Omnichannel / Cross-Channel Strategies

Cross-Channel Strategies offers readers an inside look at the successful cross-channel promotions, campaigns and programs employed by industry leaders. Retailers across industry segments and regions are adopting unique and innovative approaches to reaching today’s cross-channel consumers. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

With Text And Chat, Pier 1 Imports Cuts Costs, Adds Visuals To Contact Center Interactions

Pier 1 Imports has been looking for ways to save money, including ongoing moves to right-size its store footprint. A customer contact center overhaul has not only cut costs but also made it easier for customers to add pictures to their communications. Pier 1 has moved nearly 20% of its communications to messaging options such as text messaging and online chat by implementing software from Quiq, allowing the retailer to significantly lower the costs related to each interaction (communicating with messaging is approximately half the cost of a phone call). In addition to saving money, Pier 1’s initiative enabled shoppers to choose their own method of communication. Text messaging and online chat are now the retailer’s two fastest-growing communication channels, accompanied by a natural decline in phone and email, according to Laurie Simpter, Senior Manager of Customer Relations at Pier 1 Imports.

Casper Leads Digital Brands In Store Traffic Share, But ‘Halo Effect’ Hasn’t Met Expectations

Retail’s “halo effect” — the idea that a purchase in one channel directly impacts purchases in another — has inspired many digital natives to open brick-and-mortar stores as a way to boost sales across all channels. But top digital natives that have opened permanent retail locations are likely seeing less foot traffic than they anticipated, according to a study from global location data technology company Blis. Out of seven companies studied from May to July 2019, Casper captured 56% of in-store shoppers, well ahead of Amazon (22% of shoppers), Warby Parker (10%) and Bonobos (9%). Allbirds, Away and Rent the Runway each got a 1% share. Casper came out well ahead of the remaining retail stores in “footfall efficiency,” the term Blis uses to describe the number of unique visitors per each geofenced store location.

Activate Recap: 90% Of Enterprises Will Adopt AI By 2024, But ‘Pragmatic’ AI Will Dominate

Artificial intelligence and its impact on online product search is a hot topic for retailers, and it was the center of attention at the Activate 2019 conference held in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9-12. In fact, one keynote session sought to go out of the way to “demystify” AI for the audience, particularly since Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst Mike Gualtieri pointed out that within five years, 90% of enterprises either will have implemented, or will plan to implement, AI technologies. But as more businesses onboard AI, Gualtieri asserted that they will have to focus on “pragmatic” AI. Pragmatic AI is narrower in scope than the “pure” AI that’s typically portrayed in science fiction as being able to outperform humans at all tasks. Pragmatic refers to computer systems such as IBM Watson, which can exceed human intelligence in specific areas, in combination with “building block” technologies such as human-poweredknowledge engineering, machine learning, deep learning and robotics.

CMO Q&A: How CarMax Is Bridging The Online-Offline Gap In Used Car Retailing

CarMax may be best known for a traditional in-store buying experience, but the used car retailer is delivering on a concept that blurs the lines of when and where consumers can shop for, and even test drive, their desired new car. In October 2016, CarMax launched a home delivery pilot in North Carolina using a one-hour process involving four employees. Findings from the pilot enabled the company to streamline delivery down to a 15-minute process requiring just two employees to drop off the customer’s car. In December 2018, the company launched a “customer experience center” in Atlanta, designed to enable shoppers to buy a car as well as consult over the phone or online without ever having to enter a dealership, and even to test drive the prospective purchase in their own neighborhood.

#RSP19 Webinar Series Preview: How One-Time Consumers Become Full-Time Shoppers

From Monday, Sept. 16 through Friday, Sept. 20, Retail TouchPoints will present the 2019 Retail Strategy & Planning Series, a 13-webinar series dedicated to uncovering the new ways shoppers are assessing, selecting and connecting with the brands they buy from. The #RSP19 sessions will specifically address the new tools and tactics retailers should embrace to better understand this new wave of shoppers; nurture relationships with them; and transform one-time engagement into recurring revenue.

Study: Only 12% Of Retailers Can Uniquely Identify Shoppers Upon First Engagement

Although many retailers are identifying unique customer segments and even actively investing in ID management technologies, most still need to make progress in terms of driving business benefits. Nearly half (49%) of retailers identify fewer than 50% of their web site visitors, and only 12% claim they can uniquely identify a prospect or customer if they are engaged at any point across online and offline channels, according to a survey from OneMarket and WBR Insights unveiled at eTail Boston. While 24% of retailers cannot uniquely identify a prospect or customer across online and offline channels, 26% can only identify a customer if they make a purchase.

How One Chinese Supermarket Is Leading The Global Grocery Revolution

During a recent visit to the newly opened T11 Food Market (located in the Chaoyang District in Beijing) Du Yong, CEO and Founder of the supermarket, provided a personal behind-the-scenes tour to Retail Store Tours. The visit was arranged by Kevin Peng, Secretary-General of The China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), and Philip Cheng, the Association’s Manager.Founded in 1997, CCFA is the national representative for franchise chains in China, and a leading resource for existing and potential franchisors and franchisees. Sharon Shi, strategic partner for Retail Store Tours in China, also attended the tour.

Omnichannel Returns Are No Longer Optional

As online sellers find themselves deluged with returns, it’s understandable that, because of the resultant logistics burden, the prevailing perception of the situation would trend toward the negative. The truth, however, is that returns are neither a necessary evil nor indication of customer dissatisfaction. They are a critical element of a new online sales cycle that is seeing shoppers employing a “buy and try” approach to acquiring the products they want and expecting sellers to fully enable their behavior. And while there’s no changing shoppers, what sellers can do — now — is shape their supply chain to optimize the customer experience and maximize buyer satisfaction.

