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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.

Transparency And Traceability — A Clear Retail Imperative

Consumers’ growing concerns around overall health, wellness and ethically-sound production are helping to influence a radical shift in the retail industry — leading to the proliferation of transparent, sustainably conscious companies and initiatives. According to Nielsen’s annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a transparent or sustainable brand. It’s evident consumers are demanding socially responsible production of clothing and food,making transparency and traceability a clear business imperative.With technology, retailers can build trust with consumers by actively demonstrating traceability and transparency from end to end. By implementing a digital core and leveraging advanced technologies, such as IoT and blockchain, retailers can easily provide the information consumers want, such as quality, safety, ethics, environmental impact and more.

Supercharging Brand Loyalty With Your Own Customer Data

In an age when consumers are a click away from competitor offerings, brands are struggling to reinvent their entire approach to brand loyalty. They can no longer expect that, by default, a certain portion of new customers will convert to loyal ones. They must win that loyalty over and over again, with each customer transaction. Actually, there are glimmers of hope for those who believed brand loyalty was dead. A 2018 study finds that even Millennials — commonly considered highly fickle customers — are becoming more loyal to brands than they were just a few years ago.

Get Ready: Prime Day 2018

*Unless otherwise specified, figures quoted refer to Amazon.com Prime Day is less than one month away. Last year, Amazon extended the deal day from 24 to 30 hours and, assuming they'll follow the same schedule, Prime Day 2018 will likely begin at 6 pm Pacific on Monday, July 9, running to the final minute of Tuesday, July 10. But since Amazon hasn't officially announced a date yet, we wouldn't be surprised if they expanded the event even more this year — Prime Day 2017 was such a huge hit that there's no doubt the demand is there. It's never too soon to start prepping for Prime Day. Prime Day is a unique global shopping event exclusively for Amazon Prime members. The impact from this is compounding: best-selling products get more exposure and sales during Prime Day, further boosting sales. It follows that brands need to be uniquely prepared for this event, tracking and optimizing their product availability and placement, promotions, and page content (including ratings and reviews) to ensure they don't miss this opportunity.

GDPR Survey Study Shows Majority of U.S. Business Aren’t Fully Prepared for the General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union based regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and the privacy of any European Union (EU) natural persons when transactions occur within EU states. Data protected under the GDPR includes identifiable information (names, addresses, dates of births), web-based data, health and genetic data and biometric data. These bylaws were officially enforceable as of May 25, 2018 and apply to all businesses interacting and performing marketing tasks to EU data subjects. The GDPR is based on the precedent that private information always is, or should be, private and that individuals have rights surrounding that data. The exact words according to the GDPR are that “data protection is a fundamental right.”

How Digital-Savvy Brands Thrive By Selling More Than Just Product

Retail today is about more than selling a product. It’s about creating a brand with which customers not only identify but emotionally connect. In such a highly competitive environment, this holistic brand strategy is helping companies grow their base of engaged, loyal customers. Consumers fall in love with brands that they see as an extension of their personal identity. Die-hard Apple fans want to demonstrate they are cutting-edge, tech-savvy consumers. Harley Davidson owners express their love for the open road and America’s heartland by riding Harleys.

How To Optimize Both Ends Of The Customer Experience

“Who here is afraid of Amazon eating up their business?” the keynote speaker asked. Most of the merchants in the room raised their hands. You see, I was in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency, La Jolla, attending MivaCon for the first time. Throughout the conference, Amazon’s dominance in the e-Commerce space was a persistent theme.

The Ongoing Saga Of Food Waste In Grocery: Standardized Food Date Labeling, Dynamic Pricing Could Save the Day

We’ve known for quite some time that food waste is a growing global issue, impacting the world’s economy and environment. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that processing wasted food generates 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually worldwide. In the U.S. alone, up to 40% of the food produced ends up uneaten and tossed to the trash. The Natural Resources Defense Council tells us that the amount of food thrown away every year in the U.S. equals approximately 20 pounds of food per person, every month!

What To Look For In Servers For POS Systems

Hospitality and retail companies face numerous hardware challenges in their highly competitive and ever-changing environments. They need highly-configurable and cost-effective point-of-sale (POS) systems that are secure and reliable. In selecting the right server for their POS system, they should look for platforms with three key characteristics: consistency, long server life and the ability to handle multiple needs simultaneously to drive down costs.

