Mobile - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Wed, 19 Jun 2019 02:09:24 -0400 RTP en-gb Poshmark Expands Marketplace Into Home Décor Poshmark Expands Marketplace Into Home Décor

Poshmark is expanding beyond fashion with the launch of its latest “Market,” dedicated to home décor. The Home Market is the latest in a series of new category launches for Poshmark, joining women’s, men’s, kids, luxury, kicks, prom, maternity, petite, plus-size, activewear, makeup, gifts, boutiques and wholesale.

The mobile app-driven community of five million sellers and 40 million users operates similarly to a social network, in that shoppers can interact with each other and give product reviews while they shop the app’s listings, which are presented in an Instagram-like feed. The new experience emphasizes:

  • Discovery of new brands and items;
  • Connection with other “Poshers” who share interior style preferences and inspire purchases; and
  • Tailored content designed for shoppers to easily explore specialized markets and find new products.

New inventory supported in the Home Market includes accents, wall art, holiday, bedding, bath, party supplies, office, and storage and organization supplies.

“As Poshmark continues to grow its market offerings, there’s going to be more and more categories and continuous crossover between market segments,” said Steven Tristan Young, CMO of Poshmark in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “However, all of these categories naturally lend themselves to each other, since yesterday’s consumer segmentation based on price points and demographics are blurring. Our goal is to make sure the Poshmark platform allows our shoppers to quickly find exactly what they want.”

The expansion comes as Poshmark targets annual revenue of nearly $150 million, according to CNBC. Already having raised $160 million, Poshmark reportedly is preparing to file an IPO in fall 2019, and recently launched a beta version of the marketplace in Canada. One of Poshmark’s global competitors, Mercari, already went public in a $1.2 billion debut in Japan last year, while TheRealReal filed for an IPO in May.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 11 Jun 2019 16:58:12 -0400
What The Modern Grocery Store Can Teach Other Brick-And-Mortar Businesses

0aaaTom Buiocchi ServiceChannelOn a recent family visit to upstate New York I found myself in DeCicco & Sons, the local grocery store chain, when my niece suggested we grab a drink. I was enthusiastic but a bit befuddled as she led me through the frozen section until I saw that, lo and behold, this grocery store had a microbrewery right on the premises.

Sipping my IPA and watching the shopping carts drift by got me thinking that few industries are innovating on their brick-and-mortar experience at the pace of grocery stores, and there’s a lot that restaurants, banks and any other businesses with physical locations can learn about attracting and maintaining relationships with digital-native consumers.

Amazon is on a quest to reinvent the grocery shopping experience and is already infusing Whole Foods with its vision for a high-tech future. Likewise Microsoft has partnered with the grocery chain Kroger to trial the “connected store” experience as a proof-of-concept before full-scale rollout. Innovations in grocery stores aren’t only about bleeding-edge tech (unless robots can brew beer) — some are just smart business thinking. Here are some of the ways that developments in the grocery world can serve other brick-and-mortar industries well.

The Multi-Function Destination

Grocery stores are providing more and more services to complement their own. Bank branches, coffee shops and pharmacies are now commonplace in supermarkets, and now they are adding additional services like instant healthcare kiosks and, yes, even bars. It’s about giving people more reasons to come in and stay a while. This practice is so prevalent today the PRSM named mixed-use retail as the trend to watch in 2019 and the basis of a retail renaissance.

Banks are starting to latch onto this trend, such as Capital One with its Peet’s Coffee cafes. Most people don’t go to a bank just to deposit cash anymore; many are looking for investment advice, loans and other services. It makes sense for banks to provide comfortable couches and an environment that helps people relax while they wait for appointments. The fashion and retail industries are experimenting with similar concepts, like the Supreme store-slash-skatepark in Brooklyn. The fundamental definition of what a “store” should look like is changing rapidly, and brick-and-mortar chains increasingly need to become “destinations” to compete.

Brands need to remember, however, the real reasons shoppers come to (and return to) their stores: to shop! Our recent survey shows that about half of shoppers want to browse products and take them home that day, but two out of five have had trouble with disorganized inventory or empty shelves. So if you are going above and beyond to give the shopper a unique experience, you must be sure that the basic in-store shopping experience is up to par: two out of five shoppers also said disorganized inventory would make them less likely to return to a store.

