NRF 2017: In-Store Personalization and Better Store Fulfillment

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In-store personalization has been slow in coming, but at this year’s NRF Big Show, vendors showcased technology that indicated the tide may be turning. And why not? Retailers are well aware that the ability to create a personalized experience for every customer could methodically lead shoppers to the point of purchase.

However, while retailers have embraced personalization techniques online, that success has not provided the impetus for similar in-store implementations. The benefits personalization offers e-commerce are known and envied by their brick and mortar counterparts. But there are myriad types of personalization – navigational and predictive, for example. Personalization can be based on third-party data, database segmentation, past purchase history, location and more. It’s complicated to start on the path to personalized selling and it doesn’t get easier.

That may change shortly, as the costs of the technology have decreased, third-party integrators are more fluent with the necessary equipment and software, and the benefits are becoming more evident. Shoppers, too, expect a unified commerce, tech-driven experience in which in-store mirrors online, and vice versa. Vendors are more motivated than ever to provide retailers with tools that will help them reflect the online experience inside a physical store. In addition, increasingly, those tools are easier to use and to integrate with existing systems.

One of the big challenges for retailers is determining how to make in-store personalization attractive to shoppers; some customers see the technology as overly intrusive. In its second annual “Creepy or Cool’ survey, RichRelevance found customers embraced personalization when it suited their needs.

“For the second year in the row, the study finds that shoppers think it is cool to get digital help finding relevant products and information – on their own terms when they choose to engage,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “However, they are creeped out by digital capabilities that identify and track without a clear value offered in return.”

However, it’s difficult for retailers to understand exactly what shoppers’ expectations are at any given time because they are shifting and evolving. To address that, part of the focus of this year’s NRF was the underscoring of the need for retailers to get back to basics and to develop scalable, repeatable and reliable processes that support their enterprise order management capabilities. A solid foundation built on those principles is likely to be more responsive to constantly changing – and expanding – shopper expectations.

Much of the ordering technology that is currently available to retailers is focused on the flow of product from one channel to the next. Understanding and pleasing the customer, unfortunately, has until now been simply the result of having solid ordering technology. The customer experience is largely an afterthought.

Many of the vendors at NRF believe that consideration of customer satisfaction and their preferences will move to the forefront this year. While order systems must be accurate and efficient as well as cost-effective, those characteristics are no longer a differentiator in retail. Instead, they are a requirement. What will distinguish the great retailers are those that can receive orders and provide internal inventory visibility across all sales channels as well as track customer satisfaction with store fulfillment.

Although efficiency and process are obviously important to retailers, personalization offers the potential of increased sales as well as customer loyalty. People enjoy patronizing businesses that know their tastes and provide that personal touch. In addition, retailers can further improve the customer experience by providing insight into inventory and delivery, which in turn helps the customer feel empowered. As retailers continue to blend the right mix of product, service and ordering flexibility, they encourage a sense of empowerment that enhances the customer experience.

How to Build Your Tech Strategy

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Technology empowers efficiency in your retail operations, so building a solid tech strategy is critical to effective execution.

See how Earthbound Trading Co is increasing operational efficiency by building their tech strategy with Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize your retail tech strategy.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

 

How to Unify Commerce

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Last week we invited you to meet with us at NRF to discover optimized retail with Retail Pro.

Let’s count down the final weeks before NRF with tips on HOW to optimize your retail operations, in step with market trends and proven strategies of retailers using Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize and unify your commerce profitably.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

Battery Life Important for mPOS Success at Holiday Time

 

Personalize every shopper experience with Retail Pro Prism

Mobile POS systems are becoming increasingly important to many retailers.

With the Christmas season just about officially starting, retailers are readying the last few tools needed to make point of sale transactions as efficient as possible. One area in need of improvement is the battery life of mobile POS devices.

Often used for “linebusting,” mPOS is a great way to ensure customers have a smooth, expedited checkout experience. It’s also a terrific means of engagement with customers on the sales floor. Many retailers have transformed the customer experience by integrating mPOS into the checkout.

But the batteries used in the tablet devices are notorious for having short lives.

Retailers with extended sale hours, for example, would need to have mobile battery packs on hand to keep devices functioning, even if it they were fully charged when doors opened. Few things are more frustrating than missing out on sales because there is no way to authorize transactions.

