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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.

How Virtual Reality Is Transforming The Retail Industry

In a world where physical and virtual environments are rapidly converging, industries are looking to find an effective touch point for marketing products to consumers. It is becoming increasingly necessary for retailers to provide customers with experience-based platforms that spark e-Commerce conversion rates. Virtual Reality And Branding

Why Conversational Commerce Is The Biggest Transformation In Retail

The physical retail shopping experience has remained pretty consistent over the past few decades, other than cosmetic changes to store layouts and signage. Some argue that the experience has actually declined since department stores and category killers have dominated foot traffic, and products like electronics and appliances have gotten more complex. Finding a store associate — and one who is knowledgeable — is consistently among the top dissatisfiers of retail shoppers. Meanwhile, online shopping has readily adopted new technologies and shopping aids, such as reviews, recommendations, site navigation, fast checkout and more. Moreover, online retailers can easily gather highly detailed data on customer preferences and behavior throughout their shopping journey, providing them with better opportunities for loyalty programs, cross-selling and upselling and retargeting.

Retailers Increasingly Embrace Online Loyalty Programs — For Good Reasons

Amazon’s dominance in the online retail world has had serious consequences for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Due in part to the “Amazon Effect,” a variety of brand-name stores, from Macy’s and Kohl’s to Nordstrom and more, have seen their in-store traffic drop significantly. With Amazon Prime’s membership base projected to comprise half of all U.S. households by the end of 2016, legacy retailers — indeed, all retailers — need to take steps to keep and expand their audiences, which is why many of them are offering e-Commerce loyalty programs of their own. Prime, of course, is the current gold standard for such programs. After launching in 2005 with just one benefit — free 2-day shipping on millions of Amazon-sold items — Prime added a Kindle lending library and online streaming video in 2011, which substantially accelerated its membership growth. Since then, it’s continued to add benefits and services such as online streaming music, Prime Now same-day deliveries, and more. This expansion has helped Prime achieve a 33% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in enrollments from January 2013 through August 2016. As a result, Amazon now has an enviable base of highly engaged shoppers:

Five Reasons Why Pokémon GO Is AR’s Killer App

Pokémon GO is taking the world by storm, helping children and adults alike capture or recapture the experience of becoming a Pokémon master. From a technology standpoint, Pokémon GO is the first example of a basic version of augmented reality (AR) being used in a technological setting to popular success. Just as electric cars existed long before the Tesla, so did AR before Pokémon GO, but not to this level of mainstream success. This is because unlike other AR products or apps of the past, Pokémon has a real cultural application. In fact, the success of Pokémon GO definitively proves that AR is easily adoptable by a mass audience and is here to stay. In terms of taking AR mainstream, what does Pokémon GO have that makes it AR’s killer app? Here are a few reasons why, and how brands can leverage them.

Align With Relevant Content To Break Through The Holiday Clutter

The classic challenge of brand advertising is to reach audiences at scale, when they’re paying attention. The stakes are always high but the game gets much more intense every year around the holidays as more brands compete for a dwindling share of audience attention. Your marketing can gain an edge by tapping into the power of real-time conversation data to zero in on what consumers care about most in the moment, even during the hectic holiday season. Of course, not every advertiser has an always-on social media war room stocked with the talent and tools to do this. Even for those that do, manually aligning advertising campaigns with real-time conversations is difficult to scale and sustain. Enter innovation. Specifically trend-based advertising.

Retail Mobile Marketing Trends Revealed At Macy’s Fireside Chat

In the last year, the use of mobile retail apps grew an astounding 81%. This upward trend has drawn significant attention from retailers that use apps to increase engagement, drive growth and build customer loyalty. Although the mobile marketplace is rich with opportunities, uncertainty still remains. The culprit for the underlying doubt is the constant change in mobile trends within the retail industry. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. New features quickly become outdated.

