Tag Archives: retail
Shoppers want and expect a consistent experience regardless of the sales channel they choice. They also expect an ever increasing assortment of products with detailed descriptions and will go were their needs are met.
39% of US online adults cite that they would consider buying from an online retailer they had never previously purchased from if the retailer offered detailed product information. Forrester
I was recently looking to purchase a new bike and came across the following two descriptions for the same bike at different online retailers;
Retailer 1: “With sturdy 700c wheels the Specialized Crosstrail Disk is where the street meets the trail. With the efficiency of a road bike and the versatility of a mountain bike this is a hybrid that is ready for adventure.
The sturdy but light A1 aluminum frame offers a comfortable, well balanced ride and has lugs ready to take mudguards and/or rack. Bumps on rough tracks are smoothed out by the suspension fork which can also be locked out, for efficiency, on smooth roads.
Hydraulic disk brakes offer efficient reliable performance in all weather conditions giving you the confidence to ride all year round. The triple chain set combined with a 9 speed cassette gives a very wide range of gears so you can take on all terrain; from steep country lanes to fast city streets.”
Further tabs on reviews, technical specs, etc.
Retailer 2: Specialized Crosstrail Disc 2015. Your Price: €690.00 (with redirect to Specialized website)
Which retailer would you contact first?
Deliver trusted, consistent and rich product data were, and when it is needed in the right format.
As your business expands across all sales channels e.g. in-store, kiosk, you may have multiple e-commerce sites, full price, discount and clearance or sales via third party site like Amazon, Facebook, etc. or add a contact center to take telephone orders. Add in, an ever growing assortment and increased number of suppliers, with recent EU legislation on product labeling (no. 1169) adding another dimension for retailers and consumer goods manufactures to adhere to, the task of managing product data becomes very complex and onerous.
Managing thousands of products with multiple attributes in Excel or home grown tools is no longer feasible. And with business users e.g. marketers, merchandizer now making the decision on Product Information Management tools, they are looking for the same ease of use they experience in Excel. But before deciding on or implementing a product information management tool you need ask yourself;
- What does good product information look like for your business?
- What do you want your product information to achieve?
- How does your organization synthesize this information?
- What product data should be highlighted in each channel?
- How are your competitors presenting product data?
- Where is yours currently underperforming?
Once you have answered the above you need some guiding principles for great product data that will ensure your PIM implementation will deliver the benefits you expected. These include;
Think ‘customer experience’ – Product information isn’t a by-product of selling. It’s an essential service, for your customers and for other users of product data. Customer experience pivots around product information
Up to standard – Treat product data with the same care and diligence as the product itself.
It goes without saying that it needs to meet: The category-specific industry standards (like ETIM or Eclass for electronic products or GDSN/GS1 for consumer packaged goods). The legal requirements for compliance (e.g., for organic food or pharmaceuticals)
Customer-centric – Great product information answers every question your customers will ever ask. Don’t forget that this includes internal customers – like shipping or fulfillment – who often need very specific information (e.g., in the U.S., compliance laws for certain products can vary significantly between states).
Join us at Informatica World 2015 to hear from your peers and Informatica experts on how to get the best from your Product Information Management.
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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.
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.
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.
Reinventing the store was one of the key topics at NRF. Over the last three to four years we have been seeing a lot push and invest for ecommerce innovation and replatforming ecommerce strategies. Now the retail, CPG and brand manufacturers are working on a renaissance of the store and show room, driven by digital. And there is still way to go.
Incremental part of the omnichannel strategy of our PIM customer Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply is digital signage for in-store product promotions. This selfie was shot with my dear colleague Thomas Kasemir (VP RnD PIM & Procurement) at the NRF booth of Four Winds Interactive.
Four Winds serves about 5,000 companies worldwide and I would consider them as one of the market leaders. Alison Rank and her team did show case how static product promotions work and how dynamic personalized product promotions can look like, when John Doe enters the store.
