegosIn order to drive consumer actions in the moment, it is essential that brands pay attention to where consumers have been on their journey and where they’re going next, be it online or to the mall, and find creative ways to engage.

To quote Amanda Hansen’s article in Ad Age: “Brand activation that resonates with customers and achieves results calls for strategic planning that starts with ‘why.’ Why will your target audiences care? Why would they engage? Then focus on the how.”


10 Best Practices To Build A Successful Marketplace

1Adrien Nussenbaum MiraklRecently, Best Buy USA abruptly announced that it was closing its marketplace after five years of operation. This decision comes amid exceptional growth in marketplaces around the world: they now account for 37% of overall online transactions.

Successfully launching and operating a marketplace cannot be achieved without planning, strong strategic vision, and commitment. Below are ten best practices you should absolutely consider when launching a marketplace.


Multi-Screening: Increase Your Impact Through Social Media

1VP MattRogers ImageAs a marketer who utilizes multiple channels both online and offline, tracking the impact and effectiveness of campaigns is core to providing essential insight into how to optimize and improve marketing efforts so that the spend can go further and deliver a greater return on investment (ROI).

We should be aware that there are different expectation of campaigns: from building a community to driving brand awareness, to the one which is closest to the heart of many MDs — the bottom line. One tricky aspect which I’ve witnessed through offline marketing is tracking the ROI in a digital environment. This is in part down to the disconnect between offline medias and the online world.


Sometimes You Just Need a Little “Push”

1VP ShoffstallMarketers and retailers are under nearly constant pressure to cut through the noise of every other retailer trying to sell their product to the right customer, at the right place, at the right time. But how do you know what will make a customer click “buy”? When is the best time to catch them?

According to a recent report from Onestop Internet, 25% of consumers said receiving relevant push notifications on their smartphones "always" makes them more likely to complete a purchase, and an additional 49% of respondents answered "sometimes."


Why Cash-Back Rewards Aren't Just For Credit Card Companies Anymore

1VP Pin4Loyalty programs are gaining steam as retailers of all sizes look to attract new customers and build relationships over the long term. From the simple coffee shop stamp and earning points toward free travel, to cashing in a rebate check toward a new smartphone and earning cash back, loyalty programs are being credited for everything from strengthening brand awareness to driving sales.

According to Loyalty 360, 83% of consumers participate in at least one loyalty program and 13% participate in more than five. And loyalty is becoming even more important with younger generations. Bond’s 2014 Loyalty Report notes that 68% of Millennials wouldn’t show allegiance to a brand that didn’t offer a strong loyalty program.


Cutting Through The Clutter With LED Digital Signage

1nanolumensToday’s world is truly a digital world, and with the onslaught of social media, online purchasing and mobile apps, consumers are being bombarded by marketing messages more than ever before. It is estimated that the average consumer is bombarded with nearly 3,000 marketing messages per day! It’s no wonder that it can be difficult for any retailer to break through the clutter and communicate effectively with a customer.

And while the dawn of the digital era had many so-called experts decrying the demise of the brick-and-mortar store about a decade ago, nothing could be further from the truth. A study by A.T. Kearney finds that 90% of all retail sales occur in physical store locations, and 95% of retail sales overall go through businesses that maintain a brick-and-mortar presence.


How To Add Simplified Revenue Opportunities During Checkout

1assurantHow simple is your checkout process for customers? Is it an arduous task for shoppers, or perhaps the opposite, with everything handled on a single page? This is an important strategy that can’t be overlooked, because a complicated checkout process could mean lost business.

In fact, a recent study conducted by UPS found that 20% of shoppers left a purchase in their cart because the checkout process was too confusing. Before e-retailers take this statement to heart and strip down the entire e-checkout process for simplicity, consider what’s at stake. The shopping cart checkout process must strike a balance between simplicity and opportunity to increase the average order value (AOV).


How IoT And Big Data Unite To Make Customer Service Smarter

1insightlyWe’ve all seen the commercials highlighting how the Internet of Things (IOT) has already changed the way we live our daily lives. If you leave your garage door open, a smartphone lets you close it with just a few taps. If you’re lost heading to a friend’s house, he can send the address to your car’s GPS. It’s amazing how we can benefit from the growing ubiquity of IoT. As a retailer, though, how exactly can you take advantage of this technology to improve the way you serve customers?

