Executive ViewPoints - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints https://www.retailtouchpoints.com Fri, 23 Feb 2018 22:47:49 -0500 RTP en-gb How Inventory Turnover Can Affect Your Retail Business https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/how-inventory-turnover-can-affect-your-retail-business https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/how-inventory-turnover-can-affect-your-retail-business

 

0aaErhan Musaoglu LogiwaInventory turnover is a critical ratio that retailers can use to ensure they are managing their store's inventory and supply chain well. It is one of the crucial KPIs used to measure the overall performance of your business. Put simply, it is how many times during a certain calendar period you sell and replace your entire inventory.

Most small retailers are not thrilled when they find out they have excess inventory. Storage costs, insurance, damage, obsolescence, taxes and loan interest can add up to almost 30% of the cost of our inventory annually! These costs will only continue to rise as your excess inventory numbers climb. This is why inventory management is one of the best investments you can make for your business. When you trim away your excess inventory through inventory management, you leave your business running better than ever. So why is inventory turnover crucial to this process?

What Is Inventory Turnover?

Inventory turnover is the number of times that a retailer sells and replaces its inventory. It is a measure of the rate at which merchandise flows into and out of your store. For example; if a retailer has an annual inventory turnover of eight, it means that they have completely sold out its entire inventory eight times over the whole year. In 2015, Amazon had an annual turnover of eight and Walmart had 7.8, whereas Costco has an inventory turnover of 11.2.

How Do We Calculate Inventory Turnover?

Inventory turnover can be calculated for the entire business as well as by department or item category. Assessing inventory turnover by item category would also be helpful to compare the performance of different items. This is important because not all turnover rates are the same; some items might turn more slowly than others. Consider, for example, that you have an online store where you sell T-shirts. Basic plain T-shirts could have a higher inventory turn than designed T-shirts. After all, people wear basic T-shirts more often, and they need them more than patterned ones.

In order to calculate inventory turnover, we need to know two dollar amounts for the calculated specific period: Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and Average Inventory.

You can calculate your COGS for a specific period through the below formula:

COGS = Beginning Inventory + Total Purchase - Ending Inventory

These numbers should include the purchase prices for your inventory, and also any additional costs such as shipping, storing, or handling. Make sure to subtract the cost of any scrapped or lost inventory.

You can also calculate COGS by looking at your Profit & Loss Report.

You can calculate your Average Inventory for a specific period through the formula below, or by looking at your Balance Sheet:

Average Inventory = Beginning Inventory + Ending Inventory / 2

Finally, we can calculate Inventory Turnover based on the below formula:

Inventory Turnover = COGS / Average Inventory

If we divide the number of days within the calculated calendar period by the Inventory Turnover Ratio, we will find the average number of days that we held our inventory.

Days Inventory Held = Days in Accounting Period / Inventory Turnover Ratio

An Example For Calculating Inventory Turnover

We will calculate above ratios based on the example numbers. Let’s say that we calculate for our Q3 period:

  • Beginning Inventory: Inventory Amount as of 06/01/2017: $50,000
  • Closing Inventory: Inventory Amount as of 09/30/2017: $60,000
  • Total Purchase Amount within Q3 2017: $120,000
  • Total #Days in Q3: 90 days

Cost of Goods Sold

$50,000 + $120,000 - $60,000

= $110,000

Average Inventory

$50,000 + $60,000 / 2

= $55,000

Inventory Turnover Ratio

$90,000 / $65,000

= 2

Average Days Held in Inventory

90 / 2

= 45

With this example, the retailer held onto their inventory an average of 45 days in a 90-day period. They are turning over about once in 1.5 months. They cycled their entire inventory twice in the overall Q3 period.

How Do You Benchmark Your Inventory Turnover?

Is the above calculated Inventory Turnover a good ratio? That depends on your merchandise, business and sales model. As a retailer, it is important to ask yourself whether your merchandise is turning faster or slower than it was this time last year. One of the best practices for retailers is to compare numbers and results with similar retailers. In other words, if you sell T-shirts, compare your turnover rate with another T-shirt store. The best way to assess your inventory turnover ratio is to compare it to that of other stores in your particular retail niche. If you’d like a guide, you can click here to find your industry segment's benchmark numbers.

Why Inventory Turnover Is So Important

High inventory turnover is key to keeping shelves stocked with fresh products and keeping the cash flowing. After all, cash is king in retail! The most successful retailers purchase inventory, sell it fast, and then repurchase more products for their customers at a high rate.

In general, higher inventory turnover is a good indicator that you're moving merchandise, which should mean that business is good. However, if the turnover becomes too high, sales may be lost. This is because high turnover results in purchasing in small portions and short lead times. If your vendors drop the ball, you may be unprepared and could run out of stock.

Low turnover ties up your capital and eats up your gross profit. In order to get the most out of your inventory, you should settle on a turnover rate that balances customers’ needs with your need to maintain a solid return on investment.

If your Inventory Turnover is lower than the average for the industry, this could indicate that you are not selling inventory efficiently. It could mean that your inventory is backlogged, or you are accumulating inventory faster than you can sell it. A good way to solve for this in the retail industry, for example, is sticking with seasonal or trendy items in order to sell faster.

However, higher-than-average Inventory Turnover doesn’t always mean that you are doing great. It could be a sign of an ineffective sourcing strategy, in which a retailer purchases inventory too often in small quantities. Doing so can drive up the purchase price because of things like unnecessary shipment costs. It can also imply a risk of shortage in your supply chain, leading to inadequate inventory.


 

Erhan Musaoglu is the CEO and co-founder of Logiwa Corp., a supply chain management systems company. He has over 20 years of experience in the warehouse management industry, and has used his experience in industrial engineering and consulting to create multiple companies, including Unitec and IFS. In order to share his knowledge with larger crowds, he has lectured at various universities on e-Commerce supply chains and warehousing. His expertise and leadership in navigating the enterprise and B2B industry has led Logiwa to grow exponentially. He can be followed on Twitter at @ErhanMusaoglu or on LinkedIn.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Erhan Musaoglu, Logiwa) Executive ViewPoints Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:42:13 -0500
The Future Of Online Shopping, And How Retailers Can Get There https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-future-of-online-shopping-and-how-retailers-can-get-there https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-future-of-online-shopping-and-how-retailers-can-get-there

0aaEd Kennedy EpiserverPicture this: you find yourself in need of laundry detergent to finish packing before your big vacation. You ask Alexa to order some while figuring out where you left your passport and, 30 minutes later, a drone delivers your purchase right to your doorstep. No credit cards, no lines and no stress. Just you on your way to some well-deserved time off.

