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Business Intelligence / Data / Analytics

In order to be successful in today’s omnichannel retail marketplace, merchants must collect information from numerous internal and external sources, then analyze that data. New solutions can help to optimize incoming data in order to deliver the business intelligence and analytics needed to move retail businesses successfully into the future. This section offers feature articles, special reports, industry viewpoints and the latest news to help retailers make sense out of the growing influx of information.

Customer Queries And Reviews Illuminate Sales For Lamps Plus

By increasing the variety and depth of UGC (User Generated Content) on its e-Commerce web site, Lamps Plus improved the customer shopping journey and armed consumers with significantly more information to guide their purchasing, both online and in-store. While Lamps Plus has sought out, collected and posted online product reviews for several years, customers’ questions and answers, visual reviews and checkout comments were put on the back burner — mainly because the retailer lacked the resources to implement the process.

Implementing Influencer Marketing With Offline Retail Networks

As 2018 has taken off and goes into full swing, the influencer marketing space is continuing to accelerate and grow. But for brands to get in on the market’s success, they need to identify the right influencer(s) to reach their target audiences. As Amazon increasingly takes over the online sales market, it's more important than ever for retailers to accurately target and create meaningful relationships with their core buyers. With the abundance of data available online, it's simple to identify what influencers will be impactful with a brand's’ audience given the right tools. But without insights into data on in-store sales at vendor retailers like Macy's or Nordstrom, it’s hard to identify what influencer relationships are most relevant for those buyers. Here are a few tips for brands looking to target those shoppers who still purchase merchandise in-store via influencer marketing, especially when sales data isn’t easy to obtain.

Adore Me Boosts Active Customers 2.3X With Multi-Point Customer Segmentation

Like many new retailers, online lingerie seller Adore Me initially devoted a significant amount of resources to customer acquisition. The strategy worked: within six years of its founding, the members-only site, which offers new collections of merchandise every month, had grown to $100 million in annual revenue. However, “at some point we realized that our revenue had shifted from new customers to our existing customers,” said Josselin Petit-Hoang, CRM Marketing Manager at Adore Me. But maximizing engagement and sales from those customers was going to be a challenge, because “our communications with these existing customers were very basic,” said Petit-Hoang in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We were only using email, and we were essentially sending the same message to all of them. But not all customers are equal: Some are very engaged; they buy a new set of lingerie every month. Others come to the site twice a year, buying one set for the spring and another for the fall.”

AI Outpaces Human Activity In 45% Of Businesses

As many as 45% of businesses say the AI deployments in their organization are greatly outpacing the accuracy and productivity of comparable human activity, according to a report from Infosys. In fact, 37% have removed positions that have become redundant post-AI deployment. But while 85% of retailers and CPG brands are using AI to automate businesses processes, 62% admit they have difficulty finding qualified staff to lead integration of AI technologies.

Digitalize To Survive: How To Ride The Change

Across every sector, digital transformation is enabling businesses to operate at breakneck speeds, rejuvenating the competitive playing field. In retail specifically, forward-thinking enterprises have been able to harness next generation technologies such as cloud and IoT to accelerate the delivery of digital services to consumers. For example, the recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon illustrates the popularity of the digitally transforming grocery market. As the last of the traditional milkmen ride off into the sunset, you can hear consumers firing up their AI personal shoppers: “Ok Google, order me half a gallon of milk from Ralphs.”   Over the last couple of years, online shopping — increasingly now through mobile devices — has taken off. Every week we hear how the ‘mobile shopping boom’ is boosting those online retailers with a streamlined, omnichannel presence. Mobile commerce now accounts for over 30% of total online sales[1], and this in turn has led to competitive retailers embracing next generation technologies to digitally transform their business models, and subsequently rejuvenate their customer experience. This has meant that those that have been slow to digitally transform, such as Toys ‘R’ Us, have struggled to survive.

How Innovative Solutions Close The Store-Online Gap For Home Depot, Z Gallerie And Best Buy

It’s been a persistent retail challenge to connect consumers’ online and offline experiences. The ascent of mobile has made this challenge even tougher, because this portable touch point needs to be incorporated in retailers’ strategic thinking about the entire shopper journey, from pre-sale through post-sale. “The biggest challenge in the retail market is still offline/online integration,” said Pano Anthos, Managing Director of XRC Labs in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “If you’re browsing online, how does the retailer know who you are when you come into the store?”

Will Walmart’s Cloud Network Take Aim At AWS?

