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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.

Retail Trend 2018: The Rising Popularity Of Subscription Programs

“Will retail fare better or worse in 2018?” It’s the question on everyone’s lips. It’s a controversial topic to be sure, but everyone can agree that change is in the air. One industry trend we’ve seen is retailers experimenting with physical subscriptions that allow them to ship products directly to consumers. Companies such as Ann Taylor, Gap, JCPenney and Under Armour have recently begun to test the waters with subscription services, and that trend will certainly continue this year.

Forrester Analyst: Retailers Are Still Catching Up To Customer Expectations

On the second morning of Aptos Engage 2018, held April 16-19 in Las Vegas, Brendan Witcher, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester, took the stage to deliver his keynote and kicked off the presentation with two scary statements for retailers: You’re not behind your competitors; you’re behind your customers — behind their expectations. Your products don’t matter anymore. Those are shocking statements to make, but Witcher made a great point. Experiences such as Netflix and Uber have reset consumer expectations to new levels. “We are in the state of hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment,” he said. “Retailers are missing the mark on getting customer expectations right.

Hotter Shoes Leverages Triggered Emails To Add Fire To U.S. Expansion Efforts

As a footwear retailer with 77 stores and a presence in more than 200 independent retailers across the UK, Hotter Shoes has made a name for itself across the pond. But the company has its sights set on U.S. expansion, hoping that its e-Commerce offerings will spearhead the retailer’s American push. Within the last year, Hotter Shoes generated $27 million in U.S. sales, or 35% year-over-year growth, with email-related revenue accounting for approximately 20% to 25% of those sales. With email contributing so much to the U.S. revenue pie, Hotter Shoes sought to bolster one area of its email marketing campaigns — triggered emails — by leveraging insights from 4Cite, a consumer identification and data management firm.

Exclusive Q&A With Mastercard Exec: Expanding Payment To Wearables, VR And Smart Home Devices

Payments are the unglamorous but absolutely necessary piece of any consumer purchase. As retail touch points have multiplied and become more technologically complex, encompassing mobile devices, wearables, and now voice, AR and VR applications, payment providers have had to keep pace. One indication of the breadth of this challenge is in Kiki Del Valle’s title: she is SVP of Commerce for Every Device at Mastercard. Del Valle, who will be presenting the session, titled Transforming How People Pay: Commerce For Every Device at next week’s Retail Innovation Conference, April 30-May 2 in New York City, revealed why payment providers need to balance innovation, consumer convenience and data security within a rapidly shifting customer journey.

Pervasive Intelligence: The New Sales Assistant For The Digital Age

As traditional retailers up their game against the disruptive digital pure plays, they’re rediscovering an essential attribute: their purpose. It’s this which ultimately differentiates how they offer, how they sell and how they operate. And the most successful are blending their core purpose with advanced digital technologies to maximize operational efficiency and experiment with new forms of in-store engagement. It’s all about taking the best of the digital and the best of the physical to forge stronger, more powerful connections with customers — and making a clear declaration of who they are and what they are here to do. These ideas are at the heart of this year’s Accenture Technology Vision, which identifies a series of current technology trends with critical implications for retailers today. Here’s how retail leaders are using technology and purpose to regain the advantage in the digital economy.

UPS Study: U.S. Consumers Shopping Across Borders Climbs To 47%

It’s an increasingly small world in e-Commerce: Almost half of U.S. online shoppers, and a majority of online shoppers outside the U.S., choose e-Tailers that are based outside their own countries. Around the globe, consumers are embracing mobile commerce, online marketplaces and diverse shipping options, although adoption rates and satisfaction vary (in some cases dramatically), according to the latest UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper report. Based on a comScore survey of more than 18,000 consumers, the study captured the differing behaviors and preferences of online shoppers in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

Exclusive Q&A With Gartner L2’s Amazon Guru: Watch Out For Total Vertical Integration

Jeff Bezos’ ambitions for Amazon go well beyond becoming the world’s number-one retailer, according to Cooper Smith, Director of Amazon Research at Gartner L2. “That’s a means to an end,” said Smith in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I believe his vision is for Amazon to be the ultimate purveyor in the marketing, selling and transportation of goods.” Smith revealed key insights into both the omnichannel retailer’s latest moves and its long-term plans, including: • The likeliest targets for Amazon’s next brick-and-mortar acquisition after purchasing Whole Foods;• How these acquisitions will help Amazon crack higher-end markets, particularly in apparel;|• The likelihood that Amazon will introduce Amazon Go-style cashierless technology in its brick-and-mortar stores;• Which “strange bedfellow” combinations may be needed to challenge Amazon; and• The potential location of Amazon’s HQ2.

