Category Archives: Retail
80% of companies surveyed said that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. (Source: Bain & Company)
With numbers like that there is plenty of room to improve. But improve what?
Traditionally retailers have measured themselves against year over year increase in sales for like-stores, increased margins and lower operating costs. But, retailing has changed, customers can interact and transact with you across multiple touch points along their path to purchase and beyond. Poor performance at any one of these interaction points could lose you a customer and damage your brand.
A better measure is to calculate the customer experience across the omni-channel landscape. This will provide better insight into how you are attracting and retaining customers, and how well you are serving them. However, many retailers lack the technology and processes to deliver on a plan to improve the omni-channel customer experience.
Once you have decided to do something, what are you going to measure? Is it time spent on website versus sales? Speed to resolve problems in contact center versus number of repeat transactions from customer? Number of touch points before purchase? But what about the softer measures like how well your staff interact with customers in-store or social channels? How many “Pins” you have, or how do you assign value to them?
Organizations need to account for (CHURN, ATTRITION, LOYALTY and LIFETIME VALUE) to be able to evaluate their performance from a holistic view of their customer, not just in the confines of their own operational silo.
In an up and coming webinar Arkady Kleyner, from Intricity will break apart key components of the Omni-Channel Customer Experience calculation. Additionally, Arkady will identify the upstream components that keep this measure accurate and current.
Attend this webinar to learn:
- The foundational calculations of Omni-Channel Customer Experience
- Common customizations to fit different scenarios
- Upstream components to keep the calculation current and accurate
- Register here to receive a calendar invitation with the webinar details.
- Join us for a 1 hour webinar and Q/A session. The event will occur March 19th at 2:00PM EST.
Is 2015 the year retailers start seeing operations differently, simply by changing one word?
It’s happened before. Years ago, we used to say “multichannel” when referring to customer touchpoints across many different platforms. The new buzzword is “omnichannel,” which focuses on all customer touchpoints working as one to appeal to digitally-connected consumers. Omnichannel provides a cohesive brand experience that helps create customer loyalty and communication.
For 10 years, STORES Magazine has been making insightful predictions about the retail industry. This year, STORES predicts that leaders in the retail industry will stop saying “ecommerce” and just call everything, in all channels, “commerce.”
Would you see your operations differently if you were to call everything “commerce,” instead of breaking out each channel by where the consumer makes a purchase?
The “e” in “ecommerce” stands for electronic. But retail order fulfillment cannot always be electronic, nor can all customer service be electronic, or your supply chains, or every channel. Ecommerce as we define it today is growing, and while its growth is often a favorite topic in the retail industry, it’s just part of the picture. In the US, $10 out of every $11 is spent by consumers in-store, according to e-Marketer.
Keep in mind that it’s the growth of ecommerce that gets the attention of retail industry leaders. Because of this growth, do you see ecommerce becoming a bigger part of your business and your revenue? You would not be alone in this expectation. Online retail sales in the US will reach $294 billion this year, and by 2018 are projected at $414 billion, according to Forrester Research’s US eCommerce Forecast published last May.
Retailers will plan to focus on ecommerce more and more as its growth – and importance to revenue – continues. What retailers may not be ready for, especially retail marketers, is that a plan to focus on ecommerce is by definition a plan to focus on data quality. Ecommerce is driven by customer communication. Retailers successfully drive sales via email marketing, SMS mobile messaging, and direct mail. Response rates to this communication drive the success of ecommerce by driving sales.
For example, email marketing triggers mobile purchasing more than any other communication method, including social media, app traffic, and paid search, according to a 2014 Custora report. The same report found that over one-third of all visits to ecommerce websites originate from mobile devices. Valid mailing addresses ensure that a customer’s order arrives on-time as expected, which is important when same-day delivery is becoming a bigger and bigger way for retailers to stay competitive.
A customer’s email address, phone number, and postal address lead retailers to a better understanding of that customer. Better communication that leads to loyalty and revenue starts with contact data that is valid and reliable.