ETail Boston 2019: Barneys NY Exec Reveals Post-Bankruptcy Strategy

There have been many questions about what the future holds for Barneys New York in the wake of its bankruptcy filing and decision to close 15 of its 22 stores. During a session at eTail Boston, the luxury retailer’s EVP and Chief Digital and Technology Officer Katherine Bahamonde Monasebian shared insight into the current state of Barneys, and how the company plans to reemerge with a healthier operating structure by doubling down on its remaining flagship stores and offering new experiences that tout food, events and entertainment. Early in the conversation with Bloomberg News reporter Kim Bhasin, Monasebian reiterated that Barneys is actively seeking a “digitally focused” acquirer to guide its future. Additionally, while the luxury retailer will cut its store count by more than 50%, it will keep its Madison Avenue flagship store in New York City open; a surprising move with its hefty rent of approximately $30 million per year.

Mass Merchandisers Poised To Thrive During The Final Stretch Of Back-To-School

Prime Day and e-Commerce may have defined the start of the back-to-school (BTS) season, but brick-and-mortar retailers — particularly omnichannel mass merchandisers — are poised to grab their fair share as the start of school approaches. Parents are expected to spend $14.5 billion in the weeks following Aug. 1, according to data from Deloitte; that’s more than half of the $27.8 billion in spending predicted for the entire season. Shoppers plan to spend approximately 56% of their total BTS budgets in-store, a total of $15.7 billion across the entire season, according to a survey by Deloitte. In comparison, 29% of the average budget will be spent online, accounting for $8.1 billion. The remaining $4 billion is undecided and will be split between both channels, with online expected to hold an edge.

Exclusive Q&A With Shopify Plus VP: Why DTC Isn’t Slowing Down Any Time Soon

Shopify has been one of the biggest growth stories within e-Commerce in recent years, with the company’s stock skyrocketing 130% year-to-date and a reported 48% revenue surge of $362 million in Q2. While the company is known primarily for helping small businesses set up online stores and sell products directly to consumers, Shopify recently introduced its own fulfillment network. The company also extends its services beyond SMB clients — Shopify Plus has 5,300+ enterprise-level merchant customers (defined as driving $1 million to $500 million and above in revenue per year). In an exclusive Q&A, Shopify Plus VP and General Manager Loren Padelford shared his thoughts on: The continued growth of brands going direct-to-consumer (DTC) and Shopify’s role in facilitating that growth; How brands such as Fashion Nova, Staples Canada and Gymshark have thrived through their own DTC strategies; and Best practices for retailers seeking to expand into new markets.

ICSC Study: ‘Halo Effect’ Shows Physical Stores Boost Online Sales…And Vice Versa

A single online or in-store transaction is rarely an isolated occurrence. Usually, it stems from, and leads to, a series of transactions, emphasizing the role of the “halo effect” — how a purchase in one channel directly impacts the purchases in another. Retailers must take this halo effect seriously when planning future stores or even reducing store counts, according to a survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The study, titled The Halo Effect II: Quantifying the Impact of Omnichannel, revealed: Shoppers that spend $100 in store and then buy online at the same retailer within a 15-day period average a net spend of $267; and Shoppers that spend $100 online and then buy in-store at the same retailer within a 15-day period average a net spend of $231. ICSC analyzed more than $31 billion in consumer spending with consumer insights firm 1010data during 2016, 2017 and 2018 at retailers across several categories, including apparel, beauty, discount and traditional department stores, home goods and emerging digital native retailers.

Sink Or Swim: Retailers Have A Decision to Make

In this digital age, retailers must be more vigilant of the latest industry trends than ever before. Technology advancements are reshaping customer expectations as well as the overall communication between retailers and customers. Adapting to these new retail trends — including a consistent omnichannel presence, free and same-day delivery and app-exclusive offers — is becoming more of a must for retailers than a luxury. The decision to choose complacency instead of adaptation in many cases can lead to an organization sinking amid the sea of competitors. So how are customer expectations shifting, and how can you stay abreast of the latest retail trends? In this article, I’ll unpack three of the top trends to implement in your retail organization.

How A New Approach To Customer Segmentation Can Reduce Returns And Boost Profitability Up To 30%

Customer returns are reaching pandemic proportions. Increasingly, shoppers are being conditioned to return unwanted items, ‘nearly unworn’ or over-ordered clothes in a sector with already tight margins. Through a new approach to predictive customer segmentation, now retailers can very quickly and cost-effectively identify those customers most likely to erode profitability. By using this insight and adapting communication strategies accordingly, it is possible to significantly reduce the cost of returns on the P&L — and maybe help a bit on CO2 emissions too!

Wakefern Launches Automated Micro-Fulfillment Center For Online ShopRite Consumers

Wakefern Food Corp., the grocery cooperative that operates 353 supermarkets in the Northeast under banners including ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market, has launched its first automated fulfillment center in Clifton, N.J. The new center will serve select ShopRite stores operated by Wakefern member Inserra Supermarkets in North Jersey and New York. Takeoff Technologies partnered with Wakefern to build the hyperlocal fulfillment center, which is designed to increase speed and lower costs for retailers while improving the overall online grocery shopping customer experience. In particular, the fulfillment center will augment the ShopRite from Home online grocery program, which currently offers shoppers pickup and home delivery services across most ShopRite store locations.
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