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Shopper Experience

Shopper Engagement delves into the latest trends and strategies retailers are using to cultivate long-term relationships with shoppers. Social media, mobile technology, in-store tablets and more are covered in this section. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Whole Foods Leverages Customer Data To Improve Merchandising

  • Published in News Briefs
Whole Foods Market has partnered with dunnhumby to help evolve its category management and merchandising through customer data and insights. By leveraging data-driven, customer-led insights, Whole Foods will be positioned to enhance the shopping experience by helping customers find the products, services, brands and flavors most relevant to their needs.
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Global Commerce, Mobile Initiatives Top E-Tail Challenges In 2017

In an exclusive pre-event Q&A with Retail TouchPoints, eTail Division Director Lori Hawthorne shares her insights on the top trends and technologies that retailers need to focus on in 2017. Sessions covering global commerce, mobile initiatives, Artificial Intelligence, supply chain challenges and more will top the ticket at the annual eTail West conference, Feb. 27-March 2, 2017 in Palm Springs.

Can Gap's Virtual Dressing Room App Reduce Returns?

Return rates as high as 30% to 40% have been a long-standing challenge for online apparel retailers. Gap's new DressingRoom app, which uses augmented reality (AR) to help shoppers see how its clothes will fit before they place an order, takes aim at the problem. Shoppers enter their height and weight into the app and select one of five body types, which displays a virtual 3D model to show how different items will fit. If shoppers see something they like, they can buy it from within the app.

Sunglass Hut Localizes In-Store Experience

  • Published in News Briefs
Sunglass Hut has enabled stores across Australia and New Zealand to localize and personalize merchandising, with the goal of creating shopping experiences that feel custom-tailored for each location. The retailer, which operates more than 2,700 locations worldwide, has implemented the One Door Merchandising Cloud application. The solution combines product and…
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Messaging Mavens: The Utility Of Chatbots Across Demographics

We've come a long way since the days of AIM and SmarterChild. The world of chatbots is emerging and fast-moving, with players as diverse as Sephora and StubHub. With the ability to exist outside apps, often leveraging texting and voice technology, chatbots have the environment to thrive and bring a sense of efficiency to consumer interactions. The promise of the “affordable butler” has arrived. Not only do bots streamline transactions, they allow brands to capture a breadth of consumer data while engaging with customers one-on-one. Unlike platforms like Snapchat and Kik, largely geared to a certain demographic, chatbots have vast — and valuable — applications to consumers of all ages.

Top Tips To Drive Targeted E-Commerce Traffic

The continued growth of e-Commerce has switched the roles of "supply" and "demand" within retail. Brands must now pursue consumers via every available digital touch point. Moreover, retailers need to drive a large audience, but also the right audience, to their sites. “The retail business model we lived with our entire lives and for generations before that assumed that the customers who represent demand would physically go to the store where supply was,” said Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner at RSR Research. “Now we live in a world where supply must go to demand. It’s exactly the opposite direction. It upsets the apple cart in virtually any operational aspect you care to discuss. So the question is, how can a retailer set up an environment where supply can go to demand?”

With $187 Billion At Stake, Don’t Neglect Employee Productivity Investments

If retailers aren’t already investing in employee productivity, they should start now. They could collectively be missing out on as much as $187 billion, according to research from Cisco. Just 6% of retailers’ investment priorities are focused on employee productivity use cases, such as checkout optimization, remote mobile experts, smart lockers, interactive kiosks and next-generation workers — despite the fact that Cisco estimates that these use cases deliver the greatest ROI for retailers.

Exclusive Interview: The Strategy Behind Zappos' Cross-Country Tour

Zappos made its name as an online-only footwear retailer, but its next steps will take the brand firmly into the physical world. The "Friends with Benefits Road Show" will finally allow Zappos' loyal customers — and hopefully some new converts — to see, touch and feel its products. A specially outfitted 40-foot shipping container will cross the U.S. throughout 2017, giving consumers the chance to enjoy local fashion displays, celeb-curated Zappos products, pet fashion shows and adoptions, local eateries and live music. The road show kicked off in Austin, Texas from Jan. 27-29; Nashville and Atlanta are on the schedule, with future destination announcements coming later.