Larger retailers and those handling greater numbers of transactions – holiday rush, anyone? — are seeking longer battery life to reduce the need to recharge. That way, store staff can transact sales continuously for an entire shift, reducing overall recharging requirements as well as the number of devices retailers need to keep on hand.

Overall, battery life in consumer electronics is constantly being upgraded. Today, for example, laptop battery life is roughly two and a half times longer than it was in 2012. So it’s logical to assume that mPOS battery life will ultimately improve as well.

To that end, manufacturers are debuting new products that have batteries that can be swapped out easily for rapid replacement, along with docking stations that can be used to simultaneously charge not only mPOS devices but also the accompanying mobile or tablet devices.

Other improvements are on the horizon as well: Often, mass market devices are not durable enough to withstand the hazards of the sales floor. Spills and drops leave many merchants with broken devices, and software or connectivity malfunctions are sources of further frustration. Many retail merchants are therefore migrating from popular commercial hardware to more purpose-built retail solutions. Ruggedized solutions (from Panasonic, for example) are becoming popular also.

Implementing tools that can reduce line time and improve the customers’ interaction with sales associates is, of course, a move in a positive direction. Retailers need to be aware of potential pitfalls brought on by poor battery life and be ready to quickly circumvent any problems that arise.

Ironically, new technology that fails can irritate customers more than the previous “old system.” So, until improved battery life is commonly available on mPOS devices, make sure your equipment is fully charged, and you have spare battery packs or devices on hand.

Retail Pro Prism Applications Expert (RPPAE) Course Now Available

 

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RPPAE Retail Pro International is pleased the announce the availability of the new Retail Pro Prism® Applications Expert core product knowledge course!

Learn everything you need to know about Retail Pro Prism (v1.4.0.172) features and functionality – from handling sales transactions and returns to setting up promotions and touch menus!

 

What You’ll Learn

 

System Overview

 

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How to access Retail Pro Prism and get it ready for use. You will learn how to:

  • Access Retail Pro Prism
  • Setup default store, price and tax
  • Switch between different Retail Pro Prism Themes, Layouts and Views
  • Customize the various data grids and search screens found throughout Retail Pro Prism

 

Employee Management

 

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How to use employee and security-related features in Retail Pro Prism to:

  • Establish Retail Pro Prism-specific security permissions
  • Override another user’s security restriction
  • Automatically logout a user completing a transaction
  • Force users to select associates involved in a sales transaction
  • Check-in/Check-out

 

Point-of-Sale

 

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Point of Sale Basics

How to use basic features and functions of the Retail Pro Prism Point-of-Sale module to:

  • Lookup/list items on a transaction
  • Handle a sales transaction
  • Check stock levels
  • Manage customer accounts
  • Give discounts at Point-of-Sale
  • Determine what tender types are available for use at Point-of-Sale
  • Hold a transaction
  • Handle pending transactions due to an unexpected disruption
  • Discreetly capture information at Point-of-Sale using POS Flags
  • Charge a fee for the sale of services
  • Track shipping and handling charges
  • Capture miscellaneous information that cannot be overwritten by future inventory changes
  • Track employee commissions
  • Track Salesperson Incentive Fees (SPIFs)
  • Capture Serial Numbers
  • Capture Lot Numbers
  • Sell and Break Kit items
  • Sell Package items
  • Sell Non-Inventory items
  • Plan the future sale of merchandise
  • Process the sale of an item at one store and fulfill the transaction at another store
  • Handle merchandise returns and exchanges
  • Track certain non-sales-related activities that impact funds in the register

 

Advanced Point of Sale Features

How to use more advanced features and functions of the Prism Point-of-Sale module to:

  • Establish different sets of prices for different stores and customers
  • Track taxes using the different tax methods (plus Detax and Tax Rebates)
  • Use a Centrals Server to centrally lookup customers, handle merchandise returns and manage gift card/store credit payments
  • Browse inventory to check stock levels, prices and price tags
  • List items on a transaction by selecting or “touching” a button
  • Setup promotions
  • Email a receipt to the customer

 

X/Z-Out Reports

 

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How to use X-Out and Z-Out reports to:

  • Check on sales activity throughout the day
  • Reconcile the register

 

Purchasing & Receiving

 

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How to use Purchasing- and Receiving-related features in Retail Pro Prism to:

  • Order merchandise for the store
  • Handle the ordering of cases (case-packs)
  • Handle trade discounts when ordering merchandise
  • Receive merchandise into the store
  • Determine how cost is assigned to inventory
  • Incorporate additional costs and discounts into the costs of goods received (and sold)

 

Physical Inventory & Transfers

 

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How to go through the Physical Inventory process and use transfer-related features in Retail Pro Prism. You will learn how to:

  • Conduct with a physical inventory or cycle count
  • Transfer merchandise out of the store

 

 

Considering Retail Pro Prism or using it now?

