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Retailers at NRF agree: tech needs to solve real business challenges and improve the experience

 

At NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show, retail IT leaders shared how they pushed past pitfalls in choosing or creating technologies for the business in a panel on digital transformation.

Scott Emmons of Neiman Marcus testified to greater progress once the Business Ops and IT teams became more intentional about collaboration in the ideation and planning phases.

“We had to break out of that [approach of] sitting around waiting for business to come up with lots of ideas that we couldn’t execute on,” Emmons said.

Cross-departmental communication between the business and IT teams opens the path to creating more efficient and effective solutions to bottlenecks and challenges faced on the sales floor.

Armed with a better internal understanding of needs, retailers can evaluate software solutions to find the best fit, whether an all-in-one solution or best of breed.

Some retailers are looking for a turnkey solution that will enable them to get the job done without much thought and customization.

Others are executing a more complex strategy or have unique business challenges and want best of breed solutions that will enable them to build out their exact strategy.

The ultimate consensus: tech needs to solve real business challenges, and the retail team needs to be clear on the challenges they’re trying to solve.

The more specific your challenge, the more tailored your software must be to meet that need – and the more you need to work closely with your technology partners. Retailers are making technology choices for the long term, choosing technology partners with expertise and flexibility to help them scale.

The Hershey Company’s Brian Kavanagh, senior director of insights driven performance and retail evolution, commented in an NRF session on the importance of tech companies understanding what is unique about each retailer’s brand proposition and how they approach the market.

This conversation made its way back onto the Expo floor, where technology providers, including yours truly, showcased their solutions and met with retailers to hear their needs.

 

 

The Retail Pro executive team

 

 

Retail Pro Prism has a customizable UI to help you show your brand.

 

 

From left: Kevin Connor, Mike Bishop, Ket Venethongkham, Rick Fuentes, Kerry Lemos.

 

Kavanagh reminded audiences of the bottom line for retail technology choices: sales.

“Enhancing the customer experience is important to physical retailers, but more important is converting foot traffic into sales,” he said.

One retail expert pointed out, “Of the 174 million shoppers over the five-day holiday period post-Thanksgiving, the omnichannel shopper spent, on average, $82 more than an online-only shopper and $49 more than an in-store only shopper.”

Findings from NRF’s Consumer View report, discussed in a panel featuring IBM, showed most shoppers (73% for stores, 54% for online) come with purchase intent toward a particular item, rather than just browsing. 58% ranked ease in getting what they need as their top factor for determining where to shop.

 

Source: NRF

 

Levi’s President James ‘JC’ Curleigh spoke to this culmination of technology, experience, and sales in his session at NRF:

Let’s be simple. In a world of difficult decisions picking out your favorite pair of jeans should not be one of them. We need to put you on a simplified course to either keep you in Levi’s or introduce you to Levi’s in a simple way. To deliver that simplicity, we have to take a level of sophistication – in our supply chain, in how we show up in retail, and in productivity solutions so we can continue create that simple frontside of your favorite pair of jeans but delivered in a more sophisticated way than ever before. Simple in the front, sophisticated in the back.

Retailers optimizing their technology to increase shopping convenience across channels are making progress in both customer experience and sales.

 

Experiential retail drives revenue & growth.
Build it with Retail Pro POS.

Learn more >

 






Outgrowing your POS? Go enterprise.

 

 

Jan 14 – 16 | NRF Booth #3375

Don’t limit your options for growth with a POS that’s designed to handle just a handful of SKUs and stores.

Add webstores, brick and mortar stores, kiosks, pop-ups, shop-in-shops, and franchises domestically or abroad – all with Retail Pro POS.

On January 14 – 16, visit the Retail Pro executive team at NRF booth #3375 to see the POS and retail management software that gives you the flexibility you want and the robust capabilities you need to manage your stores more effectively and keep growing.

 

Book Now

 
 


 

Take Control of Inventory

 

For growing retailers, inventory management can be a labor-intensive bottleneck.

Streamline your pricing, promotions, margins, transfers, and operations with deep visibility and control over inventory.

 
Learn more >

 
 

Empower your IT team to optimize

 

 

Test your next strategy with a Retail Pro lab environment so you can launch with zero downtime, and empower your team with detailed training resources on the My Retail Pro portal – both included in your Retail Pro Software Assurance plan.
 

Learn more >

 

Don’t settle for one-size-fits-most

 

 

Tailor your Retail Pro user interface to create the exact workflow that makes sense for your business to increase efficiency and speed.

