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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.

Why Retailers Should Digitize Their Gift Cards

Already a force in retail, gift card growth shows no signs of letting up. By 2025, the global market for gift cards is expected to reach $506 billion, up from $318 billion in 2017. That’s no surprise. Gift cards have been the most requested item on consumers’ holiday wish lists for 12 years running, according to the National Retail Federation. The real beginning of the gift card’s popularity was in 1995, when Blockbuster replaced standard-issue paper gift certificates with plastic cards to combat forgeries. The convenience a durable, wallet-sized card offered for both gift givers and recipients fueled the trend that now sees shoppers purchasing an average of four gift cards in a single holiday season.

How Retailers Can Think Like Don Draper When Using AI

In the first season of AMC’s Mad Men, ad exec Don Draper met with Kodak executives to introduce a campaign around their Carousel slide projector. What followed was perhaps the most moving pitch of his career. Instead of touting the product’s revolutionary features, which were sure to excite any buyer, Draper centered his pitch around a more potent emotion: nostalgia. He loaded the projector with photos of his wedding day, his pregnant wife, his children on his shoulders and swinging on a swing. Grown men wept. The executives were speechless.

5 Ways To Tell More Strategic Stories With In-Store Digital Screens

Digital signage and screens are becoming the most valuable and impactful pieces of addressable in-store real estate, with research saying 43% of global consumers have been influenced by on-screen content. However, in today’s landscape, shoppers are inundated with media messages at every turn. Not surprisingly, consumers in 2019 have become adept at deciding what adds to their in-store experience and what does not. Given the massive amounts of sensorial clutter in our highly visual world, brands have to make sure they are creating smart digital strategies that provide true value. Ultimately, whatever is displayed on-screen must be in concert with the intended experience. In a recently released global study of more than 10,000 consumers, an overwhelming 78% of shoppers shared that the atmosphere in-store significantly impacts their decision to shop brick and mortar rather than online. More so, 90% of shoppers are more likely to return to a brick and mortar store if the atmosphere delivers a uniquely tailored experience.

Crafting Targeted Pricing And Promotion Strategies: Shopper-Centric Vs. Product-Centric

Today’s fast-changing retail landscape is, depending whom you ask, frightening or thrilling, full of menace or ripe with opportunity. Competition has proliferated from the big box store down the street to eTail giants, specialty retailers and discounters not just locally but in countries halfway around the globe. Shoppers surf prices across all items and all channels, 24/7, and demand total convenience in fulfillment, shipping, and returns. Traditional retail bedrock assumptions are thrown out the window — with one notable exception: price is still king. In a recent Revionics-commissioned global shopper study conducted by Forrester Consulting, that came through loud and clear, with price being cited as the #1 factor when consumers are deciding where to shop, across every retail sector.i With shoppers in complete control, retailers that fail to innovate in pricing and promotions are at risk of losing relevance — forever. Evidence shows that to succeed, retailers must completely rethink their approach to pricing. Instead of focusing on knee-jerk price-matching for each SKU, they need to understand what prices and offers are relevant on which items to which of their shoppers, and in which channels.

3 Keys To Optimizing Your Premium Loyalty Program

It’s tougher for retailers to earn customer loyalty than ever before. With virtually limitless choices right at their fingertips, customers aren’t afraid to jump between brand loyalty programs in order to get the best price or discount. In fact, nearly 80% of U.S. consumers report switching their loyalty more often than they have in the past. Set yourself apart from the competition by adding premium loyalty. Unlike their traditional counterparts, premium loyalty programs allow customers to pay a monthly or annual membership fee in exchange for valuable rewards they can use right away. Considering how easy it is for customers to shift their loyalty, it’s crucial that your premium loyalty program offers a combination of 24/7 exclusive benefits and personalized experiences customers can’t find anywhere else.

Marketing For Retail Now Means Marketing For Hearts

The average American continues to find more income in their pocket to spend as they like, whether that be on savings or in stores. The most recent statistics from TE, released in May 2019, show U.S. shoppers have $16 trillion to spare in disposal personal income, a growth of nearly half a trillion dollars from June 2018. With this extra cash, more and more Americans are choosing to shop ethically, the process of paying a little extra for a product you know didn’t harm anyone on its way to the shelf. This poses a unique challenge for marketers — even if the retailer is squeaky clean, how do you impress that upon consumers?

Creating Personalized Experiences Is The Secret To Growing Your Loyalty Base

Digital technologies have radically changed the way retail companies operate online and in-store. And today, digital technologies will, and have, radically changed the way retailers connect with their customer base. Personalized customer content is what today’s consumers demand. According to a customer experience survey by Gartner, 81% of marketers state that they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience in two years’ time. As personalization drives customer experiences, this can’t be ignored. Personalization technology and strategies have been around for over a decade, but marketers are finally coming to the realization that relevant, in-real-time personalization is no easy feat. Many who have tried have failed for a variety of reasons, whether due to insufficient or inaccurate customer information, disconnected experience management tools or the inability to quickly analyze data to make in-the-moment actions.

