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Measuring ROI of relationship building with loyalty programs

Customer retention is a huge challenge for retailers, and all recognize the advantages of cultivating a base of customers: A 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase the average profit per customer by 25% to 100%, according to fitsmallbusiness.com.

Creating a customer experience that is satisfying is a much more cost-effective strategy than constant prospecting.

Short-term value of increasing sales vs building relationships

Some businesses assume that by simply rewarding customers with discounts, shoppers will become more loyal; JC Penney discovered the unintended side effects of sale psychology too late.

However, cultivating a strong emotional bond between a brand and its customers is what makes it more likely that a customer will continue to visit the store or website in the future.

And the intangible aspects of relationship building come actually with a very clear ROI, if you’re tracking the right metrics.

For example, offering a sales discount as part of a birthday recognition personalizes the rewards experience to every member, making each feel special and recognized for being a loyalty club member.

Yes, you’re making them feel special and a little more bonded emotionally to your brand.

And yes, you see immediate ROI on those relational tactics when they redeem their birthday offer.

Watching for and leading customers to the next phase in the journey toward a higher overall CLV should be the goal of every loyalty program, and can be accomplished more effectively with loyalty and personalized marketing tools like AppCard for Retail Pro.

While well-run loyalty programs that deliver customer satisfaction clearly improve retention rates, they can also be a means to attract new customers.

First-time shoppers can easily recognize a program that makes customers a priority and that anticipates and exceeds their needs as soon as they join.

Having a well-designed loyalty program not only keeps returning customers happy, but it also grows the retailer’s customer base.

Millennial mindshare: Experiential loyalty

Millennials are the largest group of shoppers in the current market, and as a demographic, they are very brand loyal.

However, they are particular about what they are looking for in a loyalty program.

No punch cards for this generation — or trading stamps.

The key to success with millennials is building a relationship, and that’s done through offering special experiences rather than coupons.

For example, a credit card that offers advance ticket purchasing for popular events; a coffee roastery that gives members a heads up to new roasts and coffee tastings or a makeup line that provides VIP access to a celebrity Q&A on a social network are ways to make a customer feel special and want to be part of a loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are important to retain customers and attract new shoppers, as well as to help retailers forge deeper, richer, customer connections.

Happy customers spread the word, and prospective customers generally trust friends’ feedback more than advertisements or other types of marketing.

Loyalty programs help polish a retailer’s image.

Humans want to feel special, and loyalty programs help retailer provide that experience.

By doing so, retailers reap the benefits of repeat customers while attracting new ones — and enhancing their brand’s reputation.

Operational growing pains during COVID-19: Inefficiency stemming from poor data visibility

The larger a retailer becomes, the longer it takes to get simple tasks accomplished.

Whether it is an associate’s inability to quickly respond to a customer’s product feature query, or the HR department’s delay in answering an employee’s benefits question, such examples are indicative of a systemic problem in providing relevant information when needed.

Then, when a global pandemic strikes, the inefficiencies resulting from operational growing pains are made all the more evident.

A systemic information problem

Inefficiencies tend to be rooted around lack of information.

A customer service agent doesn’t have visibility into the supply chain, for example, and can’t answer a customer’s question about order status.

In addition, the consequences of those inefficiencies are generally not confined to the backroom – one inventory problem can very quickly escalate to a customer service issue when a product shows up on the computer as in-stock, yet isn’t available on the sales floor.

Attempting to solve customer problems can be a frustrating process for both the employee and the customer, which may eventually lead to loss of trust and decreased retention for the business.

That threat can’t be taken lightly; according to Salesforce, 76% of customers report that it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.

Gaining comprehensive visibility

A comprehensive suite of reporting and analysis capabilities is necessary to make sense of all the data a retail business collects through its various sales channels, including in-store as well as online and social media.

Customizable business intelligence dashboards and reporting tools like Retail Pro Decisions and Retail Pro Reporting deliver visibility of operational performance and exception alerts.

They are available on a wide range of desktop and mobile devices and provide not only decision-making data daily, but also a historical and trend view that offers strategic insights.

