+1 916 605 7200          moreinfo@retailpro.com        
 
   +1 916 605 7200              moreinfo@retailpro.com            
REQUEST A DEMO

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

 

rawpixel

 

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.

 

 






Ready for Black Friday? How Retailers are Customer-izing Themselves 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

 

 






Omnichannel Strategies Are a Gift for Retailers

Looks like store traffic is expected to be on the rise this holiday season. Recent studies from AlixPartners, Deloitte and KPMG are predicting in-store sales will rise approximately 4% this year.

Despite some retail store closures this year, only six percent of those surveyed by AlixPartners said that would cause them to reconsider the purchase. Rather, 36 percent of consumers said they’d simply shop competitors.

Retailers can best position themselves to win this holiday by providing customers with integrated omnichannel strategies. However, not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel. Having online ordering, a brick-and-mortar storefront and a social media presence is simply having a multichannel strategy. To have a true omnichannel experience, the retailer must provide the customer with a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each of channels. In particular, millennials want to be able to start shopping at any touchpoint — online, mobile or in-store — and end the transaction at any other point in the sales process.

An example of omnichannel success is U.K.-based Oasis. The retailer’s associates are equipped with tablets to provide immediate answers to customer questions on the sales floor. The handhelds also act as cash registers, and out of stock items can be instantly ordered online for home delivery.

Many retailers have realized the devastating impact poor inventory management can have: Customers are often unwilling to go back to a store that is out of a desired product and that makes no effort to locate it. As a result, retailers have invested in inventory visibility. Analytics along with inventory tracking software takes the pressure off retailers because it eliminates the guessing about how to allocate stock. They can plan more accurately and locate products in other store locations quickly and accurately.

Retailers should take advantage of customers’ desire to holiday shop in person by increasing efforts to drive customers into their stores. Standing apart from the competition is critical. Some will respond by offering exclusive merchandise, others by providing engaging experiences. Knowledgeable and helpful sales associates are always a plus. And there’s also price.

For millennials, the fastest growing shopping segment, price has the greatest influence. Quality, brand, store and availability are important but in the end, price rules, likely because they have the ability instantly to price compare and save on almost anything they buy. Retailers, therefore, need to offer competitive pricing as well as more value than consumers can obtain on Amazon, Google or other large retail outlets. Omnichannel experiences are key to retaining customers and perhaps regaining sales previously lost to online.

 






Dubai Hosts Retail Pro University’s SYSxpo Training

 

IMG_6098

Graduates of the 2017 SYSxpo event in Dubai. 

 

The third stop for this year’s SYSxpo global training tour was Dubai, UAE, where attendees from Retail Pro Business Partners in the Middle East region got an in-depth view of the latest version of Retail Pro Prism.

SYSxpo is a six-day, hands-on training providing technicians with practical knowledge for deploying, supporting, and servicing Retail Pro Prism. The course covers basic installation and troubleshooting as well as Retail Pro Prism’s core features and functionality. Also included are introductions to some of the newest features like the Promotions module, which continues to generate great interest at each of the locations visited so far.

The training was facilitated by Ket Venethongkham, Director of Retail Pro University. “The students attending SYSxpo in Dubai not only had the opportunity to get some very practical hands-on experience, but they also had the opportunity to see Retail Pro Prism working in a large retail environment,” said Venethongkham. “It really reinforces how flexible and robust Retail Pro Prism is when you see firsthand how effectively it is able to handle all aspects of retail store operations.”

 

file7

Students learning about Retail Pro Prism during the SYSxpo event in Dubai

 

Students were also given an inside look at more advanced topics like:

  • Deploying Retail Pro Prism under different configurations, including the cloud
  • Leveraging REST and communications API for Retail Pro Prism plug-in development
  • Customizing the client-side user interface
  • Setting up and using the new Promotions module

Attending the Dubai conference were representatives from almost every business partner in the region including Crystal Mind, Diamond Soft, Inditech Middle East, Insight Consultancy Services, PricePoint, Retail Technology SA, and System Plus. Also in attendance was a new partner from Ghana, Cortex Ghana. Qwikcilver, a development partner for Retail Pro, was also represented.

Al Futtaim, one of Retail Pro International’s largest customers in the region, was one of many customers who attended SYSxpo. Al Futtaim also arranged for a tour of Robinsons, a luxury department store located in Festival City, Dubai. Students had a chance to see Retail Pro Prism in action at this location, which was a recent Retail Pro Prism deployment.

IMG_6103

IMG_6114

IMG_6112

IMG_6101

IMG_6100

IMG_6115

IMG_6125

SYSxpo attendees had the opportunity to view Retail Pro Prism in action at Robinsons.

 

At the end of the six-day SYSxpo class, each participant received two Retail Pro certifications: Retail Pro Prism Systems Engineer (RPPSE) and Retail Pro Prism Applications Expert (RPPAE). Attending one of the five SYSxpo events in 2017 is the only way to obtain Retail Pro Prism certification at this time. The cost of certification is included in the session registration fees.