Blending The Best Of Online And In-Store Experience

Instacart and the grocery chain Wegmans are now testing curbside pickup in a few markets, allowing you to shop online ahead of time and have your pre-bagged groceries waiting for you, without worrying about delivery fees, tipping or parking. Kroger will be rolling out digital shelves, which communicate with shoppers’ mobile lists and light up to guide them to the right item on the shelf. The shelves can even make personal recommendations based on what your mobile app knows about your shopping habits.

Some department stores are blending online and in-store in a similar way. Shoppers can go online and choose what they want to try on, then have their items waiting in a fitting room when they arrive. There’s a huge opportunity for the smart mixing of online and in-store across all industries. At the doctor’s office, for instance, I would love to be able to fill out the required forms online ahead of time or have it done for me automatically (ZocDoc has been trying to solve this problem for a while).

Improving Convenience

Many of the latest grocery store improvements are about convenience. Some stores are finding ways to evolve beyond just self-checkout and offering completely cashless stores with no checkout at all. Taking a cue from popular meal-kit delivery services, Publix now offers ready-to-go meal kits in store, graded by complexity of preparation, to help shoppers save time rounding up ingredients or deciding on menus.

Fast casual chains like Chipotle and restaurant-cum-tech company Eatsa are pushing the convenience envelope, but it’s easy to imagine analogs in sit-down restaurants: busy 9-to-5ers with short lunch hours would appreciate the convenience of mobile or even in-store touchscreen ordering, now a ubiquitous presence in airports across the nation. Those with eating restrictions could more easily request personalized menus. On the payment side, restaurants have been slow at adapting to mobile or other payment options that save diners the hassle of multiple-credit card arithmetic and eternal tipping debates.

Better Use Of Mobile

Scan-and-go style shopping using mobile is quickly turning into a favorite for its convenience and speed. Additionally, chains like Albertsons Just for U have well-implemented loyalty apps that anticipate consumers’ needs and offer hyper-relevant coupons and deals. Many stores, like Starbucks and Dunkin’, serve personalized coupons to their respective mobile apps right when customers walk in the door, but too many other industries have been slow to combine mobile with the in-store experience. Our recent survey on brick-and-mortar retail shows that 1 out of 5 consumers have walked out of stores that lacked the tech features they wanted — and mobile app integration is in the top three of tech amenities that shoppers do want.  

When you visit someone in a hospital, for example, you often need to go to the ER or the information desk to figure out which ward to go to. It would be great if hospitals could push that information to an app as you enter the building, and even provide turn by turn directions so you’re not wandering endless corridors trying to find a sick relative. For banking, meanwhile, a lot of mobile apps still leave much to be desired, and there’s a significant opportunity to offer a better customer experience. Movie theaters are getting better at enabling mobile ticketing, but it’s easy to imagine all concert venues, theaters and entertainment locations allowing showgoers to do a lot more with mobile.

Final Thoughts

Grocery stores are at the forefront of brick-and-mortar innovation and other industries should pay attention to what consumers are responding to. Kroger expects to build up to a $400 million operating profit through smart investments in the customer experience, including through enhanced digital offerings and in-store optimization. Consumers still love browsing in physical stores but they also want fun, convenience and a digitally integrated experience. There’s a lot to be learned from this core industry.


Tom Buiocchi joined ServiceChannel as an Executive Director in 2014. He has more than 30 years of experience leading growth companies in both technology and energy services, including Jeda Networks (interim CEO), Drobo (CEO), Mohr Davidow Ventures (Executive in Residence), Brocade Communications (CMO), Rhapsody Networks (Vice President Marketing), Enron Energy Services, FMES (co-founder and COO), and Hewlett-Packard. Buiocchi has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Union College and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

]]> (Tom Buiocchi, ServiceChannel) Executive ViewPoints Tue, 11 Jun 2019 09:15:41 -0400
Sofia Kaman Debuts ‘My Treasure’ Try-It-On App For Jewelry Shoppers

0aaasofiavirtual-ring-try-on 7Sofia Kaman Fine Jewels has debuted a new augmented reality (AR) app on its web site called My Treasure, which enables customers to upload photos of their hand from their mobile device to virtually try on any ring or to curate a ring stack within the app.