All retailers know the value of acquiring and retaining customer data. Keeping that information correct and up-to-date is an ongoing challenge, however. Verifying and correcting customer contact data using a real-time service that is reliable, up-to-date, and authoritative on data quality is essential for retailers to succeed in growing revenue through ecommerce.
To learn more, join Informatica’s Data as a Service and Retail experts Thomas Brence and Donal Dunne in this recorded webinar.
Retail friends – sorry to say it was not a surprise that reinventing the store and making it more digital impacted the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) in London this week. I saw a similar trend at the National Retail Federation Big Show back in January, which I discussed in this blog post.
With that being said, I was not shy finding the fantastic five that thrilled me in the Olympia Hammersmith center hall.
Here they are:
Engaging Spaces: Their booth was making the most noise with interactive touchable wooden walls, which emphasize interaction with sound and lights. No booth was inspiring more people taking pictures than this one. I took the liberty to record this short clip
Engaging Spaces was surrounded by lots of fancy digital signage vendors to display products in-store. Some demos did not work, or did not come with comprehensive product details and are still not personalized.
Panel: Optimizing the supply chain and omnichannel experience are twins. Moderated by Spencer Izard and completed by Craig Sears-Black from Manhattan Associates and Tom Enright from Gartner, showed that the lines between retailers and CPG companies are blurring. Retailers become eTailers and brands act like retailers.
We learned that consumers don’t care where they buy from, but they always expect trust! The experts see co-existence, overlap and changes for partnering between vendors and retailers. Analysts said that retail organizations are still siloed on the internal structure, which prevents omnichannel execution. We expect that a balance of power will take place between brands and retailers.
Orderella: Let the phone do the queuing. This app is perfect for people like me who hate waiting in line for lunch.. The app connects with PayPal, soI was able to order my snack and drink from my phone, and to my table. It was delivered in 1 minute, and I was able to monitor the process within the app. In addition, they also delivered to each both with localizing your phone and offered a 6 bucks voucher for each new deal. Great combination of location, real-time, product and customer data.
Red Ant: The seamless in-store experience. The app sits on top of ecommerce tools like Demandware, hybris, Intershop, Magento, Oxid, Oracle ATG or IBM WebSphere Commerce, which are used by many of our customers tosupport barcode scanning and flexibility in the checkout process. It also supports the in-store assistant to complete the transaction. Red Ant is very easy to use for our eCommerce clients, who already fuel their commerce with perfect product information.
Iconeme: Again for digital in-store experience. The app uses iBeacon to help users see where the product is in the store, share it, view looks (product bundles), a virtual dressing room, and of course, check out payment. Definitely something to take a look at.
On our recent webinar with Omer Minkara from Aberdeen Group , we learnt that“94% of companies are not satisfied with their use of customer data”, yet retailers still want more data to gain valuable customer insights to drive improvements in the shopper experience. But the top challenge they face when managing customer data as part of their business activities is the quality of the data. Data-Driven retailers are characterized by their ability to balance quantity and quality of data effectively.
Shoppers expect consistency in their interactions with you, whether it’s the same price across channels, accurate shipping information or when they are calling a contact center. However, one of the top frustrations for consumers is the need to provide the same information over and over as they interact with the retailer. This data is already captured in multiple systems but is not connected or clean. Fragmented views of customer data across multiple systems makes it harder to personalize shopper interaction and enhance the overall customer experience.
Bring your data management to today’s omni-channel world
By standardizing customer data across the organization and having a centralized repository of product and service information available to all customer facing roles, data- driven retailers have enjoyed increased margins, higher returns on marketing investments, shorter delivery times and improved time to market for products and services.
Data-driven retailers are not just meeting customer expectations, they are exceeding them.
In my next blog I will look at some of the questions we did not get to answer during this session. In the meantime, why not register for our next webinar “Calculating Omni-Channel Customer Experience – March 19 Webinar” with Arkady Kleyner, Solution Architect, Intricity.