Find out how you can leverage the features and functions in your Retail Pro Prism that are critical for modern retail – with training from Retail Pro University!

 

Get more from RP-25

 

 

 

 

 

Retailers Try Virtual Reality On for Size

 

Virtual reality is the latest retail innovation.

Virtual reality is the latest retail innovation.

 
Used to be, virtual reality was technology reserved for gamers. Today,  as stores search continually for innovative solutions to help them best the competition, VR is taking hold in retail environments. In fact, some see it as the future of retail: Data from CCS Insight notes that roughly 2.5 million virtual and augmented reality devices were sold in 2015, with that number soaring to more than 24 million device sales in 2018. The CCS Insight analysts estimate that more than 12 million virtual reality headsets alone will be sold in 2017.

Virtual reality offers a way to let consumers go for a test drive in markets they never could before. For example, Lowe’s is using the technology to create an immersive, contextual experience that bridges the digital world with the physical one. The massive home improvement chain branded its solution the Holoroom: “a digital power tool for kitchen and bath design.”

The Holoroom debuted last November and is aimed at helping customers take the guesswork out of their home projects. Using the Lowe’s Holoroom app, renovators can design kitchens or bathrooms using products sold by the retailer. When they designs are finished, they are turned into YouTube360 videos for customers to enjoy and share. So far, the VR technology, including Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, has rolled out at only a handful of stores. That tech is at two ends of the spectrum: Google Cardboard is a VR platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone (a VR for everyone concept), while Oculus Rift uses state of the art displays and optics designed specifically for VR.

Either way, the role VR will play in retail will likely be transformative. Said Ben Wood, CCS Insight’s Chief of Research: “Most consumers find virtual reality a mind-blowing experience the first time they try it. We believe it has tremendous potential and it’s not just about expensive high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift. For only a few dollars, consumers can dip their toe in the water with an inexpensive cardboard holder for a compatible smartphone. We expect this democratization of the technology to deliver growth not just in affluent mature markets but also in emerging markets where smartphone penetration is stronger than ever.”

As for the Lowe’s customer, it’s fun and also practical. VR provides an easy way to understand and edit each of the components of an interior design. Design can be overwhelming and difficult to visualize a final product, VR can bring it into sharper focus for many.

Retailers should also find benefits beyond customer satisfaction. In the Lowes example, every product selected by the VR-enable customer can be purchased at the store. That makes for easy add-on product selling, which adds up to a high-value shopping cart. In addition, the software should help speed up design times and reduce returns. After all, customers who are not blessed with a sharp “mind’s eye” will be able to get a pretty accurate idea of how their designs will look.

Omnichannel panel: retailers discuss their take on building omnichannel

At our 2016 Retail Pro Americas Summit, we asked retailers building their omnichannel strategy with Retail Pro why they’re doing it, what it takes to make it happen, and where they are in implementing their strategy. Here’s what they said.

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Allow us to introduce…

 

Our retail panelists. See their bios way below!

Omnichannel panel guest speakers. See their bios below.

    

 
 
 

What’s inside:

 

Going Omnichannel
Supply chain integration at Earthbound Trading Co.
Balancing D2C and wholesale at Burton Snowboards
Decreasing the cost of endless aisle at Mexicali Blues
Is omnichannel the end of brick and mortar retail?
Omnichannel generation: millennials’ habits impact retail strategies
Future directions for building omnichannel

 
 
 

    

 

Going omnichannel

 

Dan Jablons Our panel today is about omnichannel. Topher, you’ve done a lot of omnichannel work already, and Eric and Marcelo are starting to work out their omnichannel strategies for Burton Snowboards and Earthbound Trading Company, respectively.

Topher, you’ve done the most omnichannel work out of anyone in the room, apparently. What made you say, “You know what? We have to attack this thing. We have to go after it”?

 

Topher Mallory We thought about where we saw the largest opportunity and that was online. There’s a lot of overlap with the product lines but as far as the business goes, we’ve only got 6 stores plus our online store, and our warehouses are 2000 square feet.