The feature is designed to be user-friendly, enabling shoppers to simply click the top left corner navigation icon on their phone to sign in or create an account and use the My Treasure app. Shoppers can immediately select a ring and scroll the photos to the My Treasure hand icon. Once they tap the hand image, they can take a photo of their hand or upload a new image.

From there, the ring image will pop up in a default position. Shoppers can both move the ring to reposition it over their finger and pinch to resize the ring to fit.

All women's rings (excluding vintage) are photographed in a size six and are for reference only. If the user’s finger is larger than a size six, the overall scale of the ring may appear larger than in real life. Conversely, if the user’s finger is smaller than that size, then the overall scale of the ring may appear smaller than in real life. The purpose of the application is to give reference to how shapes will look on a finger and how ring stacks pair together.

The feature is compatible with Safari/Chrome on iPhone and with Chrome on Android. Sofia Kaman is working towards compatibility across as many platforms as possible.

AR and virtual reality are becoming more commonplace retail experiences, with more companies leveraging these technologies to give shoppers a better sense of the product without seeing it in person. In particular, jewelry, eyewear and accessories retailers are letting shoppers “try on” their products.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mobile Thu, 30 May 2019 12:54:16 -0400
Leverage Payment Platforms For Precision Marketing Aimed At Chinese Consumers

0aaaRyan Zheng RiverPayIn this age of big data, social media and integrated marketing ecosystems, it’s sometimes hard to know who owns the customer. Traditionally, the merchant, retailer or brand tends to “own” the customer in terms of building loyalty, repeat business and add-on sales. But with the emergence of cashless mobile payment systems and associated payment gateways, new opportunities to deliver marketing campaigns that drive sales are giving merchants more options beyond their traditional databases.

These systems are evolving to be much more than just transaction processing platforms. They collect vast amounts of data that can be used effectively for marketing purposes. For example, they could deliver personalized and highly targeted messages based on a consumer’s known buying behaviors and patterns. Data collected from mining transaction details can be used to garner effective insights into buyer personas, which can then be put to use for new types of media buying and other digital marketing programs that drive foot traffic, sales leads and social media engagement. These mobile payments platforms do so in a manner that is seamlessly integrated in consumers’ everyday patterns of communicating, planning and making purchase decisions.

Smart retailers know they can’t ignore the shift from their tight control and sole reliance on their own customer data (which they still do) to leveraging new sources of untapped consumer data, especially when targeting international clientele.

Tapping Into The China Gold Mine Of Consumerism

For retailers targeting Chinese consumers specifically — which is a dynamic and fast-growing sector in markets like luxury goods, fashion and travel and hospitality — marketing programs driven by payment companies can provide an edge to precisely target this affluent buying segment. More importantly, it can be done in a context with which these consumers are familiar and comfortable, making it even more effective.

The Chinese consumer opportunity is impressive: last year, Chinese travelers took a record 130 million overseas trips and spent a whopping $115 billion on-the-go. In total, globetrotting Chinese consumers — buoyed by a growing middle class with larger disposable incomes, as well as relaxed international travel restrictions — represented 21% of the entire world’s tourism spending.

Alipay, WeChat Pay (WeChat is the Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp, but offers an integrated cashless payment system as well) and the mobile app by China UnionPay are by far the most popular payment systems Chinese consumers prefer. Thanks in part to “last mile” integrators that acquire and directly serve merchants by facilitating a seamless integration and settlement process based on these platforms, the expansion of these three major platforms is increasing rapidly at retailers, hotels, restaurants and other spending destinations sought by Chinese travelers.

Although they are becoming much more accessible in North American and Europe, most Western merchants see them mainly as transaction platforms.

These systems, virtually indispensable to Chinese shoppers who have already been accustomed to linking their credit or debit cards to smart phone apps for fast and convenient payments, are much more than merely taking a payment at the time of a purchase. The integration with Chinese mobile payment options opens the path to integrated marketing campaigns, allowing merchants to gain unique insights into the kinds of things shoppers are buying, allowing them to stay on top of trends or interests with this vital consumer segment.

These payment apps and web sites also enjoy high traffic, where consumers learn where to buy, where to eat and where to stay in tourism destinations, well in advance of ever stepping foot in a physical store. By enrolling in Alipay, WeChat Pay and the UnionPay mobile app, merchants get automatic inclusion in certified merchant lists these apps curate, which is a proven traffic driver both online and offline. Such visibility is effective, but it is only the tip of the marketing iceberg.