Don’t to follow us on twitter @INFARetail.
If you take a company that is already delivering a great customer experience and add time to the equation, what do you get?
For the answer, take a look at this observation from Shoebuy’s SVP of Customer Experience and Retention, Kavita Baball (published in this new article):
“Customer expectations change over time, so even though you may deliver a good experience now, you have to always consider the customer and their changing needs and expectations.”
In all areas of their business, Shoebuy’s MVP is their customers. One more interesting thing about Shoebuy: They offer over 1 million products on their website.
A study reported in Multichannel Merchant magazine analyzed numerous products sold online by retailers. It found that when a new product is added to an ecommerce website, it directly contributes to growth in gross merchandise value. Today, more products (and more unique selections for the customer to choose from) create more revenue overall.
The rules of inventory, selection, price, and placement are bent and broken by changing customer preferences and innovations from the rise of online retailing. It wasn’t so long ago that retailers started creating niche options in their stores and online to appeal to changing consumer preferences. In retail, the unique, personalized, special option is highly valued by consumers today.
Limitless options are available online, so a consumer can find nearly anything he or she wants from a variety of sources. What can retailers do when customers want something unique, just for them, and can get it anywhere?
The only answer is adding value by providing a great customer experience. An amazing thing to note here: Gartner predicts that by 2016, companies in all industries will be competing on customer experience alone.
Until then, retailers should assess how they lose customers over time because of a poor experience. As Shoebuy knows, customer preferences continue to change. What works now may not always be a solid strategy. Fewer than 50% of companies in a Gartner survey said their customer service was exceptional today. If you aren’t putting customers at the center of everything, throughout your business, Gartner’s prediction shows that you are essentially turning away customers. Here are four ways this can happen:
1. Not being able to contact customers. If your contact data is invalid, including email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses, it can be really tough to call yourself customer-centric. Bounced emails, returned packages, and wrong numbers hurt the customer experience. When e-receipts aren’t received, or a customer service call isn’t successfully made, or an order is sent to the wrong address, customers are unlikely to be loyal and come back for what they believe will be the same experience.
2. Not providing a single experience across channels. When customers contact you for service or support in your call center, the representative should be able to pull up a full contact record, including past buying histories and other contextual information that helps make the interaction a success. The same applies to your ecommerce site, in-store at point-of-sale, and any other channel. According to Forrester Research, 42% of customer service representatives said they were not able to resolve customer issues effectively due to disconnected systems across multiple applications with outdated interfaces.
3. Offer no additional value. Part of a great customer experience is adding stand-out services, conveniences, and speed to every interaction. Customization options, online support and knowledge centers, and membership for exclusive perks are just a few ways to help your customers while building your authority in the market. Loyalty memberships are a great way in particular for marketers to use, as they provide great perks to customers while giving retailers insight into who their customers are. Add-ons may be perceived as expensive to provide, but 86% of buyers said that they would pay more for a better customer experience, according to survey results from Harris Interactive.
4. Not increasing investments in your marketing technology. More and more, improving every customer interaction throughout all channels is becoming part of the job description for marketers. According to eMarketer, the top reason marketers said they needed new technology investments was to improve customer service and satisfaction. See more on steps you can take to avoid wasting your marketing budget in 2015 in this blog post.
With a total B2C e-commerce turnover of $567.3bn in 2013, Asia-Pacific was the strongest e-commerce region in the world in 2013, as it surpassed Europe ($482.3bn) and North America ($452.4bn). Online sales in Asia-Pacific expected to have reached $799.2 billion in 2014, due to latest report from the Ecommerce Foundation.
Revenue: China, followed by Japan and Australia
As a matter of fact, China was the second-largest e-commerce market in the world, only behind the US ($419.0 billion), and for 2014 it is estimated that China even surpassed the US ($537.0 billion vs. $456.0 billion). In terms of B2C e-commerce turnover, Japan ($136.7 billion) ranked second, followed by Australia ($35.7 billion), South Korea ($20.2 billion) and India ($10.7 billion).