Most shopping experiences will look just like this in a few years’ time. Sophisticated technologies and major advancements in e-Commerce systems have ushered in a new era of online shopping. From multiple easy payment options to virtually real-time fulfillment, technology has enabled new customer capabilities around every turn (or click). Convenience is the norm, and these advancements are making their ways in-store, too. Amazon Go’s cashier-free store fronts and Walmart’s recent biometric investments are just the beginning in terms of how technologies will simplify and enrich your shopping experience.

But nothing will shape the future of commerce quite like improved personalized experiences.

Laundry detergent is just one of the millions of products that will soon be at your fingertips and in your shopping cart before you even knew you needed them. Already, retailers are bringing on advanced, intelligent personalization engines to better understand what, and who, you’re shopping for.

Three Musts For Future Online Shopping Success

The most advanced retailers have begun strategizing how to take information like previous purchase histories, web site browsing and other omnichannel shopping behaviors to offer people more personalized recommendations. This goes beyond rudimentary recommendations like “customers also viewed” to anticipating customers’ intentions and needs as they are developing.

Web sites now consider distinct browsing sessions to determine exactly what you’re looking for, and they can even differentiate when you’re shopping for yourself versus a friend, parent or sibling. To keep the momentum building around these enhanced digital experiences, retailers must next figure out how to:

  • See Beyond Demographics

The first step to personalizing online shopping recommendations is to pull in more information about consumers. This can include data like web browsing histories, social media profiles or insights sourced from a third-party partner, but it must always move past demographics.

Sweeping demographics are a good start to help categorize customers, but relying too heavily on them leads to misguided decision-making that fails to personalize at the individual level. When retailers focus too closely on basics like location or purchase history, they fail to factor in how nuanced and unique every shopper is and how each shopper’s need changes over time. For example, not all 30-year-old men are going to have similar purchasing needs or interests and each person’s preference is going to change over time. Rather, retailers can use product recommendation engines that aggregate all of the shoppers’ interactions and purchases into a single record to predict the products they are most likely to want.

Already, 38% of U.S. consumers believe companies should know about their purchase histories, and a quarter say the same of their personal interests. Both rank higher than demographics like name and age, and this gap will only grow larger as more shoppers begin to realize the benefits of granular personalization.

  • Personalize In Real Time

Retailers need to be able to personalize their messages and offers automatically, and at high scale. Customers may deviate from their typical searches when browsing or shopping online for friends and family, and successful retailers will use powerful machine learning algorithms to recognize and react when this is happening. This happens by comparing the user’s previous sessions on the site (for example when she visited the women’s category) and the user’s current session (when she visited the “gifts for him” section).

Delineating specific browsing sessions and intent ensures retailers don’t target customers with incorrect information or product recommendations that do not match the needs of their current life stage.

Over a one-year period, Episerver found nearly half of shoppers saw an ad for a product they would never purchase, and 31% reported a retailer made a misguided recommendation. Retailers hoping to build long-term loyalty should take extra care to avoid these scenarios, as the ability to pivot with consumers keeps relationships fresh and relevant.

  • Help Customers Find What They’re Looking For

This seems like a simple ask, but connecting consumers with what they need has taken on a more complex meaning in today’s extended e-Commerce journey. In fact, when visiting a brand’s web site for the first time, Episerver found 92% of shoppers are there to do something other than purchase.

The convenience factor of purchasing laundry detergent does not apply to every product and purchase experience. Many shoppers want and need to browse and search for the right product to suit their needs. This includes longer browsing and searching stages to compare prices, find deals, read customer testimonials and more. Helping shoppers find what they’re looking for is no longer limited to products. Making all information easy to locate is a relatively simple way for retailers to delight their target audiences. Again, this information should also be personalized in real time. For example, if a shopper is searching for store hours, the results should be tailored to her specific location and time zone.

Technologies for site browse and site search have improved dramatically in recent years to automatically personalize the search results to each individual shopper based on their unique behavior. This includes re-ranking search results for a specific keyword to better suit each shopper’s predicted intent.

Retailers should take comfort knowing that they’re not alone when it comes to executing and maintaining these endeavors. Technology providers can help retailers learn more about their customers and give them insights into real-world strategies and next steps for marketers.

In an e-Commerce environment that’s only growing more competitive, the best prepared retail web sites know exactly what their customers are shopping for and are providing personalized recommendations and offers to suit their needs.


 

Ed Kennedy is the Senior Director of Commerce at Episerver, a global software company offering web content management, digital commerce, and digital marketing, through the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud software platform.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Ed Kennedy, Episerver) Executive ViewPoints Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:33:05 -0500
Fraud Blacklists: What They Are, And Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Them https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/fraud-blacklists-what-they-are-and-why-you-shouldn-t-rely-on-them https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/fraud-blacklists-what-they-are-and-why-you-shouldn-t-rely-on-them Debbie FletcherBy necessity, all e-Commerce companies are constantly on guard against card not present (CNP) fraud. Aside from the financial losses incurred from the refunded amounts, chargeback fees, and merchandise replacement costs, there is also the looming threat of losing the ability to do business — payment processors will stop working with a merchant if the chargeback rate exceeds a certain threshold. 

Those on the front lines of this ongoing war against fraudsters are the analysts tasked with screening out the fraudulent transactions. They have to satisfy conflicting requirements: brief turnaround time for order accept/decline decisions, minimizing chargeback losses, and keeping the total cost of fraud prevention low. These fraud management teams are the Rodney Dangerfields of e-Commerce, since they usually don't get much respect from senior management, who often view their department as a cost center rather than a revenue protector. 

It's no surprise that merchants are quick to adopt and hesitant to abandon tools that are simple, quick, cheap, and seem to do a good job of rejecting fraudulent orders while accepting the legitimate ones. This is how we ended up with e-Commerce fraud prevention tools like blacklists. 