We wanted to leverage our in-store inventory like we showed in the video and the biggest things was data architecture. That’s where UniteU came in.

The biggest challenge was really finding someone who would listen to somebody small like we are, see the opportunity we saw, and  create a data architecture that could go both ways.

Obviously the big picture of Omni is endless aisle and different channels that might not even be in the marketplace yet. Today, it is taking that store inventory and leveraging it to make our online offering larger.

 

 

We thought about where we saw the largest opportunity and that was online.

Topher Mallory

 

 

Check out their video here:

 

See how Mexicali Blues implemented omnichannel in their stores

Topher Mallory of Mexicali Blues shares how he built his omnichannel strategy

 

 

Dan So for you, there was an online opportunity but it was also about leveraging existing inventories and getting better sales.

 

Topher Exactly. Then we started to see that we needed more transparency in the supply chain and all that’s how we came to all those challenges we’re dealing with today.

 

Dan Eric, what drove your decision to go after omnichannel?

 

Eric Bergstrom Actually, something quite similar. We have a real strong online business. We have 13 stores in the US. About this time every year, we sell out of products online but these same products are still sitting in stores. Our objective is to make that store inventory available on the web so that a customer can find it. That way we would really leverage the inventory and sell it.

 

Marcelo Fleitas We have 136 stores nationwide and we’re trying to accomplish something similar to Mexicali Blues. The customers of today’s world require a lot of maintenance. They request a lot of information so we need to provide it.

That’s what Earthbound is trying to do.

We’re trying to provide information from our vendors to the store for a particular item and create an experience for our customers through mobility. We have a segmented customer profile and tools to understand what the customer wants, and we deliver that.

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Supply chain integration at Earthbound Trading Co.

 

Earthbound Trading Company is a lifestyle shop for the nomadic spirit who embraces individuality and craves exploration.

Earthbound Trading Company is a lifestyle shop for the nomadic spirit who embraces individuality and craves exploration.

I was amazed at how Retail Pro Prism® works, because the platform is exactly what we need. The last piece of the puzzle is to feed that information to Retail Pro® and because it’s based on APIs, everything can be integrated.

Marcelo Fleitas

 

Dan One of the things that I was told about the tools you’re using, Marcelo, is that you actually have been integrating various departments together. Overseas vendors and employer systems interact and talk to each other.

 

Marcelo That’s right. One of the biggest challenges that we have at Earthbound is collaboration. We have venders overseas and we deal with big vendors, small vendors, and various departments like accounting and the photographers who take inventory pictures for the online store.

We really had to create a collaboration tool, but not only that – we needed to create a flow between them.

For instance, in order to bring something from overseas, you have to follow a lot of customs codes and we need to make sure we capture product history for things we bring from China, from Brazil. We can’t lose that information.

So we created a portal where vendors can actually talk to us directly. All our internal departments can interact within the system, and the system enforces proper flow.

 

Dan I’ve got to believe that also helps you in terms of gaining more product knowledge, which helps you get more sales too.

 

Marcelo Exactly. I was amazed at how Retail Pro Prism® works, because the platform is exactly what we need. The last piece of the puzzle is to feed that information to Retail Pro® and because it’s based on APIs, everything can be integrated. I’m very happy that that’s the direction for Prism.

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Balancing D2C and wholesale at Burton Snowboards

 

In '77, Jake Burton invented the Backhill - a narrow board with single strap bindings and a rope and handle attached to the nose. Life on shred begins.

In ’77, Jake Burton invented the Backhill – a narrow board with single strap bindings and a rope and handle attached to the nose. Life on shred begins.

 

Dan Eric, let me ask you a question. Burton has 13 stores but you also sell through dealerships. So now you have a situation that a lot of independent retailers get a little bit worried: Burton is going direct, and some retailers are panicking like, “That’s the end of the world. It’s over.” But there’s a lot of business to be made. So how have you had to balance the direct versus channel sales?

 

Eric Our primary business at Burton Snowboards in wholesaling to dealers across the globe. I have 13 stores and 1000 dealers or more. We are real careful about where we put stores. We want to put our stores where we see an opportunity to expose the brand but not step on our dealers’ toes. And then we look for other ways to try to incorporate our dealers into the exercise that we’re going through.

For example, we have a tool that we titled Send It, which allows our stores to drop-ship or custom order any product and ship it directly to the customer’s house.