Selective archive search

Slow, inefficient archive operations force employees to struggle with storage and retrieval of in-formation that business analytics provides, stealing time from performing their core responsibilities.

Gathering too much information can be a major barrier to accessing the right information.

Some inefficiencies can be solved with archival systems that enable the easy application of multiple retention rules according to the document category.

For example, those HR records that require longer archiving periods than others would automatically be filed appropriately.

In addition, permissions are automatically allocated to those who require them according to skillset and authority.

All archived materials should be easy to access as needed.

Visibility into what?

Retailers are faced with gathering the answers to inventory questions, beyond what products are best-sellers and who is the target customer.

Such analytical questions include:

  • What products should be sold together?
  • What is the optimal shelf life is for certain products?
  • Is the pricing strategy impacting sales volumes?
  • What should the sell-through percentage be?
  • What is the stock-to-sales ratio?
  • What is the stock turn, and how many days of supply are there?

Best-in-class retailers head off problems from the start.

They understand the need for great reporting tools and the need to analyze the data, not just collect it.

They are proactive and require tools that alert them to potential problems, help them figure out root causes of successes as well as failures, and enable their businesses to be more agile so they can adapt when needed and profit from future trends.

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2020 Retail Pro Business Partner Awards

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.   

Khalil Gibran

2020, though challenging worldwide, has one key benefit: progress.

For retailers who had been working toward omnichannel operations, progress meant an accelerated leap into unified commerce.

For our partnership, progress is the result of the drive for honing efficiency and the expansive pull of innovation, new learning curves and systemization.

Progress with Retail Pro Prism too has brought with it the flux and learning curves of new vision, new strategies — and along with this, new outcomes.

Together we entered the year – with all its challenges – in the strength of progress in our partnership.

Global Acclaim

Your consistent commitment and quality as Retail Pro advisors, providers, and supporters earned recognition for Retail Pro technology as the top POS for midmarket retail from industry minds and brands of high reputation alike.

Market Dominance

Your tireless, creative drive to conquer and nurture every brand and every relevant vertical has won more retailers’ mindshare worldwide than any other POS provider in our highly competitive market, and has kept up the momentum during COVID-19.


Your self-giving diligence to facilitate retailers’ pursuit of optimized efficiency and unparalleled experiences promotes progress in retail and benefit to all who partake of retail’s goods and services.

We congratulate those Business Partners whose skill and striving has excelled beyond their peers in the term leading up to 2020.

Partner of the Year

We honor Pinnaca Retail Solutions for the spirit and zeal of a true Partner, both to see and work toward mutual success. The team at Pinnaca always takes the initiative to adopt and apply their expertise toward new Retail Pro technology with an eye focused on improving retailer experience

Jonathan Scutt Memorial Technical Excellence Award

The Computing Solutions team lives and breathes Retail Pro. They are passionate, solution-focused, and dedicated to excellence in every deployment and beyond, with ongoing service excellence. 

Asia Pacific Awards

Europe Awards

Latin America Awards

Middle East | Africa Awards

North America Awards

Mitigating in-store risk and acting on customer safety perceptions during COVID-19

Covid-19 Best Practices for Retail: Safety Experience

COVID-19 triggered a rapid, never before seen evolution in consumer attitudes and expectations towards retail.

While many consumers are ready to get back to stores, fears and concerns around safety and hygiene are at an all-time high.

Watch this webinar from Retail Pro International and customer experience experts TruRating to see:

  • First-hand data on the evolving state of consumer attitudes to both online and physical retail over the past 12 weeks
  • How retailers are leveraging retail-time customer feedback to adapt faster
  • Best practices and retailer examples for mitigating risk and measuring safety experience (SafeX) in store

Take a proactive approach to measuring customer sentiment across your channels. Watch this webinar to get practical steps to help you:

  • Set the standard for safety in your in-store customer experience to encourage your customer base to shop in store
  • Maximize your opportunity with the first-mover customers who are shopping with you in person right now

In times of great acceleration, those who are able to innovate and meet the moment will be most greatly rewarded.

