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.

Helzberg Diamonds Taps AR To Bridge The Digital-Physical Gap

Brick-and-mortar remains a vital part of the shopper journey for jewelry. While many shoppers begin online, they still need to see what a product feels like and how it looks on them before they make a purchase. Helzberg Diamonds is bridging the gap between the digital and physical with an in-store AR experience that lets shoppers virtually try on different rings.

DAVIDsTEA Harnesses Mobile Communication To Strengthen Associate Expertise

The massive selection of teas at DAVIDsTEA can be paralyzing for new customers. That’s where the company’s associates, or Tea Guides, come into play. They serve the essential role of educating and delivering recommendations to tea novices, which has resulted in 97% of DAVIDsTEA customers citing Tea Guides as a key factor in their satisfaction with the brand.

Despite Hype, 60% Of Shoppers Still Haven’t Experienced VR/AR Technologies In-Store

Although 46% of retailers say they plan to deploy AR or VR solutions by 2020, it appears that real-world deployment of these technologies remains low — at least in the eyes of the consumer. More than 60% of shoppers have yet to encounter VR or AR applications in-store, according to a report from Periscope By McKinsey. When it comes to practical applications for VR/AR technologies, shoppers say they are most likely to use them if they provided additional product information. French shoppers led the way at 65%, followed by the U.S. (62%), the UK (57%) and Germany (54%).

Study: 73% Of Shoppers Spend More In Response To Good Customer Service

Measuring the bottom-line effects of customer service has traditionally been difficult, but a new study quantifies its impact: 73% of consumers say that good customer service encourages them to spend more money than they had originally planned, according to a study by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Nor is this just a function of basket size: 57% of respondents said they would pay more for a particular item or service if they knew they would receive strong service during the shopping journey.

Stance Deploys Cashierless Self-Checkout Across 14 Stores

Cashierless checkout has for the most part been limited to major grocers thus far and is perhaps most commonly associated with Amazon Go, but one retailer — best known for selling socks — is showing that this technology can be deployed just as effectively in an apparel setting. Stance has deployed self-checkout technology from Moltin within its 14 U.S. stores, designed to let shoppers skip lines and check out via a browser-based mobile progressive web app (PWA). The goal for the technology was singular: eliminating lines, according to Paul Zaengle, EVP of Direct-to-Consumer at Stance. While Zaengle had followed self-checkout technologies for years, he said it wasn’t until 2018, when Apple allowed iOS to access cameras through a web page, that the Stance team was able to envision a realistic application.

Want To Survive And Thrive In Retail’s New Shopping Battlefield? Capitalize On These 10 Winning Trends

Almost no one can argue that the retail ecosystem isn’t changing at an accelerated pace. But a school of thought around the shift misses the mark pretty badly. Specifically, there are a lot of doomsayers out there who look at store closings (Sears, Lowe’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, etc.) as the harbingers of worse to come for retail, but the truth is that retail is just changing and sales are growing. It’s about where, when and how consumers buy goods that is shifting. That said, there’s a grain of truth to what the doomsayers think: For those retailers, marketers and brand owners that can’t capitalize on the morphing landscape and prepare themselves for and take advantage of disruption, the prognosis is pretty poor as far as their company’s survival goes. Thankfully, as winners and losers emerge on the way to retail’s jagged future, some clear trends for success are emerging. Retail and brand leaders should hop onto them fast if they want to flourish. Here are some of the biggest retail trends, and what brands can do about them:

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.
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