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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.

A Harsh Reality: Retailers Aren’t As Customer-Centric As They Think

Despite how confident retailers may feel about their ability to relate to the customer, they should always invest more in the shopper experience — because chances are they aren’t doing enough. While 75% of organizations believe themselves to be customer-centric, only 30% of consumers agree with this sentiment, according to research from Capgemini. The organization-consumer divide extends to Net Promoter Score (NPS) — an index ranging from minus 100 to plus 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services. For example, 90% of companies believed that their organizations’ NPS had increased by five points over the last three years. But only half of consumers agreed (54%) with this sentiment.

Chinese Consumers Favor U.S. Retailers For Overseas Online Purchases

Just over half of consumers in five Chinese cities have purchased from foreign merchants/marketplaces during the previous year, and U.S. retailers are a favorite destination: 89% of shoppers “bought American,” according to a survey conducted by PayPal. That’s nearly twice as high as the percentage for the second-place country, the UK, which attracted 46% of shoppers, and third-place Japan, at 42%. Accessories (83%) and clothing (68%) were the product categories most frequently bought from U.S. merchants.

New Jersey Mall Adds Italian Lessons To Sistine Chapel Exhibit

This month, the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J. introduced Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, an exhibition that allows visitors to experience Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel without having to hop on a plane to Italy. In addition to this unique experience, visitors have the opportunity to learn the Italian language while surrounded by the near life-size reproductions.

Walmart To Cut 20% Of Leadership Staff: Breaking News

Walmart is in the process of cutting 20% of its leadership staff above store level, as reported by a field executive for the retailer. Within the next three weeks, the company will reduce its total number of regional markets from 450 to 350, which will eliminate approximately 300 executive positions by the beginning of October. This reduction in staff is reportedly the result of an edict to cut expenses quickly. The cuts will save Walmart from having to pay out bonus money and vested equity moving into Q1 2018.

Assessing The Value Of Retail Technology Investments

Across the retail industry, consumers are using a variety of channels to shop. We live in a world where consumers can browse for a great pair of sneakers on their smartphone during an evening show, buy it at their desk the next day and drive to the retailer's brick-and-mortar store to pick it up after work. As a result, retailers are actively working to address their customers’ buying patterns and behaviors. For example, Office Depot’s CEO, Gerry Smith, recently cited on an earnings call that the retailer is planning to leverage its brick-and-mortar stores to provide a competitive edge over online sellers, using their stores as extra distribution centers to respond more quickly to the changes in customer behaviors.

How AI And Machine Learning Can Transform The Customer Experience For Retail

According to IDC, the market for chatbots and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms has exploded over the past year, with over 50 companies offering various tools and technologies. There are many reasons why retailers are jumping on the bandwagon to adopt these advanced technologies, but the most common is to improve the customer experience.   The customer experience is your retail customers’ perception of how the company treats them. These perceptions impact their buying behaviors, build memories and feelings as well as drive brand loyalty. Simply stated, if your customers like you and continue to like you, they are going to do business with you and recommend your company and products to others. According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Pitney Bowes Acquires Newgistics For $475 Million

As part of its bid to expand further into the U.S. domestic parcels market at scale, Pitney Bowes has agreed to acquire Newgistics for $475 million. The purchase is projected to be finalized in late Q3 or early Q4. To avoid disruptions during the holiday season, Pitney Bowes plans to operate the businesses as independent units into Q1 2018. Known for its returns processing capabilities, Newgistics provides a range of e-Commerce capabilities for nearly 500 retail clients. The privately held company is a workshare partner of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and processes nearly 100 million parcels annually.