On average, Asian-Pacific e-shoppers spent $1,268 online in 2013
Ecommerce Europe’s research reveals that 235.7 million consumers in Asia-Pacific purchased goods and services online in 2013. On average, APAC online consumers each spent $1,268 online in 2013. This is slightly lower than the global average of $1,304. At $2,167, Australian e-shopper were the biggest spenders online, followed by the Japanese ($1,808) and China ($1,087).
Mobile: Japan and Australia lead the pack
In the frequency of mobile purchasing Japan shows the highest adoption, followed by Japan. An interesting fact is that 50% of transactions are done at home, 20% at work and 10% on the go.
This blog post was originally featured on Business.com here: Lovenomics: The Price of Love This Valentine’s Day.
After the Blue Cross sales that dominate January, Valentine’s Day offers welcome relief to the high street. Valentine’s Day marks the end of Christmas sales and the first of the year’s seasonal hooks providing retailers with an opportunity to upsell. According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey, American consumers plan to spend a total of $4.8 billion on jewelry and a survey high of nearly $2 billion on clothing this year. However, to successfully capture customers, retailers need to develop an omni-channel strategy designed to sell the right product.
Target the indecisive
For the most part, the majority of Valentine’s Day shoppers will be undecided when they begin their purchasing journey. Based on this assumption, a targeted sales approach at the point of interest (POI) and point of sale (POS) will be increasingly important. Not only do retailers need to track and understand the purchasing decision of every customer as they move between channels, but they also need to have a real-time view of the product lines, pricing and content that the competition is using. Once armed with this information, retailers can concentrate on delivering personalized ads or timely product placements that drive consumers to the checkout as they move across different channels.
Related Article: 11 Cheeky Business Valentine’s Day Cards for the BFF In Your Office
Start with search
Consumers will start their shopping journey with a search engine and will rarely scroll past the first page. So brands need to be prepared by turning Valentine’s Day product lines into searchable content. To capture a greater share of online traffic, retailers should concentrate on making relevant products easy to find by managing meta-information, optimizing media assets with the keywords that consumers are using, deploying rich text and automatically sending products to search engines.
Next generation loyalty
Retailers and restaurants can now integrate loyalty schemes into specialized smartphone apps, or maybe integrate customer communication to automatically deliver personalized ads (e.g., offers for last minute gifts for those who forget). However, to ensure success, brands need to know as much about their customers as consumers know about their products. By being able to monitor customers’ behavior, the information that they are looking at and the channels that they are using to interact with brands, loyalty programs can be used to deliver timely special offers or information at the right moment.
Valentine’s Day represents an opportunity to reinvent the in-store experience. By introducing digital signage for special product promotions, retailers can showcase a wide range of eclectic merchandise to showroom consumers. This could be done by targeting any smartphone consumers (who have allowed geo-located ads on their phones) with a personalized text message when they enter the store. Use this message to direct them to the most relevant areas for Valentine’s Day gifts or present them with a customized offer based on previous buying history.
Related Article: Small Business Marketing Tips for Valentine’s Day
supermarkets have become established as the one-stop shop for lovers in a rush. Last year, Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, revealed that 85 percent of all Valentine’s Day bouquets were bought on the day itself, with three-quarters of all Valentine’s Day chocolates sold on February 14.
To tap into the last-minute attitude of panicked couples searching for a gift, retailers should have a dedicated Valentine’s Day section online and provide timely offers that come with the promise of delivery in time for Valentine’s Day. For example, BCBGMAXAZRIA is using data quality services to ensure its email list is clean and updated, keeping its sender reputation high so that when they need to reach customers during critical times like Valentine’s Day, they have confidence in their data.
Alternatively, retailers can help customers by closely managing local inventory levels to offer same-day click-and-collect initiatives or showing consumers the number of items that are currently in-stock and in-store across all channels.
