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Shopper Experience

Shopper Engagement delves into the latest trends and strategies retailers are using to cultivate long-term relationships with shoppers. Social media, mobile technology, in-store tablets and more are covered in this section. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Unmanned, AI-Powered Skincare Experience Debuts In Dubai

An AI-powered beauty startup spun off by Samsung, lululab, now provides an unmanned virtual beauty experience in Dubai. The kiosk is powered by LUMINI, an AI-based skincare assistant that provides shoppers with individually tailored skin care solutions. The installation, dubbed the AI Beauty Store, is housed on the ground floor of Galeries Lafayette, a French department store. The experience helps shoppers find new products through a three-step process: A selfie is taken by the multispectral camera in the kiosk, providing information on the shopper’s skin; The LUMINI AI analyzes the results and makes recommendations, which also can include discounts on some products; and The customer receives a follow-up report on their mobile device.

Building Blocks For Toys ‘R’ Us 2.0: Experiential Retail, Smaller Stores, Laser Focus On Kids

As Tru Kids Brands rises from the ashes of Toys ‘R’ Us, the revived retailer will enter an industry that has moved on since the original’s 2018 bankruptcy — let alone the brand’s 20th-century heyday. To be successful, a resurrected Toys ‘R’ Us will need to: Embrace the power of experiential retailing; Experiment with smaller store sizes; Streamline shopping processes, for example with mobile checkout functionality; and Aim directly at an audience few other retailers are directly targeting: children. “We have to talk about who our customer is, and our customer is four feet and under,” said Chuck Luckenbill, Principal at Luckenbill Retail Solutions and former VP, Store Planning and Design at Toys ‘R’ Us in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We can talk about grandmas and aunts and uncles, moms and dads —the relatives buying toys for the kids — but if they buy a toy the kid doesn't like and they never play with it, there's a good chance they’re never coming back to the store again.” Another challenge is that Walmart, Target and Amazon all eagerly stepped in to fill the toy-shaped void Toys ‘R’ Us left during the 2018 holiday season, and no single retailer is equipped to…

BevMo! Tests In-Store, AI-Powered Chatbot To Help Shoppers Select The Perfect Whiskey

While in-home voice tech is becoming more commonplace, use of the technology in stores remains relatively rare. But rather than wait and see how these solutions develop, BevMo! is exploring the audible potential now, partnering with The Mars Agency to pilot AI-powered, voice-capable whiskey shopping experiences in five stores. “We were certainly seeing a lot of press about how voice activated shopping is absolutely going to be a trend in the future — so why not get some early learnings from a category that clearly has a lot of customer interest in our stores?” said Tamara Pattison, Chief Marketing and Information Officer at BevMo! in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We chose the whiskey category, with the idea that we would be able to take over 50 bottles from all throughout our store and place them in a single location with some exciting creative engagement, and see if customers really wanted to do what a lot of people say is going to be this new trend.” The displays utilize an Amazon Echo smart speaker, custom signage and the SmartAisle system from Mars Agency to power the experience. Shoppers who walk up to the display are guided through several basic questions…

From Suits To Streetwear — The Rise Of Menswear In Retail

Retail is evolving — from the onset of experience-first stores to the integration of new technologies like smart displays and self-checkout — the shopping experience has been elevated. During this retail evolution, a new X-factor has emerged which at its core affects strategy and tactics for customer engagement: the appearance by a seemingly unexpected demographic — the male shopper. With the entire menswear market expected to surpass womenswear by 2021, luxury brands and mainstream retailers alike are looking to foster the male interest in fashion. For example, Nike has launched a new collection of yogawear for men and Nordstrom opened specialized experience shops for men in major markets like New York City and Chicago. Luxury fashion house LVMH heavily invested in the male fashion market by hiring visionary Virgil Abloh, bringing a modern and creative twist to Louis Vuitton’s men’s label.

How Does Your Customer Experience Stack Up?

If there was an award for Buzzword of the Year, Digital Transformation would obliterate the competition. It may be overused, but digital transformation is a very real strategy that is changing the customer experience for retailers. Simply put, achieving digital transformation allows retailers to combine the physical and digital customer experience into one seamless occurrence. According to a Walker study, 85% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as key brand differentiators. This stat alone should be enough to have retailers doubling down on their digital strategies. However, implementing digital change is something that many retailers struggle with, mainly because a lot of companies don’t know where to begin.

Top Takeaways From Shoptalk 2019: Hint…It’s Personal

Shoptalk 2019 did not disappoint: it has established itself as one of the “must attend” retail events of the year. The biggest problem is choosing between compelling sessions, meetings and, of course, playing with the puppies from the SPCA. I actually missed a few sessions I was planning to attend because I was engaged in great conversations with retailers, solution/service providers, media colleagues and other industry experts. Five top takeaways from my Shoptalk experience are: Personalization is being defined by each company’s business goals; Women Leadership is taking center stage; Influencers are rising to the surface as a vital marketing element; Subscription Services can boost sales and loyalty for a wide variety of brands; and Voice is the next customer engagement frontier.

