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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.

Why Retail Marketers Turn To Behavioral Economics

With the amount of messaging that inundates individuals on a daily basis, it can be frustrating for retailers to make their mark. Here is the problem: retailers spend a majority of their time and resources thinking about what to sell, not necessarily how to sell it. Well, the social science known as “behavioral economics” shows us that how a product is presented to consumers is often the most powerful driver in a purchase decision. Behavioral economics is no longer just taught in college lecture halls; it is now learned by marketers all over the world to help drive growth and increase revenue. Research by Gallup shows that companies that apply the principles of behavioral economics to their overall marketing strategy outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.

Why 2019 Is The Year Of The Retail Renaissance

The first half of 2019 confirmed that the retail apocalypse many industry experts once predicted is not on the horizon. Instead, we’re in the midst of the next phase of a “retail renaissance,” where customer experience reigns supreme. This shift is evidenced by the creation of innovative store experiences, retailers teaming up with direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, even better buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) incentives and one-day or same-day delivery. Retailers want to make the most of their brick-and-mortar presence while creating unique and memorable customer experiences. For example, Nordstrom recently announced plans to expand Local, its service-centered stores that offer amenities such as online order pickup, tailoring and manicures to drive foot traffic and enrich the in-store customer experience. This strategic concept will likely continue to be leveraged by retailers as the year goes on.

Flip The Script On Bad E-Commerce Deliveries

We've all had a bad experience at a restaurant. One that goes from bad to worse, resulting in a negative vote with our wallets and maybe even an online post. We’ve also all had a bad dining experience that is handled so well that we go from upset to loyal fans. The same scenarios play out every day in other consumer experiences — and online shopping is no stranger to issues and disappointments. Brands can build trust to win loyal e-Commerce shoppers by upholding delivery promises and resolving any issues to positive effect through proactive delivery experience management. What do I mean by a bad online shopping experience? It could be an ill-fitting item that I want to return, or worse, I might receive a damaged shipment or have an order delayed so much that it misses a birthday celebration. Many retailers are unaware that 11% of online orders experience some sort of delivery distress (known as “exceptions”).

Has Amazon Prime Pushed Consumer Expectations Too Far?

It may be one of the services that I use most often for my personal online shopping, not to mention the added perks like movies, TV shows and music that accompany membership. The impact it’s had on revolutionizing content, products, fulfillment and many other aspects of broader commerce can’t be denied. What I do not love is the way that Amazon Prime has skewed consumer expectations beyond repair.

9 Email Campaign Strategies Every Retailer Should Be Using

While multi-channel marketing campaigns will drive the richest and most effective customer engagement strategy, email is still a huge part of the whole. B2C marketers that connect with customers through automated emails see conversion rates as high as 50% (eMarketer). Ensuring you are running the right email campaigns to engage, inform and expand your customer base will help you scale your marketing, enabling you to grow into an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that yields maximum return. Email is most companies’ foray into customer engagement. Below are nine types of email campaigns you should be implementing to best engage your customers, increasing their loyalty to your brand as you prepare to reach them on new channels. 1. The Welcome Email Series Did you know that taking too long to contact a new email subscriber can lead to higher spam scores? The communication delay can cause subscribers to forget they ever opted in. Beyond that, retailers that send a series of welcome emails achieve 13% more revenue than those that send just one (Internet Retailer 500). The welcome email series is a chance to start building a relationship with a new subscriber and educate them at a time when they’re most open…

Want To Build Strong Relationships With Shoppers? Start With Identity Resolution.

With so many competing products and services, it can be challenging for retailers to stand out among the crowd. Shoppers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing messages daily, so retail marketers need to cut through the noise to reach loyal customers and attract new ones. This essentially comes down to relevancy. And relevancy starts with identity resolution. People are always on the go and constantly bounce between devices throughout the day. A person may start the morning by looking at their smartphone, move to a laptop or tablet at work, and then come home and unwind by watching the latest episode of their favorite show on their smart TV. As customers are constantly on the go, they also leave a trail of data in their wake that helps marketers know when and how to connect to have the most impact.

Self-Driving Cars Will Be An Economic Revival For Brick-And-Mortar Retailers

Google, Amazon, Tesla, major car manufacturers and countless other enterprising startups are racing to dominate the self-driving vehicle market. Everyone wants to be the first to launch mainstream sales and services built on autonomous technology. Rightfully so, the industry is projected to generate billions in sales, improve efficiency and cut delivery costs. The focus right now is to get these vehicles on the road, which according to Tesla and Toyota could happen as soon as later this year or early 2020. Self-driving cars are coming, now industries like retail and food service need to start thinking about how this will impact them.

Creating Simplicity From Complexity: Managing Returns Through SaaS, AI & Machine Learning

Consumer behavior is reshaping retail, ultimately challenging merchants to create enhanced solutions to their increasing demands. Managing returns without compromising the experience for customers or retailers alike is one of these challenges. But returns do not have to be perceived as an obstacle. Retailers should instead look at this historically complicated process as an opportunity to ease reverse logistics, optimize store operations and even strengthen customer engagement. To do this, however, retailers must recognize the value of integrating data-driven intelligent software into their return management strategies.