We’ve opened that up to our retailers to allow them to do the same thing. They have access to all the Burton inventory, which they would have anyway because they can always reorder the product, but it’s a tool that allows them to do the same thing, use their own POS system, and ship directly.

So they’re getting the sale and they’re really in the sense just buying the one item, but it doesn’t ship to the store. It ships directly to the customer.

This functionality is something that we’ve offered out to retailers.

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Decreasing the cost of endless aisle at Mexicali Blues

 

A love of music, a passion for travel, and a mindful devotion to fun. That’s all it took to launch Mexicali Blues back in 1988.

A love of music, a passion for travel, and a mindful devotion to fun. That’s all it took to launch Mexicali Blues back in 1988.

 

Dan This leads into my next question, Topher, for you. You and I had a chance to talk about the concept of the endless aisle earlier a little bit.

People talk a lot about the endless aisle. I don’t think anyone knows what it really means. And you’ve mentioned to me before that the definition of endless aisle is still in motion and changing, so how do you see endless aisle right now?

 

Topher We did this in small, bite-sized pieces. I think it speaks to Retail Pro’s direction as to how they’re letting omnichannel unfold a little bit. We saw this ability to leverage the inventory, and we saw an increase in 50% of our orders. We were doing this all manually behind the scenes. UniteU created the architecture but we had all this in the POS and we said, “Ok, we’ll just figure this out.”

There was one employee, a woman named Lauren, whom you saw in the video. All she did was take an excel spreadsheet, dump all this data from UniteU and all our inventory data from Retail Pro. She would look for like, Monday, December 5th and then see how many of the 300 online orders have some item from the stores.

That was nuts but we saw a huge increase in number of orders and the number of items picked. We came back to UniteU after the holiday and said, “Here are all the variables,” which was great, because we could really define what online endless aisle meant.

We want to control this. We don’t want a truly endless aisle if it is going to be an unprofitable order. If they’re unprofitable, then these are the variables we should consider.

We needed a set that we could tweak by the minute, if it was needed. We needed to be able to turn store inventories on and off if there was a scheduling issue or delivery problem. We had 5 or 6 of those and we have a workflow where you can actually change those logistics.

So now we’re looking at what I need in stores and trying to think about the same thing – if we want it to be endless aisle, if we want to sell to zero. The first challenge was just seeing Lauren do all that work and saying, “Hey, this is great – we have increased revenue.” But we’ve also diminished what we’re making on every order and every product if we’re touching them 1000 times. How do we prevent that?

The first thing was an algorithm. That worked out very well and now we’re doing a lot of circling back with analytics go from that end.

We’re also working on transparency with vendors so that we can get these things in our warehouse. We’re going to roll it out in the store first with the idea of Ship-to-Store.

Then hopefully we’ll get some kind of mobile device that’s more functional. Right now we have this algorithm on an OS-based device that uses FoundryLogic technology so that when we get the order, we see what is needed for the order that’s in-store. We can see all that transparently on the UniteU level but the next step would be to take that FoundryLogic reference to UniteU or Retail Pro on some kind of mobile device.

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Is omnichannel the end of brick and mortar retail?

 

Photo courtesy of Forbes

Photo courtesy of Forbes

 

People were very scared of brick and mortar stores dying but it all changed. It didn’t happen. We evolved.

Marcelo Fleitas

 

Dan There’s a lot of concern amongst the brick and mortar retailers about omnichannel. I’m often asked if there’s ever going to be an end to the world of brick and mortar and I think it’s an important question. What do you see omnichannel doing? Do you see it advancing or taking away from brick and mortar?

 

Marcelo Several years ago, people were talking about that. At the beginning of the summit today, Kerry Lemos mentioned that too. People were very scared of brick and mortar stores dying but it all changed. It didn’t happen.

We evolved.

We grew our communications and we’re using mobility to improve our brick and mortar. I don’t think brick and mortar will become extinct, and I think all of us are on the right track. We are improving our channels, improving our communications, using the devices, using social media to enhance our experience in-store. You guys are doing a fantastic job on doing exactly that and I’m happy that this is going to continue to happen. This is not the end of the brick and mortar store.

 

Omnichannel is the revival of brick and mortar.

Topher Mallory

 

Topher I want to add to that and say I think it’s the revival of the brick and mortar. For us, we’re enhancing a lot of the inventory-driven processes but we’re also doing the same thing with our customers.