Get the COVID-19 Safety Experience Best Practices

Consumers are watching for consistency between brand’s messaging and business reality during COVID-19

Gaining customers’ trust and loyalty is always a painstaking business.

Particularly in times of crisis, that work pays off as customers turn to the comfort of the companies they are not only familiar with, but are also aligned with on global issues.

McKinsey research has found that 64 percent of customers choose to buy from socially responsible brands.

Retailers are under scrutiny today more than ever, as customers are increasingly interested in how companies demonstrate their ethical practices in the ways they conduct business.

Customers are attuned to local, national and global issues, and their buying decisions are increasingly influenced by how retailers are responding to the world.

Indeed, customers who once wondered, “Does this company have questionable labor practices?” now also ask, “How did this company treat its employees during COVID-19?”

News reports suggest that the businesses that show concern and empathy for their employees are winning with customers.

COVID-19’s shift in retail plans and consumer behavior

The COVID-19 pandemic and periods of economic shutdown have thrust retailers into crisis mode, and into providing services that were not on the roadmap for this year — if ever.

Curbside pickup of items from bath towels to ground beef has become commonplace; even this past January curbside was something only a handful of pharmacies and chain restaurants offered.

Customers too had to change buying habits and embrace e-commerce.

The proof is in the numbers: It was, quite literally, Christmas in May as digital sales were up 77.8% year over year to $82.5 billion, tracking higher than holiday shopping levels on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Barron’s.

Analysts are still watching to see whether these shifts will remain or recoil.

But during times of crisis, the way a business treats its customers can make a lasting impact.

Loyalty is reinforced with brands who show care in crisis

Consumers remember which companies contributed to their communities’ well-being.

Those that were supportive earn loyalty — and the ones that were perceived to be unsympathetic lost customers.

Customer experience leaders must not only position their companies as being socially responsive in order to attract and retain shoppers, but actually strive to embody those values.

Empathy, care and concern are part of a new currency.

Of course, delivering high-quality products and services at a good value along with providing excellent customer service will never go out of style.

But involvement in civic causes demonstrates how — and whether — the company cares about their customers.

In times of hardship, customers want to know their favorite stores are there for them and will reward those retailers with their loyalty even after the crisis has passed.

5 ways to drive better results with promotions using Retail Pro

Most retailers may actually be wasting money on poorly targeted promotions, according to research by Nielsen.

The study found that while only 33% of consumer product goods (CPG) manufacturers consider their investments in promotions to be wasteful, 67% of trade promotions (amounting to more than $400B) either broke even or were wasted.

In large part, those companies were ignoring analytics that would have helped them understand the impact and effectiveness of promotions, from timing to audience targeting.

Here are 5 ways retailers can use POS data to drive better results with their promotions strategy.

1: Shape promo pricing strategies with insights from past outcomes

In addition, POS data can help with pricing strategy by identifying the correct discount depth.

Sales reports can identify exactly which products or suppliers are driving revenue so stock orders can be placed accordingly.

Return on Investment can be tracked and plans for future promotions will be more successful with insights gained from on past outcomes.

Retail Pro promotions come with 8 base types of promotions which can be used on their own or in any combination of promotions:

  1. BOGO
  2. Coupon
  3. Item
  4. Pack
  5. Quantity
  6. Rolling
  7. Tiered
  8. Transaction

Retailers can create and test as many diverse and complex promotions as their marketing team can come up with.

2: Pair fast sellers with complimentary items

Using POS data can help retailers understand customer tastes and recommend complementary products, which can increase incremental sales.

POS solutions have reporting features that can identify important metrics such as profit margins, basket sizes, customer counts, sales trends, and more.

By promoting products complimentary to the most popular goods, inventory will turn more quickly, making room for more on-trend merchandise and keeping customer traffic lively across channels.

3: Keep tabs on stock count for just-in-time replenishment

Sometimes, promotions are so successful that inventory runs out.

Those missed sales opportunities can hurt.