The New Rules Of Retail: Digital Strategies To Serve Today’s ‘Connected Consumer’

The world of retail is changing. But the reason isn’t as obvious as it may seem. While online shopping has impacted retail, 90% of revenue still comes from physical stores, and 85% of consumers say they prefer buying things in person.1 Most people still want to sample, try on, see and engage with the item they’re interested in. The store, dismissed by some as a relic from a bygone era, is still relevant.

Securing Customer Loyalty Through Emotional Engineering And Personalization

Much has been written about how AI and personalization are transforming the way that retailers operate. The ability to understand a customer’s interests and purchase history gives retailers the opportunity to deliver valuable information that helps customers make more informed purchasing decisions. However, providing recommendations based on customer data is only part of the story. For retailers, it’s all about finding ways to create a unique user experience that increases brand loyalty. The question is…how can retailers make that connection with customers? The answer lies in the concept of emotional engineering as a method to create customer loyalty. The idea of incorporating emotional engineering into the design of mobile apps can help separate companies from their competitors. But first, let’s explain emotional engineering. The term was coined by professor emeritus Mitsuo Nagamachi of Hiroshima University, and it is defined as “the technology to design goods which appeal to emotion and sensibility by translating human sensibility and images into physical design factors.”

Getting Ahead Of Technology Trends: Turning Customer Data Into Personalized Experiences

It’s easy to think that our dependence on devices means that e-Commerce is the clear future of retail. But research indicates that brick-and-mortar sales are still very competitive. How physical stores continue to compete with their online counterparts will depend largely on how retailers embrace technology to better understand and engage their customers. Creative thinking is key to staying relevant among the “born-to-swipe,” digital-native generations that make up an ever-larger portion of purchasing power. Retailers should focus on getting ahead of technology trends, as well as partnering with companies that will give them an advantage. There’s a lot of change afoot: machine vision, continuous intelligence, the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), and other capabilities promise new opportunities to cater to customers’ needs and desires.

How Shippers Can Improve Their Relationship With Carriers

Healthy carrier relationships are vital for a reliable carrier network.  Developing a positive relationship plays a significant role in the carrier services provided. Any issues that arise should be addressed to avoid any misunderstanding. Any strain on the relationship could result in delays in the delivery of the shipment and put added stress on customer relations. 

How Retailers Can Tackle Social Issues in 2019

Last year, retail marketers saw a huge shift in the way brands relate to consumers. With Nike's Colin Kaepernick campaign as a prominent example, more brands spoke out on hot-button issues — through their actions, through their content, through their messaging. Amid today's deep social divisions, voicing beliefs that will inevitably alienate some shoppers might feel risky. However, the greater risk for retailers lies in staying silent.

Why Retail Marketers Turn To Behavioral Economics

With the amount of messaging that inundates individuals on a daily basis, it can be frustrating for retailers to make their mark. Here is the problem: retailers spend a majority of their time and resources thinking about what to sell, not necessarily how to sell it. Well, the social science known as “behavioral economics” shows us that how a product is presented to consumers is often the most powerful driver in a purchase decision. Behavioral economics is no longer just taught in college lecture halls; it is now learned by marketers all over the world to help drive growth and increase revenue. Research by Gallup shows that companies that apply the principles of behavioral economics to their overall marketing strategy outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.

Why 2019 Is The Year Of The Retail Renaissance

The first half of 2019 confirmed that the retail apocalypse many industry experts once predicted is not on the horizon. Instead, we’re in the midst of the next phase of a “retail renaissance,” where customer experience reigns supreme. This shift is evidenced by the creation of innovative store experiences, retailers teaming up with direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, even better buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) incentives and one-day or same-day delivery. Retailers want to make the most of their brick-and-mortar presence while creating unique and memorable customer experiences. For example, Nordstrom recently announced plans to expand Local, its service-centered stores that offer amenities such as online order pickup, tailoring and manicures to drive foot traffic and enrich the in-store customer experience. This strategic concept will likely continue to be leveraged by retailers as the year goes on.

Flip The Script On Bad E-Commerce Deliveries

We've all had a bad experience at a restaurant. One that goes from bad to worse, resulting in a negative vote with our wallets and maybe even an online post. We’ve also all had a bad dining experience that is handled so well that we go from upset to loyal fans. The same scenarios play out every day in other consumer experiences — and online shopping is no stranger to issues and disappointments. Brands can build trust to win loyal e-Commerce shoppers by upholding delivery promises and resolving any issues to positive effect through proactive delivery experience management. What do I mean by a bad online shopping experience? It could be an ill-fitting item that I want to return, or worse, I might receive a damaged shipment or have an order delayed so much that it misses a birthday celebration. Many retailers are unaware that 11% of online orders experience some sort of delivery distress (known as “exceptions”).
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