Valentine’s Day may seem like a minor holiday after Christmas, but for retailers it generates billions of dollars in annual spending and presents a tremendous opportunity to boost their customer base. With these tips, retailers will hopefully be able to sweeten their sales by effectively targeting customers looking for the perfect gift for their special someone.
As Valentine’s Day approaches and retailers & restaurants prepare to sell millions of cards, teddy bears, bottles of champagne and for the lucky few, some expensive jewels, I started to think about my love affair with data and the many ups and downs we had over the years!
Our first date together was arranged by a third party and everything I was told was from their perspective. I had many questions; could I trust data, was I getting the complete picture from the third party, would we be compatible and ultimately “fit for purpose” or would data break my heart!
As we shared information we were both apprehensive, not everything was fitting together, there were gaps in data’s story, and I just could not make an informed decision, this lead to mistrust between the two of us. I stated to ask other friends and associates for their information and tried to reconcile with my view of data. I wanted it to work but what could I do?
A close friend, Stewart, recommended I get some professional advice to help with my issues with data and pointed me towards Doctor Rob, one of the leading authorities on data, specialising in data governance.
The first bit of advice Doctor Rob gave me was; it should never have been about data, the dream must be about your long term goals together, your commitment to get it right, your interactions with others in your circle of friends and dependents.
The second piece of advice was to decide what roles and responsibilities each of us would take on in the relationship. Evaluate if we have the right skills or do we need external support or training to succeed.
While we are still on our journey together data and I are now in a long term committed relationship and look forward to many years on Cloud 9.
Now all I have to decide is will I go to Tiffany’s or Claire’s for that piece of jewellery!
The latest North American B2C e-commerce market report is out now. For my followers I took the freedom to summarize some “Magnificent Seven Facts on B2C eCommerce in North America” in a short blog. The report covers United States, Canada and Mexico, but as well comparisons to Europe and Asia. According to this report, North American B2C e-commerce market is expected to reach $494.0 billion in 2014.
The Magnificent Seven Facts
- 122.5 million households in North America
- 336 million internet users in North America
- North America makes up 29.2% of the total global online sales ($1,552.0bn) in 2013.
- In terms of global B2C e-commerce, North America ranked third in 2013, behind Asia-Pacific and Europe
- North American consumers spent on average$2,116 online in2013. This is significantly above the global average of €1,280.
- With an average spending per e-shopper of $2,216, American consumers spent most online in2013. Canadians ranked second with an average spending of $1,577, while Mexican e-shoppers on average spent $1,133 online in2013.
- Canadians are more likely to shop mobile
Mobile Commerce: Canada Leads the Pack
Within North America, mobile commerce is most popular in Canada, with more than half of the online purchases per week being made through a mobile device. At 38.2%, US Americans still make their mobile purchases in the safe surroundings of their homes.
What are the barriers preventing mobile purchasing?
Free downloads available now
Would you like to find out more about global e-commerce? The free light versions of our Regional/Continental Reports can be downloaded here.
Working with executives in retail, distribution and CPG has always been a passion for me and our team. Our MDM in NYC (February 24) is dedicated the theme of “Driving Value from Business Critical Information” and comes with special break out room from 10.30 am – 5.00 pm focussing on “Omnichannel & Product Information Management”.
Customer speakers include:
- How product information in ecommerce improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products (Triple Award Winner) – Speaker: Mike Plourde, IT Director of Data and Analytics
- Harrods: Improving Customer Experience with Product Information – Speaker: Peter Rush, Head of Governance Planning
Informatica & Management Forum present:
Executive Tour – Retail Innovation in NYC
This time, I am proud to have a special partnership in place which allows you to visit an attractive list of retail stores in Manhattan: The list includes Bloomingdale’s, Target, Glossybox, This is Store, Indochino and much more. Did you know, re-inventing the store, was one of the hot topics at NRF, retailers big show early January.
Business partners of Informatica will get a discount for this Executive Tour and will also get free access to Informatica’s MDM Day. If you are interested in the store-tour using the discount for Informatica, please drop me an email.