Infuse every screen, receipt, and product label with your branding.

 
Learn more >

 
 

Whatever your plans for change in 2018, we can help.
 

Talk to us at NRF to see how Retail Pro can help you keep improving your operations to drive revenue and growth.

 

Book Now

 
 






Experiential retail drives revenue and growth. Build it with Retail Pro POS.

 

Visit us at NRF! Jan 14 – 16 | NRF Booth #3375

For many enterprise retailers, 2017 was a year to rethink their strategy, restructure operations, and reinvest their energies into unifying channels. The goal? Creating integrated, memorable experiences that drive repeat sales.

Good products attract customers. Great experiences keep them coming back. And great POS software like Retail Pro gives you robust functionality and flexibility to build out your exact strategy and drive sales.

On January 14 – 16, visit our executive team at NRF booth #3375 to see the POS and retail management software that helps you make retail much more than just a transaction – and let’s build retail experiences together.

 

Book Now

 
 

Deliver consistent customer delight

 
Give customers what they want every time with operational efficiency built on integrated software.

Open APIs for Retail Pro allow you to unify operations across channels by integrating all your retail tools – including ERP, clienteling, loyalty, analytics, RFID, and any other platform you might choose.

Learn more

 
 

Retail everywhere your customers shop

 
With a centralized view of your data, customers, and inventory, and Retail Pro software localized to meet region-specific fiscalization, language, currency, and tax requirements like VAT, you can go everywhere retail is growing — which is everywhere.


 
Whatever your plan for deepening your relationship with customers for 2018, we can help.

Talk to us at NRF to see how Retail Pro can help you build your retail experience and drive revenue and growth.

 

Book Now

 
 






Increase efficiency and create your in-store experience with Retail Pro POS

 

Visit Retail Pro at NRF2018

Jan 14 – 16 | NRF Booth #3375

 

Unified commerce has retailers rethinking their strategy to offer shoppers something they can’t just get online: an experience.

This January, visit us at NRF booth #3375 to see how the latest solution from Retail Pro can help you make retail much more than just a transaction.

 


 

         
 

conquer retail omnichannel

 

Give shoppers a better reason to visit your stores again with irresistible promotions

 

conquer retail omnichannel

 

Capture customer details at the POS to better segment your shoppers and create relevant offers

 
         
 

conquer retail omnichannel

 

Operate your stores more efficiently with workflows tailored to your needs

 

conquer retail omnichannel

 

Minimize lost sales from out-of-stocks with robust replenishment and inventory management

 
         
 

conquer retail omnichannel

 

Scale your business more efficiently with centralized enterprise POS

 

conquer retail omnichannel

 

Enter new markets with tech support that knows regional requirements

 
         

 

Don’t miss this opportunity – book your NRF meeting today to talk to us about your store experience strategy and see how Retail Pro can help.

 

Book Now






Overcoming the data deluge: 3 steps for retailers to cut through the noise and drive success

Overcoming-the-data-deluge

 

 

Retailers of a certain age will be able to cast their minds back to the 1990s, when they didn’t need to look much further than the trusted combo of a ‘POS’ and supply chain management tool. A lot has changed in the decades that have passed since: an ever-increasing amount of functions are running in the back end, so a typical retailer now uses a multitude of systems, including marketing systems, communications, RFID, ECMS, ESS, IMS, ICMS, DSS, WMS and many others. There’s been talk of Big Data across multiple business sectors in recent years, and retail is clearly an area where vast amounts of it have been created.

The growing amount of systems are the cogs that have made the wheels of the omnichannel retail explosion turn; however, for all the benefits they bring, it can prove easier said than done to manage all of them in tandem before you even start thinking about the impact the data generated can have on wider performance.

Put simply, failing to put that data to use means retailers are missing out. As the amount of data has grown, businesses have begun to offer to run analyses for retailers, using data to feed into decision-making, or even predict which American malls might be set to close. Specialist data analyst firms can certainly bring value, but it’s also crucial that as a bare minimum, retailers are on top of their own data, and able to put it to use themselves. Here are three steps retailers can take to ensure they overcome the data deluge:

 

1. Eliminate siloes

The first step is to make sure all the information generated by the various systems they use is fed back into the wider organization. Without this, the data points gathered will only benefit one isolated part of the organization, and will not be able to inform wider analyses.

Not all retail systems will be built with this in mind, so retailers should not just assume that everything will already be interconnected. They could even consider it as a potential selling point of new retail systems that are brought into the business in the future.