Creating Customized Experiences

While the big payment platforms have extensive reach to implement even more merchant-specific programs, transaction enablers can be highly effective. Because these payment service providers are the literal connection between the merchant and the payment method, they have the data behind consumers shopping habits at specific points of sale and can utilize that information to create a customized shopping experience.

For example, these platforms can notify consumers when they are near a store where they’ve recently shopped, or recognize that the consumer bought a fur coat and may be interested in a matching scarf. Working in conjunction with travel planning apps and services — such as Ctrip, the popular Chinese tourism app — they can suggest retail, dining or attractions options near the destination where the clients are traveling, before they even leave China.

Using anonymous data collected by the transaction enabler, a variety of cross-channel digital marketing programs can be executed to motivate buying in specific product categories, geographic locations or for other targeted demographics. Digital coupons, for example, are a popular mechanism that retailers have employed via these apps, and an incentive Chinese consumers respond to well. They also respond to gift cards, an easy and efficient way for merchants to engage customers, especially around holidays and special occasions. Similarly, merchant ads in WeChat Moments feeds are well-received and have high response rates that drive Chinese consumers to merchants. Successful tactics include promoting an event or a big sale in a timely and geocentric manner that can be enabled by these digital, data-rich platforms.

Marketing programs can be executed through a number of channels, including email, SMS and instant messenger, as well as through display advertising within apps and web sites. By tapping into the expertise of native transaction enablers, brands can develop effective creative, targeted and placement strategies that resonate with Chinese consumers. Detailed marketing analytics help evaluate success of campaigns and guide adjustments and follow-on campaigns.

Proven Sales Growth

The availability of Chinese mobile payments options, together with targeted marketing programs, have proven to lead directly to increased sales. A recent Nielsen study reports that by enabling Alipay and WeChat Pay transactions at the point of purchase, merchants can see an increase of up to 60% in foot traffic and sales from Chinese consumers. RiverPay’s transaction data confirms that trend, with merchants enabled by that system reporting double-digit revenue growth after adopting Alipay and/or WeChat Pay as payment options. In a recent RiverPay implementation at a Canadian luxury department store, the retailer brought in $8 million of extra revenue in 14 days after integrating Alipay and WeChat Pay to its stores.

With the burgeoning growth of the Chinese consumer segment in Western markets, enabling payment options via Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay that target this sector is a no brainer. Taking the next step to leveraging the marketing potential of these ubiquitous apps that almost every Chinese consumer relies on can have an even greater impact on sales and customer engagement. Smart retailers are looking to the expertise of suppliers who can not only process Chinese consumer payments, but can influence where they buy as well.

Ryan Zheng is the Co-Founder and CEO of RiverPay. He launched RiverPay with partners in late 2016 and has grown the company into one of the major authorized payments service and technology providers of leading Chinese mobile payments platforms including Alipay, WeChat Pay and the UnionPay mobile app, with presence in 18 countries spanning North America, Europe and Asia and a client portfolio of 12,000 merchants from multiple vertical sectors. Prior to starting RiverPay, Zheng worked closely with top-tier retailers, such as Costco and Loblaws Group, through various channels to capture outbound Chinese consumer market, as well as Canadian and the U.S. local Chinese communities.

]]> (Ryan Zheng, Riverpay) Executive ViewPoints Fri, 24 May 2019 09:12:42 -0400
Upward Mobility: Three Mobile Strategies To Improve Operational Execution, Train, Sell And Collect Data

0aaaHeather Larrabee GoSpotCheckDeloitte’s 2019 Retail Industry Outlook signals a tipping point for retail this year and advocates for synchronized bets across six key focus areas, from emotional-based loyalty to emerging technologies. “To leverage the true power of next-generation technologies,” Deloitte writes in the report, “retailers should make some significant changes. They should be able to consistently mine the data they collect, transform their operations to deliver on the brand promise, and adapt to the future of work.”

Retailers across sectors are gaining a competitive edge by adopting mobile strategies that engage hourly team members, automate mundane work and validate consistency in the customer and brand experience. Simultaneously, these tools are helping them to mine qualitative and quantitative data, while also freeing up labor to focus on revenue-driving activities.