John Doe’s Personalized Purchase Journey
John Doe and his wife are out and about in the city; with the advice from his son, John has created a pro-file on Facebook and Foursquare with his new generation smartphone enabling him to receive any special offers in his vicinity. Mr. Doe has voluntarily agreed to share his data for the specific purpose of allowing retailers to call to his attention any special offers in the area. As both of them have interest in visiting the store they respond to the offer.
At the entrance to the store he is advised to start up the special store app and is promised a “personalized shopping” experience. As John Doe enters the store, a friendly greeting appears on his digital signage screen: “Welcome Mr. Doe, the men’s suits are on the 3rd floor and we have the following offers for you.” Upon reaching the 3rd floor, the salesperson is already standing there with the right suit. The suit is one size smaller than usual, but it fits John Doe. After the fitting, the salesperson even points out the new women’s hat collection in the women’s department. Satisfied with their purchases, Mr. and Mrs. Doe leave the store.
For me it is clear assuming that the future of shopping will look something like this, due to the fact that all of these technologies are already available. But what has taken place? The reason why John Doe receives location-based offers has already been explained above; the point that needs to be made is that there is now the ability to link personal and statistical data to customers. By means of the app, the store already knows whom they are dealing with as soon as they enter the store. Or can messaging services be used to send an alert to a shop assistant that a A-Customer with high value shopping carts has just entered the store.
To this point, stores can leverage both personal information as well as location-based information to generate a personal greeting for the customer.
- What did he buy? In which department was he and for how long?
- When did he purchase his last suit(s)?
- What sizes were these?
- Does he have an online profile?
- What does he order online and does he finish the transaction?
All of this analytical data can be stored and retrieved behind the scenes.
Catch Me if I Want
The targeted sales approach at the point of interest (POI) and point of sale (POS) is considered to be increasingly important. This type of communication is becoming dynamic and is taking precedent over traditional forms of advertising.
When entering the store today, customers are for the most part undecided. Based on this assumption, they can be influenced by ads and targeted product placement. Customers are now willing to disclose their location data and personal information provided there is added value for them to do so.
Example from Vapiano Restaurant
A good example is the Vapiano restaurant chain. Vapiano restaurants take an extra step further than the tradi-tional loyalty card by utilizing a special smartphone app where the customer can not only choose the nearest restau-rant along with special offers and menu, but also receive a kind of credit after payment via barcode. After collecting 10 credits, the restaurant guest receives a main course for free on the 11th visit. Sound good? It sure does, and from the company’s perspective this is a win-win situation. These obvious benefits move the customer to disclose his or her eating habits and personal data. The restaurant chain now has access to their birth dates, which is rewarded as well. This data aggregation is definitely recommendable, since it requires the guest’s explicit consent and assumes a certain degree of active participation from the guest to be eligible for the rewards offered by the restaurant.
If John Doe allowed my as brand manufacturer in my showroom or as a retailer to catch him, companies will need to ensure that they are really able to identity John Doe wit this all channel customer profile to come up with a personalized offer on digital signage. But this needs to be covered in an additional blogs…
From marketing automation to analytics software, there were countless technology offerings showcasing how to best assist the modern marketer in making every customer interaction personal. Throughout the week, I had numerous conversations with retail professionals about the importance of personalization in marketing and what it means to their organization’s future plans.
At the heart of their plans was the need to understand the data that they have today, and how to verify the data that they will inevitably acquire in the future. If it’s accurate, if it’s reliable, if it’s complete – customer data can fuel your ability to engage and interact.
The data driven marketer derives insight and ultimately provides a personalized experience by leveraging this valuable data for each customer.
And why is this important?
Well, according to McMurrayTMG, 78% of buyers believe that organizations providing a personalized experience are interested in building good relationships. But it all starts with accurate data.
Knowing who your customers are, how you can contact them, and what they are interested in are essential in order to engage with your customers. With the abundance of data available today, you have to figure that if you aren’t ensuring that your customer interactions are personalized, then your competitors are gaining ground. Every interaction, every correspondence counts towards a positive perception as well as increased sales and customer satisfaction.