Kohl’s To Open Amazon Smart Home Experience In 10 Stores

  • Published in News Briefs
In an industry dominated by Amazon, many retailers are choosing to join the giant rather than compete with it. Companies such as Nike and Sears have recently announced partnerships with Amazon, to sell items on its marketplace and enhance products with Amazon technology respectively. Now Kohl’s is partnering with Amazon…
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Pura Vida Leverages AI To Enhance Customer Service Capabilities

  • Published in News Briefs
Pura Vida Bracelets has partnered with customer care automation platform Linc to improve its customer service offerings, using AI and automation to answer customer inquiries via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Pura Vida will use the Linc solution to provide a personalized customer care experience, providing updates to customers, making product…
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How AI’s Retail Reinvention Is Transforming The Shopping Experience

Shopping is no longer simply about the utility of exchanging money for a product. Consumers are wielding their purchasing power to demand retail experiences that are both meaningful and personalized, as well as convenient and ubiquitous. One way retailers are rising to the challenge of delivering these new shopping experiences is by leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). While analyzing consumer data has been an integral part of market research for years — fueling product development, advertising and online searches — the predictive models and machine-learning advances that come with AI take shopper insights to a whole new level. With increased access to complex data, AI is enabling retailers to make shopping across all channels a smarter, more streamlined journey.

Exclusive Q&A: How zulily Keeps Shoppers Coming Back With 1,000 New Images Every Day

The most successful retailers create connections based on trust with their customers. That’s particularly important to zulily because its target audience is moms. Their trust is not easily gained, and they are generally more time-starved than the average consumer. So the e-Commerce retailer needs to fulfill two key goals: being “a trusted voice for mom,” and also providing enough variety and surprise to maintain her interest — and to keep her coming back. (Zulily’s motto is “something special every day.”) One of the most powerful tools zulily uses is photography: the retailer re-populates its home page every day with 100 to 150 new photos. In total, zulily produces as many as 1,000 images per day to keep its site fresh and visually vibrant.

Can An Alternative To Amazon Go Play Leapfrog?

Standard Cognition, a California-based startup focused on delivering an AI-based, checkout-free store experience, announced last week that its technology would serve as an “alternative to Amazon Go.” Like the Amazon concept, which is still confined to a single beta testing location in Seattle that has yet to open to anyone…
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Win Millennials’ Hearts: 6 Things Retailers Can Learn From Glossier

We’ve written endless stories about successful and innovative retail companies disrupting the industry here at Retail TouchPoints. Yet in my humble opinion, none of them quite compare to the cult-favorite beauty brand Glossier. As a Millennial consumer, I’ve been a fan of Glossier — founded by 32-year-old Emily Weiss — since its inception in 2014, and not just for its uber-cool makeup and skin care products. No, it was the community Weiss built through the brand (as well as her original venture, a beauty web site and blog dubbed Into The Gloss) that really caught my attention.

AR And VR: Shopping Enhancements Or Shiny Distractions?

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are already making inroads in retail. Lowe’s, Wayfair and Design With Reach, for example, use these technologies to help customers visualize how furniture and other design changes will look in their homes. AR’s ability to bring ratings and reviews, long a staple of e-Commerce, into the brick-and-mortar environment presents an exciting prospect, according to Pano Anthos, Managing Director of XRC Labs. “Customers walk into a store and we’re blind as bats,” he said during a session at the 2017 Retail Innovation Conference. “We don’t know if the product stinks or falls apart in five minutes, or anything about where it comes from. Everyone online looks at ratings and reviews, so why not in the store? AR provides the first wave of that potential by having the digitization of ratings and reviews dropped onto your phone.” Despite these real-world use cases, opinion remains sharply divided about the ultimate value of AR and VR, as well as how much — and how quickly — retailers should invest in the technology. Members of the RetailWire BrainTrust recently debated the technologies’ merits: Art Suriano, CEO, The TSi CompanyI can see the strongest benefits of AR and VR…

IBM And SAP Leverage Local Insights To Improve Store Planning

  • Published in News Briefs
Using near real-time data from multiple sources, a new solution co-innovated by IBM and SAP is designed to help retailers address key challenges such as on-shelf product availability and demand forecasting accuracy. The solution channels data sources such as IBM’s Metro Pulse through the SAP Cloud Platform to provide insights…
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