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.

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.

The New CFO — The Change Champion?

The industry has been and is likely to remain challenged on several fronts. The balance of power between brands and their customers is shifting — and the needle has moved significantly towards the consumer. A levelling competitive and financial playing field has brought numerous innovative digital-first brands into the market. It makes “relevance” the core competitive battleground for consumer brands. Companies are being challenged to create products, services and experiences that meet consumers’ individual needs at just the right moment. That’s changing the rules of the game, and overturning decades of conventional industry wisdom.

Retailers: Here’s Why It’s Time To Be ‘All In’ For Omnichannel Inventory

For retailers, the pressure to provide an omnichannel shopping experience is inescapable. Many companies have gone to great lengths to adapt systems and processes to meet omnichannel demand and deliver a high-quality shopping experienceacross channels. While only four or five years ago cross-channel retail was considered innovative, today it is table stakes — no longer a “nice to have,” but a “must have” for retailers to remain competitive. And as consumers’ expectations for shopping continue to evolve, the importance of successful omnichannel adoption — and the urgency with which that adoption must take place — is heightened. Most retailers have invested in omnichannel in some capacity, but many brands have taken a piecemeal approach, with targeted investments or platform upgrades to enable specific functionalities. However, the retail industry is nearing an inflection point: brands that don’t go “all-in” on omnichannel will see a negative effect on sales, and those that fully adapt their systems and processes to the new omnichannel way of doing business will be much more likely to retain and grow market share.

Gamification As The Foreword To Retail’s New Data-Led Chapter

At one point or another, we’ve heard the future of retail discussed in progressively urgent tones, an unintended but apparent side effect of the death knell that has sounded with increasing frequency across the landscape in recent years. In the raised decibels of these discussions, the plight of struggling retailers has come to light, placing attention on profit lines that are taking a nosedive towards the bottom of the chart. While there are many factors singled out as the cause behind the industry’s weakening performance, with e-Commerce often painting a less than optimistic David vs. Goliath scene, the demise of retail is not a destined one. Fundamentally, the relationship between retailer and consumer is straightforward and provides sufficient room for the coexistence of both parties. Whether in the dissection of macroeconomic conditions or the consideration of e-Commerce as an alternative competitive track, these should not be viewed as the factors pushing the retail industry over the edge, but instead a reasoned response befitting the changing 21st-century consumer.

The Ecosystem Economy Is Reshaping Merchant Technology. Here's What Comes Next.

In the U.S., at least half of the 10 largest companies could now be considered technology firms. On that list, only Apple was founded with a pure focus on technology. But firms like Walmart, CVS, Ford, and GM are now considered tech companies as their business models evolve. Increasingly, they rely on (and create) technology as a core part of their business — and they operate within an ecosystem of connected technologies that allow them to create value for their customers.

Building A Business In A Highly Regulated Industry

Attention to detail is crucial for any successful entrepreneurial endeavor, but when it comes to launching and scaling a startup in a highly regulated industry, it’s a completely different ballgame. Entrepreneurs operating in highly regulated industries have to be even more shrewd when it comes to risk taking, innovation, and decision making — one legal misstep could result in serious legal ramifications and reputation damage. For example, although delivery, on the surface, seems similar across categories, e-Commerce rules are very different when it comes to regulated industries vs. unregulated ones — from many perspectives, including those of the customers, brands and other stakeholders. Selling and delivering a pair of shoes or sunglasses is very different than making sure a bottle of Proper Twelve Whiskey gets to your door in under an hour.

A Perfect Pairing: How Physical And Digital Combine To Make Beautiful Retail

Depending on who you ask, “Is physical retail dead?”, the answers will land broadly between a confident “yes” and an absolute “no.” And we’ve seen both trends growing: pure online players like Madison Reed opening brick-and-mortar locations, as well as traditional four-wall retailers amplifying their e-Commerce presence. Within the past few years, for example, digital pure player and beauty retailer Madison Reed opened Color Bars, physical stores in which consumers can experience Madison Reed’s hair color products and consult a beauty specialist in person with any questions. Traditional retailers such as Nordstrom also have seen success, by launching smaller physical retail concepts that incorporate key technological elements designed to create experiential and services-oriented retailing.

The Retail War Is For Long-Term Subscribers, Not Unit Sales

As any major sale comes to an end, millions of customers around the country rejoice at having scored excellent deals and reflect on some well-earned retail therapy. What is unclear is how long the euphoria at owning the latest thing will yield to buyer’s remorse. While the experience of shopping can be delightful, more of us want to own less stuff.

Geofencing And Mobile Push Notifications: A Match Made In Customer Engagement Heaven

In a world where people are bombarded by noise and messages at all times, there’s extreme value in being able to communicate instantly and directly with consumers. Breaking through the clutter and capturing a consumer’s attention is only effective when the right information is being shared at the right time and place. The question is, however, what can retailers do to send these timely, relevant messages directly and personally to consumers and trigger action? For savvy retailers, strategic geofencing by setting up a virtual perimeter that reaches a customer’s most personal device via push notifications is the answer.

“Store”-age Virtualization: How Retailers Can Gain An Edge With IT Operations

For many retail organizations, individual stores are spread far and wide, oftentimes with thousands of locations. In any given store location, there are many applications and Internet of Things (IoT) devices running simultaneously to maintain business operations, security and more. These applications and devices include point of sale (POS) systems, video surveillance recordings, back office applications, inventory management software, digital signage and food service automation — to name a few. In order to stay competitive in a landscape where every retailer is looking for an edge to attract and retain customers, a flexible technical architecture that can easily handle change is crucial for business continuity. The successful IT management of multiple stores in various locations is important for managing application uptime, data production and storage without the need for onsite IT support in each store location.

Inserting Your Brand Into The Modern Shopping Experience

To say the modern shopping mall has undergone transformation is an understatement. In the glory days from around 1956 to 2005, shopping centers were closed-in, bi-level, monolithic structures with anchor stores and food courts attracting shoppers by the droves. But modern consumers are increasingly pulling away from the cookie-cutter approach and gravitating, instead, to mixed-use centers that intermingle retail stores with open areas conducive to living, dining, working and playing — and with strong property-wide branding and identity.
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