Blacklist Basics

Here's how blacklists work: When merchants approve an order that results in a chargeback, they add that order's details (like the shipping address or name) to a list, so when another order comes in that has the same address or customer name, it's automatically rejected, thwarting both repeat abusers of the chargeback process (i.e. "friendly fraud") and criminals using stolen card info. 

In theory, blacklists sound like an effective tool, similar to how some email spam filters work (mark an email as spam and both that sender and all similar emails are permanently blocked). That analogy actually uncovers the main shortcomings of blacklists. Simple spam filters based on blacklists of keywords or sender names are terrible at blocking spam. Spammers are able to bypass them just by slightly misspelling the products or "deals" they're pitching. 

Better Tech Results With Better Fraud Prevention

The spam filters that actually work use more advanced techniques — like Bayesian filtering — to perform a deeper analysis of the email as a whole and then determine the probability of it being a normal or spam message. 

Ditto for e-Commerce fraud prevention. The solutions that actually work use much more sophisticated methods than simply finding matches between an order and a blacklist. Industry standard tools include things like device fingerprinting, behavioral analytics and machine learning. These technologies work together to reconstruct two possible scenarios behind each order — one in which the order was made by a real customer and one in which a fraudster is behind the transaction — and then use accurate and constantly fine-tuned statistical models to determine which of those stories is most likely true. 

This difference between fraud blacklists and the current state-of-the-art tools really shows when it comes to orders from shipping addresses that are shared by several (think an apartment building) or several dozen (like a university dorm). Just think of how many students shift in and out of one of those dorms in any given year. If any one of those students ever placed an order that was approved but later resulted in a chargeback, that dorm's shipping address would be blacklisted, and every other student living there now and in the future would be falsely declined from that same brand. This problem only gets worse when shared blacklists are used. 

Without further digging and consideration, like discovering what type of building belongs to that shipping address before decling the transaction, blacklists are an incredibly imprecise and unsuitable tool for fraud prevention. But of course, any further analysis defeats the whole point of relying on blacklists in the first place: they were meant to give quick and clear fraudulent order rejection, saving analysts time by automating some of their work. 

Automation is indeed the answer to the growing problem of CNP fraud, but despite being widely used by online merchants, blacklists fail to deliver. New technologies leveraging machine learning and big data are mature enough to provide speed, accuracy and adaptability. No lists required. 

____________________________________________________________

Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of different magazines and news publications over the years. Graduating from City University London specializing in English Literature, Fletcher’s passion for writing has since grown. She loves anything and everything technology and exploring different cultures across the world. She's currently looking towards starting her Masters in Comparative Literature in the next few years.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Debbie Fletcher, Contributing Writer) Executive ViewPoints Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:05:57 -0500
A Great Customer Experience Starts With Your Employees https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/a-great-customer-experience-starts-with-your-employees https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/a-great-customer-experience-starts-with-your-employees

0aaLindsey Goodchild NudgeThe retail landscape is going through massive disruption. Traditional big-box brands are closing down, while online and specialty retailers are opening new ‘experience-centric’ stores. On top of that, consumers now have access to virtually unlimited information and ways to shop at their fingertips. From placing a repeat order on Amazon to trying on clothes through VR or picking up an online purchase in-store, the retail customer experience has certainly evolved.

Amidst all this change, one thing remains constant: the physical store still plays a critical role in the buyer’s journey. A 2017 study conducted by TimeTrade found that if an item is available both online and in-store, 75% of consumers prefer to shop in-store. Further, 88% of consumers say they are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable store associate.

When it comes to the in-store experience, consumer expectations have grown. Shoppers now view the store as a destination center where they can test out products, speak to store associates who are true brand experts and be inspired.

Today’s Consumers Are Prioritizing Experience Over Everything.

Retailers have done a great job at providing digital experiences for consumers, from offering branded apps to personalized advertisements. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the employee experience. Employees are often left behind when it comes to communication and engagement, relying on emails, a company intranet or team huddles to get new information. As a result, consumers are now walking into stores more knowledgeable than associates, creating friction in what should be a seamless brand experience.

If store associates are the first point of contact consumers have with a brand, shouldn’t organizations be doing more to engage them? 90% of senior executives state that customer experience is a top priority for their organization. Yet somehow, there is still a disconnect between strategy at head office and what is being executed on the front line. In reality, only 27% of consumers feel that name-brand retailers are trying to provide exceptional service.

The solution to this disconnect is clear. If happy employees = happy customers, then customer experience strategy should start with your employees.

Two Things To Consider In Revisiting The Employee Experience.

Retailers must reevaluate how they’re engaging with store managers and associates. To be successful, it’s critical to provide employees with the proper resources (the know-how) and tools (the channel) to enable them to perform.

First, the know-how. To deliver an authentic in-store experience, brands need to inspire their employees and provide them with the resources they need to get the job done. Finding a way to continuously educate frontline teams on the latest products, promotions and companywide initiatives is a great place to start. From there, creating an open forum for employees to share ideas and feedback across the company will help to ensure camaraderie and consistency across stores.

Today’s employees want to feel connected to the brand they’re working for, which means having a good understanding of the brand vision, mission and values. At the end of the day, inspiring employees to act on behalf of the brand will be a lot more powerful than repeatedly asking them to get tasks done.

Second, arming employees with the right tools. With an increasing number of Millennials and Gen Z in the workforce, technology has become much more important for workplace training, management and communication. In fact, 93% of Millennials cite modern and up-to-date technology as one of the most important aspects of the workplace. If consumers are using mobile technology to engage with retail brands, why shouldn’t employees? According to a Microsoft study, 67% of employees will use their phone at work, regardless of the company’s official bring-your-own-device policy.

Forward-thinking retailers are looking to associate-facing technologies to improve the associate experience. When you have retail teams that are highly engaged and equipped with the right technology, they will always outperform against their peers.

To learn how to create an exceptional employee experience across your workforce, you can download our 5-Step Employee Playbook here.