Additionally, technicians who need to renew their Retail Pro 9 certifications can do so at the event for no additional charge.

After the six-day training, some students stayed on for a 2-day workshop on Retail Pro Decisions, the new multi-source visual analytics module for Retail Pro. Retail Pro Decisions leverages Targit methodology, foundational analytics engine used by over 5,500 companies in 60 countries. This training was led by Danilo Rufino, Market Strategy Manager for Targit. The goal of this workshop was to introduce partners to Retail Pro Decisions and provide best practices for demonstrating and selling the solution.

 

IMG_6163

IMG_6167

Danilo Rufino (seated, right) demonstrates Retail Pro Decisions for students at the 2-day Retail Pro Decisions workshop following SYSxpo in Dubai.

 

The next stop on the global SYSxpo training tour is in sunny California from October 23rd to the 28th. The final session is scheduled for London from November 13th to November 18th.

Additionally, a five-day Retail Pro Decisions certification class will be held from October 17 to October 21 at Retail Pro headquarters in Folsom, California.

To get on the registration list, email training@retailpro.comwith your name, email address, and class location preference. Registration fees vary by class.

 

 






3 Key Trends Driving Retail Innovation

 

As we enter the final quarter of 2017, let’s look at three major factors that will continue to be hot topics for leading retailers in 2018. In a world with increasing retail competition, innovation will be the key to success.

1. Data analytics will be used better to improve customer experience

 
1

Sales information is a treasure trove of information. What’s hot, what’s not and what’s coming can all be derived from a deep dive into data. For example, Amazon will rely heavily on its expertise in data-driven customer service in its grocery business. The online powerhouse fundamentally manages operations differently from traditional retail supermarkets.

Namely, Amazon has always been customer-centric: It ranks products based on popularity, it encourages interactivity with reviews and is responsive to customer input. Most supermarkets focus on the products. Likewise, many retailers in a broad variety of specialties employ sophisticated category management practices but don’t have similar customer management programs.

2. Geolocation-based tools will make offers more relevant

 

2

When retailers know where customers go to most frequently, where they linger – and where they avoid, the shopping experience can be made more intuitive. When the shopping experience is stress-free, customers are more likely to return. For example, $155 billion pharmacy chain CVS uses geolocation tools to target in-store customers with the CVS app with medication reminders and health alerts. Patients are actively encourage to manage their health through the CVS app.

3. Omnichannel synergy will help shoppers get more comfortable with the process

 

3

Mobile sites reflect what is happening at the local brick and mortar location. Customers want a seamless experience. Many shoppers use multiple channels, sometimes starting online and picking up purchases in store, and other times starting in a brick and mortar store but finishing the transaction by paying via a mobile device. Whichever way they choose to shop, the process must be easy and familiar.

To this end, Best Buy has turned around impressively and is today considered a leader in connecting in-store and online experiences. It sees itself as a multichannel retailer, which offers its customers different opportunities to research, browse and buy products that best suit their lifestyles.

 

 

 






IoT Tech Helps Retail Make Customer Connections

The Internet of Things — the network of everyday devices that can be monitored and managed over the Internet – is steadily becoming a part of retail operations. Juniper Research forecasts that merchants will spend $2.5 billion on IoT technologies by 2020. The advantage?  Linking hardware such as RFID tags,beacons and connected consumer electronics — including wearables with software — analytics offers in-depth business insight and a more personalized customer experience.

Connecting with the IoT lets retailers analyze data that can help with inventory selection.

Connecting with the IoT lets retailers analyze data that can help with inventory selection.

IoT can help bring relevant technology directly to the customer. Wireless tablets let sales associates interact more closely with customers, checking inventory for the perfect color, correct size and brand, for instance. Increasingly, more stores are equipping sales staff with wireless tablets that can scan products and perform credit card transactions. More customers can be assisted on the sales floor without going to a front-line cash register. The IoT technology keeps track of pricing and inventory, applies discounts and sales, and items are logged immediately after the transaction is complete.

The IoT benefit doesn’t end after the sale is rung, either. The data gathered from a connected POS system to analyze customer buying trends can help retailers stock smart: According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. retailers lose $224 billion because of excess inventory and $45 billion from not having inventory in stock. A good point-of-sale system can set an alert that informs retailers when a certain item should be reordered. And top-performing systems can tell you the most recent price the retailer paid the supplier, as well as the average price paid previously. Off-hours, a retailer can run reports on inventory activity for the day, week or month. For a holistic view, some POS systems can track inventory from year to year, so comparisons are quick and easily extrapolated.

The various data generated by IoT/POS transactions can provide new, valuable insights about customers, pricing, product sales trends and more. Analyzing each piece and making correlations can prove invaluable to retailers aiming to create lasting relationships with their shoppers.

 






128

Countries

9000

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