Did Retailers Overcome Their Greatest Challenges In 2015?

Debbie head shotIs your organization now truly channel-agnostic? Does data security continue to keep you up at night? Are you having more personalized conversations with individual shoppers?

These are just a few of the challenges outlined by 13 top industry experts in the Retail TouchPoints 2015 Outlook Guide, published back in January. Before we put our blinders on and head into 2016, let’s revisit those challenges and see how far we’ve come.

Omnichannel Is A Foregone Conclusion, But Is It In Practice?

Whether they like the term or not, most retail executives now acknowledge the reality and importance of omnichannel, but many continue to struggle with delivering on the promise. Part of the problem could be internal resistance to change; or that budgets could be targeted more to keeping the lights on vs. new initiatives. But those that have embraced omnichannel are reaping the results: In our 2015 Omnichannel Survey Report, we found that 53% of retailers are enjoying improved customer loyalty from omnichannel initiatives.


Is EMV Creating A More Secure Payment Environment?

With the October 2015 EMV deadline now passed, do retailers and consumers feel more secure about the security of personal data? Of course, it’s not that simple. Retailers really need to have the trifecta of security in place — EMV, tokenization and end-to-end encryption — to have the most secure environment. Some retailers have implemented EMV-compatible POS, especially larger companies with higher average basket sizes, which are at the greatest risk for breaches. But many merchants still struggle to comprehend the reasoning and requirements behind payment security initiatives. I’m sure we can all relate to the fact that we now own cards with chips, but most retailers are not ready to accept them, or they don’t know how.

Do We Have The Technologies In Place To Deliver Personalized Communications?

And which customer engagement technologies do we need? Are beacons the answer? What about our mobile app? It’s been interesting to watch the different implementations of beacon technology and the struggle among solution providers to offer just the right solution. As recently as August 2015, Target began to test beacons in stores. In this area it’s going to be a wait-and-see process to find out which technologies will win out in the personalization game, but the retailers that are willing to test and learn will likely move ahead more quickly.

Who’s Getting It Right?

The answer to that question is complicated. With the ability to be agile and take risks, many entrepreneurial businesses and smaller start-ups have tried their luck with the latest technologies and marketing strategies, with varied success. We’ve covered many during the year, including Adore Me, Urban Decay, Generation Tux, Merz Apothecary, M Chocolat and many others that you may or may not have heard of. We also honored individual executives who are retail innovators, from companies of all sizes during the annual Retail Innovator Awards, part of the Retail Innovation Conference.

It’s important to watch these innovative companies and learn from these innovative executives, but more importantly, to know who your own target customers are and what makes them tick before diving into any new strategies.

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