 

Lindsey Goodchild is the CEO and Co-Founder of Nudge Rewards, a mobile solution that allows retailers to better communicate and engage with store employees. A leader in digital transformation, Goodchild is bringing mobile technology to the non-desk workforce that is fundamentally changing the way teams work. With extensive experience consulting in retail and hospitality, Goodchild has spent years working with global brands to understand employee behavior, improve the employee experience and measurably impact frontline team performance.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Lindsey Goodchild, Nudge Rewards) Executive ViewPoints Wed, 21 Feb 2018 09:43:59 -0500
Digitalize To Survive: How To Ride The Change https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/digitalize-to-survive-how-to-ride-the-change https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/digitalize-to-survive-how-to-ride-the-change 0aaRon Lifton NetscoutAcross every sector, digital transformation is enabling businesses to operate at breakneck speeds, rejuvenating the competitive playing field. In retail specifically, forward-thinking enterprises have been able to harness next generation technologies such as cloud and IoT to accelerate the delivery of digital services to consumers. For example, the recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon illustrates the popularity of the digitally transforming grocery market. As the last of the traditional milkmen ride off into the sunset, you can hear consumers firing up their AI personal shoppers: “Ok Google, order me half a gallon of milk from Ralphs.”  

Over the last couple of years, online shopping — increasingly now through mobile devices — has taken off. Every week we hear how the ‘mobile shopping boom’ is boosting those online retailers with a streamlined, omnichannel presence. Mobile commerce now accounts for over 30% of total online sales[1], and this in turn has led to competitive retailers embracing next generation technologies to digitally transform their business models, and subsequently rejuvenate their customer experience. This has meant that those that have been slow to digitally transform, such as Toys ‘R’ Us, have struggled to survive.

Fortunately for the toy store, after filing for bankruptcy protection in mid-September 2017 in the U.S. and Canada, a judge granted them a loan of over two billion dollars. With a generous budget approved, it now has the opportunity to avoid potential disaster, providing it has the right digital strategy in place. But as we move towards a data-driven culture, how can enterprises learn from Toys ‘R’ Us’ predicament and ensure they manage their digital transformation to maximize quality and cost-cutting, whilst avoiding the chaos that can creep into the infrastructure?

Get Smart By Harnessing Data

Data, data, data. Retailers are now surrounded by it, and in today’s automated and connected world, there is an abundance of game-changing information dictated by the consumer. Consequently, retailers like Toys ‘R’ Us can remove guesswork, instead utilizing the data that’s available to troubleshoot the retail experience and source critical information faster than ever.

If Toys ‘R’ Us is going to stay afloat in the highly competitive digital market, the retailer will have to rid itself of its traditional tendencies and adopt a more agile approach in customer engagement and business growth. A large part of the agreed loan should be spent delivering the best retail experience possible — both online and offline — from start to finish of a customer’s journey. This can be achieved through monitoring application and service performance, and pinpointing the root-cause of problems anywhere, anytime. Time-poor consumers will abandon their online shopping carts at even the slightest glitch, so high-quality service delivery must be a retailer’s number one priority.

Customer experience is now a hybrid of online and offline, and must be seamless across all channels, including social media platforms. In order to achieve this, retailers such as Toys ‘R’ Us must prioritize operating and assuring services in any IT environment. This requires a combination of visibility, knowledge and speed. As any IT professional will testify, you can’t fix what you can’t see. As such, controlling business outcomes starts with pervasive visibility to the entire network and anywhere along the service delivery path.

With enterprises increasingly rolling out digitalization strategies, including new applications such as video, instant messaging and voice services, together with a converged IT infrastructure that includes hybrid cloud and sensors, it has become even more important to have a service assurance and security strategy. Operating across various systems and complex infrastructures creates opportunities for service degradations, which become detrimental to positive customer experience.

Smart data, in the context of service assurance and security, provides enterprises with knowledge and actionable intelligence to control business outcomes. Visibility throughout the entire IT environment can therefore make a fundamental difference to an enterprise or retailer looking to ensure best-in-class customer care.

Lassoing A High-Quality Communications Experience

Complete visibility is imperative throughout any business, but none more so than a business’ contact center. Often the initial and sometimes only touch point for customers, the contact center must be a shining example of high-quality communication, and being able to address and resolve any issues quickly and effectively will make or break customer relations.

For retailers, a high-quality communication experience will not only enhance existing consumer relationships, but will also entice new customers, driving revenue and boosting reputation.

The Digital Revolution Rodeo

The pressure is on for IT organizations. Not only do they have to continuously deploy services based on customer experience and form partnerships to address their digital strategy, but they also need to assure performance and reduce risks as the enterprise goes through its digital transformation journey.

The recent Toys ‘R’ Us news serves as a warning to legacy businesses that have not yet embraced digital technologies. Customers have evolved into a species demanding instant gratification, and it is up to retailers to keep up.

Every action and transaction from the IoT edge to the data center, through private and public clouds, provides an opportunity to turn that traffic data into smart data. When that happens, it is possible to glean meaningful, actionable insights that can be used to keep customers happy and enhance the retailer’s position in a competitive, ever-changing environment. While the milkman may not be knocking on your door any longer, certainly UPS, FedEx or another service provider is. And with advancements in automation and machine learning, it is only a matter of time until milk gets delivered by a drone to your doorstep, after your refrigerator asks Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home to do it.

Retailers can therefore safely conclude that service assurance and security are not only critical today, but growing in strategic importance as the digital economy gets bigger and bigger, and much more complicated.


 

Ron Lifton is Senior Enterprise Solutions Manager for NetScout. He has many years of enterprise and service provider marketing experience at several companies, including startups and a Fortune 100 company. Lifton is currently a senior solutions marketing manager responsible for positioning NetScout service assurance solutions for the enterprise market. Prior to NetScout, Lifton headed product management for a cybersecurity solution that applies machine learning and behavioral analytics to network traffic flows. He has previously held senior marketing positions within Cisco and drove outbound marketing programs for network management products.”


[1] https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/mobile-commerce/

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Ron Lifton, NetScout) Executive ViewPoints Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:42:08 -0500
How Retailers Get The Last Mile Wrong https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/how-retailers-get-the-last-mile-wrong https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/how-retailers-get-the-last-mile-wrong 0aaElizabeth Shobert StyleSageThe last mile. The final stretch where nothing and everything can go wrong. For retailers, that last mile is an oft under-considered part of the customer journey that can ultimately drag down their bottom line and chip away at customer equity in ways that aren’t immediately apparent. So let’s talk about retail’s last mile problem, as manifested in both the online and offline worlds.