You Have Arrived At The Guided Economy

“You have arrived!”. Not only is this the now ubiquitous phrase that most of us hear when our favorite navigation app routes us around traffic and guides us to our destination, but whether you know it or not, if you’re participating in the digital world in 2018, you have arrived at the Guided Economy. If you’re operating an e-Commerce enterprise today, your ability to adapt to the expectations of the consumer that expects a guided experience can make the difference between being able to compete in an era of Amazon dominance, or having your brand relegated to Internet history.

The Revolutionary War For The Future Of Brands And Commerce

Adobe’s Magento acquisition made some industry analysts speculate that the e-Commerce platform is merely the best of the rest, with Salesforce having picked up Demandware toward the end of 2016 and SAP acquiring Hybris a few years before that. But in fact, Adobe’s move signals a smarter strategic investment than the deals that came before, and the company is making a loud statement regarding the future of e-Commerce and the customer path-to-purchase: it’s a non-linear, real-time experience and marketers need an even more comprehensive, end-to-end solution. With this move, I think there’s an even bigger rationale beyond Adobe’s ability to “make every moment personal and every experience shoppable,” and it starts with Amazon and the rise of direct-to-consumer brands.

How Edge Technology Can Help To Deliver The Retail Store Of The Future

The demands for a true omnichannel strategy continue to grow as retailers recognize customers want a seamless end-to-end experience, especially among younger audiences. But while online provides the platform for search and selection, the fact remains that it is the physical store that dominates the volumes of actual transactions. It’s no secret why the likes of Amazon have now invested in Whole Foods and why Alibaba is strengthening its physical estate. Indeed, Generix Group’s findings say that physical retail will still account for 80% of sales globally by 2025. If physical retailers are to take full advantage of the opportunity that lays in front of them, they need to make sure they are keeping pace with the evolving needs of consumers, while simultaneously considering how technology can help improve the customer experience in-store.

The Future Of Voice Shopping And Experience

How do we shop? We no longer just “go to the store”. We can buy on our computers, phones, watches and speakers. We get custom recommendations from our AI assistants. And digital commerce hasn’t even reached its peak — global e-Commerce sales exceeded $2 trillion in 2017, and are on pace to double by 2021. That means more new ways and places to shop are inevitable. As the ways we buy change, so do the services and experiences of the companies we buy from. Shopping and messaging are overlapping as buyers come to expect conversational service that fits into their lives. While trends are always changing, knowing everything about your customer — and acting on it — will always reap rewards for your business.

Three Common Retail Innovation Mistakes Brands Make And How To Avoid Them

Magic mirrors, virtual rails, digital fitting rooms, even brainwave readers — these are just a few examples of the retail industry’s attempts to improve in-store customer experience with cutting edge technology. Somewhat surprisingly, they haven’t driven the kind of business value we’ve expected. In fact, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers announced 6,400 store closures in 2017. Large or small, we’ve seen many casualties. Something clearly isn’t working. Here we examine three common mistakes brands make when trying to deploy innovative customer experience technology, and suggestions on how to avoid them. Mistake #1: Sticking To One-Way Communication That holy grail of in-store experience comes at the tail end of a long chain of customer interactions with brands. You can’t analyze interactions effectively without looking at how brands communicate with customers — and vice versa. What we’ve witnessed lately is not only the failure of traditional retail, but also the failure of mass scale B2C marketing. Traditional consumer marketing is quickly becoming that guy who won’t stop talking about himself when he goes on a date. Customers want retailers to know them intimately and they expect a personalized shopping experience — both online and in-store. Unfortunately, when brands roll out new technology, they often…

Online Journey Hijacking: The Phenomenon Costing Retailers Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

Leading up to the holiday season, retailers spend significant time and resources optimizing their customers’ online shopping experience. Their efforts seem to be working, as e-Commerce sales during this past holiday season hit a record $108.2 billion, a 14.7% increase from 2016, which was $91.7 billion. However, a report analyzing 500 million web sessions found that online retailers were still expected to lose up to $2.1 billion in sales during the 2017 holiday season. This is caused by a phenomenon called Online Journey Hijacking, which involves unauthorized product ads injected into consumer browsers while visiting retailer web sites.

Sometimes It Is About Looks — Implementing Visual Merchandising In Your Online Store

Most shoppers are visual deciders, and they react best when they can see what they are about to buy. In brick-and-mortar stores, visual merchandising is about how you set up your front windows and how your products look, so how can that be done in an online store? How do you replicate that split decision which often happens at the shelf?
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