Industry Insights

If you’re looking for experts’ perspectives on the retail environment or a detailed look at the latest retail industry trends, check out the Retail TouchPoints Industry Insights section. Topics cover the gamut from Omnichannel and Mobile to Shopper Engagement and Retail CRM. These articles can help round out a complete look at specific retail segments or the industry as a whole.

Harry’s And Warby Parker Share Insights For Choosing The Best Cloud App

With the benefits of technology come a variety of challenges companies have to face to stay up to date. Cloud apps, for example, have come a long way from the days of traditional spreadsheets, and IT leaders must deploy tools that are available anytime, anywhere and on any device. These same leaders face increasing security concerns, as well. In a webinar hosted by BetterCloud, titled: Not All Clouds Are Created Equal: Choosing the Best Cloud App for Your Business, a panel of IT leaders sat down to share their experiences, challenges and best practices when looking for the best cloud app. The panelists included: Jason Etter, President, Profound Cloud Dave Jackson, Manager, Tech Services, Warby Parker; Colin McCarthy, Associate IT Director, North America, Essence Digital; and Matthew Anderson, IT Leader, Harry’s. Cloud Apps = More Streamlined Versions Of Traditional Spreadsheets The experts agreed that access to information on different devices, faster deployment and scalability were the most signifcant reasons to invest in cloud apps. “One trigger that made us look for a cloud app was when something as simple as a Google sheet didn’t work anymore,” said McCarthy. “Spreadsheets don’t send alerts or triggers when tasks are assigned. When we…

Top Stories Of 2016 Spotlight Out-Of-The-Box Engagement Strategies

2016 was a year of retail disruptors creating unique shopping experiences. Retailers stepped up their game this year by utilizing social media, tech-driven in-store shopping and personalization to stand out among competitors. They even dabbled in augmented reality, gamification and artificial intelligence thanks to the Pokémon Go craze — trends we’re sure to see more of in 2017.

3 Rules For Creating A Successful Niche Marketplace

We all know the big marketplace players: Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. But this list of superstars has the potential to change as more retailers discover the benefits a marketplace can have on their business. In fact, companies such as Crate&Barrel are putting their own unique spin on the concept, by offering a niche marketplace to further engage with customers. Niche marketplaces provide a variety of exclusive benefits that consumers may not get on Amazon, including: A carefully curated extended aisle of inventory they won’t find in stores; Access to an online experience similar to what they’d find in-store; and The ability to create a community of like-minded individuals to share product reviews. As many as 53% of consumers who shop online are already making purchases on marketplaces three or more times a month, according to a 2016 study from Forrester and Mirakl. Additionally, 27% have shopped on more than three different marketplaces, purchasing a variety of products, from apparel and books to electronics.
“We’re noticing a big push to niche marketplaces that have a very specific and unique value proposition, above and beyond huge marketplaces like Amazon and,” said Ben Zifkin, Founder and CEO of Hubba, a B2B…

How (And Why) 5 Retailers Paid It Forward This Holiday Season

The holiday season — especially the shopping — is in full swing, and with the craziness that Q4 always brings, it’s easy to lose sight of things that matter. The end of the year gives retailers the ability to give back to those who need it the most — which can turn even the coldest of hearts as warm as a cup of cocoa by a fire.

Pokémon, Smartphones And VR Ranked As Top Holiday Gifts In 2016

The results are in, and according to various holiday reports, the top products for the holiday 2016 season include smartphones, Pokémon games and virtual reality items. The Adobe Digital Insights Holiday Report, which analyzed social mentions between Aug. 1, 2016 and Oct. 11, 2016, revealed that the Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon games racked up more than 500,000 mentions on social, making it the most talked about holiday gift of the season. Adobe’s top 10 list of most talked about holiday products includes some old favorites as well as the latest technology, virtual reality (VR): Pokémon Sun/Moon Barbie Lego Oculus PlayStation VR Frozen Toys HTC Vive Hot Wheels Amazon Echo Google Home Along with the social mentions, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are already clocking sales, probably due to the popularity of the Pokémon Go participatory phenomenon earlier this year. “Knowing that Pokémon Sun and Moon were at the top of everyone’s wish lists, we wanted to see how the presales were doing versus the last time Pokémon released a game, which was the Omega Ruby and Sapphire games in 2014,” said Becky Tasker, Manager at Adobe Digital Insights, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “What we saw is that the…

Mobile To Top 50% Of Online Commerce Traffic This Holiday Season

More and more consumers will be visiting retailers’ web sites via their mobile devices this holiday season, according to new research from Adobe. Mobile will account for more than half (53%) of consumer visits, with desktops and laptops accounting for the rest, according to the ADI Holiday Report. The report also showed that the key days for mobile growth will be — to virtually no one's surprise — Thanksgiving, Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. “Cyber Monday has always been a shopping day for desktop, but the growth of mobile indicated that people are more comfortable browsing/shopping on mobile devices,” said Becky Tasker, Managing Analyst for Adobe DI, during a virtual press conference detailing the report's findings. While mobile will account for 53% of web site visits, it will only generate 34% of online sales. Desktop traffic may be shrinking, but conversion rates remain higher than those for mobile devices. Online Growth Continues To Accelerate Additionally, Adobe predicts that consumer online spending will be operating full force this holiday season. “We expect to see a 5% spike in online shopping in early November and a record 24% increase in the last two weeks of December,” said Mickey Mericle, VP of Marketing and Customer Insights…