By fueling your interactions with Data as a Service (DaaS) for accurate customer data, you will ensure that your customers have a personalized experience with your brand and ultimately accelerate your business.
With CES and the NRF Big Show just over and many exhibitors talking about the “Internet of Things” below I take a quick look at what is happening for retailers with the “Internet of Things”.
Consumer demand is driving the adoption of IoT as they embrace the new technology to improve health (Garmin Vívoactive), energy savings (NEST), safety (BeClose) and a better overall experience including shopping (beacons?). However, getting the balance between privacy, intrusion and relevance can be tricky for both the retailer and shopper.
While shoppers are willing to give up some level of privacy in return for personalization, I am not convinced most are ready of what the “Internet of Things” brings. I recently purchased a smart TV and was surprised when I was asked to accept terms and conditions before using, what are they capturing, how will it be used, will I see any benefits? Retailers need to demonstrate value and trust to the consumer.
While RFID has been around for many years the next wave of intelligent “things” bring both opportunities and challenges. Retailers need to decide which ones truly enhance the shopping experience.
“Psst! It’s Me, the Mannequin. This Would Look Great on You.” (Rachel Abrams, NY Times)
Smart Dummies (mannequins) – Last year House of Fraser started rolling out beacon-enabled mannequins to engage directly with shoppers and passers-by. Shoppers within a 50-metre range will receive information from the mannequins, which may include details about the clothes on display, with links to make a purchase from a website, or details of where the outfit can be found in the store. The next step could link customer preferences, profile and past purchases and suggest matching accessories, check customers size availability or monitor how long they browsed and offer a digital coupon.
Connected Hangers – While you browse through the racks, real-time reviews are displayed on the hanger, size availability or images & videos displayed on screens showing the garment in use. Retailers can capture how popular an item is but never purchased. Taking the clothes and hanger try on could provide personalized recommendation on shoes and accessories.
Personalized Mirrors – I recently read an article in Time (Dec 29th) about Rebecca Minkoff’s new store in Manhattan, where they installed a giant mirrored panel showing images of models walking down the runway. The panel acts as a mirror and touchscreen, where shoppers can order up a personalized fitting room, offering style tips based on their selection. This is connected to a mobile app that saves their browsing history and style preferences for their next visit. When a customer is ready to purchase a sales assistant takes payment on an iPad.
In future blog I will discuss how location based services are machine-to-machine technologies are impacting retailers and consumers.
With so many devices connected and larger volumes of data captured this raises concerns around data privacy and security. In the past year we have seen too many stores on data breaches and retailers. While shoppers are prepared to share more information for relevance they expect you to keep it safe and secure. Retailers must have a solid data governance framework and process in place or risk losing the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Sensor Driven Analytics
The Internet of Things presents retailers with a wonderfully opportunity to understand and engage the customer like never before. However, retailers need to manage the explosion of data available through smarter devices to gain insight into shopper behaviours and preferences and turn into a more rewarding experience for the consumer.
However, before loading an analytics engine they need to ensure the data is clean, connected and safe. Without this any decisions made are flawed and will impact their brand and ultimately the bottom line.
62% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey)
Issues with keeping everyone happy have been around since the beginning of trade and as trading has evolved, the underlying rule remains the same – keep the customers happy! Retailers who move beyond just selling to the customer and focus on creating the shopping experience customers want will see higher retention rates and increased spend per shopper.
Other factors like good quality of the products and competitive pricing play a huge role as well but taking care of the consumer is even more important. At the end of the day, shoppers have more options and opportunities to purchase from your competitors.
While multi-channel commerce has gown, many people are shopping not because they really need the products but because they like the experience of shopping. The better the experience is (which includes an amazing customer service) the more likely it is that the customer will come back and make a purchase in store or online. However, if they run into issues with the retailer, not only will they complain and never come back but they will tell their friends, damaging your brand and hurting the bottom line.
News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. (Help Scout)
Today retailers realize the importance of great customer service and that’s why they train their staff to be friendly and helpful to the customers at all times. Studies have shown that people are reacting very positively to this kind of treatment and not only are they more willing to spend more money but also remain a customer a long a time.