By using real-time retail promotions analytics, retailers can identify exactly when inventory is low and can restock in time to not miss a sale: There’s no such thing as a too successful promotion.

Conversely, POS data can also unearth slow-moving inventory, which can be cleared out with a specific marketing campaign.

Analytics can help retailers focus on products that boost revenue and drop those that are dead weight.

4: Plan for sufficient staffing during promotional periods

The same store data that pinpoints hot products can also be analyzed to enhance staffing during promotional periods.

Promotions that aren’t well-supported on the sales floor risk alienating customers, who can become frustrated if they feel neglected or overwhelmed by throngs of shoppers.

POS data can provide guidance regarding staffing and store hours, which is especially important for planning for promotions as well as for seasonal fluctuations in sales.

5: Personalize promotions based on individual customer behavior

When retailers know more about customers’ spending habits, they can go one step further to build a relationship with them.

Finely tuned promotions help customers feel recognized and valued by retailers, rather than like anonymous, unappreciated wallets.

AppCard for Retail Pro uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze retailers’ customer data and send promotions based on their individual shopping behavior – or lack thereof.

A break in shopping rhythm could indicate the customer has gone to other retailers to fill those shopping needs.

The AI watches as well for shoppers who break their normal shopping rhythm and sends a promotion to get them back to your stores.

Data can make a substantial impact on sales promotions.

Building relevant promotions targeted at select customers requires data collection and analysis and will improve the return on trade promotion spend.

3 retail supply chain vulnerabilities to fortify during COVID-19

Disruptions to the supply chain — beginning in China in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak — have impacted the availability of inventory and delivery times.

Customers are now often faced with significant shipping delays — sometimes as long as 14 days.

And retailers themselves are experiencing shortages from their own suppliers.

Inventories across the board have been reportedly low (and sadly not due to higher turn), and factory closures in China and other manufacturing countries mean they may not be able to restock products easily.

Retailers who have been weathering the storm with greater fortitude have discussed production schedules with their manufacturers and have an idea of how COVID-19 is impacting their businesses.

From warehouse and store employees being affected by quarantine or illness, to an over-reliance on human intervention within inventory planning, the pandemic has uncovered existing vulnerabilities within retail supply chains.

Here are 3 areas of vulnerability to fortify during COVID-19.

1: People: Be clear on protocol for employee safety along the supply chain

Offering goods and services that delight customers and entice them to return should be the goal of all profitable retailers.

But the safety and well-being of customers, staff and the suppliers that are delivering goods to your warehouses is of first importance, especially during COVID-19.

Using the Retail Pro Prism app for your receiving operations will help your team maintain social distancing.

Advance ship notice (ASN) vouchers in Retail Pro will also help speed up the receiving process, reducing employee exposure.

Retailers weathering this storm should not assume suppliers are current on specific state and countries’ health and safety policies.

Instead, they should sponsor straight-forward discussion of expectations.

That makes delivery staff feel secure and shows the entire staff their safety is a priority.

For later reference, supporting documents should be sent via email or texts to reinforce the message and ensure compliance.

Having a direct and transparent approach will help ensure both an adequate product supply to serve customers as well as a healthy customer pipeline.

2: Process: Adapt your 80/20 to align supply with demand

Some retailers have created redundant supply chains to handle quick shifts in demand, adapting the 80/20 to source 80 percent of product for low cost and 20 percent for fast response.

Quick response with volatile demand can often be sourced more locally, even within the United States.

For each of those suppliers, a direct line of communication with a designated person is critical, as is understanding who their suppliers are.

Transparency is key.

Weekly check-ins help keep everyone on the same page, as policies affecting suppliers are rapidly changing, as are supply needs, state mandates and safety protocols.

When the interests and data of retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers in the supply chain are aligned, the decision-making of each works together to help to optimize the entire supply chain’s performance.

Vendor management tools in a POS and retail management software like Retail Pro Prism go a long way toward helping retailers keep up to date records on critical vendor information, including the following:

  • Contact information
  • Account and payment terms
  • Currency defaults, especially for international suppliers
  • Trade discounts
  • Special notes and product images

3: Product: Keep reevaluating inventory costs and allocations

Cost of goods sold is rising because vendors must account for the extra time and associated expenses that are accrued with no-contact delivery, purchases of masks and gloves, etc.