 

2. Get a holistic view

Once the data points have been connected, retailers need to ensure they are able to look over them from a top level, so they can see the bigger picture. This means having a system in place that allows them to plug all the data insights into one central pane.

This will put them in a position to make sense of it all, whether that’s for a quarterly update meeting with board members, or a luxury retailer being able to check all channels and locations for a specific item, so that it can be supplied to a high-net-worth customer at the drop of a hat.

 

3. Cast a critical eye

The final and most important step is for retailers to start drawing insight from what the consolidated data points are telling them. This is process turns ‘Big Data’ into ‘Smart Data’. For this to work, retailers must look to use the data to help draw an accurate picture of exactly what has been going on, what’s happening right now, and future trends.

 

 

Driving progress

Having taken these three steps, retailers can cut through the noise and be clear on exactly what the data points are that they have access to, and start to think about what they mean. Most serious retailers already have years’ worth of data to begin this process. Learning can come from customer data and their purchasing history, inventory data, vendor performance and brand preferences which then in turn can be used to feed marketing, clienteling and inventory management decisions. Then retailers can think increasingly smarter about the trends and opportunities that will drive future successes. Then they will be able to manage that knowledge in the longer-term, putting them in a great position to be confident they know what their customers want, and satisfy their needs.

 

 






3 Ways To Get Personalization Right

 

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Today’s shoppers have immediate access to product information at their fingertips.

Competition is plentiful and fierce, so retailers must differentiate themselves to be top-of-mind.

To be that “go-to” store, retailers increasingly must create personalized experiences that appeal to an individual’s desire to be valued and sought-after.

Retailers must leverage the customer data they have — or should have — to create that unique environment.

Intelligence on customer preferences and their interactions must be accessible and actionable; in other words, if you have information, use it. Analyze it.

And interpret it through the prism of providing a top-notch retail experience.

Why? Because it’s profitable.

Customers report that meaningful personalization does increase spending.

Retailers using personalization strategies experience revenue gains of six to 10 percent, a rate two to three times greater than other retailers, Boston Consulting Group research reports.

 

Here are three ways to get personalization right:

 

1.  Create personalized marketing campaign around product usage

Consider how your products or store can help customers achieve their goals.

The data that helps you determine which products customers may be interested in will also help you figure out why they need those items.

That knowledge will help you craft an individual message to every shopper.

Sometimes a group message is appropriate, but most often, the more you treat your customer as an individual with unique needs, the better you can illustrate your brand’s respect for individual customers.

 

2. Use detailed customer data to meaningfully personalize teasers, promotions and discounts

Communicate through data-driven email.

Personalizing messages requires email segmentation, analyzing customer data and creating a 360-degree customer view from a centralized database.

However, although email list segmentation has proven to lead to higher sales rates, half of marketers surveyed by Tune said they are not segmenting their email lists and less than nine percent of marketers said they aggregate their data within a single system of record.

Targeted email marketing is very successful; 47 percent of marketers told Emma’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report that email generates the most ROI for their organizations.

To take full advantage of email’s potential, retailers can send personalized teasers, promotions and discounts to loyal shoppers as well as prospects, in addition to those who’ve abandoned their shopping carts.

 

3. Engage consumers at key moments in their shopping experiences with push notifications

Text notifications can push shoppers through your door.

Research has found that 57 percent of shoppers spent more money at a retailer after receiving a notification.

An even more impressive figure is that 68 percent of consumers reported an impulse buy after receiving a notification.

Sending push notifications effectively helps boost sales by engaging consumers at key moments in their shopping experiences.

 

 






How To Win More Customers This Holiday Season

 

shutterstock_122884453

 

Holiday shoppers will be headed out to the malls and Main Street this year.

They might also be shopping online, but the foot traffic is music to most retailers’ ears.

According to a study by Natural Insight, 87% of shoppers are planning to hit the road and shop. That number is spread out among younger shoppers, age 18 to 29, as well as older ones, age 45 to 59.

Once they’re in the store, the trick is to entice them to become customers.

Smart retailers will analyze customer data to pinpoint areas of differentiation. Providing a relevant, efficient customer experience is the end game. The trick is getting there.

Here are a few ways two big retailers are strategizing to make the most out of the most critical shopping time of the year.

 

Target

Target is striving to reignite its hip style image, while keeping products affordable.