Retail operators understand which actions best accelerate business outcomes in stores and distribution centers. They work hard to train and standardize these actions. Inevitably, though, certain locations and teams will fall short. Operators need a mechanism to deliver concise, clear, focused direction, and a way to verify that what they expected to happen in-store actually did. Seasoned retailers know the power of focusing teams can deliver 2%-6% more in revenue performance on average; in retail, execution is everything.

Platforms that help team members easily collect and report data on top operational tasks and store conditions help spotlight execution gaps. Giving teams mobile apps that silence the noise of callouts and product shorts, and reduce email, free them up to offer exceptional customer experiences. The data they collect gives leadership an in-depth view of the field across every location. Top brands are informing new rounds of innovation and spotting winning trends to proliferate using this approach.

Our company’s experience guiding retailers in self-funding their digital transformation, and my past experience as an executive at a top natural grocery retailer, confirm three mobile strategies that offer tremendous value to the sector and align with Deloitte’s recommendations for 2019:

1. Digitized daily standard audits and inspections on mobile. Increasing efficiencies and consistency in execution and adapting to the future of work for Gen Y and Gen Z means digitizing daily standard operating procedures across merchandising, marketing, LPI and spoilage audits, new product launches and service protocols.

Mobile field execution apps should drive right actions in sequence, eliminate paper and Excel-based systems, reduce redundant data entry and human error and give teams the kind of intuitive, easy-to-use apps they expect in today’s workplace. They should also mirror the technology people use at home. These apps can deliver tremendous time savings both in-store and at the regional level — labor that can then be optimized for effectiveness. Our partners at JOH Brokers saw an 81% ROI using such an approach, with improved labor efficiencies at both market and regional levels. They redirected that time to selling, coaching and data-mining to benefit the business and their clients.

As data rolls in from the field, leaders are reimagining the power of instant reporting that doesn’t require business analyst labor to produce. They can drive accountability and see their stores as the customers do. Mobile data capture has an unintended side benefit in an era of shrinking travel and expense budgets: a single view of every location’s execution, from your home office.

Under Armour is at the forefront of adopting these trends. They successfully piloted a mobile merchandising app and transformed their ability to efficiently collect in-store data, train team members, and localize assortment. The brand’s leadership has new visibility into retail execution in real time and has captured incremental sales based on its findings. Under Armour’s frontline teams collect and submit critical data on sales, customer interactions, product issues, merchandising and marketing.Sales leaders no longer have to schedule office days or take time away from the retail environment to process reporting. Instead, they are able to prioritize execution, selling and training in stores. The impact to their business has been significant.

2. Mobile on-the-floor training. Training in a highly labor-leveraged retail environment has become increasingly complex and difficult to administer. The impact is felt in the customer experience and the numbers. Highly flexible apps that drive execution can also optimize training and provide reference materials, videos and “did you know” content that keep teams engaged, learning on the sales floor and responsive to customers. Studies from MIT and Wharton School of Business show that well-staffed, knowledgeable teams translate to higher retail sales and increased transactions — sometimes by upwards of 10%. Giving teams intuitive mobile tools that train in the moment can help even new hires be effective on day one and ensure retailers that the tasks most critical to their business are completed. Better-trained teams asked to “do more with less” need time saving platforms to deliver savings to the bottom line, and those tools need to be available on the sales floor.

3. Live imaging/image recognition capability. Technologies that fluidly leverage the power of human and machine capabilities, such as AI-powered computer vision and image recognition analysis of sets, can save retailers labor in analyzing and localizing displays, and free up team members to innovate for the business. Brands can repurpose labor toward selling and deliver incremental growth through stronger sets, informed by customer demand. Team members can use mobile devices to take photos of a drink box with trained UPCs, then accurately analyze the set using AI. Audits that used to take 15 minutes or more now return data in 30 seconds or less and communicate assortment, share of shelf and compliance to planogram. The machine manages the mundane and frees up the team member to write a sales order or troubleshoot in-stock conditions and voids.

A top global beverage company we work with is using computer vision AI to gather the ground-level insight they need to be more agile, responsive, and better equipped to deliver experiences that delight customers, team members and shareholders.