With a higher cost of inventory, the types and variety of products purchased must be regularly reevaluated.

COVID-19 has changed customers’ needs and preferences, so agile inventory strategies are required.

However, just-in-time strategies may seem risky at a time when vendor shipments are generally delayed.

Allocation patterns across stores will also need to be reevaluated to account for COVID-induced purchase variations.

Use reports in Retail Pro Prism to stay up on demand flux and use the findings to adapt allocation patterns for problem stores.

Right now, retailers are seeing the value of integration between their retail management and enterprise resource planning software.

Such integrations, as between Retail Pro and SAP, allow for automated data exchange between the two tools so merchandise managers have up to date data unified in one picture of the entire business.

Fragmented data sources are always a cause for wider margins of error in ordering and allocation, but even more so during a pandemic when historical data is a less reliable source for forecasting.

A new study by WMG, University of Warwick, and Blue Yonder concludes that retailers must invest in creating supply chains with greater flexibility, visibility and automation: “Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a key role in helping retailers navigate future disruption, whilst still meeting customers’ expectations.”

In-depth and on-going analysis of recent shopping patterns will help retailers make more strategic decisions on product offerings, which will dictate inventory ordering.

Latent vulnerabilities existed in retailers’ supply chains prior to COVID-19 but the pandemic served to draw them out.

The added strain exposed and compounded weaknesses.

Addressing these three areas will help fortify the supply chain to last through the pandemic.

As conditions begin to plateau, retailers will be able to revisit these areas with more thought to long-term improvement.

Retail Pro Prism: Tracking inventory needs and movement in COVID-19’s accelerated Omnichannel

Image: Polina Tankilevitch

The uptick in online sales due to COVID-19 has been explosive.

Listrak reports a 40% increase in ecommerce revenue since the United States declared a state of emergency in late Spring.

Research from Klaviyo shows a sudden spike in demand for product categories that help people make the most of time at home, such as the “new essentials” that include electronics, housewares, and office supplies.

Order values of electronics this June 15 was approximately $8 million, for example, compared with roughly $4 million one year ago.

Retailers in the home goods industry are likewise seeing an impressive increase in sales, likely because shelter-in-place laws have made people a bit more conscious of their home environments.

As demand surges, many manufacturers are finding it difficult to keep up. Retailers are faced with figuring out how to efficiently manage inventory during production slowdowns when products are in high demand.

No retailer wants a repeat of the infamous “toilet paper shortage.”

With the uptick in sales, retailers are keeping a closer watch on orders to ensure satisfied shoppers.

Having accurate inventory data is crucial to survival for retail, which is where retail management solutions such as Retail Pro Prism fit in.

Tracking inventory available for omnichannel sales with Retail Pro

Because many physical stores are not yet opened at full capacity, a greater percentage of sales are being funneled through e-commerce platforms.

However, as states and nations reopen commerce, curbside pickup and in-store purchases are being added to the mix even for non-food retail, making it increasingly important that inventory counts across channels are accurate.

But many retailers were only on the path to omnichannel when COVID-19 hit and have had to accelerate digital efforts to create somewhat of a make-shift omnichannel to fill moment’s need.

As the platform for omnichannel data connectivity, Retail Pro Prism also helps retailers fill in the gaps as they transition toward fully integrated data across systems.

Retail Pro Prism gives retailers full visibility into their inventory at each location, whether the goods are at the warehouse, in transit, in the back room, or on the sales floor.

This kind of detailed visibility gives retail managers greater accuracy in tracking inventory, helping minimize unprofitable overstocks and the opportunity cost of shortages.

Automated replenishment capabilities based on minimum and maximum values in Retail Pro also ensure purchase orders are placed in time to prevent shortages.