We’re doing segmentation, which is key.

You can get your customer data and see who’s researching online but not converting there. If they come in the store, I have data about their buying history. So maybe I can bring some consumer confidence and have them looking across platforms, or maybe they’re just forever going to research online and come in-store to buy tangibly. They can try the product on and have that added value of the experience with one of our associates.

 

Eric It’s real similar for us. Step one working to leverage the inventory. We’re adding a customer focus as well.

 

Dan And Burton, specifically in terms of profiling, is looking for ways to segment the list based on the channel they came from, right? Is that part of your strategy?

 

Eric Yes. Today we already pull in our Retail Pro data from the stores and our e-commerce data, our customer data, our transaction history. We tie it all together in a giant database and then access that to segment customers when we send marketing emails and such. But it gets stuck there quite often so we need to get it beyond that. We need to have access to that data at the store level so we can open it on a dashboard and know what you’ve bought from us online or in the store

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Omnichannel generation: millennials’ habits impact  retail strategies

 

Photo courtesy of nanigans.com

Photo courtesy of nanigans.com

This is bigger than just millennials. In today’s retail environment you need to be available to every customer however they want to shop. Millennial or not, you just have to let the customer choose. 

Eric Bergstrom

 

Dan It’s important to you to understand where those guys are coming from. There’s also a lot of talk about capturing the millennials. Is that a concern for you in terms of how to market to millennials?

 

Marcelo We have the data for it now and without that, we’re going to be behind. I think that’s a trend. I see it over and over again. We’ve adapted to this new generation of people who use smartphones. The average adult uses their device 150 times; millennials use it 1000 times a day for various things. That’s exactly the type of crowd that we need to start marketing to.

 

Dan Eric, are the millennials a key target for Burton?

 

Eric Yes, in that that age group is a big part of our key market demographically. But this is bigger than just millennials. In today’s retail environment you need to be available to every customer however they want to shop. Millennial or not, all of these options of Buy Online, Pickup In Store, etc., you just have to be available and let the customer choose.

 

Dan Topher, what’s your take on this? How are you marketing to millennials?

 

Topher With a message that’s catered to them. Hopefully. I feel like we’re trying our hardest to! And we’re trying to take the platforms they interact on and bridge them into our in-store experiences.

With non-millennials, similar to Marcelo, we communicate the story of product origins. We use words like responsibility, transparency.

We talk about how companies are producing items. Like knowing that process for this tie-dye that I’m wearing, for example. The company uses dental floss, of all things, to get this type of crazy design. There’s a video with this on our responsively designed mobile site, so they can bring up that video for a customer on the same mobile device the FoundryLogic is working on.

 

Dan So there are all these different channels and the key through it seems to be being able to collect data out of these channels, analyze it, leverage the inventory so you can get the most out of it, but also give your customer the option to pick this up here, there, or anywhere. They can find you and transact with you. Marcelo, where are you in all this omnichannel business?

 

Marcelo We have a team developing this right now. We’re hoping that in about 2 months we’ll be fully developed in that area.

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Future directions for building omnichannel 

 

See the strategy and future behind the Retail Pro retail management platform

See the strategy and future behind the Retail Pro retail management platform

 

Dan Topher, you’ve got omnichannel in place. What’s next for you now in the next 12 months? What’s the next evolution for Mexicali Blues to drive excitement for the customer?

 

Topher Pushing it the other way. It’s the endless aisle component in the stores but really trying to define the experience. Retailers are trying to solve the inventory problem with an experience – you come in store we’ll wine and dine you all you want. Well, all our customers are coming to us saying, “No, I want that in red, and I wanted it yesterday.” So our goal is to figure out how to meld those things together.

 

Dan Eric, you’re starting on omnichannel. What challenges are you running into right now and how are you going to overcome those?

 

Eric It starts with coming to this conference! My first step is going to be migration to the Retail Pro 9, and we’re going to get that done by June.

At the same time, we’re working on the first omnichannel step from there, which is test for getting store inventory available online. We want to do that by the fall. We’ll probably only make a limited selection of inventory categories available online, just to get it started.

Those are our first steps and then we’re going from there.

 

Dan And Marcelo?

 

Marcelo We will continue to improve our collaboration systems and bring the experience to the customer. We really deliver for our customers, because, like you said, Topher, they want our products yesterday. We want to continue to deliver on that, to improve our systems, to have more mobility involved on this.