The answer touches a number of key areas. However, the most significant aspect may be IoT’s ability to make your customer service teams more proactive. With IoT and the data generated and shared from the products your customers use, your business can develop a more complete understanding of your existing customers, to serve and understand them more effectively. This allows retailers to stop reacting to customer issues and instead learn to anticipate their needs before they arise.


Three Ways To Use CRM Data To Drive Media Effectiveness

1merkleProgrammatic media spending grew more than 29% last year and social media grew more than 50%, according to eMarketer. This rapid growth is expected to continue for the next five years until the next revolutionary platform/channel is developed by marketers. What's most interesting about these two channels is that they are reminiscent of the early days of paid search. They rely on media bids in an automated buying platform; they are generating immense reach; they utilize a new form of ad unit and they provide new forms of targeting.  

The focus is that these new forms of targeting are augmented and enabled by first- and third-party data. In fact, if you think of the Internet marketing evolution in terms of different eras, you would argue that we are currently in the people-based marketing era. This is defined by the decoupling of data and media to enable targeting using first-party data, which has been the bread and butter of direct marketing for 30 years.


Localization Advice For Global Retailers

1PatrickEveAmbitious U.S. and European retailers can no longer rely on domestic sales to fuel the high levels of growth demanded by their shareholders. And with an increasing number of wealthy and middle-class consumers in emerging markets demanding high-quality Western goods, international expansion is now the most important element of many retailers’ growth strategies.

But expanding your business into new markets and selling products internationally presents huge challenges. Not only are there major language barriers but you also need to consider local law, currencies and conversion rates, the logistics of delivery, returns, and the culture, preferences and behavior of local consumers.


Long-Term Measurement In Personalized Marketing

1enmosIt’s no secret that a well-designed direct marketing program can generate significant value for a mass market retailer. However, while most retail chains now execute countless personalized marketing campaigns across multiple channels each year, relatively few precisely understand the ROI of their communication efforts.

When asked about the value of their personalized marketing program, most marketers will cite campaign metrics such as redemption (percent of customers who redeemed a given offer), participation (percent of customers that redeemed at least one offer within a given campaign), and incrementality (number of trips, spend, etc. by customers included in a campaign vs. those who were not).


10 Ways Retailers Can Out-Amazon Amazon

1newstoreWhen people are asked to identify the undisputed king of online retail, one name quickly springs to mind: Amazon. Although China’s Alibaba is technically bigger, Amazon rules as the global influencer of consumers and manufacturers alike. Its sales volume, pricing and delivery all seem to make all other retailers, both online and bricks-and-mortar, pale in comparison.

It may seem that little can easily be done to compete against such a goliath. But in fact there are downsides to being the biggest player in the game, and these can be exploited. There are many techniques that smaller retailers can use to win back market share and thrive. This is not done by going head-to-head with Amazon on price, but by capitalizing on agility to deliver services that attract customers with more than just low price alone. The solution comes down to one word: mobile.


Multicultural Touch Points: A Lesson In Understanding, Communication And Data Science

1 Cesar Melgoza GeoscapeAs retail marketers, we tend to think about touch points in terms of hitting the right audience at the right time. However, there are underlying components that make up an audience that many in retail overlook — especially when it comes to emerging demographic differences within the U.S. population.

Specifically, America’s Hispanic and Asian populations are the country’s most powerful retail buyers. Cumulative lifetime spending of Asian Americans and Hispanics increased by 44% and 17%, respectively, from 2013 to 2014. This is caused by these groups growing gradually younger, living longer, and spending more money because they have larger households. If marketers are not developing custom touch points for these groups, then they are essentially throwing potential profit and lucrative long-term customer relationships away.


How Mobile Is Reshaping the Entire Shopping Experience

1 Jeff Huckaby TableauA data explosion has already been reshaping the retail industry as companies bring together point-of-sale data, web site traffic, marketing numbers, transactional data and more. But analyzing all this information is just one part of the technological transformation taking place in the world of shopping. The mobile mega-trend is impacting both consumers and retailers in a big way, and it’s happening in stores and out of them — especially when mobility and analytics collide.

As both sides of the shopping equation move towards a more real-time, mobile experience, expect them to fuel one another. Put another way, the move to mobile is really just getting started.

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