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

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.

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

 

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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.”

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

Retail Pro University Visits Bangkok for Global SYSxpo Training Tour

 

The 2017 SYSxpo Retail Pro Prism training tour continues in September with a week-long workshop at the InterContinental in Bangkok, Thailand. Open to all IT staff servicing Retail Pro Prism, the event was populated by technicians from Retail Pro Business Partner companies supporting Retail Pro users in the Asia Pacific regions.

Led by Retail Pro University Director, Ket Venethongkham, this hands-on training was the second of five events hosted in key metropolitan areas around the world. The third training event is happening this week in Dubai.

“It’s been wonderful getting to know our partner employees one-on-one,” Venethongkham said. “These are the people that work with Retail Pro Prism day-in and day-out and need to get deep into the technical details. I’m glad we can offer a class that caters specifically to them. We’ve had a lot of fun and many great discussions.”

20 technicians from Retail Pro partners throughout the Asia Pacific region attended the event, including RES Malaysia, Insight Consultancy, Adasoft, Genie Technologies, and Changyi Information Technologies, among others.

 

MRP
SYSxpo is designed to equip technicians to operate and support new features in recently released versions of the HTML-based Retail Pro Prism enterprise POS. Students are particularly interested in the live Skype Q & A session with senior Retail Pro Developers located at Retail Pro International headquarters in California.

The class equips technicians working directly with Retail Pro Prism to successfully install and troubleshoot the software. It also covers core features and functionality Retail Pro Prism, including new features like the powerful Promotions module, which continues to generate great interest. Technicians also gain deeper skill in more advanced topics like:

  • Configuration options for Retail Pro Prism deployment
  • How to host Retail Pro Prism in the cloud
  • Retail Pro Prism plug-in development
  • Leveraging the REST and communications API
  • Customizing the client-side user interface
  • How to build complex promotions

 

Prism Class Agenda

 

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“We’re seeing tremendous support for Retail Pro Prism in the field,” Venethongkham said. “The technicians are bringing in their biggest retail challenges and want to take full advantage of what’s possible with Retail Pro Prism. I think they’re very happy with what they’re seeing.”

 

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At the end of the six-day 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.

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. Spots for this workshop are filling up fast. To get on the list, email training@retailpro.com with your name, email address, and class location preference. Registration fees vary by class.

 

Helping victims of Hurricane Harvey

 

Dear friends,

Last weekend Hurricane Harvey made landfall impacting the Texas coast, devastating families and businesses. To date, the cyclone has displaced more than 30,000 people, and inundated hundreds of thousands of homes in the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the US with nearly 6.7 million residents.

Unfortunately, the storm is not over yet. Our hearts go out to the victims, including our valued customers and business partners who have been affected by the storm.

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Flooded downtown is seen from a high rise along Buffalo Bayou after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing widespread flooding, in Houston

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We are working hard to stay in touch with our impacted friends, and support them as we can. If your retail stores or part of your retail infrastructure are located in the areas hit by the storm, we want to help get you up and running again faster by waiving all license reset service fees. Please continue working with your authorized Retail Pro Business Partner on data backup and recovery as our entire tech community is committed to helping your business get back to retailing.

In this time of need, there are other ways we are helping, and you can make a difference in helping those impacted by Harvey. One of the most valuable – join ranks with generous blood donors. Retail Pro International offices will host a #RetailBloodDrive at our headquarters but all of you in faraway places can help too. Those interested in donating blood for the #RetailBloodDrive may contact the following organizations to find a local blood drive and to schedule an appointment. 30 Minutes of your time will quite literally save lives.

Find a local center and schedule an appointment now:

If you cannot donate because of health concerns or strong preferences, you can still support the communities hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Here are some organizations to keep in mind:

We are keeping all affected by the disaster in our thoughts and hope that more people from the retail community will join the ranks of supporters of Harvey victims.
 

Our help is needed now.

Kerry Lemos, CEO

 

 

Effects of Omnichannel Promotions on Retail Profitability

 

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Amazon is saturating the market with new ways to keep customers shopping with them. The recently passed shopping holiday, Amazon Prime Day, garnered record sales numbers, surpassing Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Results like these are causing brick and mortar retailers to think more strategically on how they compete against Amazon and other online-only sellers.

Many retailers are looking to omnichannel selling as the next differentiator. Retailers like Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Home Depot regularly leverage promotions and coupons to encourage in-store-only customers to shop their website and vice versa.

Harvard Business Review, in an article on making the most of omnichannel retailing, discussed research from a Temple University team to gauge profitability of omnichannel promotions, with special emphasis on one particular variable influencing customers’ decision to shop in-store or online: proximity to the nearest store.

The researchers randomly selected 56,000 members of a Chinese department store’s loyalty program and sent targeted coupons based on their shopping history:

  • Coupons redeemable in-store only
  • Coupons redeemable online only
  • Coupons redeemable in either channel

The control group was sent no coupons.

For a week, the researchers monitored the targeted group’s purchases and their effects on the retail chain’s profits, net of coupon costs, etc., segmenting customers based on their distance from a physical store location.

Shoppers who live within 5km of a store were found to be insignificantly impacted in their shopping behavior by coupons.

For shoppers who live further from stores and who had previously only shopped online, profits doubled with the in-store-only coupon, and increased 800% with the omnichannel coupon.
Profits fell by 51% from commuting shoppers who previously purchased only in-store but were given coupons redeemable online only.

The study concluded that omnichannel promotions are more profitable when drawing online-only shoppers to stores, where environmental influences like impulse buys and the ability to try on and experience goods like apparel, makeup, and shoes increase purchase likelihood. Comparing prices, too, is more tedious in stores than online, so shoppers are more likely to purchase what’s in front of them in the aisle.

Another effective strategy for using coupons to bring shoppers in-store, as seen at Walmart and other retailers, is offering free shipping for in-store pickup options rather than home delivery.

“If customers come to your [physical] stores regularly, you should not encourage them to shop online,” said Xueming Luo, marketing professor at Temple University who led the research team.
In light of retail commentators recommending store closures to deal with lost profitability against ecommerce, this research brings surprising good news to retailers looking for ways to optimize their omnichannel retail strategy. Retailers recognize a key factor that observers overlook: it assumes sales from a closed store will become online sales – but those sales are in fact extremely difficult to win back.

Luo point out marketplace evidence reinforcing advantages of physical retail for an omnichannel strategy: formerly online-only retailers (Amazon included) are investing in brick and mortar locations. “Online shopping is very goal-oriented and transactional,” Luo says. “Traditional retailers’ strength is the in-store shopping experience, and they need to play that up.”

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Going omnichannel?

See how you can unify your data and retail technologies with Retail Pro to get a 360 degree view of your business and build your omnichannel tech strategy today.

Learn More