 

Ship to Store

Target is offering its ship-from-store program at an additional 300 stores this holiday season.

The offering gets online orders to customers faster, and brings them into the store — where impulse shopping can drive up the total sale.

 

Reduce returns

Target’s GiftNow relieves some gift-giving anxiety.

A customer selects the GiftNow button when buying an item on Target.com.

The recipient receives the present as a digital gift box and has the option to accept, modify or pick an entirely different item.

In effect, the recipient can exchange the gift before ever receiving it. Less hassle for the recipient and less costly for Target.

 

Understanding demographics

Target has had success attracting families and Latinos with last year’s holiday campaign, but it didn’t connect with either young adults without children or empty nesters.

Some of the exclusive brands it plans to launch, including Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, a partnership with HGTV ties, and JoyLab, an atheleisure line, are geared toward appealing to that market.

 

Toys R Us

Success this holiday season is a life or death proposition for Toys R Us, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

 

Technology

The toy retailer is using augmented reality technology to transform its customer experience.

Customers – in particular, their children – use an app to view AR activities that implant computer-generated images on top of a real-world environment, a la Pokemon Go.

Shoppers are guided by flashing icons and stickers on the floor, and by pointing their mobile devices at shelf sign or floor decal, see a toy or activity come to life on the screen.

Each activity lets the player earn stars; as more stars are earned, more experiences are offered.

The idea is to offer shoppers a compelling customer experience so they  visit a store, rather than shop online.

The goal is to be a shopping destination where fun informs purchasing decisions.

 

Experiential retail

In addition, the retailer will open playrooms at many of its stores, where children can try out toys and demonstrations will be available.

That can go a long way in reversing a mindset of not wanting to shop with the kids who are frustrated at not being able to touch and play with toys on the shelf.

Instead, the strategy encourages bringing children and listening to their feedback.

 

Brick and mortars that understand their shoppers and formulate strategies specifically geared toward them will be best positioned this holiday season.

Those who continue with tired formulas that meet neither the needs nor the expectations of shoppers will lose out to online competitors, as well as to the brick and mortars that are evolving with their customers.

 

 






Mobile Wallets Drive Customer Loyalty

Mobile wallets are a great way to offer customers discounts and promotions as well as to make it easier for them to pay for purchases. Discounts, promotions and efficiency are all factors that drive loyalty. Mobile wallets offer advantages that encourage shoppers to visit often, and retailers that provide their own apps with built-in wallets find that loyalty increases.

Loyalty programs play a large role in mobile wallet adoption for retailers. For years, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have had successful loyalty programs that have helped them to acquire mobile wallet users. Such programs offer drink and food specials, which leave customers feeling valued and appreciated. That, in turn, has helped stores to grow traffic and conversion rates.

Ironically, while mobile wallets are growing in popularity with consumers, some merchants have been slow to adopt near-field communication (NFC) technology, and are underwhelmed by universal mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Still, in the United States alone, there are currently 2.5 million NFC payment terminals, and that number is poised to grow significantly.

Customers are letting their preferences for mobile wallets be known at the register. A 2016 Urban Airship study reported that 67 percent of consumers want loyalty functionality in mobile wallets. By leveraging loyalty programs with mobile payment options, company sales are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 68 percent, according to a report from BI Intelligence.

Universal wallet choices are plentiful, with digital wallet choices including Masterpass, Android Pay, Apple Passbook and Venmo. A new study from MasterCard found that social media users often mentioned that they’d like to store loyalty cards on their wallet and use their phone to pay for transit system fares. Customers want mobile wallets to be multi-functional and flexible. Apple Pay has integrated its solution into a few transit authorities in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Singapore, but availability is still minimal.

Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay support loyalty card integration in their mobile wallets, which could encourage habit formation, but many major retailers, such as Walmart and CVS, are waiting on loyalty or payments integration, hoping instead to boost adoption of their own wallets.

Regardless of whether the mobile wallet is universal or part of a store’s own app, integrated loyalty programs are a critical feature in consumers’ minds. The number of customers using smartphones to pay has steadily risen from six percent in 2014 to 17% in 2017. Furthermore, 44 percent of millennials responded to an AdWeek survey that they prefer using their mobile phones to cash when paying for small items.

Efficiency, coupled with special promos for mobile wallet users will certainly have a positive impact on boosting repeat business. Smart retailers will take seriously the need to implement and promote mobile payment options in order to satisfy customer desires.