People want to be treated right but they also want to feel important. That’s why retail businesses nowadays go an extra step and use technology and access more data like past purchases, preferences and trends to enhance the customer experience. Even if a customer had a bad experience smart retailers are leveraging customer insights to turn any bad situation around fast. Customer service representatives can responsive to any situation with all the information they need in real time or a highly personalize offer can be delivered to their smartphone.
A 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit. (Bain & Co.)
Retailers also have access to different social channels where they can influence and respond to what their customers are saying about their services and products and can use this instant feedback to make changes quickly and precisely.
In today’s world retail businesses have a great advantage compared to the ones that were operating even 5-10 years ago and if they are prompt in addressing concerns they can minimize the negative affect on their operations very easily. Each satisfied customer is not only going to spend money but they are going to advocate for the retailer which is a very powerful thing in business in the long run.
That’s why today successful retail businesses are turning data into insight to make sure that any problems and concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently, and deliver the experience customers desire.
Reliable shipping is something customers take for granted, and never more so than during the holidays.
Peak season is here, and delivery companies have plans in place to successfully deliver every last package:
- The USPS added delivery on Sunday and Christmas Day this year, after last year’s double-digit rise in package volumes during peak season.
- In December alone, the United Parcel Service (UPS) forecasts it will deliver 585 million packages, an increase of 11% over last year.
- UPS is also investing $175 million for its peak season preparedness plan, and will add 95,000 season workers (which is nearly 10 times the number of Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, employees in 2013).
- According to the National Retail Federation, 44% of consumers will do their shopping on the web, which translates to a lot of deliveries.
For retailers, that means a lot of addresses in your company’s database. This will lead to a copious amount of deliveries.
The big rise in deliveries this year got me thinking: What would the holidays be like if there were no such thing as a postal address?
It’s safe to say, the holidays would be a lot less cheery. With our current reliance on mapping applications, it would be tough to get from home to the new toy store and back. Sadly, a lot of holiday greeting cards would get stamped “return to sender.” And without mapping applications or GPS, it would take a little more effort to get to grandmother’s house this year.
I think the only person who would be successfully delivering any gifts this year would be Santa (since he has his own rooftop-to-rooftop accuracy built in with his magical sleigh.)
Of course, one of the biggest places impacted would be the retail industry. The peak season at the end of the year is the time for retail businesses to make or break their reputations.
With the increased volume of deliverability, what mistakes might occur if all address data suddenly disappeared?
In a season without address data quality, your reputation and company could suffer in a number of ways:
- Faulty addresses mean a weak customer database
- Erroneous shipping means you’ll paying for delivery, returns, and re-delivery
- Loss of customers and hurt reputations during peak sales time
A truly data-centric company treats address data as the foundation for customer information, and this would be more challenging to do without quality address verification.
In a peak season without address verification, I imagine companies would have to turn to alternative means to estimate locations and distances such as the geocoding process from Google Maps, which would leave them at a few disadvantages as delivery trucks navigate the icy roads during wintertime.
Informatica’s Address Validation offers these benefits that Google Maps’ geocoding does not, including:
- Address validation and corrections
- Availability as an on-premise solution for customer security and privacy
- User-friendly experience as a leader in lookup and cleansing for 20+ years
- Exact geocoding for properties (not estimates or approximations)
- Partnership with the Universal Postal Union and all five existing global postal certifications
Approximate locations and uncertified data won’t cut it when customers expect on-time delivery, every time. Along with these benefits that make it invaluable for customer shipping and other postal mail uses, Informatica’s Address Validation sets the standard in 240 countries and territories.
Luckily, we do not live in a world without address quality. It is possible to ensure every last package and parcel makes it to its destination on time, while making it to grandmother’s house on time, sending greeting cards to our whole list, and bringing home lovingly selected gifts from the store to wrap and tuck under the tree.
How do you measure how your company is rating with its customer address quality? You can get started with this ebook from Informatica, “Three Ways to Measure Address Quality.”