Only 23% Of Retailers Leverage In-Store AI, While Just 19% Deploy IoT Devices

Retailers often describe the “store of the future” having multiple customer service options, such as automated returns or cashierless checkout, and offering disruptive technologies such as AI, VR, AR, virtual mirrors and IoT. But many of these brick-and-mortar upgrades remain saved for just that — the future. For example, only 19% of retailers have implemented IoT within their stores, with 23% implementing AI-powered platforms such as voice-activated POS and digital assistants, according to a report from BRP. In another sign that adoption of these technologies is still a long way off, only 5% of retailers said they have implemented each technology and that it is working well.

Shoptalk 2019: How Lowe’s, Tapestry, Pinterest CEOs Adapt To Retail Transformation

While Nordstrom and Macy’s led off Shoptalk 2019 sharing their views on where they need to improve their businesses going ahead, the CEOs of Lowe’s, Pinterest and Tapestry took the keynote stage to share the strategies their companies have adapted to cater to evolving customer needs. Lowe’s is no stranger to working with the consumer, but the home improvement retailer has experienced plenty of changes in recent years that require a new approach to how store associates do their job on a daily basis, according to CEO Marvin Ellison. While Lowe's generates approximately $4 billion in e-Commerce revenue, 70% of those transactions are picked up in, or fulfilled from, the store. In fact, 30% of shoppers that use buy online/pick up in-store will buy additional items upon their visit, showing that integrating both channels drives further company growth.

When New Technologies Like Augmented Reality Help You See Your Business Differently

New technologies and ideas are often met with equal parts excitement and skepticism, but more often than not, you’re only able to understand how truly game changing they were in hindsight. For instance, if Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came to you in 2007 with their idea, you could probably find a million ways to pick it apart. What do you mean people are just going to let strangers into their homes? What about liability? What if those “guests” are criminals? Knowing that others have faced skepticism for their ideas is cold comfort when you’re betting big on your own. After all, you don’t know how everything will turn out — will this technology truly disrupt your industry, or will it disappear faster than it came to market?

The New CX: How Technology Can Build Brand Loyalty For Retailers Of All Sizes

We all know that person who is impossible to shop for — the rare coin aficionado, the stamp collector, the vintage comic book junkie — the type of person who would scoff if they found a generic gift from a retail mega-brand under the tree — the type of person who wants their unique tastes and preferences reflected in a unique, personalized shopping experience. Of course, those of us who find ourselves shopping for these types of folks often find ourselves in an internal tug-of-war. We want to find the best, most unique gifts possible that even our pickiest, most opinionated friends and family members will love — but, at the same time, we want a streamlined, efficient, end-to-end shopping experience that fits seamlessly into our on-the-go lifestyles.

80% Of Shoppers Give Thumbs Up To Chatbot Experiences, But 59% Remain Uninterested In Using Them

As many as 80% of people who have interacted with a chatbot say the experience was positive, according to a survey from Uberall. Even so, 30% of consumers have a tepid response to chatbots, saying they were “somewhat uninterested,” with 29% more indicating no interest at all. “There’s definitely growing interest in branded chatbot experiences, but most consumers still need convincing,” said Florian Huebner, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Uberall in a statement. “Many are wary, either because chatbot technology in the past was not advanced enough to ensure a good experience, or because consumers worry chatbots could easily become another spam channel. Brands have to do a better job creating AI experiences that customers find personalized, helpful and worthwhile.”

How The IoT Will Transform The Holiday Shopping Experience

Despite the emergence of new cloud, AI, IoT and other advanced technologies, Santa continues to deliver presents the old-fashioned way — on a flying sled pulled by reindeer. Yet these technologies have transformed holiday shopping experiences. From online “Wish Lists”, to in-store review and price checking on mobile devices, to last-minute delivery or in-store pickup of online orders, today’s holiday shopping experience is a lot different than it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Today, Amazon, Walmart and other retailers that anticipated how these technologies might change holiday shopping are reaping the benefits, while many of those that were caught flat-footed by these changes are racing to catch up, if they have not fallen by the wayside like Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears. Given this, retailers today should be asking themselves how one of today’s most disruptive emerging technologies — the IoT — might transform holiday shopping in the future. If they can do this, these retailers can get a head start in using IoT technologies to offer better holiday shopping experiences to their customers, rather than find themselves trying to catch up with competitors in the future.

Walmart, Walgreens Are Among Retailers Piloting In-Store Hair Coloring Through AR

Walmart, Walgreens and other retailers will build out their augmented reality (AR)-based experiences through Garnier’s Virtual Shade Selector technology with MODIFACE, a tool that lets shoppers virtually try out new hair colors. The Shade Selector, which is designed to help shoppers find a hair color match in 60 seconds, will initially roll out at 37 stores in 2019, including:
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