Investing in mobile platforms that optimize FTE labor, validate operational execution on business-critical tasks, train on the sales floor, capture data for innovation and elevate the brand experience will reap rewards for retailers in 2019 and beyond.

Heather Larrabee is an Executive Vice President at GoSpotCheck, the platform that is reimagining how the mobile workforce works. GoSpotCheck helps 200+ enterprise brands in 70 countries across six continents perfect merchandising, increase sales, reduce labor and expenses, ensure food safety and quality and improve profitability from the field with mobile surveys, photo capture, image recognition and business insight reporting. For more information, email​

]]> (Heather Larrabee, GoSpotCheck) Executive ViewPoints Wed, 22 May 2019 08:59:30 -0400
Mobile Discounts Draw 67% Of Shoppers To A Store, Yet Most Retailers Still Don’t Offer Them Mobile Discounts Draw 67% Of Shoppers To A Store, Yet Most Retailers Still Don’t Offer Them

While 67% of shoppers say they are likely to choose a retailer that offers mobile coupons over one that doesn’t offer them, only 40% of retailers indicate that offering coupons or discounts is a key feature of their mobile offering, according to BRP.

In the BRP special report, titled: The Mobilization of Retail, the features retailers highlight most often include:

  • Item availability/visibility (53%);
  • Product information (51%);
  • Customer service (47%); and
  • Loyalty/rewards (33%).

Up to 41% of retailers say refining the mobile shopping experience is a top priority for ensuring they meet customers’ expectations, and there’s still plenty of room to make the mobile shopping experience better. For example, 53% of retailers have implemented suggestive selling/product recommendations but say the feature needs improvement. only 9% have implemented them and say they’re working well.

Even their mobile web site and mobile app, which are the top two implemented capabilities retailers say have been working well (at 26% and 21% respectively) have a long way to go. As many as 42% think their site needs improvement, while 26% admit their app could be better.

The next step for retailers — one they still haven’t been able to accomplish outside of select areas — is using mobile technology to identify customers when they walk into the store. Even with limited deployments of such solutions, a large proportion of consumers — 39% — already are comfortable with the concept of retailers using mobile identification to personalize their in-store experience.

The most prevalent technologies that retailers are currently using to identify customers are WiFi (19%), and beacons (9%), with 19% of retailers using other technologies, although in all cases there is much room for improvement. In fact, only 5% say WiFi works well in identifying shoppers in-store. Within two years, 61% of retailers plan to use WiFi, 42% plan to use beacons, and 55% plan to use other technologies for mobile customer identification.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 21 May 2019 10:36:04 -0400
Sainsbury’s Pilots Cashierless Checkout Store Sainsbury’s Pilots Cashierless Checkout Store

Sainsbury’s is piloting its first checkout-free location in a convenience store in London’s Holborn Circus. The store has been refurbished to remove the checkout area entirely, with employees instead working on the shop floor.

The retailer is using its existing SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go mobile app, which is currently live in eight of its London stores. In these other locations, however, customers still have the option of making their purchase at a checkout.

While some U.S. retailers have been experimenting with various forms of cashierless checkout since 2017, the concept hasn’t really caught on in the UK. In fact, mobile self-checkout as a whole has been slow to develop, with Sainsbury’s first testing the Scan, Pay & Go app in August 2018. The technology is similar in both name and functionality to Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go cashierless checkout system.

The Sainsbury’s checkout-free experience will serve more as an experiment than the harbinger of a new store format, said Clodagh Moriarty, Chief Digital Officer at the Sainsbury’s Group in a statement. The program will last for three months, during which time Sainsbury’s will listen to customer and colleague feedback.

“We’ll be with our customers and colleagues all the way over the coming months, iterating continuously based on their feedback before we decide if, how and where we make this experience more widely available,” Moriarty said.

As shoppers walk around the store, they will scan the items they wish to buy, pay using an app and then scan a QR code to confirm that they have paid. The store caters specifically to busy customers buying breakfast or lunch and other food to eat on-the-go.

