Industry Insights

If you’re looking for experts’ perspectives on the retail environment or a detailed look at the latest retail industry trends, check out the Retail TouchPoints Industry Insights section. Topics cover the gamut from Omnichannel and Mobile to Shopper Engagement and Retail CRM. These articles can help round out a complete look at specific retail segments or the industry as a whole.

Survey: 45% Of Shoppers Shun SMBs With Poorly Designed Web Sites

With more and more shoppers using digital channels to discover, interact with and rate real-world businesses, the value of a strong online presence is unquestioned. It's even more vital for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A recent survey by Vistaprint Digital Services spotlights just how important it is for SMBs to not only have an online presence, but to have a good looking one as well. The Digital Impact Report On Online Identity surveyed more than 2,000 people in the U.S. “We set out primarily to go one step beyond what we’ve historically done,” said Scott Bowen, VP and GM of Digital Services at VistaPrint. “This time we reached out to our customer’s customers, and tried to understand how they would view a small business’ online presence, to help inform how consumers are ultimately evaluating the SMBs as it relates to online marketing.” One of the key findings from the survey showed that having an online presence/web site, or some way to have people find the SMB on the web (for example via social media), is critical. More than one third (36.7%) of respondents said they discover small businesses for the first time online. This is “virtually the same” as…

#RIC16: 5 Tips To Maximize Cause Marketing Effectiveness

For many retailers, cause marketing has proven to enhance customer engagement and make an impact on the world at the same time. At the 2016 Retail Innovation Conference, held May 10-11 in New York City, retail executives from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Under The Canopy, Tom’s of Maine and Ace Hardware gathered to discuss how using retail for social good makes their companies stand out among their retail peers. The panelists included: Marci Zaroff, Founder of Under The Canopy; Bridget Burns, Social Media Strategist for Tom’s of Maine; Mary Holahan, Digital Marketing Manager for DICK’s Sporting Goods; Kane Calamari, President of the Ace Foundation; and Greg Buzek, President of IHL Services and co-founder, Retail Orphan Initiative (Moderator). The panelists had unique stories of how their companies leverage cause marketing, as well as the strategies and benefits of such programs. They provided five key takeaways designed to help maximize the impact of cause marketing initiatives. 1. The cause should somehow tie into your company’s ethos. Cause marketing initiatives have to be sincere in order to receive a positive response. Being a sporting goods retailer, DICK’s created a foundation called Sports Matter that ties in directly with the products the retailer sells. The…

#RIC16 Payment Disruption: Leverage Technology To Boost Customer Loyalty

Retailers have a right to be confused when it comes to payments. There are a host of new technologies with the potential to change the way shoppers complete their transactions: contactless payments via EMV chip cards; NFC payments through consumers' mobile devices; mobile wallets; plus Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Yet for the most part, consumers don't perceive the current payment infrastructure as "broken," a fact that is slowing adoption rates of these emerging technologies. Retailers want to be ready to catch whatever the popular payment wave will be, but they also don't want to bet on the wrong horse, or to get too far out ahead of their customers. Most of all, retailers want to remove whatever friction still exists in the payments process. Those constraints may actually present opportunities for retailers to use payments in new and innovative ways. 

#RIC16 Buzz: Top Tweets Capture Event's Excitement

The Twittersphere was buzzing during this year’s Retail Innovation Conference, May 10-11 at Apella in New York City. With so many valuable insights, witty and informed speakers, thought-provoking sessions and enlightening Innovation Labs, it’s no surprise that the #RIC16 hashtag was filled with great quotes and photos from inside the conference. If you couldn't be there in person, we’ve rounded up some of the top tweets from the event. Want to see more? Check out the #RIC16 hashtag on Twitter, and don’t forget to follow Retail TouchPoints (@RTouchPoints) and the Retail Innovation Conference (@RetailInnovate) for more insights into disruptive innovation in retail.

Verizon Data Breach Study: 5 Steps To Mitigate Risk

They say there is nothing new under the sun, and with respect to data breach incidents, the saying is mostly true. In fact, the most successful data breach methods from last year are still among the key methods being used this year. But there are several steps retailers can take to avoid data breaches, or at the very least mitigate their impact. Retail TouchPoints spoke to Chris Novak, Director of Investigative Response, Verizon Enterprise Solutions and author of the Verizon Data Breach Study, who revealed that a retailer's greatest asset is its employees. In fact, the simple act of communication with, and among, store associates about the appropriate response to a data breach can be what separates a retailer from the potential loss of millions of dollars — not to mention long-term damage to the company's reputation. It's also vital to close security gaps quickly once they are discovered, given that 90% of vulnerabilities exploited by criminals are at least one year old.