I Don’t Like Surprises

You’ve made all that effort to lure a shopper to your site, merchandise and optimize it based on their needs and behaviors, ensure seamless product selection and checkout, and that’s it. Now you can sit back and watch that order make its way to the customer, right? Not so fast. While it might seem like the lion’s share of the work has been completed on your end, this is only the start of the journey for the customer. And if you don’t play that anticipation right with regularly-cadenced communications and follow-through with on-time delivery, you will have hell to pay.

There’s no rage like that of the shopper who didn’t get his or her merchandise by the time they expected it. I don’t know why, as a consumer, I’m always relieved when I immediately receive that order confirmation email, because things almost never go awry immediately. It’s five days later when there’s been no shipment confirmation, no update, and suddenly I feel like my credit card and I have been ghosted on. Is my package going to someone with the same name who lives five states away? Is there someone in the back gleefully swiping my credit card to the tune of thousands of dollars? I don’t know, and I’m definitely assuming the worst.

All melodrama aside, it’s not just that these negative encounters are amplified within one’s personal experience, it’s that these kinds of mistakes happen all the time. When Peoplevox, a warehouse inventory management provider, surveyed e-Commerce retailers, 63% of these self-reported that they ship orders late because of inventory issues.

There are two issues here. The first part is your backend systems. As analytics providers, we know firsthand that there is a complex maze of systems that your retail operations depend upon, systems that have unique individual purposes, have likely been implemented over different periods of time, and still have to talk to each other.

We won’t stand here and tell you that cross-system integration is easy and quick, but it is imperative. When your online order capturing systems don’t speak the same language as your inventory management system, and you take an order without any fulfilling inventory, you’re going to let that customer down and dial up the likelihood of kissing their future business goodbye. As a customer, I don’t care one iota about your backend systems. I just want my stuff to be delivered when you say it will be. The allure of Amazon aside from competitive prices? Fast, predictable delivery times.

So let’s talk more about those customer expectations. When we talk about proactive communications and follow-through, a customer should know exactly where their goods are in their journey to the final destination. However, not every part of that journey should be considered equal from the perspective of the customer. When the package isn’t yet on the move, it looks like you’re doing nothing. A ratio of one week spent ‘preparing’ an order to a two-day shipping turnaround makes it look like you’re not working very efficiently.

Okay, things will go wrong, but get in front of them. Send an immediate alert giving a clear explanation of what happened and how it will be resolved. The moment a customer has to contact you about an order issue, you are incurring operational and customer loyalty costs that could otherwise have been avoided.

Omnichannel Is A Word Only Retailers Use

When was the last time you heard a non-retail person use the term omnichannel? Exactly. It’s internal industry speak that to the customer means, ‘I want the item without the time and cost of delivery.’ Despite an increasing number of retailers offering a version of ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ services, and major retailers such as Macy’s stating that in-store pickups are their most profitable, there are some major gaps in its execution.

Let’s play a game of ‘he said, she said.’ The retailer says: ‘It’s cheaper and more efficient to bundle those orders with other deliveries to that location.’ The customer says: ‘Why is it taking longer for an item to arrive at the store than to my home address, when I can see for myself that this item is in stock at the local store?’ The point is that the customer doesn’t see two distinct channels; they are simply looking for the most convenient and efficient way to get their desired product. Sure, you can try explaining the reasons for longer delivery, but what do you benefit from rationalizing your backend procedures to customers?

Alternatively, you can find a different and faster way to get orders to the store. We’ll throw the question out there: should inventory sitting in a store exist in an entirely different universe than warehouse inventory? We’re not so sure. If you’re going to do omnichannel, do it right.

Hello, Does Anyone Work Here?

These days I have one of two retail store experiences. It ping-pongs between ‘I’m clearly the only customer you’ve had all day,’ or ‘I guess I’m going to figure out how to run a cash register.’ If you’ve noticed an increasing amount of the latter, well, it likely is related to cost-cutting. So is it possible for retailers to still deliver customer service that makes it worth even going into a store?

The first issue is what results from reduced staffing to cover unchanged square footage and store hours. Namely, there is little time for anything other than the bare necessities, let alone keeping the store from looking like a scene straight out of a real-life apocalypse. Retail Dive’s recent study found that 62% of people choose in-store over online so they can ‘touch and feel’ the products. So if I can’t find the item I want, and it’s coupled with an unpleasant store environment that has me compulsively re-folding sweaters, what’s the point of coming in at all? It’s easy to see store staffing as a quick way to cut costs, but the price to customer loyalty ought to give you pause.

The second and related issue is, if you’re barely able to manage customer checkout, who answers questions and has time to educate themselves about the product they’re selling? You likely guessed it, but the other key reason people come to stores is to get product questions answered from someone who lives and breathes it. Sure, customers can get answers online, but there’s nothing like an informed sales person to give one confidence in their purchase decision.

That last mile we mentioned before? The customer has a choice too; come back for more or divert their loyalty elsewhere. Resources may be increasingly strained, but what remains must prioritize excellent service from start to finish.


 

Elizabeth Shobert is the Director of Marketing at StyleSage, an e-Commerce analytics solution that captures real-time e-Commerce and social media data to help brands identify and develop the right trends, build out competitive product assortments, and price and promote according to the market. Shobert has been working with retail brands, both in-house and on the agency side, for over 10 years. The heart of her work has been helping brands design products and craft stories that intersect with consumers’ needs and mindsets. Her projects have covered customer experience, strategy, market research, product development and marketing for brands spanning the Fashion, CPG, Technology and Service sectors.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Elizabeth Shobert, StyleSage) Executive ViewPoints Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:27:35 -0500
The Real-World Abandoned Shopping Cart https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-real-world-abandoned-shopping-cart https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-real-world-abandoned-shopping-cart 0aaThomas Walle UnacastAccording to Business Insider$4.6 trillion worth of merchandise was abandoned in carts in 2016 alone. This has led to an uptick in the number of retailers who send shopping cart abandonment messages, as well as a renewed concentration on using those items left unpurchased to retarget customers, creating another consumer touch point. But while it’s all well and good to use digital data to capture revenue that might have otherwise been lost, what about all of those real-life shopping carts that have been left to languish in brick-and-mortar stores? How can companies solve the problem of the real-life abandoned shopping cart?