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Meet the Panelists

 

Topher Mallory | Mexicali Blues | CEO Topher-Mallory

In just 11 years, Topher’s “all in” approach to retail transformed a laid-back import store with three brick-and-mortar locations and no website into a vertically integrated omnichannel brand. With Mexicali Blues now making millions of dollars online and off, he simultaneously launched Maine’s first grain-to-glass organic distillery, Split Rock Distilling. Both businesses show his signature approach to retail sales: authentic passion, hands-on leadership, grassroots marketing and forward-thinking financial analysis. Topher turns loyal customers into a long-lasting community and loves every minute. 

You can talk retail (or rock climbing, tie dye, Maine and more) with @TopherMallory on Twitter.

 

 

Eric Bergstrom | Burton Snowboards | Director of Retail Eric-Burton

As Director of Retail for Burton’s US Direct to Consumer retail business, Eric Bergstrom manages the Flagship and Outlet channels, establishing the strategic direction for existing stores and identifying potential growth opportunities. For nearly 20 years, Eric has been creating and growing successful retail organizations, optimizing existing operations, and planning and designing new stores.

 

 

 

 

Marcelo Fleitas | Earthbound Trading Company | Director of Information Technology Marcelo-Fleitas

Marcelo Fleitas is the Director of Information Technology at Earthbound Trading Company, a Texas based company with more than 1000 employees. Marcelo has more than 10 years in the retail industry performing innovation and implementation of POS systems. He has a background in Electronic Engineering, Oracle Databases and Microsoft SQL Servers, currently pursuing his Masters of Science in IT Management.

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Jablons | Retail Smart Guys | Owner Dan-Jablons

Dan Jablons is an expert retail consultant providing guidance to retailers across 15 countries. Dan helps retailers achieve their business goals through optimization of operations, merchandising, marketing and other key retail practices.

 

 

 

 

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What You Need To Know About Beacons

Last month, drugstore chain Rite Aid became the most recent retailer to deploy beacons within their outlets. By doing so, Rite Aid became the largest retailer user of beacons in the United States, a distinction previously belonging to Macy’s. Rite Aid embarked on the strategy to provide more personalized service to customers, as well as to push various notifications. Bluetooth-based beacons can help retailers connect in practical and profitable ways, as long as the communication is welcome and provides clear advantages for the shopper. Remember, a shopper can opt out of receiving notifications at any time —  and no matter how many beacons a retailer has it won’t make a difference if no one is receiving their signals.

See the infographic below to learn how to make the most of your investment in beacon technology.

4 beacon tips

 

Moms More Likely To Be Mobile Shoppers

Retailers catering to the “mom market” should be happy to hear that this segment is now more likely than previously to complete a purchase using a smartphone, according to a new survey from BabyCenter. Previously, mothers used their mobile devices primarily to compare prices and find coupons. Today, they are using mobile throughout the buying process.

The BabyCenter study is particularly interesting because it highlights a significant shift in buying behavior. According to the research:

In just one year, there has been a 33% increase in moms using their smartphones for making actual purchases, with 64% of moms saying that they had completed a purchase via mobile in the last month, in comparison to 48% who said the same in 2014. In addition, 70% have used their smartphone for shopping while they were inside a physical store, with 48% saying they would purchase items via their device if they could not find them on the racks.

In addition, 58% said they use a retailer app, up 14% from last year. In total, all of that data speaks to the importance of having an app that is optimized for mobile shopping.

Mothers are increasing using smartphones to purchase.

Mothers are increasing using smartphones to purchase.

Retailers must understand how aggravating it is for customers to be using a mobile device and  landing on a Web site that takes forever to load, with teeny tiny font size and is difficult to navigate. Few shoppers are patient enough to pinch, zoom and scroll to read about any product. It’s often easier for prospects to leave a site and go to a competitor’s. Inconvenience is an excellent motivator. A mobile site should load in less than three seconds and be easy to maneuver.

Mobile optimization is not optional — it’s mandatory. Providing superior user experiences is job one for retailers, online as well as off, and is an important differentiator for retailers. Providing an excellent online experience clearly increases user satisfaction and boosts loyalty: For example, customers bookmark sites they enjoy using. Retailers that do not require too much typing (cited by dd% of BabyCenter respondents) and offer conveniences such as one-click shopping (cited as an attractive feature by 40% of respondents) will reap the benefits of cultivating a loyal customer base.