Retail 2025: AI And Digital Natives Will Rule

As futuristic as the year 2025 sounds, it is now less than eight years away. Will time travel, flying cars and summer vacations to Mars be in the cards? Probably not, but drone delivery, chatbots and an AI-driven retail industry are near certainties. And the people driving these changes, the "digital native" generations, are quite open to disrupting, if not destroying, old retail practices. Sure, McKinsey predicts brick-and-mortar stores will still account for approximately 85% of U.S. retail sales in 2025, but will the shopper journey be the same as it is today? Not a chance. Two sessions at the 2017 NRF Big Show explored the exciting, and at times worrisome, not-too-distant future of retail. For those who are ready to greet the future’s potential triumphs and challenges, read on. For those who still believe the old school model of retail might be coming back, this is your chance to grab an old catalog and dream of days gone by.  The Upside To Being A Disruptor Let’s start off with some good news: by 2020, 30% of web browsing won't require a screen interface, (thanks to AI/natural language recognition-driven personal assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Siri), and cars will be…

12 Restaurant Brands Choose Cloud-Based Loyalty Platform

  • Published in News Briefs
What do restaurants including Smashburger, El Pollo Loco, Pieology and Veggie Grill all have in common? They are part of the dozen brands that selected Punchh, a cloud-based technology platform that builds engagement, loyalty and customized experiences in the restaurant industry, during Q4 2016. “Basic loyalty programs no longer work,”…
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All CIOs Want For 2017…Is Unified Commerce

November 25, 2016 lived up to its name for many retailers, signaling the start of holiday shopping and revenue generation. Unfortunately, for some unprepared retailers these results were disappointing. Black Friday, along with its digital cousin Cyber Monday, signaled the official launch to holiday commerce and kicked off a season to be jolly for those retailers with a robust technology infrastructure. But it was a Blue Holiday Season for those who did not sufficiently invest in the infrastructure and processes that lay the foundation for a true omni-channel shopping experience.

The Car As Commerce Platform: Retail’s Captive Audience Opportunity

The automobile business, like the retail industry, is undergoing huge disruption. In addition to changes in the cars themselves (electric engines, self-driving technologies), there are fundamental changes afoot in the relationship between the consumer and the automobile. In many ways, automakers are trying to ensure the car is as connected to a consumer’s life as her smartphone is. Automated driving, if and when it truly becomes mainstream, will enable human attention to focus on activities that don’t involve piloting a car to a destination. And there are some heavy hitters already getting into the mix: Ford is integrating Amazon's Alexa into its latest models to shop, search and control smart home features, and Audi is working with Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba and other Chinese tech giants to build integrated services within its autonomous cars.

47% Of CX Managers See Outdated Technology As Biggest Barrier

Although retailers are quick to emphasize technology’s importance in augmenting today’s customer experience, many brands are still having a tough time answering the call to deliver on those experiences. Nearly half (47%) of customer service managers rate outdated technology within their retail ecosystem as their toughest challenge in delivering great service, according to a survey from Ovum and BoldChat by LogMeIn. These customer service managers face additional major challenges, including: Limited budgets to invest in technology (43%); Lengthy internal processes (42%); Complex agent desktop tools (41%); Lack of multichannel options (40%); and Lack of understanding about customer behavior (40%).

Amazon Posts 55% Q4 Profit Rise Off Holiday 2016

Amazon had yet another lucrative holiday season, capping off 2016 with a 55% year-over year profit increase to $749 million in Q4. Adjusted earnings per share reached $1.54, well above an expected $1.35 per share, according to Thomson Reuters. While the e-Commerce giant’s net income surged, its revenues and total outlook actually missed estimates, causing Amazon's stock to drop 3.5% in after hours trading. Amazon hauled in sales of $43.7 billion, a 22% increase over Q4 2015, but Wall Street analysts had expected Amazon to report a 25% increase in Q4 sales to $44.7 billion.
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