Reframing Retail — Getting Underneath The Headlines And Hype

There isn’t an industry today devoid of technology. It has completely revolutionized the ways in which business gets done — from improving personalized customer knowledge through data, to reducing costs and increasing accuracy in supply chains, to using chatbots and other artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer service. For the consumer, tech has leveled the playing field — most immediately, from a customer service perspective. Treated unfairly on a flight? Tweet about it. Experience a product fail? Take pictures and email them to customer service. But the extent of retailers’ technological support cannot just emerge when things go wrong. Tech in the retail space must be about making experiences seamless throughout the journey. Perhaps when that happens, we’ll see less volatility in the industry.

Answering The Question: Why Change Now?

At the recent Oracle Industry Connect event, I had the opportunity to learn about the digital transformation of Casey’s General Stores — the fourth-largest convenience chain in the U.S., with 2,000 stores across 15 states. It’s a small-town retailer based in Iowa: many of the stores serve towns with fewer than 5,000 residents. The Casey’s case study is a good example of a traditional retailer completing a digital transformation while maintaining its focus on company culture. Casey’s is a company with longstanding values focused on employees: “The company doesn’t lay off people, and offers its own child care,” noted Thomas McElroy, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, who worked hand-in-hand with Casey’s during the transformation. It was not a culture focused on change and disruption.

Pumping Up The Balloon: How To Grow Retail Customer Counts

Why is everybody talking about customer counts — the number of customers coming into the database, buying for the first time, buying again, fading away and leaving — these days? Digital advertising metrics say that our campaigns are working. Our metrics suggest the same is true for our direct marketing efforts. Yet, the company reports a flat or shrinking top line. This dilemma has retail CEOs and marketers rethinking how they let profit and loss (P&L) statements guide their marketing and their customer relationships. It’s a dated, inflexible approach that is costing many retailers dearly at a time when they can least afford it. Think of a brand’s portfolio of customers as an expandable balloon. The goal is to grow the size of active customers in the balloon making purchases and contributing revenue. What is an active customer? Most brands say it’s anyone who has purchased in the last 12 months, a benchmark they use to report progress to stakeholders and shareholders every year. But the balloon isn’t getting bigger as they continue pumping it with new customers; in many cases, it is shrinking.

Exclusive Q&A With KIDBOX CEO Miki Berardelli

At KIDBOX, Miki Berardelli has managed to combine innovative leadership, social consciousness, youth empowerment and fun into a successful children’s apparel shopping platform. In 2018, KIDBOX is embracing private label and will be introducing its own exclusive private brands. Learn Berardelli’s secrets to success in this exclusive Q&A. You can also hear from her at the upcoming Retail Innovation Conference, April 30-May 2, where she'll part of a panel discussing best practices for building a private brand in the digital era.  Retail TouchPoints (RTP): What are your proudest accomplishments at KIDBOX?

The Missing Link In Personalization: Only 13% Of Retailers Identify Most Profitable Shoppers

While as many as 77% of retailers say they have an established process to identify their most loyal customers, only 13% say they can accurately identify those that are most profitable, according to the BRP 2018 Customer Loyalty Special Report. Up to 39% of retailersdo have processes in place to identify profitable customers, but admit that their efforts still need improvement. Another 27% project that they will be able to identify these shoppers within three years. Retailers that want to maximize customer profitability as well as loyalty are leveraging personalization efforts across a number of different areas:

Want To Reach Gen Z? Learn To Speak ‘Phygital’

Q&A with Ken Hughes, Shopper Behaviouralist and Keynote Speaker In this Q&A, Shopper Behaviouralist Ken Hughes shares his unique insights on the future of retail and the importance of embracing the next generation of shoppers and members of the workforce. Hughes will be delivering Keynote and Creativity sessions during the Retail Innovation Conference, April 30-May 2 in New York City.

The 4 Steps Needed To ‘Save Our Stores’

Although more than 3,200 U.S. stores are set to close in 2018, a majority of shoppers still want to go to the store when they can: 73% of consumers still go to stores to touch and feel products, according to a report from Astound Commerce. But consumers are demanding more from the store experience. The “Save Our Stores” report revealed four keys to keeping a brick-and-mortar store viable: Stores must be inspiring and build on customer loyalty;  Stores should offer valuable promotions and exclusive products to drive traffic; Customer service is a critical differentiator, with 64% of consumers reporting poor customer service as the top reason to leave a physical store; and Retailers need to stress the efficiency of store shopping, particularly in speeding up purchase and returns processes. 
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