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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.

Mobile Computer Vision And AR: Make 500 Square Feet Of Retail Space Feel Like 50,000 Square Feet

One way retailers are tackling the challenges and opportunities posed by the rebalancing of online versus physical shopping, is to experiment with smaller stores and even pop-up stores. It’s 80% cheaper to launch a pop-up shop than a traditional retail store, Storefront says, so the appeal is obvious. A critical consideration is how to make a small space feel like a big store. In other words, how do you make 500 square feet feel like 50,000 square feet?

The Connected Home: 6 Ways To Maintain And Increase Customer Loyalty

Over the past decade, IoT advancements have enabled mega tech platforms (i.e. Google, Amazon, Apple, etc.) and other industry leaders (i.e. Zigbee, Z-Wave, etc.) to radically transform the “connected home” as we now know it — challenging companies in the smart technology space to re-evaluate their products’ capabilities and the coinciding relationships each has with its respective users. The transition from single-use, battery-powered mechanical devices to more sophisticated ones with built-in WiFi “connectivity” components, like voice assistant and remote access features, has granted consumer electronics retailers and their partners alike the ability to create and/or distribute products that act as an extension of consumers’ everyday routines — offering a sense of control and peace of mind that was previously unimaginable.

Frictionless Checkout: Why And How?

For years, there has been speculation that online retail may bring about the demise of brick-and-mortar retail. To paraphrase a legendary Mark Twain quip, reports of traditional retail’s death have been greatly exaggerated. While there’s no doubt about the popularity of online retail, 90% of sales still occur inside physical stores.1 For consumers, however, there remains a primary drawback to the in-store experience — waiting in line to check out. 74% of shoppers say the checkout process is the biggest pain point in their retail experience. Whether instant-gratification culture has reduced our patience, or we’re naturally wired to dislike delay, inconvenient checkout has a serious impact on retailers. A study last year revealed that, over a period of 12 months, 86% of consumers left a store due to long lines — resulting in approximately $37.7 billion lost in potential sales.2

Why Inspiration Matters In Retail And Why Retailers Need To Be At The Exact Moment Of Inspiration

Seeing one store after another, young Rebecca Bloomwood contemplated, “When I look into shop windows, I saw another world, a dreamy world full of perfect things.” By the time she reached adulthood, Bloomwood found herself buried in debt from buying one too many luxury goods. Screenshot from Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

Sink Or Swim: Retailers Have A Decision to Make

In this digital age, retailers must be more vigilant of the latest industry trends than ever before. Technology advancements are reshaping customer expectations as well as the overall communication between retailers and customers. Adapting to these new retail trends — including a consistent omnichannel presence, free and same-day delivery and app-exclusive offers — is becoming more of a must for retailers than a luxury. The decision to choose complacency instead of adaptation in many cases can lead to an organization sinking amid the sea of competitors. So how are customer expectations shifting, and how can you stay abreast of the latest retail trends? In this article, I’ll unpack three of the top trends to implement in your retail organization.

How A New Approach To Customer Segmentation Can Reduce Returns And Boost Profitability Up To 30%

Customer returns are reaching pandemic proportions. Increasingly, shoppers are being conditioned to return unwanted items, ‘nearly unworn’ or over-ordered clothes in a sector with already tight margins. Through a new approach to predictive customer segmentation, now retailers can very quickly and cost-effectively identify those customers most likely to erode profitability. By using this insight and adapting communication strategies accordingly, it is possible to significantly reduce the cost of returns on the P&L — and maybe help a bit on CO2 emissions too!

How The Right Data Management Strategy Builds Customer Loyalty

Being a popular brand is no longer good enough. A new survey from Criteo puts numbers to a trend we’ve seen over the last few years: outside of luxury goods (or wine and spirits), consumers are no longer attached to specific brand names. Up to 72% of consumers are willing to try a new brand of apparel, while 61% are willing to reconsider their shoes, handbags and accessories. Amazon is not to blame. E-Commerce is generally getting more competitive with fast and free shipping, combined with (cheaper) access to more items than what’s seen in-store. As many as 66% of those surveyed ranked “best value for money” as their top reason for picking a brand, suggesting 1:1 relationships and memorable experiences are essential in gaining customer loyalty. Quality data is at the center of it all — and it can be your biggest competitive advantage.

How Retailers Can Compete With Amazon At Its Own Supply Chain Game

While few things remain constant in retail, the customer always comes first. And in today’s Amazon Prime world, customers demand faster, cheaper and more convenient fulfillment options than ever before. Retailers are scrambling to keep pace, offering everything from pre-selected delivery slots and buy online, pick up-in-store (BOPIS) to two-hour delivery windows in an effort to provide the seamless, channel-less experience customers expect. Yet retailers are struggling to accurately determine what, when, where and how much customers will buy. To beat this real-time “last mile” supply chain challenge and successfully compete with Amazon, retailers must take a page from the retail giant’s own playbook and leverage their stores as one unified distribution center to achieve massive margin gains. 

Consumer Behavior Fuels Fraud And Retailers Need To Fight Back

Trying to provide customers with a simple, streamlined and frictionless interaction is a more-or-less universal goal. Every retailer wants to give customers a great experience that will have buyers coming back again and again. Unfortunately, the trend toward frictionless commerce has its downsides. Consumers expect to receive products faster and pay less for them. In effect, we’ve created a culture of instant gratification surrounding online retail, and that fact holds consequences for consumers and retailers alike.

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.
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