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Mobile technology. Digital innovations. Social Commerce. These and many other trends are constantly being changed and being updated with new solutions, services and strategies. Retail TouchPoints editors stay on top of the latest activities and announcements, and bring you fresh perspectives on the hottest trends affecting the marketplace. Check back regularly for the latest new perspectives.

Creating PACTS To Enhance Customer Experience

In today’s digitally disrupted world, leading players are creating superior customer care with interactions that are personalized, accurate, collaborative, timely, and appropriately self-served. Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This is true for the challenges many companies are facing as they try to be everywhere for everyone in today’s digitally connected, omnichannel world. The complexity of an ever-increasing variation in channels, devices, and data makes navigating the path to “simple” more challenging than ever.

Facebook Shakes Up Customer Service With New Messenger Offering

Many consumers visit social networks to learn about a brand, its products and even ask questions. According to the 2014 State Of Multichannel Customer Service report from Parature, 35% of consumers said they have tapped social networks to ask a service question. Moreover, 51% of this group said their experience gave them a more positive view of a brand. Facebook is trying to make the social customer service experience more interactive and interpersonal with its new Businesses on Messenger service. Announced during the annual F8 developer conference, the solution is designed to eliminate the need to engage with brands and retailers on the phone, according to Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg. The social giant will provide a new suite of features that will allow businesses to provide more personalized digital service to customers.

Best Buy Consolidates Canadian Business, Closes 66 Future Shop Stores

Best Buy announced over the weekend that it would be consolidating its Canadian business. During the process, Best Buy will plan to focus more on its name brand locations and closing some of the Future Shop locations it acquired in 2001. Because many Best Buy and Future Shop locations are in close proximity to each other, the electronics retailer plans to shut down 66 Future Shop stores, according to Forbes. Up to 1,500 employees across the country will lose their job as a result of the consolidation. Part-time workers make up approximately 70% of this employee pool.

71% Of U.S. Shoppers Rely On Product Data To Make Purchase Decisions

Up to 71% of U.S. adults who research products online rely on product-focused information such as social ratings and reviews, digital data and editorial content from the manufacturer or retailer to make a buying decision, according to Forrester Research. More than two thirds (69%) of online shoppers, in fact, typically rely on information managed or governed from a product information management (PIM) solution. Two thirds of consumers also visit a manufacturer’s web site to access or verify information on products they plan to purchase. More than 70% of consumers that purchase items such as footwear, apparel and large appliances actually research those products online before visiting the store.

Are You Mobile-Ready? Gilt And GLAMSQUAD Co-Founder Will Share Tips And Best Practices At FD Mobile

Retailers of all sizes and across categories are looking at mobile as a new engagement and commerce necessity. But there are many questions that emerge as executives determine their strategies and investments, such as: Should my business invest in a mobile-optimized site or app? Are our emails tailored to mobile screen sizes? How can we successfully connect our mobile and brick-and-mortar experiences?  These questions — and many more — will be investigated during FD Mobile, an intimate event developed by Sandy Hussain, Founder and CEO of Fashion Digital. Solution providers looking to attend FD Mobile can click here to receive a special discount on registration, courtesy of Retail TouchPoints. Retail executives can get on the attendee list by emailing info@fashiondigital.com.

Apple Watch Presents Retailers With More Opportunities For Real-Time Engagement

Mobile has become a critical channel for retailers to connect with consumers more directly, whether they are at home or on the go. But the new Apple Watch is expected to help retailers to make that connection even more real time and powerful. Retailers such as QVC are already developing apps for the new hardware.Earlier this week, Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch, with CEO Tim Cook announcing that the new wearable will be available in nine countries on April 24, 2015. 

Google Takes A Bite Out Of Apple With New London Store

Many consider the Apple Store to be a technology Mecca of sorts, but Google is adding competition to the mix by opening its own location in the UK.  The Google “shop in shop” is stationed in a Currys PC World location on London’s Tottenham Court Road, a famous technology hub for the city.

86% Of Consumers Believe Ratings/Reviews Are Essential To The Shopping Experience

With social media, consumers have the ability to connect and communicate with people all over the world. Whether friends, family or complete strangers, consumers have come to rely on their peers for feedback and validation. Because consumers consider social networks such active and valuable communities, they have come to expect the same peer-driven experience as they shop online, according to new research from PowerReviews.

The Resurgence Of The Store

In 2008, retailers were faced with the Great Recession, which forced consumers to spend less and be savvier about when, where and how they shop. Then in 2012, the emergence of showrooming hit retailers, which threatened brick-and-mortar businesses and encouraged consumers to find better deals from Amazon and other online pureplays. Now, in 2015, the retail industry is facing another moment of flux: Rather than viewing the store as a weak target, it instead is becoming a key differentiator for retailers across categories.

Luxury Brands Lose Half Of Their Top Customers Every Year

Luxury brands struggle to retain approximately 50% of their top shoppers every year, according to research from Epsilon and The Luxury Institute. In fact, these brands can lose up to 90% their customers in any given year. The primary reason consumers decide to no longer shop with a luxury brand is not the product, but a rude or ineffective salesperson, according to the report. Only 10% to 15% of luxury customers state that they have a first-name relationship with a sales professional.

Expanding Into Canada: Challenges And Opportunities

Due to its close proximity to the U.S., Canada is a natural choice for retailers looking to begin their international expansion journey. Over the past year, Canada has shown its profit potential. In 2014, e-Commerce sales in the country topped off at $22.9 billion and are expected to rise 16.8% in 2015, according to eMarketer.

The 'Switching Economy' Leaves $1.6 Trillion Up For Grabs

Shoppers today have access to more product and brand options due to their day-to-day use of digital tools and touch points. As a result, these savvy consumers are more prone to switching businesses if they do not receive the best possible experience, according to Accenture research. In fact, 56% of consumers reported that the number of brands they consider has increased significantly over the past 10 years. And up to 46% of consumers said they are more likely to switch providers versus 10 years ago.

Super Bowl Social Activity Reaches New Heights, But Brands Fail To Capitalize

Over the years, the Super Bowl has evolved from the must-see event for sports fanatics, to a cultural phenomenon of sorts. Now, football fans or not, consumers across the country tune in to the Super Bowl to catch the latest ads from brands and, of course, the half time show. This year's Big Game brought in the highest ratings for any Super Bowl to date, garnering a 49.7 rating in 56 metropolitan markets across the U.S., according to Nielsen. The Associated Press indicated that this stat means nearly half of homes in those areas were watching the game.

Encouraging Innovation And Organizational Change

During his tenure at Hudson’s Bay Company as SVP of Corporate Strategy, Ryan Craver helped the retailer implement a multitude of innovative marketing and engagement concepts. In February 2014, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor implemented Pounce, a mobile app that allows consumers to scan and buy items in circulars directly through their mobile devices.

Winning The Fulfillment Battle Against Amazon

To win the battle against Amazon, best-in-class retailers are investing in omnichannel inventory and order management. Up to 43% of retailers currently have enterprise-wide inventory visibility and 36% have rolled out real-time inventory updates. Watch this video to learn the four best practices to win the fulfillment battle.
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