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.

Robotics Move Beyond Warehouses To Stores And The Last Mile

Robotics technologies deployed within retail, food service and hospitality already are reducing the number of humans needed to perform their jobs. But the growth of these technologies also can provide help for employees handling a wide range of functions — whether it’s tracking inventory, identifying where a store aisle needs to be cleaned up or even assisting on last-mile delivery. The latest change comes in where robots are being tested and deployed. While retailers have been using robotics for years within warehouses and distribution centers, advances in the technology are extending use cases into stores, where there are multiple opportunities to automate tedious, repetitive tasks. In fact, a survey from Bossa Nova Robotics indicated that: 76% of retailers say the introduction of robots in stores would improve employee productivity; and 74% said that while inventory accuracy would improve as a result, increased profits would be another direct result of introducing in-store robots. At this stage, a select few major retailers are on board with robotics pilots of their own, with merchants such as Walmart, Ahold Delhaize’s GIANT and Stop & Shop chains, Albertsons and Lowe’s all implementing the technology at different points within the retail ecosystem. MIT Professor: Don’t Fret Retail…

Driving Retail Appeal Across Generations Takes More Than Just New Tech

While technology can be beneficial to the in-store experience, it’s easy for retailers to be over-enthusiastic about their customers’ appetite for the latest leading-edge invention. For instance, 79% of retail executives believe emerging tech like AI and VR will drive more sales, but only 14% of consumers agree with them, according to Retail and the Generational Game, a study by Oracle NetSuite, Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor. "The reality is, no technology lets you buy a shiny object and suddenly make conversions go through the roof,” said Bob Phibbs, CEO of The Retail Doctor in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That's not gonna happen. It's still going to need training to become more human in what's increasingly becoming a more technological world. Using the store as a strength, instead of trying to apologize for it and make it into a web site, is the future." Getting the most out of new tech tools is primarily a matter of presenting them to the right people in the right situations. New technology is still attractive to 50% of Millennials and 38% of Gen Zers. Older shoppers are less enamored: only 20% of Baby Boomers find new tech attractive, and 59% of…

67% Of Shoppers Want A ‘Futuristic’ Experience, But It Must Drive Convenience

The technological future has arrived, in the form of voice commerce, SMS payments, chatbots and augmented reality, and shoppers are ready to embrace it: 67% of customers said they’d switch to a new brand if they offered a more futuristic experience, according to The Sci-Fi Shopper survey by Elastic Path. However, the report also found that retailers and customers aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on just how tech-savvy the shopping experience has become. "The Sci-Fi Shopper sounds like we're in the era of the Jetsons: I have a Star Trek communicator on my wrist as an Apple Watch, and an Alexa in my home,” said Darin Archer, Chief Strategy Officer at Elastic Path in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “What came back was a pretty strong message that said retailers are really not delivering on some of the experiences that technology enables across channels. The brands we surveyed felt like they would get a seven out of 10 on these futuristic shopping experiences; the consumers rated them down at a three or four.”

Mobile Computer Vision And AR: Make 500 Square Feet Of Retail Space Feel Like 50,000 Square Feet

One way retailers are tackling the challenges and opportunities posed by the rebalancing of online versus physical shopping, is to experiment with smaller stores and even pop-up stores. It’s 80% cheaper to launch a pop-up shop than a traditional retail store, Storefront says, so the appeal is obvious. A critical consideration is how to make a small space feel like a big store. In other words, how do you make 500 square feet feel like 50,000 square feet?

Floravere Takes Wedding Gown Shopping Experience From ‘Instagram To IRL’

Since wedding gown shopping can often be the biggest high-consideration experience in a bride-to-be’s life, the process is often stressful. But what can make it even more stressful is that the traditional shopping model rarely caters to younger consumers. When developing Floravere, Co-Founders Molly Kang and Denise Jin sought to disrupt the bridal gown and accessory industry through a more consumer-friendly direct-to-consumer business model, all while providing high-quality designer brand runway dresses at a low price. One key reason why gown selection can be a major stress point: wedding boutiques typically carry limited sizing samples, and bridal sizing traditionally runs small compared to contemporary fashion. Floravere makes and carries gowns from sizes 0 to 26, and offers samples that cover a range of street sizes from 6 to 24, well beyond the typical 0 to 12 sizing system. In addition to the sizing issue, Kang and Jin felt the need to address the overall limited scope of gowns offered online ahead of the in-store try-on experience.

Study: Economics, Not Millennials, Is The Force Changing The Retail Industry

It can be easy to fall into clichéd thinking about retail — like “Millennials care about experiences over products” or “e-Commerce is reducing the amount of time people spend shopping.” But how much truth do these clichés really hold? Deloitte dug through both its own insights and government data to discover the limits of conventional wisdom in its report, titled The Consumer Is Changing, But Perhaps Not How You Think. "What we found was pretty interesting,” said Bobby Stephens, Leader in the Retail & Consumer Products Practice at Deloitte. “In many cases we found that the conventional wisdom was either just not right or was not supported by the data, or it was true but only for part of the population.” Some of the often-repeated ideas examined in the research include: Millennials spend more on experiences, which is why they’re spending less at shopping centers; Consumers care about values and personalization nearly as much as price and convenience; and People are spending less time shopping because they have less free time overall. Generational Trends Aren’t Killing Malls — It’s The Economy, Stupid The media is abuzz with stories about how Millennials want experiences rather than products — but a deep…

Lead Innovation Summit Report: If Shopper Habits Are Fluid, Flexibility Is A Retail Must

Rapid, dramatic changes in shopping habits have pushed retailers to transform their businesses in a variety of ways. But if there’s one thing all merchants should agree on, it’s that innovation is fluid and must be a continuous process. “There’s always going to be a ‘work in progress,’” said Matt Alexander, Co-Founder and CEO of Neighborhood Goods during a panel at The Lead Innovation Summit, held in the Brooklyn EXPO Center July 9-10. “You have to have a general sense of self-awareness and willingness to acknowledge that you don’t necessarily have a finished product and the answer to every problem,” Alexander added.