Ad campaigns are usually measured according to their successes: how many people went to a store and bought something as a result of seeing the ad, how much money they spent. But retailers should also start looking at other metrics; namely, how many people went into a store and didn’t buy anything. By using location and proximity data in conjunction with data from transactions, brands will have the ability to see if a person went to a store and bought something — or didn’t buy anything — and then use that information to build a profile and retarget them accordingly.

Although not exactly intuitive, people who entered a store but didn’t make a purchase are easier conversions than other targets. They’ve already expressed interest in a brand, and now it’s up to that brand to decide how they want to re-approach the customer. Historically, activities in a brick-and-mortar space have been close to impossible to track; now, with the growth in the amount of location data and proximity data gathered from sensors, retailers can see where and when a customer goes into a store, how long they spend there — and, in the near future, if they pick anything up and for how long.

Given that stores can now see how customers interact in relation to products in the store and match that information against POS data, they can see which products are of interest to each individual and which were abandoned, and then target accordingly.

This means that any shopping carts that have been abandoned in real life present valuable data to any retailer — because they not only tell you what consumers are interested in, but also what they aren’t interested in. While the abandoned real-life shopping cart won’t necessarily tell you the exact products customers are leaving behind, it does show that customers have been in the store (albeit leaving before making a purchase).

Nevertheless, brands that use location and proximity tech have a definite advantage over their competitors because they know more about their consumers. It’s one thing to have a detailed consumer profile based on their online habits, but quite another to have a fully nuanced view of a customer that takes into account what he or she does when not on a computer. By melding these two consumer profiles — the online and the offline — brands will be able to better serve their customers by providing them with ads for products they know they want, and by personalizing the in-store shopping experience.

Brands do have to be careful, however, not to attribute sales increases solely to one single campaign: there are numerous reasons this might happen, from seasonality to having new models in stock to short-term fads. Brands also have struggled with personalizing ads using location data, citing inaccurate data and lack of awareness of third-party data providers as reasons for their difficulties.

This has pushed the bar higher for industry standards, creating a demand for data partners that provide transparency and accuracy. It is important that the location and proximity industry work to meet these standards because at this point, any marketer running a campaign with the goal of increasing traffic to brick-and-mortar stores that doesn’t have an attribution or location-based strategy is losing out on getting in front of a potentially lucrative audience.

Marketers today expend a lot of effort as they try to get people back to their online shopping carts, but very few are thinking about the huge numbers of real-life shopping carts that sit abandoned in stores. This made sense when technological and logistical issues made tracking people’s movements nearly impossible, but with the advent of proximity technologies and the widespread popularity and resultant data-gathering of apps such as Snapchat and Facebook, brands are more capable than ever of tracking people’s movements in the physical world and using that information to create targeted campaigns (this is true even for smaller companies).

As more people are shopping online, every in-store experience becomes more precious. It’s not enough to look only at the people who made a purchase; marketers need to use the tools at their disposal to reach every consumer, including those who haven’t made purchases yet but might in the future.


 

Thomas Walle is CEO and Co-founder of Unacast, the world’s largest location and proximity data platform. Unacast builds the double-deterministic Real World Graph™ to provide verified location, context, and identity to global marketing platforms. Prior to Unacast, Walle was part of the founding team at TIDAL, a music streaming service later acquired by Jay Z. His two companies both solved complexity and fragmentation. TIDAL (acquired by Jay-Z) changed the way people listen to music by unifying all record labels onto one service, and saved the music industry from losing towards piracy. Unacast tackles the booming sensor and proximity industry by building the number one aggregator and platform for beacon and proximity data. 

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Thomas Walle, Unacast) Executive ViewPoints Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:06:07 -0500
Holiday Season 2017: A ‘State of the Union’ For E-Commerce Site Performance https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/holiday-season-2017-a-state-of-the-union-for-e-commerce-site-performance https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/holiday-season-2017-a-state-of-the-union-for-e-commerce-site-performance

0aaMehdi Daoudi CatchpointThe 2017 holiday season was notable due to its strong e-Commerce site performance (speed, availability), with clear signs showing e-Commerce retailers are improving their ability to perform under load.

  • The top performers made incremental load time improvements this year compared to last. In holiday season 2017, the top-performing sites (both desktop and mobile) got faster under load compared to 2016. For example, the top three desktop sites in 2017 delivered performance ranging from 0.88 seconds to 1.29 seconds, compared to 1.25 to 1.48 seconds last year. On mobile, the top three sites ranged from 0.84 seconds to 1.3 seconds. Last year, those numbers ranged from one second to 1.3 seconds.
  • While several leading e-Commerce retailers, including The Gap, H&M, Lowe’s and J. Crew experienced problems during Black Friday weekend, these issues were much shorter in duration than the prolonged outages we’ve seen in past years.

There are several dynamics at play here. Amazon set a new standard this past summer when its Prime Day performance beat out major competitors who weren’t even having sales that day. The company has set a new bar to clear (the “Amazon Effect”) and e-Commerce retailers, particularly the traditional top performers, are responding — taking every step to ensure shoppers get service seamlessly. In addition, the clear absence of a prolonged outage suggests that e-Commerce retailers are finally getting a better handle on sniffing out and fixing web performance problems early, before a wider swath of customers are impacted. This is being driven by other industrywide trends including:

Customer Centricity Is Taking Center Stage: According to Forrester, 40% of consumers have a high willingness and ability to shift spend, meaning they can easily reward or punish companies based on a single experience — a single moment in time.

According to one study in Forbes, 75% of companies said their number one objective was to improve customer experience — overtaking price and product as a key competitive differentiator. As this year progresses, expect IT organizations to continue shifting their mindset from internal system management and metrics (the domain of traditional application performance monitoring tools, or APM) to increasingly embed customer-centricity into their monitoring approaches.

Synthetic Monitoring Is Making A Comeback: Synthetic monitoring, also known as “active” monitoring, entails generating “dummy” traffic from the cloud to periodically access web sites from a wide variety of geographic locations. This gives IT teams a realistic view of a web site or application’s speed and availability for various end-user segments around the world.

