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.

Maximizing Revenue: Three Key Areas To Examine With A Shorter Holiday Shopping Season

The 2019 holiday season has been shortened by a full week, and retail marketers have likely been in planning mode for months strategizing ways to maximize opportunities and revenue in the minimized time frame. The conditions for this year’s holiday shopping season is chock-full of challenges: 1) An increasingly noisy marketplace, 2) Significant time constraints, 3) Ever-changing consumer preferences and behavior, and 4) The rising bar of expectations for seamless, personalized experiences. With the official kickoff to the season mere weeks away, marketers still have time to make important changes to their strategy and execute tactics that will make the most of the limited time they have in front of their customers. A recently released consumer trends report issued by Selligent Marketing Cloud points to how consumers are prioritizing experience, and provides retailers meaningful insights into how those experiences dictate both their spend as well as their perceptions of brands.

Mistakes That Could Be Tanking Your Omnichannel Retail Efforts

About 80% of consumers browse for product information while still inside a store. Brands that communicate instantly and intuitively through clear information have a better chance of making a sale. What’s more, the math really is simple — more channels lead to more streams of revenue from consumers who may be aware of the brand but have no way of buying from it. Wherever you look, every fact and statistic points to the benefits of implementing an omnichannel retail strategy. And yet, retailers big and small fail to do just that! Argos UK is a commonly cited example in this context. However, haven’t we all had experiences where we’ve received delivery feedback emails without the actual delivery having happened, or ended up trying to return the product, only to discover that we’d have to use the same route it came in through? Which is why it is important that we discuss some common, and not-so-common, omnichannel mistakes that you could be making. We also discuss some ways to correct them. Mistake #1: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) The premise of omnichannel retail has been widely misunderstood. Many retailers still believe that being present on all channels possible will result in…

Gearing Up For The Reverse Shift From Online To Physical Stores

While the tidal wave of e-Commerce continues to take over retail, it’s easy to overlook the churning rip currents of digitally based companies making the opposite move to brick-and-mortar from online retail. E-Commerce companies want and need those physical stores to meet the needs of customers so they can try on, touch and feel products before committing. Consumers still want immediate access to the goods, or a convenient way to return unwanted purchases.

Mind The Gap: The Pivotal Point Between Customer Acquisition And Retention

It’s a magical moment that often goes unrecognized: that pivotal point when a person who has never shopped with your brand before makes her first purchase. Whether she heard about you from a billboard, a social media post, a magazine mention or a TV ad, your customer acquisition plan has succeeded. Cue the celebration! Of course, the point in time when the cashier finalizes the sale and the new customer takes hold of her shopping bag also marks a handoff for retail marketers between customer acquisition and customer retention strategies. The focus shifts from acquiring the shopper to keeping the shopper coming back.

5 Things Retailers Can Do To Avoid Chargebacks

For decades, EDI has been the standard of how businesses exchange information, documents, and data — to this day it still remains a backbone for global business, but some would argue that it’s outdated, not easy to understand, and requires technical expertise (and they wouldn’t be entirely wrong). The biggest challenge is that most companies assume an "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it” approach, where they react to an issue when it happens but don’t think about how they can avoid it in the future — simply put, they’re not being proactive. This approach can be a costly one for today’s businesses and is especially true for retail, an industry that is making strides with new technologies. Yet something as mundane as EDI isn’t thought of as a technology that could significantly, positively impact their business — they’re looking at new, shiny technologies like IoT, AR and AI.

Conversational Commerce: Offering The Benefits Of In-Store Shopping Online

The retail landscape continues to shift in recent years as advancements in technology enhance the online shopping experience. The latest trend? Conversational commerce. Conversational commerce leverages human brand specialists, artificial intelligence chatbots and augmented reality (AR) to deliver a more simplified and personalized shopping experience for consumers through participating retailers’ online stores and social media platforms. This platform provides consumers with a seamless, on-demand shopping interface that allows them to engage with representatives, both live and virtual, to have their questions answered, preview products, garments and accessories in true 3D and complete the transaction all in one application.

How Brands Can Know If 3D Is Right For Them

In 2017, more than 1 trillion photos were captured, mostly on digital devices like smartphones. That’s up from 380 billion just five years before and a mere 57 billion in 1990. We’ve become increasingly visual and we’re only getting more so. For brands, this means two things: first, that product imaging is vitally important to communicating your offering with customers; and second, that image type and quality matter. A lot. Today, brands have more options than ever for creating high-quality visuals. I’ll examine how one of those options, interactive 3D, can fit into a retailer’s mix of product assets, offering insight on the benefits and drawbacks of 3D visuals and where they tend to perform best.

Why Recruitment Is Key To Your Digital Transformation

In previous years, a retailer with an IT team or bespoke software behind it would be seen as something of an oddity, unless they were a large High Street chain. Now, even small businesses are seeing the benefits that a digital platform can bring and are investing in solutions that can help drive success. From accounting to managing stock, many programs will offer a holistic way to control your business. Processes are streamlined, the entire organization runs more smoothly and, more importantly, cost effectively, as a result.