Integration with retailers’ ecommerce platforms gives a threefold benefit:

  1. Shoppers are given visibility into which locations near them have the products they want in stock
  2. Store inventory can be used to fulfill online orders, increasing turn and reducing the need for duplicate inventory sets, one for each channel
  3. Changes to inventory triggered by online purchases or purchases in store are automatically updated in both platforms, keeping availability accurate

Gauging staffing needs based on transaction and traffic volume

Image: Edmond Dantès

Proper inventory tracking processes not only guarantee items are on hand when requested but can also help with employee staffing.

With less shoppers in stores during COVID-19, certain support staff jobs are not being performed at the same rate, so stocking up on the materials used for those jobs isn’t imperative.

Reduced foot traffic means moving resources and shifting focus. Warehouse workers may need to adjust schedules and workloads to accommodate.

Using reports and visual analytics in Retail Pro, you can compare staffing levels to number of transactions completed per hour, including the number of items per transaction and foot traffic counts.

These kinds of data together will help determine whether an increase in staff would be needed to improve the experience for shoppers as they are coming back to your stores and wanting to find items quickly.

Levi’s: better turn even during COVID-19

Levi Strauss credits smart inventory management with helping it to remain strong during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the first quarter of 2020, the company reported inventories were 7% lower than the prior year’s.

During an investor call, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh said that Levi’s strategy will continue to focus on inventory management and added that a significant majority of its inventory is core replenishment.

That includes stock it can carry over into future seasons: More than 70% of Levi products are so-called “evergreen products.”

In addition, the retailer plans to increase its ship-from-store capabilities, allowing retail outlets to fulfill e-commerce orders.

When they do venture into a store post Covid-19, customers will want to see well stocked shelves and will not want to wait for shipments to arrive.

With a more proactive approach to tracking inventory and stocking shelves, retailers can keep existing customers happy — and attract new ones.

Curbside retail: here to stay, and simpler with Retail Pro Prism POS

Thinking out of the box and providing new ways for customers to connect with retail has long been critical for businesses to maintain loyal shoppers as well as to attract new prospects.

Sometimes, circumstances such as COVID-19’s mandated social distancing are the impetus for lasting changes.

Many retailers have had some omnichannel presence, but others have had little or even no experience; both groups have had to innovate and create new ways to connect with customers during COVID-19, many of whom wanted to shop but were reluctant to mingle with the public at large.

As a result, retailers’ new strategies are catering to those unique, and challenging, requests.

At a time when many are feeling overwhelmed, retailers that can offer convenience will be rewarded by shoppers.

Curbside pickup is one convenience strategy that has been refined in recent weeks and is likely to remain long after shoppers’ fears about going into stores have subsided.

Curbside: the final BOPIS frontier

Image: Gustavo Fring

Prior to March, many large retailers offered the ability to buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS).

The strategy lets customers shop round the clock, and then during business hours take delivery of the products at the retailer.

It may save the customer some time, but it’s more likely simply enabling a “time shift”: Instead of shopping for two hours between 10 and 8, BOPIS customers might shop for an hour online at midnight, and then stop on the way home from work to retrieve the items.

However, “stopping off” used to mean find a parking spot, enter the store, find the pickup location and finish the transaction.

All those steps ate up precious time.

Simplifying curbside pickup with Retail Pro POS

Retail Pro Prism mobile point of sale

Integrating curbside pickup into the process has made BOPIS much more efficient for the customer; the pre-ordered product is simply delivered to the customer waiting in the car.

That last step makes BOPIS far more convenient, and Retail Pro Prism mobile POS makes this step more convenient for your team.

With Retail Pro Prism you get the same deep functionality on any device you use – whether mobile or desktop, Apple, Android, or Windows – so your associates can meet your customer at their car with their order, POS in hand. This is useful for orders that were reserved online and still need to be rung up.

Customers who have been shopping with you online during COVID-19 may also bring returns with them when they come to pick up their order.

With Retail Pro Prism mobile POS, your sales associate can complete the return on the spot with the customer’s receipt. If the customer forgot their receipt, you can easily look up the transaction from the system or just look up the item in your inventory and enter it as a return transaction.