 






Two Ways to Keep Shoppers Coming Back

Repeat customers are a valuable commodity. It’s seven times more expensive to find a new customer than to retain one, according to Kissmetrics. In addition, the research has found that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just five to 20 percent.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, it’s the perfect time to re-introduce your brand or store with customers who may not have made a recent purchase. Marketing automation and CRM solutions can generate follow-up emails and trigger behavioral-based campaigns to keep shoppers engaged with your store. And the new holiday shoppers you attract can be made to feel like they, too, are part of a special community well after the initial purchase is made and the holidays are packed up and put away.

Marketing Automation Helps Identify Your Advocates

Returning customers buy more and are more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, but they can also become advocates for your business. They can help you identify and bring in new customers. Marketing automation helps businesses automate repetitive marketing tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. It can help identify brand advocates and nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers.

Nurturing leads is an important part of marketing automation. If a particular customer has shared a few of your blog posts on social media, for example, encourage this behavior by proactively sharing relevant posts with this person.

Retail marketing isn't just about making the sale - it's about winning loyal customers and establishing a brand.

Retail marketing isn’t just about making the sale – it’s about winning loyal customers and establishing a brand.

Never send a generic message. Always personalize content so your audience understands why specifically he or she should visit your store.

CRM Solutions

Compiling information about customer behavior in the aggregate and comparing it with data on individual customers will help discern what products a store should sell and how to market those products. A CRM solution stores every desired piece of customer data, so a business can reach and engage with every customer type. And it’ll help with up-selling, too, a critical part of customer retention.

Upselling should make customers feel as though they are winning – not as if they are simply shelling out more money. CRM marketing streamlines and organizes the process: Through analysis and data mining, businesses can determine the optimal time and method to propose an upsell. Upselling is easier than selling to a customer for the first time and can help a store’s revenue grow faster.

Grow your bottom line efficiently by reaching out to past and repeat customers. Make it clear why you deserve these customers business, and why you offer a better value proposition than competitors. Most importantly, let them know how they’ll profit too, because, after all, everyone wants to be a winner.






3 Expensive Flaws in Inventory Management

Woman examines books in retail store

Got a handle on inventory? If you know how much to sell, when to sell it and who is buying it, you are more than one step ahead of the competition. Larger companies should be automated with solutions such as bar codes and RFID tagging, but too many are not making the investment.

Here are 3 expensive flaws businesses face concerning inventory, and how to address them.

 

1. Bloated inventory

Who knew those lime green sweaters were going to turn out to be duds? Sometimes, it is tough to predict a trend. Have a foundation of the tried a true: Using sales history, you’ll be able to project much of what types of products will sell during any particular season as well as how many units.

For global retailers, it’s imperative for inventories to be consolidated by region or total values. That lets supply chain managers make logical and informed business decisions and keep every store running at peak (and accurate) inventory levels.

 

2. Poor inventory tracking

After you determine what products you need and the quantity, be sure the items are available in your store. Manual counting alone is not reliable, because humans make mistakes. Consider bar coding or using an RFID solution to maintain accurate counts, and cross-referencing with stated levels in your POS. If RFID is not in the immediate budget, implement cycle counting and count a few items in specific locations daily. Then compare the inventory record to the actual count. This is less disruptive than a full inventory count.

Further, retailers are stretching into new regions worldwide, attempting to reduce sourcing costs while exploring new business opportunities. By collecting real-time inventory data across the globe, retailers have the best chance to sell existing material stocks as well as reduce locked-in inventory costs.

 

3. No backup

Even if your inventory is kept electronically, unless you’re backing it up either to a cloud storage service or another offsite facility, when disaster strikes you could lose all of that information. Fire, flooding, theft or even employee vandalism puts you at risk. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and for those that do, only 29% still operate after two years. And those that lost their information technology for nine days or more after a disaster often face bankruptcy within a year. Use a software solution that backs up your data nightly. And it can’t hurt to send a backup copy to your accountant monthly.

See our Best Practices for Disaster Preparedness on the My Retail Pro user portal for more good tips on safeguarding your data.

Do your business a favor: Even the largest global retailer needs to tackle its inventory woes. By understanding your inventory situation better, you’ll be able to sell as quickly as you stock — which eliminates unsightly clearance sections or, conversely, customer frustration when a store is out of stock. By dealing with inventory issues as they occur, retailers not only wind up with a tidier profit, but also with a better customer experience.

 

See how Retail Pro can help you simplify inventory management

 

 






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Countries

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Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

128

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

128

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale