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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.

Mastering Omnichannel Buying Journeys With Predictive Analytics

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

Apparel Retailers Need A Recommerce Solution: Here’s Why

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

How Nanotech Can Transform The E-Commerce Industry

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

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

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

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

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

How Experiential Retail Can Rescue Struggling U.S. Retailers

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

Self-Service Technology: Best Practices Or Bust

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

Omnichannel Returns Are No Longer Optional

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

Last Mile Logistics In The Age Of E-Commerce

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

How To Survive The Amazon Purge

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

How A Route Planner Can Make E-Commerce Delivery Seamless

Technology. It is all the talk lately, especially in the modern retail landscape, that is e-Commerce. Technology has revolutionized the way we shop, due to the seamless integration of e-Commerce into our everyday busy lives. Now, when we want something, we turn to online retailers, and this trend is one that will be sticking around for a while. However, with this new method of shopping comes increased challenges for e-Commerce stores, and increased delivery demands.

Technology Aside, Here’s How To Succeed With Digital Transformation

Investing in digital transformation can be either one of the best or one of the worst decisions your company makes. Whether it’s digital transformation with a B2B e-Commerce solution or just a new cloud-based data analytics program, the success of implementation rests in your planning and execution processes. Most companies know that they need to embrace digital transformation sooner rather than later, but not many understand how to go about doing so successfully. The type of technology that will be used is, of course, an incredibly important part of the mix, but operational and organizational change should be the first place where businesses begin their transformation.

How The IoT Unlocks Value For Retailers

Few industries have faced greater disruption than retail. Consumers use smartphones, apps, image and voice searches, augmented reality, GPS and other tech tools to find and buy all kinds of products. And thanks to sophisticated supply chain and logistics systems, retailers can quickly give customers the items they crave. Adapting to this new retailing world can be challenging, but it presents opportunities that shouldn’t be ignored. I’m working with a number of retail executives who understand how to catapult their business to a competitive advantage by using digital technologies that are woven into business practices to generate greater value for customers, business partners, and employees. At the center of this equation is the Internet of things (IoT), which presents benefits that extend from warehouses and supply chains to store designs and customer interactions. The right mix of sensors, devices, software and systems can make a lot of dumb objects smart by introducing a level of intelligence that was unimaginable in the past. Registering Change The IoT represents an opportunity to reduce friction and create value for both consumers and retailers in a variety of ways. For example, it can make it easier to track a product across a supply chain…

The Greatest Threat To Retail Security: Your Employees

Today, most employees know emails from the “Nigerian prince” are fake, but a new threat — emails that mimic a coworker or CEO — is much harder to detect. An employee can unknowingly open what she thinks is a legitimate email and in seconds, a retailer’s Intellectual Property (IP), security and millions of other assets are fully exposed. That email that looks so real, from your CEO or co-worker, is a way into the network. While employees are getting better about not opening, or at least reporting that they opened the email, the newest threat emerging is more frightening and corporate IP is at even greater risk. In the retail industry, where corporate brand employees receive hundreds of emails a day from different vendors, recognizing hacked emails can be especially tricky.
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