Synthetic monitoring has been around for a while, but it is making a comeback in a big way, evolving to keep up with the times.Modern approaches eliminate extraneous Internet “noise,” giving IT teams the truest, clearest view of performance while filtering out false alerts. When combined with rich diagnostics, modern synthetic monitoring enables a painstaking degree of granularity of identifying the source of problems. Ultimately, this enables IT teams to quickly and accurately correlate performance to a wide degree of variables — internal infrastructure elements, third-party services, networks and APIs. Also, IT organizations are supplementing synthetic monitoring data with real user monitoring (RUM), or “passive” monitoring. This identifies what actions users take once they do access a site or application, thus helping IT teams prioritize certain conversion paths or landing pages for speed optimization.

AI Emphasizes “High Quality Data In”:  Artificial intelligence is gaining major traction in performance monitoring, with tools using AI to discover patterns within very large data sets including log files, service desk and, increasingly, various monitoring practices. Modern synthetic monitoring itself is a predictive technology, using “robots” to simulate end users’ interactions, including the location and network from which they are accessing services. This enables IT teams to proactively identify and address issues before real end users are impacted. Because synthetic monitoring capabilities eliminate extra noise (the cloud, regional ISP networks, etc.) that can skew a true performance reading, this helps IT teams determine if a problem is truly theirs or not, thus reducing time spent war-rooming or finger-pointing unnecessarily. These “false alerts” tend to increase as web infrastructure grows more complex, so AI based on clean, noise-free data tends to yield the most accurate, actionable insights.

Addressing Elements Beyond The Firewall: Among the performance problems we tracked this holiday season, external third-party services buckling under load were often the culprit (which is consistent with past years). As more digital services move outside the firewall, traditional, inwards-focused APM becomes less sufficient. By monitoring the performance of third-party services and identifying when they are causing problems for a site overall, organizations can reduce their risk exposure, filling the gap left by more traditional APM solutions.

APIs Matter – And We’re Watching Them: In addition to third-party services, many web sites also depend on application programming interfaces, or APIs, to extend and create feature-rich functionality. For example, when an online shopper places an order on an e-Commerce site, the payment gateway uses APIs to verify the user’s credit card data. If the API that integrates the payment options on the site is broken, not only does this result in an abandoned cart, it also adds to frustration resulting in a negative user experience.

Like third-party services, APIs can suffer performance degradations (both under load as well as normal traffic periods) as a result of numerous factors, including API endpoints experiencing downtime; bugs in the integration causing errors and timeouts; API authentication taking longer than usual; the API service not being robust enough to handle spikes in incoming requests or outbound responses; and latency in API calls. Any of these can add up and create performance bottlenecks. Since API-dependent processes often support customer-facing, revenue-generating (and therefore mission-critical) applications, continually monitoring and testing APIs is an absolute must, and more e-Commerce retailers are paying attention to this critical area. 

Conclusion

From a performance perspective, holiday season 2017 can be considered a success, but there’s always room for improvement, and e-Commerce retailers are making headway. Will we ever experience a perfect, crash-free, completely seamless holiday e-Commerce shopping season? No one knows for sure, but e-Commerce sites are clearly heading in the right direction and demonstrating a much higher degree of control. Customer-centricity; modernized synthetic monitoring; AI based on clean, high-quality data; third-party service and API monitoring are all factoring into this success and we expect these trends to continue gaining momentum in the months ahead.


Mehdi Daoudi is co-founder and CEO of Catchpoint, a digital performance analytics company. Before Catchpoint, Daoudi spent more than 10 years at DoubleClick and Google, where he was responsible for quality of services, buying, building, deploying and using various internal and external monitoring solutions to keep an eye on the DART infrastructure delivering billions of transactions a day using thousands of servers, routers. HP Openview, Sitescope, SMARTS, Adlex, Coradiant, Gomez and Keynote are some of the products that were used, and sparked his interest in building something in this space.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Mehdi Daoudi, Catchpoint) Executive ViewPoints Tue, 13 Feb 2018 11:45:47 -0500
3 Tech-Driven Priorities Retailers Must Have In 2018 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/3-tech-driven-priorities-retailers-must-have-in-2018 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/3-tech-driven-priorities-retailers-must-have-in-2018

0aaBrian Elliott PeriscopeThe holiday season may be over, but in the world of retail nothing stands still for long, and it is straight into the next promotional push or the never-ending seasonal planning. 

The recent NRF Big Show gave me a great chance to not only speak with a whole host of retailers, but also to reflect on the key trends that will drive decision making in the year ahead. Time and time again executives talked about the three areas below, but of particular interest was the acknowledgement of the role that technology has to play in helping to deliver each.

1. Focus on experience

Retailers need to shift away from commodity products, pricing and especially bland experiences. This means being intentional about your customers, the products they want to buy and the experience they expect — for example, the right products, clear signage, appropriate pricing, personalized outreach, etc. 

This may seem obvious, but when many retailers speak openly and honestly, they admit that they often zero-in on one area of the experience, either because it is their personal passion, or because price has been the big pull for consumers for so long. Once retailers have better systems in place to maintain their pricing strategy relative to competitors on key items, the impact of price on the long-term relationship a customer has with a retailer diminishes in favor of the experience mix.

2. Curate your offering and augment with service

So many retailers’ web sites have become a graveyard of endless aisle products that don’t fit the retailer’s brand, image or customer goals. Curate the assortment and augment with real service. For example, show your customers a complete outfit and allow them to easily add all the items to the basket with an offer to see an in-store style coordinator. It is easy to see how these “graveyards” emerge when retailers are constantly looking to add the “next big thing” to their assortment offering. It is here that having the right assortment management software can play a key role in identifying opportunities to optimize the offering, by analyzing shopper behavior. This allows you to automate the process of curating and managing your assortments, so you can remove the deadwood and keep your customers excited with new lines. 

For the modern retailer, a technology platform that presents a single version of the truth and connects information in real time is the secret to giving customers the best possible experience. It should be channel agnostic, and able to connect each customer across the channels they use: they channel hop, and you must be able to do the same. Taking this approach to building the technology that supports your operations gives you the greatest flexibility and opportunity to innovate.

Retailers are already seeing the benefits of this, and in 2018, we will start to see the industry leaders develop service offerings that excite existing customers and attract new customers to their brand experience.