Last Brick Attribution: Linking Every In-Store Sale to a Click

Somewhere around the turn of the 20th century, marketing pioneer John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia-area merchant, observed, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” For today’s brick-and-mortar retailers, this problem hasn’t changed much; in fact, it’s only been amplified by the advent of the Internet and e-Commerce. To truly compete, today’s retailers and offline sellers need to know that their ad dollars are making an impact and leading to in-store purchases.

Does Your Business Have What It Takes To Weather Any Storm?

Preparing for extreme weather requires more than just buying insurance. It means making sure your business stays up and running the best it can, even when it’s facing an emergency. Unfortunately, too many business owners or executives fail to take the necessary precautions and are forced to deal with extensive damages without having lined up appropriate resources ahead of time. Most executives have a general idea of what “being prepared” looks like, but they don’t typically have the firsthand experience of weathering a storm. Others know the drill, but because it happened so long ago, the memory of it has faded and doesn’t seem so bad today.

Why Do Your Job When Influencers Can Do Your Job For You?

Influencers have become a major source of advocacy for brands. Sure, television, radio and print continue to be tried-and-true vehicles for promotion, but social media platforms and digital influencers mean that there really are no limits to the number of consumers a brand can reach out to. Word-Of-Mouth Marketers Are Key Influencers

Feeding The Beast: How Fulfillment Costs Are Impacting The Bottom Line And Physical Stores

Influencing Shopping Habits Fast and free returns have driven explosive growth in e-Commerce with the promise of unlimited convenience and no-hassle shopping for today’s consumer. Just order everything you could possibly want and return any and everything you don’t, no questions asked. This unbridled flexibility mixed with a flourish of technology keeps customers on their couches and out of stores. In this brave new shopping world, Amazon especially has become the juggernaut, casting a long shadow over retailers across the spectrum. Too Much Of A Good Thing? Retail today is approaching yet another crossroads, where ultimately even Amazon must look at the rising fulfillment costs and shrinking margins of their e-Commerce business model. The e-Commerce giant reported rocky Q3 2016 earnings, largely driven by increasing fulfillment costs that haven’t been offset by purchases.

What Story Does Your Packaging Tell?

In today’s retail environment, in which consumer demands and e-Commerce volumes continue to grow, the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” just doesn’t apply. That’s because consumers care way more than you might think about packaging. In fact, nearly seven in 10 (68%) of Americans say they are more conscious of packaging design today than they were five years ago.1

Moments That Matter: Leveraging Earned Content In Retail

The relationship between brands and consumers is more complex than ever, with shoppers expecting their favorite brands to engage them authentically and relatably. With global retail e-Commerce sales projected to reach $3.02 trillion by 2018, there is considerable pressure for companies to better connect with consumers and establish strong brand loyalty. Faced with multiple channels of engagement, brands are struggling to generate the rising volume of high-quality content necessary to reach and convert consumers. Increasingly, brands across industries are turning to user-generated, or “earned” content as a powerful solution. With over 500 million users now on Instagram alone, posting a whopping 95 million photos and videos daily, the wealth of available earned content is staggering — but tapping into this resource can be easier said than done.

Intention Deficit Disorder: Don’t Lose Customers Between Intent And Conversion

As she opens the bags that her grocery store just delivered, Sarah realizes that, once again, she forgot to buy that new mayonnaise made with olive oil. She’s been seeing the ads again and again, and her best friend even posted a delicious looking recipe using the mayonnaise on her Instagram. Despite her strong intent to try this interesting product when it pops up, she keeps forgetting to add it to her online cart. That’s frustrating; but she’s not going to place a special order just to buy it. This is annoying to Sarah, but it’s an even bigger problem for the product manufacturer and grocer because it represents a lost sale for both of them. Think about all the time, money and energy expended marketing the product — and it worked, because Sarah really wants it! But it’s all for nothing if she keeps forgetting to buy it. This scenario plays out every day, all over the world, because there are so many distractions and things on people’s minds.
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