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.

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:

Customer Experience Is The New Black…Again

If you attend enough industry events and conferences, it’s not hard to figure out that customer experience is very much in vogue today. The trigger lines are statements like: “We put the customer at the center of everything we do…” or “We are moving the customer to the center of the enterprise…” or “Customer centricity is critical to the success of our operation…” Clearly, the idea of customer experience is not new — we’ve been talking about it for more than a decade — so what’s going on? Why do so many brands still get it wrong? Augie Ray, research director at Gartner, put it simply in a recent interview with Forbes. “The fact that so many organizations understand the importance of CX to the brand, but are unable to deliver outcomes that meet or exceed customer expectations is indicative of the growing need for fresh approaches to delivering more positive outcomes for customers.” It starts with a foundation in customer satisfaction.

Walmart Launches Traveling VR Entertainment And Shopping Experience

Spatial&, Walmart’s virtual reality (VR) platform and content studio, will use VR technology at Walmart stores across the country to offer a virtual experience titled, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour.” The retailer and solution provider created the VR-driven retail experience in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation and sponsorship from HP, Intel and Positron.

Creating A Unique Customer Experience To Drive 2019 Success

There’s no way to avoid it — retail in 2019 is all about the experience. And to create a stellar experience, retailers must view the customer holistically rather than as an online shopper vs. an in-store shopper. For years, the retail buzzword was “omnichannel,” or how to seamlessly deliver what the customer wants. But a sole omnichannel focus will prohibit retailers from competing in the future. Instead, the industry should set its sights on creating the “complete customer experience,” which is richer, more memorable and personalized. And this process begins long before the customer steps into a store or shops online.

Is Breaking Up Easier Than Bargain Hunting?

Occasionally, we do a piece of customer research that hits home in a really personal way.  As someone who grew up frequenting flea markets with an extended family of bargainers and sharp-eyed deal seekers, the findings from Citi Retail Services’ annual Savvy Shopper Study really resonated with me — and underscored how in a digital world, bargaining has become less personal, more attainable and more relevant than ever before. Not surprisingly, 82% of consumers compare or track prices when shopping.  But an equal number now leverage search engines such as Google Shopping as do window shopping or shop in stores.  And more believe that they get better deals when doing so — 36% compared to 28% who physically visit stores.  Consumers are largely impulsive when they do track prices — almost half will make their purchase decision within a week, while the remainder wait on average about three weeks to make a decision.

Return Shipping Fees Scare Away 69% Of Consumers

With January in the rear-view mirror, retailers have made their way through what is perhaps the toughest part of the holiday season: returns. More than one in five (22%) of shoppers have returned a gift they received to an online retailer, according to Narvar. Even though returns are complex and expensive for retailers to handle, they are a cost of doing business in today’s environment. In fact, retailers that are tempted to discourage returns with fees and restrictive rules run the risk of reducing initial sales. Consumers identified three major returns-related purchasing deterrents: Having to pay for return shipping (69%); Restocking fees (67%); and Finding it difficult to find the return or exchange policy (33%). “If you don’t offer convenient returns options, or you don’t provide transparency, there is a silent majority of customers that won’t shop with you,” said Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “People think that having a nice product page or a competitive price is a sure shot way of getting customers to buy, but that’s only half of the story. Customers won’t shop with you if you don’t tell them details of how and where they can return the product,…
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