Retail Spy Case Accuses Modell’s CEO Of Posing As Dick’s Exec

In retail’s own version of “spygate,” Dick’s Sporting Goods has filed a complaint in a New Jersey court claiming that Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods, posed as a Dick’s executive to gain access to confidential business information. According to an article on,the complaint alleges that Modell visited a Dick’s store in Princeton, New Jersey, and pretended he was a Dick’s executive waiting to meet with the company's CEO Edward Stack.

Flash Sales And Daily Deals: A Passing Fad?

Flash sale and daily deals retailers, such as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La, shook up the traditional commerce model when they first broke into the retail scene in the late 2000’s. Since then, the flash sale space has been in a constant state of change. While new eTailers seem to be emerging on almost a daily basis, others are shutting down, or being acquired by their larger counterparts. Others, however, are growing consistently and even going public. For example, Zulily, the flash sale site geared towards mothers and children, made headlines in November 2013 after taking the company public. The site has shared success since the launch of its IPO, posting a Q4 2013 profit of $4.5 million and a full year net income of $12.9 million. Gilt Groupe is expected to be the next in line, with Bloomberg reporting that the eTailer has selected Goldman Sachs to manage its IPO.

Retailers Increase Spending On Product Listing Ads By 300%

Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are playing a major role in the company’s “pay-to-play” ad format. Over the past year, PLAs have soared in popularity due to their expansion to smartphones and new customer-facing featPures. Because consumers are using PLAs more frequently, retail advertisers have increased spending on the PLA channel by approximately 300%, according to research from Marin Software. In addition to growth in overall PLA spending, the share of spend on PLAs increased from 12% to 15% throughout the year. By December 2013, retailers were allocating 23% of their paid search budget toward PLAs, a 92% increase over January 2013.

In-Store, Customer-Facing Technology Is Most Important To Retailers

Retailers stated that in-store, customer-facing technology is “most important” to their organizations, followed by real-time retail and unified commerce. These and other findings were revealed in the 15th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, issued January 2014 by Boston Retail Partners. With customer experience as the driver, customer-facing technology is critical for enabling consumers to tailor their own shopping experiences, the report indicated. Unified commerce is the means to meeting customers' needs and providing the expected overall customer experience, and real-time retail is the key to making that happen.

E-Commerce Law Expert “Unsure” If Bitcoins Will Become Mainstream

In January 2014, Overstock Chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne announced that the retailer would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Since then, retail experts have been researching the digital currency, and contemplating its role as a payment option for consumers in the future. There are a number of security and legal implications retailers must understand before making a decision about Bitcoin acceptance. In the below Q&A, Jeffrey Neuburger, Co-Head of the Technology, Media and Communications Group for international law firm Proskauer, shares details regarding these implications and discusses developments in the Bitcoin world. As an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, Neuburger teaches e-Commerce law and lectures extensively on a wide range of issues, including emerging technology developments, intellectual property, outsourcing, privacy and data security. He is co-author of two books: Doing Business On The Internet and Emerging Technologies And The Law.

Holiday Results Call Price-Matching Policies Into Question

During the 2013 holiday season, retailers relied on time-sensitive deals, flash sales, door-busters and price-matching policies to drive sales. Faced with a condensed holiday season and increasingly price-savvy consumers, leading retailers, including Best Buy and Target, promised to not only offer the hottest gifts at the lowest price, but to honor lower prices and discounts offered by competitors. But what impact did highly competitive pricing and promotions strategies have on the bottom line?

Consistency, Personalization Valued Most Among Consumers

  Whether consumers plan to purchase items online or in a physical store, they value consistency across all channels, according to a survey from Infosys. Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said consistency across online and physical stores was important; and 77% said they valued consistency across different physical branches. The study, titled: Rethinking Retail, spotlighted consumer perspectives regarding the omnichannel retail experience via a survey of 1,000 shoppers. Infosys also surveyed 50 U.S. retailers to understand how their organizations were keeping pace with consumer demands.

How Cloud Adoption Can Recharge Small Businesses

The IT landscape continues to change in the retail industry. As a result, smaller companies are looking for ways to add value to their IT departments and empower them to improve the customer experience and boost overall revenue. In a recent webinar, titled: Leveling The Playing Field: The Benefits Of Cloud For Small To Midsize Retailers, executives from EarthLink Business discussed how cloud adoption can lead to success for SMBs.
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