Drive Retail Impact This Holiday Season By Deriving Video Intelligence

How Retailers Can Prepare For The Holiday Season With Video Content Analytics Retailers adopting data-driven approaches to business operations and management seek ways to maximize existing processes based on intelligence — especially ahead of the holiday season, when increased demand and traffic requires heightened situational awareness, visitor engagement and experience personalization. Business intelligence and the enabling technologies that drive productivity and generate data are critical for everyday operations, but even more so for exceptional time periods such as the holidays, when the stakes for meeting customer expectations are higher. One such technology, video content analytics, empowers retailers to extract comprehensive intelligence from video surveillance footage. While retailers typically deploy video surveillance for security monitoring and post-event investigation, enhancing surveillance with video intelligence software grants merchants access to granular and valuable data, which can be leveraged in preparation for and throughout the holiday retail season.

The Real Truth: Why Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Fail!

Oh boy, just what we need, another opinion article on why brick-and-mortar retail stores are failing. But perhaps this time the article is written by an insider. An individual who was inside Circuit City as their Chief Marketing Officer and section 16 board member for 18 months (resigning a year before their Chapter 11 launch). By an individual who was previously SVP of Sales and Marketing as well as CMO for large brand manufacturers where he physically met inside the headquarters and operations of a multitude of major and minor retailers across our fruited plains. Yup, that’s me and as the proud yet humble author of Green Reign Leadership, a tome focused on making and taking markets through operational excellence, I am armed, scarred and fueled on the subject of ambient retail and manufacturing operational excellence. Across every touch point of retail from merchandising to supply chain to store execution to advertising and marketing to associate trainings, to e-Commerce I’ve seen it, I’ve done it, I’ve changed it and I also lived through the forlorn pain of not having the authority in many cases to fix it.

The Future Of Pricing In An Amazon World

With the increase of digitalization, the world changes more and more quickly, and pricing is a key battleground. And when I say that it changes more quickly, think in seconds or minutes, and millions of times a day. Amazon shifts product prices millions of times a day, an average product’s price can change every 10 minutes or so. With this pressure, retailers — both bricks and clicks — have been forced to jump into the deep end to compete with the help of pricing algorithms, dynamic pricing and other pricing solutions.  The ability to update your prices, logic and rules based on changing market conditions is a key competitive advantage now and going forward. This is prevalent in retail and e-Commerce and I am seeing it majorly affect traditionally B2B markets. I get to see the transformation and evolution of pricing across industries — retail and e-Commerce is a perfect use case in the pricing revolution. Having dynamic and competitive pricing capabilities as well as the flexibility for retailers to make changes without depending on their IT organization is key to agility. As Salesforce’s Marc Benioff said, “Speed is the new currency of business.” In addition to being fast and flexible, what direction is pricing going and what can we do about…

Amazon Search Growth Hacks

Search is the heart of Amazon. While some people use Today's Deals or Shop by Category to navigate the marketplace, the vast majority begin by typing something into the search bar. Amazon decides which products appear in these searches using a secretive combination of keyword relevancy, product detail page (PDP) quality and conversion rate, and the result of this calculus is the product's organic search rank. A good organic placement can be an elusive thing on Amazon. It takes time for a product to collect enough traffic and sales history to compete with long-established brands, so you can't rely on organic placement alone. To win in search, most brands leverage Amazon Advertising. Using paid placement not only drives visibility and conversion in the short term, it can boost organic placement in the long term by improving traffic and share of voice.

The Now Economy Is Booming. Is Your Supply Chain Ready?

It’s increasingly evident that the customer experience is driving the retail evolution and continuing to create new challenges for businesses across the globe. With consumer expectations at an all-time high, businesses are expected to know exactly who their customers are, what they want, and how to create a competitive experience that will rise above the rest. For instance, services like Amazon Prime, Uber and DoorDash are setting a precedent for immediate communication from merchants, and customers are growing accustomed to lightning-speed service as a result. Operating in what has now been dubbed the “Now Economy,” it’s clear that businesses, and their supply chains, must evolve from traditional practices and reach consumers in a fast and cost-effective manner. 

Relevance At Scale: The Foundation Of Growth For Beauty Brands

Today’s beauty consumers aren’t like those of old. They don’t just want to be sold a “product.” Instead, they now expect brands to understand them intimately — and to use that knowledge to go beyond traditional manufacturing and deliver services and experiences (and, yes, products too) that are entirely ‘right’ for each moment in their lives. They’re also looking for brands with authentic purpose — that stand for something more than just a commercial transaction. And they expect to be far more actively involved at all stages, creating, shaping and curating the products, services and experiences they themselves want to see.

5 Reasons Why Your Retail Business Needs A B2B Payment Solution

Nearly every business type has to deal with outside vendors and is accustomed to receiving monthly bills from them. This is particularly true within the retail industry. Yet when it comes to generating sales for their own businesses, many retailers only focus on consumers. In doing so, they are missing out on a huge revenue stream within the business-to-business (B2B) world — where the retailer functions as a vendor for other businesses and gets to be on the receiving end of those monthly payments rather than the giving end. The B2B possibilities for retailers are wide, varied and limited only by lack of imagination. Boutiques and clothing stores can sublet a section of their store for a specific brand or local beauty product supplier. Automotive parts stores can offer part delivery services to local auto repair shops. Grocery stores can play host to pop-up restaurants. The possibilities are nearly endless.
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