Creating Personalized Experiences Is The Secret To Growing Your Loyalty Base

Digital technologies have radically changed the way retail companies operate online and in-store. And today, digital technologies will, and have, radically changed the way retailers connect with their customer base. Personalized customer content is what today’s consumers demand. According to a customer experience survey by Gartner, 81% of marketers state that they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience in two years’ time. As personalization drives customer experiences, this can’t be ignored. Personalization technology and strategies have been around for over a decade, but marketers are finally coming to the realization that relevant, in-real-time personalization is no easy feat. Many who have tried have failed for a variety of reasons, whether due to insufficient or inaccurate customer information, disconnected experience management tools or the inability to quickly analyze data to make in-the-moment actions.

Macy’s, DICK’S Sporting Goods Collaborate To Launch Outdoor STORY Experience In 36 Stores

Macy’s has debuted its second experiential STORY concept in select stores, teaming up with DICK’S Sporting Goods and Miracle-Gro to offer customers an outdoor-inspired playground designed to “bring the outside indoors” with curated merchandise from 70 brands. “Outdoor STORY” will operate in 36 locations until September, carrying a mix of apparel and…

RTP Live! Session: Moosejaw Success Is ‘All About Being Relatable, And About Being Fun’

With a vision to “be the most fun outdoor retailer on the planet” while selling the best outdoor products, Moosejaw strives to deliver experiences that are both meaningful and memorable — all hinging strongly on being relatable to the shopper. The retailer operates by four chief values: be notable, get people engaged, make customers love the brand and “only do cool stuff” — or in business terms, be willing to test, try and fail — according to Dan Pingree, Moosejaw’s CMO, in a session at Retail TouchPoints Live! @ RetailX.

Flip The Script On Bad E-Commerce Deliveries

We've all had a bad experience at a restaurant. One that goes from bad to worse, resulting in a negative vote with our wallets and maybe even an online post. We’ve also all had a bad dining experience that is handled so well that we go from upset to loyal fans. The same scenarios play out every day in other consumer experiences — and online shopping is no stranger to issues and disappointments. Brands can build trust to win loyal e-Commerce shoppers by upholding delivery promises and resolving any issues to positive effect through proactive delivery experience management. What do I mean by a bad online shopping experience? It could be an ill-fitting item that I want to return, or worse, I might receive a damaged shipment or have an order delayed so much that it misses a birthday celebration. Many retailers are unaware that 11% of online orders experience some sort of delivery distress (known as “exceptions”).

Has Amazon Prime Pushed Consumer Expectations Too Far?

It may be one of the services that I use most often for my personal online shopping, not to mention the added perks like movies, TV shows and music that accompany membership. The impact it’s had on revolutionizing content, products, fulfillment and many other aspects of broader commerce can’t be denied. What I do not love is the way that Amazon Prime has skewed consumer expectations beyond repair.

Self-Driving Cars Will Be An Economic Revival For Brick-And-Mortar Retailers

Google, Amazon, Tesla, major car manufacturers and countless other enterprising startups are racing to dominate the self-driving vehicle market. Everyone wants to be the first to launch mainstream sales and services built on autonomous technology. Rightfully so, the industry is projected to generate billions in sales, improve efficiency and cut delivery costs. The focus right now is to get these vehicles on the road, which according to Tesla and Toyota could happen as soon as later this year or early 2020. Self-driving cars are coming, now industries like retail and food service need to start thinking about how this will impact them.

5 CX Trends To Consider In 2019

Brands are being inundated with talk about consumers’ increasing expectations when it comes to customer experience (CX). And as businesses deliver more creative and engaging experiences, forming impactful customer relationships becomes more difficult. The 2019 CX Trends Report conducted by InMoment suggests that despite evolving conversations around CX, companies are struggling to balance their own needs and changing customer preferences. While 50% of brands say they’re “definitely” doing better at delivering excellent customer experience, just 11% of customers agree.

Three Essential Tips In Preserving Next-Gen Customers

What’s the secret behind the success of today’s best young consumer-facing brands? Authenticity and personalized experience curation. Realistically, the customer isn’t always right, but without servicing them in a way that resonates, businesses won’t thrive. Seems logical, doesn’t it? Apparently not. Almost daily one could find headlines about the disconnect between legacy brands and their consumer base, whether it’s ethical discrepancies (Hey Facebook!) or basic customer service needs (à la United Airlines). While it’s difficult to quantify how much budget is allocated on average to bettering customer service across industries, clearly it’s not a top priority for many companies. If nothing else, 2018 taught us that customer service is integral to attracting and retaining today’s more discerning and fickle consumers, and that without a personalized approach your business will take both a financial and public relations hit.
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