  • Published in News Briefs
Walmart vs. Amazon has been the biggest retail cage match to watch over the past few years, with both companies seeking to outpace the other through pricing, store innovation and major acquisitions. It appears the stakes of the rivalry have been ramped up yet again, from an unlikely corner —…
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Exclusive Q&A: Is The AI Buzz More Hype Than Reality For Retail?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning were the blazing-hot buzzwords at the NRF Big Show in January 2018. But at least one industry expert, Forrester Principal Analyst for Digital Business Strategy Brendan Witcher, believes the AI excitement needs a reality check. In an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints, Witcher agrees that AI is a powerful set of technologies with significant potential applications in retail, but notes that the key word is potential. To turn that potential into reality, retailers will need a number of things, including time; resources; safeguards; and most important, lots and lots of data.

Should Retailers Prioritize Workforce AI Investments?

Artificial intelligence (AI) was the hot topic at the 2018 NRF Big Show. Big-name retailers, including eBay and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM shared success stories; academics debated the ethical safeguards that need to be built into AI programs; and everyone wants to know what will be needed for AI to reach its full potential. Yet a recent Accenture survey of 1,200 executives found that only 3% plan to significantly increase their companies’ investment in AI skills over the next three years, despite expressed optimism about the technology’s benefits:

3 Strategic Opportunities That Come From Clean Data

Data’s importance in any industry, especially retail, can’t be overstated. But not all data is created equal. The difference between data and clean data — and how clean that data really is — can be the difference between millions of dollars in revenue for companies in an industry that generates $2.6 trillion annually. Investing in clean data and enforcing data hygiene policies is the foundation of sustainable success in today’s fast-paced environment. Companies that build strong data structures and scalable governance policies have significant advantages over their competitors. Once you’ve set up your system, you can make informed decisions on the basis of accurate information and mine data repeatedly without sacrificing quality.

Kroger CIO Q&A: Innovation Initiatives Leverage IoT, Mobile Scanning And Shelf-Edge Videos

Long gone are the days when supermarkets were the most risk-averse, tech-unfriendly retailers on the block. In fact, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, displays a commitment to data, innovation and tech savvy that other retailers should envy. The leadership of Chris Hjelm, who has been EVP and CIO at Kroger since 2005, is one reason Kroger has been able to keep up with the times. “I came from a background of high-tech at companies including Orbitz, eBay and FedEx,” said Hjelm in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I created a research and development team shortly after I got here, and that’s been a huge contributor to innovation — and it’s a unique capability compared to many of our competitors.”

AI-Driven Analytics: Taming The Wild World Of Grocery Data

When it comes to gathering data, few retail categories handle a greater volume than the grocery business. With potentially hundreds of thousands of SKUs and millions of transactions, it’s no surprise that supermarkets have been at the forefront of many important data-driven innovations over the decades, from barcode scanners and panelist data to loyalty programs and even the humble coupon. But this is also a crowded marketplace with fierce competition, including brick-and-mortar specialty food retailers and the expansion of grocery sections in big box stores. Then, of course, there is the loud march of e-Commerce into the grocery space providing a myriad of pickup and delivery options, while the biggest online behemoth, Amazon, is shaking up the entire space with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods. Grocers are well aware that in order to keep up, they need to leverage their hard-earned data and glean the best insights from consumer behavior and shopping preferences.

Personalization: A C-Level Priority

Achieving personalization at scale is increasingly being recognized as the “holy grail” of marketing. However, far too many CMOs are delegating the quest to their direct response teams, divorcing personalization from larger efforts to build a company’s brand. This approach is misguided and fails to leverage personalization as a tool for building brand equity while driving revenue.   Personalization is not just an initiative for mid-level marketing managers or product people anymore. The executive team can’t afford to take a hands-off approach as too many fundamental pillars of the business are at stake. A personalized consumer experience affects so many touch points across platforms that it needs to be a C-suite priority for online retailers, publishers, and travel brands.

Finding The ‘Glue’ That Defines Customer Engagement At TechStyle

Q&A with Traci Inglis, Brand President, Fashion Brands – JustFab and Shoedazzle, TechStyle Fashion Group In this exclusive Q&A, Traci Inglis shares her insights into the magic behind TechStyle’s success with the brands under her purview, including JustFab and Shoedazzle. Founded in 2010, TechStyle serves more than five million VIP members across the JustFab, Shoedazzle and Fabletics brands. Before joining TechStyle in 2013, Inglis worked in marketing at Express, held a role in Retail Real Estate and Investor Relations at Westfield, and led the Digital Marketing and CRM teams across all brands at Torrid and Hot Topic.

Office Depot Accelerates Services Offerings With Oracle Cloud

Office Depot has been adding business and IT services to its offerings through acquisitions, including BizBox and CompuCom. The retailer also has made changes to its underlying IT infrastructure that will help it manage a more complex business. The 1,500-store retailer has selected Oracle Cloud Applications to support supply chain,…
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