Amazon Prime Day: Try To Beat 'Em Or Join 'Em But Don't Ignore 'Em

Ready or not: Amazon Prime Day is making its second annual appearance this month on July 12. Should you be worried? Not exactly. Should you be paying attention to it? Absolutely! Let’s face it, retailers are constantly thinking of ways to compete with the e-Commerce giant, and Amazon Prime Day is no exception. There are three options: Take the “If you can’t beat them, join them” approach by joining Amazon’s marketplace, especially if you’re a small business or seller; Promote your own sale, as retailers such as Walmart and are doing; or Do nothing at all. If you’re thinking of taking option three, think again.

Survey: 45% Of Shoppers Shun SMBs With Poorly Designed Web Sites

With more and more shoppers using digital channels to discover, interact with and rate real-world businesses, the value of a strong online presence is unquestioned. It's even more vital for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A recent survey by Vistaprint Digital Services spotlights just how important it is for SMBs to not only have an online presence, but to have a good looking one as well. The Digital Impact Report On Online Identity surveyed more than 2,000 people in the U.S. “We set out primarily to go one step beyond what we’ve historically done,” said Scott Bowen, VP and GM of Digital Services at VistaPrint. “This time we reached out to our customer’s customers, and tried to understand how they would view a small business’ online presence, to help inform how consumers are ultimately evaluating the SMBs as it relates to online marketing.” One of the key findings from the survey showed that having an online presence/web site, or some way to have people find the SMB on the web (for example via social media), is critical. More than one third (36.7%) of respondents said they discover small businesses for the first time online. This is “virtually the same” as…

#RIC16: 5 Tips To Maximize Cause Marketing Effectiveness

For many retailers, cause marketing has proven to enhance customer engagement and make an impact on the world at the same time. At the 2016 Retail Innovation Conference, held May 10-11 in New York City, retail executives from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Under The Canopy, Tom’s of Maine and Ace Hardware gathered to discuss how using retail for social good makes their companies stand out among their retail peers. The panelists included: Marci Zaroff, Founder of Under The Canopy; Bridget Burns, Social Media Strategist for Tom’s of Maine; Mary Holahan, Digital Marketing Manager for DICK’s Sporting Goods; Kane Calamari, President of the Ace Foundation; and Greg Buzek, President of IHL Services and co-founder, Retail Orphan Initiative (Moderator). The panelists had unique stories of how their companies leverage cause marketing, as well as the strategies and benefits of such programs. They provided five key takeaways designed to help maximize the impact of cause marketing initiatives. 1. The cause should somehow tie into your company’s ethos. Cause marketing initiatives have to be sincere in order to receive a positive response. Being a sporting goods retailer, DICK’s created a foundation called Sports Matter that ties in directly with the products the retailer sells. The…

#RIC16 Payment Disruption: Leverage Technology To Boost Customer Loyalty

Retailers have a right to be confused when it comes to payments. There are a host of new technologies with the potential to change the way shoppers complete their transactions: contactless payments via EMV chip cards; NFC payments through consumers' mobile devices; mobile wallets; plus Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Yet for the most part, consumers don't perceive the current payment infrastructure as "broken," a fact that is slowing adoption rates of these emerging technologies. Retailers want to be ready to catch whatever the popular payment wave will be, but they also don't want to bet on the wrong horse, or to get too far out ahead of their customers. Most of all, retailers want to remove whatever friction still exists in the payments process. Those constraints may actually present opportunities for retailers to use payments in new and innovative ways. 

#RIC16 Buzz: Top Tweets Capture Event's Excitement

The Twittersphere was buzzing during this year’s Retail Innovation Conference, May 10-11 at Apella in New York City. With so many valuable insights, witty and informed speakers, thought-provoking sessions and enlightening Innovation Labs, it’s no surprise that the #RIC16 hashtag was filled with great quotes and photos from inside the conference. If you couldn't be there in person, we’ve rounded up some of the top tweets from the event. Want to see more? Check out the #RIC16 hashtag on Twitter, and don’t forget to follow Retail TouchPoints (@RTouchPoints) and the Retail Innovation Conference (@RetailInnovate) for more insights into disruptive innovation in retail.

Verizon Data Breach Study: 5 Steps To Mitigate Risk

They say there is nothing new under the sun, and with respect to data breach incidents, the saying is mostly true. In fact, the most successful data breach methods from last year are still among the key methods being used this year. But there are several steps retailers can take to avoid data breaches, or at the very least mitigate their impact. Retail TouchPoints spoke to Chris Novak, Director of Investigative Response, Verizon Enterprise Solutions and author of the Verizon Data Breach Study, who revealed that a retailer's greatest asset is its employees. In fact, the simple act of communication with, and among, store associates about the appropriate response to a data breach can be what separates a retailer from the potential loss of millions of dollars — not to mention long-term damage to the company's reputation. It's also vital to close security gaps quickly once they are discovered, given that 90% of vulnerabilities exploited by criminals are at least one year old.
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