The store has installed a help desk to support shoppers who want to pay with cash or cards. Sainsbury’s said that 82% of transactions at the shop were cashless.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mobile Tue, 30 Apr 2019 13:59:40 -0400
Study: U.S. Mobile Shopping App Sessions Grew 70% Since 2016 Study: U.S. Mobile Shopping App Sessions Grew 70% Since 2016

Consumers in mature markets like the U.S. spent nearly three hours a day in mobile apps in 2018 on average, according to the State of Mobile 2019 report by App Annie. Retailers who meet shoppers on the screen they prefer are reaping the benefits: digital sales correlate strongly with the amount of time spent on a retail app.

Global shoppers spent 18 billion hours in shopping apps during 2018, up 45% from 2016, while the number of sessions (a rough equivalent to foot traffic) rose 65%. Session growth in the U.S. was even higher, with the number of sessions up 70% to just under 70 billion.

Retailers seeking to turn these sessions into sales should observe the user interfaces and content offerings of the most successful apps — and not limit their research to shopping apps. Customer-friendly mobile apps offer strong visuals, easy onboarding, relevant product recommendations and streamlined payment processes.

“I think holistically there's been a big cultural shift,” said Lexi Sydow, Market Insights Manager at App Annie in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “For retail this past year, I think there's been that consumer readiness to engage and understand the power, accessibility and frictionless experiences mobile offers for consumers.”

However, Sydow noted that this development hasn’t been happening in isolation: part of the reason shoppers have been embracing retail apps is because retailers have been improving what those apps have to offer, contributing to the fact that the average consumer has 100 apps on their phone.

U.S. consumers may be spending more time on the apps they have, but there appears to be less willingness to add new apps to already crowded devices. Domestic app store downloads grew just 5% during 2018, compared to 35% growth worldwide. Digital natives are seeing the most success, accounting for 69% of retail app downloads globally, followed by:

  • Peer-to-peer marketplaces (24%);
  • Brick-and-click retailers (5%); and
  • Coupon and third-party loyalty apps (3%).
  • Visuals: Are product images too large or too small, and is the size easy to adjust? Social media apps in particular can teach retailers how best to show off products on a small screen;
  • Onboarding: How intuitive is the app for a completely new user? A frustrating experience can cause shoppers to delete an app rather than learn to use it;
  • Recommendations: This is an area where digital natives tend to have more experience, but strong personalization functionality is also important for brick-and-mortar apps; and
  • Payments and loyalty: Shoppers may not be interested in signing up for a retailer’s physical loyalty or credit card, but moving these features onto an app makes them more convenient.

Digital natives aren’t just beating brick-and-click retailers in terms of app downloads — they also garner an average of 1.5X to 3X more average sessions per user. However, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are seeing faster growth than their digital competitors: the number of sessions on brick-and-click apps grew approximately 25% in 2018 compared to 2016, more than double the growth rate of digital natives.

Latecomers Can Learn From Mobile Successes Across Industries

One area where brick-and-click retailers have an advantage is in harnessing their apps to power omnichannel experiences. A survey by Shopgate found that 67% of retailers say omnichannel retailing will be a priority in 2019, and 50% listed a shopping app as a top feature of their plans.

While retailers can discover great features by looking at the well-developed mobile apps of established omnichannel players, they shouldn’t discount what can be learned by looking at apps outside the retail space, according to Sydow. Studying social media or even music apps can help retailers nail down the presentation of their own offerings.

“Consumers are using all of these apps all of the time, and it's not just about being good within that peer group,” said Sydow. “As a consumer, I'm expecting my Amazon app or my Target app to be as smooth and seamless and intuitive as my Instagram app. That’s a really important thing that I think retailers need to take notice, particularly the more traditional retailers that are trying to transition to mobile.”

Some features retailers need to consider, both from within and without their own industry, include:

“Looking at some of the most-used apps is pretty important,” said Sydow. “Depending on your demographic and who you're trying to reach, look at those apps to see how people interact and what makes sense, like swiping up, left or right to see things, or how you scroll the screen — those are things that can add up to help with your overall user experience.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Mobile Mon, 01 Apr 2019 08:55:59 -0400
Instagram Debuts Checkout Option, Allowing Shoppers To Buy Within The App Instagram Debuts Checkout Option, Allowing Shoppers To Buy Within The App

Instagram is enabling consumers to buy products from more than 20 of their favorite brands without leaving the app, the company announced in a March 19 blog post. In coming weeks, when Instagram users tap on a product tag to see item details of an item in the coming weeks, they may see a "Checkout on Instagram" label. Once they are ready to buy, they can enter their billing and shipping details, select payment type and confirm the purchase. The checkout feature will start as a closed beta test for U.S. shoppers.