You can even sign your customer up for the integrated AppCard loyalty and rewards from the curbside.

Retail to go

Image: Christina Morillo

The number of orders placed online and picked up at brick-and-mortar stores by customers rose 208% between April 1 and April 20 compared with a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures the web transactions of 80 of the top 100 U.S. internet retailers.

If retailers keep the curbside option once they fully reopen, it will provide yet another delivery channel to their most busy customers.

Texas governor Greg Abbott recently allowed nonessential retail stores to start offering curbside pickup, or, as he called it, “retail to go.”

Even before the economic shutdown, some pharmacies were offering curbside service, such as CVS.

However, the drugstore chain didn’t offer the service at all of its outlets, and it was relatively unique in offering it.

Pre-COVID, curbside pickup was nowhere near as popular as it has become.

Looking into the future, it seems logical customers will want to retain this new convenience.

Convenience is going to drive the economy in the coming months, and possibly years.

While born out of necessity, customers are going to consider a once-novel curbside service part of the “new normal” retail experience.

Recessionary shoppers: convenience over experience?

Image: Andrea Piacquadio

For the past several years, retailers have seen two types of customers.

The first are those who, after living through a number of recessions, have determined they must protect their money at all costs.

They are experts on value, seeking deals, discounts and saving; they are coupon clippers.

The second have also weathered a number of economic slumps, but they see life as short and because money can disappear in the blink of an eye, time is more valuable than frugality.

That group is focused on convenience, and the motivation behind their spending money is to save time.

Both groups are important to retailers, and many shoppers today have traits of both types of consumers: They want to spend thoughtfully, not frivolously, and they are focused on efficiency.

Retailers that can demonstrate value for products or services that make customer lives easier or more fulfilling will therefore attract more loyal customers.

Value: the “Right” price or the “lowest” price?

Image: Artem Beliaikin

People always want a good value.

It’s not only those living on fixed incomes or those living on minimum wage but also professionals who are bargain hunters.

Off-price stores such as Nordstrom’s Rack and Saks Off Fifth boast customers from every economic strata—proof that savvy shopping does not discriminate.

However, the “right” price does not have to be the “lowest” price.

A strong value proposition that focuses on the benefits of the product or service may help nudge a cost-conscious customer to spring for the purchase now, rather than wait a few weeks or even months.

Buying time

Image: Jeffrey Paa Kwesi Opare

When value is coupled with the idea that a purchase could make one’s life easier, retailers have a winning strategy.

For example, buying a $400 robotic vacuum cleaner is less expensive than hiring a housekeeper, and also frees up time to spend time in a more pleasurable way.

In 2017, a study from the University of British Columbia not only found that people who bought time-saving products were happier, but that the findings were the same despite the respondent’s socioeconomic standing.

“The benefits of buying time aren’t just for wealthy people,” said UBC psychology professor and the study’s senior author Elizabeth Dunn, in a release about the research. “We thought the effects might only hold up for people with quite a bit of disposable income, but to our surprise, we found the same effects across the income spectrum.”

Outsourcing the work of getting products

Image: Sunyu Kim

Convenience really matters. Many people are looking for something that simplifies their busy lives while delivering a positive experience.

A 2019 report from Deloitte found that customers want to “outsource” the work of getting products.

Their focus has turned from focusing on the act of purchasing products to the act of using them.

Retailers that understand how to curate the “just right” selection of products will have a competitive advantage. For those stores, enabling convenience is baked into their foundation.

Other retailers, however, might find offer convenience more difficult.

From experience to efficiency

Many shops have invested in providing an entire experience around the act of shopping.

If these stores’ customers no longer consider the store the destination in and of itself and prefer a more efficient shopping experience, they will have to reassess the way they do business.

Convenience must be woven into the fabric of the retailer to provide a cohesive, integrated shopping experience, rather than a tacked-on, haphazard one, or, worse, one that is viewed as not genuine. Most importantly, retailers should view convenience as constantly evolving: People’s tastes change rapidly and what may be considered convenient today may tomorrow seem as dated as ornament beards.








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