3. Dial back promotional intensity

With retailers pushing digital/email offers very hard over the holiday season, they will need to take a step back to re-evaluate their strategy. The deluge of offers really deadened the impact, with many retailers offering hot promotions nearly the entire season. Unfortunately, hot promotions have become the quick fix drug for retailers, and while this can be an effective short-term strategy, retailers also need to ensure they are resolving the underlying issue.

Ultimately you need to look at your promotions, assortment offering and experience and consider what is causing declining market appeal for a category or the brand. Consumers are price sensitive, of course, but only up to a point, and once it loses its impact what are you left with? This is being recognized by retailers, and 2018 will be a year when companies start to really measure the impact, or not, of their promotional efforts, and take a much more analytical and scientific approach to improving the customer experience through personalized promotions.

2018 marks the start of when retailers begin to get a new balance in the way they use technology, and get smarter about the way they engage with their customers, putting customer service, rather than price and promotions, back at the center of the experience. It is on this battleground that retailers will win and retain the loyalty of their customer base. The race to the bottom on price is coming to an end, and customers expect a lot more. It is time to get back to the basics in combination — focus on assortment and personalized experience built on a foundation of appropriate mass pricing and promotion activity for your brand positioning.


 

Brian Elliott is the managing partner of Periscope® By McKinsey. As an entrepreneur and inventor, Elliott has grown and led the Global Consumer Pricing practice for eight of his almost 20 years with McKinsey. He is a founding Board Member of Periscope®, and has served as its managing partner since 2012. During his leadership, Periscope® scaled from a startup environment into one of the top global revenue growth solutions in the market with accolades from Gartner, Forrester, IDC, ALM Intelligence, Promotion Optimization Institute, and CIO Review. Elliott holds a PhD in materials science from Northwestern University as well as two bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and materials engineering from Cornell University.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (By Brian Elliott, Periscope By McKinsey) Executive ViewPoints Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:53:25 -0500
Who Pinned It Best? 3 Steps For Retailers To Win At Pinterest Marketing https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/who-pinned-it-best-3-steps-for-retailers-to-win-at-pinterest-marketing https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/who-pinned-it-best-3-steps-for-retailers-to-win-at-pinterest-marketing 0aaChris Palmer BoxFoxEvery small retailer knows that Pinterest is one of the most loved sites by women (71% of the company’s 72.5 million users, to be exact). But getting started can be downright confusing. With so many posts about exercise routines, top recipes and house cleaning tips, how can an independent retail store or small chain utilize this channel to drive interest, provide helpful resources and ultimately promote merchandise?

On top of that, it’s key to understand the audience of a retail store and the merchandise being sold. For some industries such as those focused on beauty and athleisure the audience is likely made up of mostly females. Others selling sports gear or auto accessories may be made up of mixed audiences.

Why Pinterest Matters To Retailers

Why does Pinterest even matter to small retail chains or independent retailers? With so much competition (a.k.a. big brands with huge marketing budgets) and direct-to-consumer brands that skip the middleman retailer, how can anyone else stand a chance?

A recent study from Neustarreported that Pinterest paid impressions were 30% more effective at driving in-store (or e-Commerce sales) than online display ads, the next best performing channel. In addition, the report showed that user clicks gave retailers a 6X boost in sales, beating out impressions, image close-ups and re-pins, per the study.

If that’s not enough to make retailers perk up, then this will be: Pinterest ads also delivered an impressive 28-to-1 return on ad spend. It’s hard to ignore data like that.

3 Ways To Win At Pinterest Marketing

1. Think of Pinterest as a Search Engine

It may be tempting to think of Pinterest as a social media tool as users browse, like and interact with posts, similar to the way they do on Twitter and Facebook. But in actuality, Pinterest acts more like a search engine that serves up the right content for the individual based on prior activity and interests. Retailers have gotten accustomed to using hashtags for social media, but with Pinterest, retailers should hone in on important keywords. For example, a sports retailer in Indianapolis should focus on inventory keywords (Brooks running shoes or Adidas apparel), along with geographical location (Indianapolis).

2. Test Promoted Pins Campaigns

Promoted Pins are just like regular Pins, only those promoting paid to have them seen by more individuals browsing Pinterest, ultimately helping people discover and save ideas. According to Pinterest Business, more than 75% of Pins saved come from businesses, meaning browsers aren’t turned off by organic brand Pins or even Promoted Pins (in fact, they love them!). Even small retailers can separate themselves from the big brands by promoting a post which in turn will be seen by a larger, tailored audience. Also, it won’t break the bank as retailers can set their own budgets.

3. Try The New Autoplay Video Functionality

Now Pinterest is pushing into autoplay video ads, a format popularized by Facebook. In today’s day and age, consumers are enticed by short, snackable contentthat’s easy to digest. That’s what makes the new autoplay functionality so popular for retail brands. As a consumer is looking through their Pinterest page, videos start to play as they’re scrolling, grabbing their attention for a few quick seconds and begging for their attention. And if the video is helpful to the target audience perhaps demonstrating how to perform the perfect burpee then Pinterest users will slow down and pay attention. Small retailers can produce snackable content in the form of short, 8-to-10 second videos, and then utilize Promoted Pins to gain even more brand attention.

What Does Pinterest Success Mean?

Many brands are publishing content on Pinterest like a pro, and they’re getting a ton of likes and comments to their pages. But so what? Unless that results in sales, then why does it matter? Pinterest, like other social channels (looking at you, Twitter), can be very hard to measure. For independent retailers or small chains, here are the 3 key metrics to consider when evaluating whether or not Pinterest is worth the time:

  • Track visitors from Pinterest to your web site (and vice versa);
  • Understand who is pinning the content and how fast the engagement is spreading; and
  • Determine the most popular content (and perhaps the merchandise that will sell best in-store).

While there are many ways to measure conversions for e-Commerce retailers, it’s more difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers or those that take a more traditional approach to retail. But the name of the game? It all comes down to engagement.


 

Chris Palmer is a social, retail, and technology entrepreneur focused on solving big problems to effect positive change in the world. As the Founder & CEO of BoxFox, he has created a way for vendors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers to evaluate, buy, and sell aged inventory using their B2B marketplace and inventory appraisal technology. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding, and adventuring into the backcountry.

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feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Chris Palmer, BoxFox) Executive ViewPoints Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:02:27 -0500