Shoppers also will be able to use the Instagram app to view their order status, estimated delivery date and tracking number, as well as cancel orders, initiate a return or request additional support.

Some of Instagram’s strong growth potential comes from the platform’s efforts to improve “shoppability,” an area where social networks as a whole have lagged. As many as 78% of retailers in the apparel, department store, big box and specialty sectors — and 41% of 400+ brands — already have shoppable Instagram accounts, according to the 2018 Gartner L2 Social Platforms and Influencers Intelligence Report. Beauty companies rank second, at 68%, while activewear is not far behind at 61%.

The “Checkout on Instagram” option could eliminate some of the friction that has prevented many of these retailers from capitalizing on social commerce sales. Approximately 130 million people already tap on shopping posts to reveal product tags each month, an increase of 40 million since September, according to Instagram.

Burberry, H&M, Nike, Warby Parker, Zara Among First 20+ Brands

U.S. shoppers will be able to check out with retailers such as Adidas, Balmain, Burberry, ColourPop, Dior, H&M, Kylie Cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Nike, NYX Cosmetics, Outdoor Voices, Prada, Revolve, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, Zara and more. Instagram expects to integrate more brands into the checkout function in the coming months.

“Burberry is always pushing for digital innovation that improves our customers’ experience,” said Rachel Waller, VP of Marketing, Digital at Burberry in a statement. “We have seen great results from the monthly B Series product drops which launched last September, bridging the journey from inspiration to e-Commerce for our social community for the first time. We are excited to expand our social commerce as one of the first brands to adopt checkout on Instagram.”

The Burberry “B Series” releases are unveiled on the 17th day of every month and are made available for 24 hours exclusively through Instagram, China-based WeChat, Japan-based Lin and Korea-based Kakao. These items were not made available in stores or on

Shoppers will be able to pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and PayPal. As the program expands, merchants will be able to integrate directly with Instagram or work with more e-Commerce partners, including Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor and CommerceHub. Payments will be processed in partnership with PayPal.

Simplifying checkout is just one part of Instagram’s long-term investment in shopping, according to the blog post. Instagram has introduced a number of updates in the last year including product tags in Feed, product stickers in Stories and a shopping destination in Explore.

The social network indicated that it will introduce more ways for people to shop on Instagram in 2019. The company had reportedly been developing its own stand-alone e-Commerce app. The proposed app, called IG Shopping, would allow shoppers to browse and purchase items from retailers they follow.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 19 Mar 2019 10:38:23 -0400
Macy’s Will Expand AR-Powered Virtual Try-On Across Beauty Categories Macy’s Will Expand AR-Powered Virtual Try-On Across Beauty Categories

Macy’s has unveiled new solutions designed to enhance the in-store and mobile customer experience at the Shoptalk conference being held in Las Vegas. The retailer will introduce an augmented reality experience in beauty set to launch in late spring, as well as interactive fragrance displays powered by a new partnership with Perch, provider of physical and digital interactive displays for retailers.

The Augmented Reality Beauty experience is part of Macy’s approach to testing, iterating and scaling innovations. It will debut on the Macy’s app after an initial beta test in fall 2018 that allowed customers to virtually trial lip products. For the launch, Macy’s partnered with AR experience provider Modiface to iterate the design and expand the offering to more than 1,000 beauty products across major brands, covering face, eye and lip cosmetics.

Users will have the opportunity to virtually test single products or full looks and share them on social media. Following the launch, in-store beauty displays will be available at select Macy’s locations so customers can perform virtual try-ons in the store.

Also set to launch this spring, Macy’s will be rolling out interactive displays designed to help customers navigate scent families. According to a release, “as customers engaged with our robust assortment of top fragrances, we learned that those who bought in-store, primarily did so by brand, but when they purchased fragrances online, they shopped by scent family, filtering our assortment down to the top notes such as floral or citrus.” Through the partnership with Perch, select Macy’s locations will offer these displays as a way to share more information on fragrances and educate customers about their favorite notes and scent families.

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Tue, 05 Mar 2019 17:17:53 -0500