Unlocking The Value Of Artificial Intelligence For Retailers

At a recent Future Stores Miami conference, I attended a panel discussion focused on practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the in-store experience. One of my key takeaways from that discussionwas that retailers are struggling to find the right opportunities to deploy AI in stores. With AI still a nascent technology, many people across multiple sectors aren’t savvy on what’s even possible by using it. I’d like to offer a few insights to help get some ideas flowing. The oft-maligned retail landscape is certainly going through a significant evolution. Technology is playing a huge role in that, both good and not so good. The competition from e-Commerce that has drawn shoppers away from brick-and-mortar is forcing innovation of the in-store experience. AI presents a significant opportunity to transform that experience into one that is more satisfying for customers and more profitable for retailers.

Mass Customization Is Coming for E-Commerce — Here’s How Manufacturers Can Get It Right

Thanks to the immediacy of our digital age, shoppers have a growing desire for products that can be instantly customized exactly to their preferences. But the demand for customized goods does not align with the traditional e-Commerce model, where a customer can choose only from what is displayed on a retailer’s site. Mass customization demands a new approach. Luckily, with the rise of the B2B2C commerce model, manufacturers are now able to provide a B2C-like experience to the end customer. The right CPQ (configure, price, quote) solution streamlines the formerly complex process of customization, allowing customers to see the price they will pay for the product, and send necessary designs and specifications straight to the manufacturing facility.

Enriching The Customer Experience Through Journey Mapping And Personalization

Digital technologies have given customers unprecedented power to dictate the terms of purchase, to the point that instant gratification has become the norm. Customers expect the same kind of immediacy, personalization, and convenience in all their interactions with a brand. Therefore, companies must understand customer-behavior and be ready to cope with the demands created by multiple customer touch points. Failure to deliver personalized customer experiences at the right time, on the right channels can lead to customer churn and even business demise. The question is, how can personalized services be provided in a highly digital-driven world? How can an organization deliver a connected, consistent experience across all touch points? More importantly, how can companies balance human and digital interactions to deliver an enhanced user experience while strictly adhering to privacy regulations?

Retail-As-A-Service: The Next-Gen Wild West

For better or worse, Amazon has turned the retail industry upside down and redefined what it means to be a modern consumer. Increasingly, consumers turn to online channels to purchase everything from toilet paper to cars. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce recently reported that between the fourth quarter of 2017 to 2018, e-Commerce sales increased by 12.1%. Even more interesting? Amazon accounts for 49.1% of all online retail spend in the country, with eBay trailing at 6.6%. Brands that aren’t meeting consumers online are missing a key opportunity to compete. Companies looking for a silver bullet are turning to the emerging opportunity of Retail-as-a-Service (RaaS), which is paving the way forward for large brands and brick-and-mortar stores to compete in the digital era. Similar to Software-as-a-Service, where, for example, companies select services to improve timekeeping or payments, RaaS can be purchased to create a better experience for the customer and create a better user experience for both the front- and back-end operations that service the customer. The ability to purchase, rather than build custom solutions, significantly reduces overhead costs for companies and provides a heightened sense of service.

5 CX Trends To Consider In 2019

Brands are being inundated with talk about consumers’ increasing expectations when it comes to customer experience (CX). And as businesses deliver more creative and engaging experiences, forming impactful customer relationships becomes more difficult. The 2019 CX Trends Report conducted by InMoment suggests that despite evolving conversations around CX, companies are struggling to balance their own needs and changing customer preferences. While 50% of brands say they’re “definitely” doing better at delivering excellent customer experience, just 11% of customers agree.

Three Essential Tips In Preserving Next-Gen Customers

What’s the secret behind the success of today’s best young consumer-facing brands? Authenticity and personalized experience curation. Realistically, the customer isn’t always right, but without servicing them in a way that resonates, businesses won’t thrive. Seems logical, doesn’t it? Apparently not. Almost daily one could find headlines about the disconnect between legacy brands and their consumer base, whether it’s ethical discrepancies (Hey Facebook!) or basic customer service needs (à la United Airlines). While it’s difficult to quantify how much budget is allocated on average to bettering customer service across industries, clearly it’s not a top priority for many companies. If nothing else, 2018 taught us that customer service is integral to attracting and retaining today’s more discerning and fickle consumers, and that without a personalized approach your business will take both a financial and public relations hit.

Myths Vs. Facts: Debunking Myths In Retail Payments

In our bustling retail landscape — today’s most competitive market — it’s hard to believe that many online merchants, particularly those based in the U.S., avoid access to global transactions. When considering U.S. cross border e-Commerce is expected to bring in $203 billion by 2021, it should be a no-brainer for online retailers to consider capitalizing on the growth potential that exists beyond American borders. But even with online transactions being more popular than ever before, payments fraud and security scams run rampant across the online commerce exchange — a paramount concern for merchants apprehensive about expanding to international markets.
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