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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.

These Consumer Trends Are Shining A Spotlight On Premium Loyalty

In this Age of the Customer, consumers seemingly have limitless options at their fingertips. Limitless options have created heightened expectations, which make it more difficult than ever for retailers to earn and retain customer loyalty. In fact, the 2019 Premium Loyalty Data Study says that nearly 70% of consumers agree that their loyalty is more difficult for a retailer to maintain than ever before.

A New Head For Headless Commerce

Building custom front-end digital experiences in today’s retail environment is the stuff from which nightmares are made. That’s what a director of e-Commerce for a multi-brand company told me recently when we met to discuss his new headless architecture. The idea of building out a brand new, custom front end for one brand was daunting enough, he said. But keeping digital experiences in sync for several brands and markets while implementing multiple other new platforms — all with a medium-sized tech team that has a million different priorities? “That’s just insane,” he said.

Reaching The Right Digital Marketing Mix In The Age Of Amazon

The State Of The Industry It’s no secret that Amazon has made advertising one of its biggest focuses in 2019 and beyond. The marketplace is on track to snag 50% of the e-Commerce market share by 2021 and estimated to reach $520B in ad spend by 2023. Amazon’s new one-day Prime shipping and ongoing disruption of the digital retail space has influenced customer and industry expectations alike. As today’s shopper seeks a more convenient, cost-effective retail experience, smart brands will respond in kind.

2020 Predictions: 4 Potential Trends To Watch For In Fashion E-Commerce

With annual consumption in emerging markets nearing $30 trillion by 2025, the next five years will see the largest market growth in history, giving e-Commerce companies more opportunity to grow exponentially than ever before. The fashion industry, which is currently the fastest growing retail segment in the e-Commerce market, is sure to be at the forefront of this historic growth. That is, as long as fashion companies seize the opportunity and continue to meet the ever-changing demands of modern consumers. Here are four trends in fashion e-Commerce that retailers can embrace in order to innovate in the coming year.

Securing Customer Loyalty Programs With Blockchain For Retail

In today’s on-demand retail market, customer loyalty is a highly prized commodity that is hotly sought after and easily lost. With increasingly aggressive competition between retailers — and a variety of interaction models available (mobile, web site, app, in-store) — just one mediocre customer experience can result in brand abandonment. An effective loyalty program is an important component of not just retaining and rewarding customers, but keeping the brand top-of-mind and relevant.

Mastering Omnichannel Buying Journeys With Predictive Analytics

To compete with Amazon, Walmart has invested heavily in automation. Just recently, the company recruited a fleet of autonomous floor scrubbers and more than doubled the number of conveyor belts in its shipping processes. But automating operations is unlikely to give Walmart stores a significant leg up on Amazon. Although increasing efficiency and reducing costs have a place in retail, those strategies do little to encourage customer engagement and loyalty.

Apparel Retailers Need A Recommerce Solution: Here’s Why

Secondhand clothing is the new black. Driven by sites like Poshmark, thredUP and The RealReal, the apparel resale market is outpacing the primary one and becoming the go-to fashion staple for socially conscious Millennials and Gen Z: around 30% will participate in resale or rental transactions this year, and that will go up to 50% in 2020. What’s more, these two generations are likely to spend more money with their favorite retailers if those retailers sell secondhand apparel or have an environmentally conscious way of dealing with returned and excess stock (score one for the environment!). This clear shift in consumer behavior is putting pressure on retailers to have sustainable business practices and implement better solutions for their returned and excess merchandise. A recommerce solution is the way to go.

How Nanotech Can Transform The E-Commerce Industry

More and more consumers are skipping trips to the shopping mall in favor of the convenience of e-Commerce. Accounting for 14.3% of total retail sales in 2018 compared to just 5.3% in 2008, online shopping has grown more popular with each passing year. But if package theft and counterfeiting aren’t addressed, continued growth may not be in the cards.

Personalization: Why It’s Important And Problematic For The Digital Experience

Companies devote a lot of time and effort to developing recognizable online personas and messaging, but the strategy for converting audiences into customers starts with their web experience. Being able to deliver a personalized experience with rich content and advanced functionality that brings unique value to each visitor has the potential to help you gain and keep a customer for life. In fact, Gartner reports that 81% of executives believe that they’ll compete on experience alone in the future. A great user experience isn’t the only benefit of dynamic, personalized web sites. Research shows that personalization does more than create a great user experience. Companies that are personalizing their web experiences see, on average, a 19% lift in sales and nearly all marketers (96%) feel that personalization helps advance customer relationships. In addition, when a consumer has a personalized shopping experience, they are 44% more likely to become repeat buyers.

How To Prevent Online Returns From Wreaking Havoc On E-Commerce

Among the many ways Amazon has changed the rules of the game for retail is the way it’s shifted consumer expectations about returns. For the nation’s 100 million Prime members (and remember, the U.S. has only 128 million households) returns are free unless otherwise noted. Retailers that want to compete with the Everything Store feel pressured to offer something similarly enticing — but doing it wrong can wreck a company’s bottom line.

How Experiential Retail Can Rescue Struggling U.S. Retailers

There have already been nearly 5,000 retail store closings in the U.S. in 2019, including Gap, Tesla, Victoria’s Secret and the discount chain Fred’s, according to some recent reports. CNBC stated that as store closures accelerate, the total may top 12,000 in 2019, and gave the shock announcement that after Barneys had filed for bankruptcy, the retailer has until Oct. 24 to find a buyer or face liquidation. What is happening and what can redeem retail?

Self-Service Technology: Best Practices Or Bust

Please place your items in the bagging area. We’ve all heard that automated voice at the self-service checkout station before. These self-service technologies (SST) allow customers to complete services independent of direct service employees. As this technology progresses and is adopted in more industries and locations, it’s important to examine how companies can utilize these technologies for maximum return.

Omnichannel Returns Are No Longer Optional

As online sellers find themselves deluged with returns, it’s understandable that, because of the resultant logistics burden, the prevailing perception of the situation would trend toward the negative. The truth, however, is that returns are neither a necessary evil nor indication of customer dissatisfaction. They are a critical element of a new online sales cycle that is seeing shoppers employing a “buy and try” approach to acquiring the products they want and expecting sellers to fully enable their behavior. And while there’s no changing shoppers, what sellers can do — now — is shape their supply chain to optimize the customer experience and maximize buyer satisfaction.

Last Mile Logistics In The Age Of E-Commerce

As businesses evolve and grow their online presence, the shopping habits of their customers have also changed. Consumers today are presented with more options to make a purchase, such as one-click ordering and same-day delivery that make the process of shopping online easier than ever. However, the demand that comes with faster shipping and the ease of e-Commerce is proving to be challenging for the supply chain. Current systems that are in place are being put to the test — most of which were in place prior to the e-Commerce boom. The solution to fulfilling customer needs in the age of e-Commerce is modernizing the last mile strategy.

How To Survive The Amazon Purge

In a move called out as “abrupt” or “a rude surprise,” Amazon recently stopped buying from many of its smaller 1P (first-party) wholesalers*. Whether it was an attempt to eliminate counterfeiters or a move away from being a buyer, seller and owner of inventory, Amazon delivered a clear message to brands: you will only thrive when you diversify your channels. So how do you recoup lost cash flow with this news? By evolving your brand into something new — and hopefully even more successful than what it was before. Consider the questions below in order to rethink who your customers are, how best to serve them and how to anticipate the ripple effects of Amazon’s changes.
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