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Executive ViewPoints

The retail industry is fortunate to include numerous executives with extensive experience — and they are willing to share their insights in the Retail TouchPoints ViewPoints section. These byline pieces focus on industry trends and do not include solution provider sales pitches. Many of the byline pieces receive the greatest number of clicks on the RTP site each year.

The ‘Millennial Mom-ager’

Millennials make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, and many of them now have children. When we look at U.S. households, roughly half of all Millennial women are moms of school-age children. As marketers, we know Millennials are unlike the Gen Xers before them. Having been the first generation to grow up in the digital age, Millennials have changed the way advertisers think about reaching parents. Diving deeper into this audience, we took a closer look at Millennial moms through a shopper’s lens. Analyzing Oracle data, pulled from more than 115 million U.S. households and across $5 trillion in annual consumer spending, we get a deeper understanding of who these moms are and what they are buying.

To Master Customer Engagement, Think Outside the App

When the App Store opened more than a decade ago, smartphone users couldn’t have possibly imagined the vast array of tools they would hold in the palms of their hands today. Each of us is now individually armed with a digital swiss-army knife of apps, personally curated to cater to each and every one of our wants and needs. We have instant access to almost anything we want, whenever we want it. This level of convenience has become so prevalent that it is now the consumer expectation. In fact, in a study fielded by American Express U.S. consumers say they’re willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service.  But, as it turns out, that level of convenience doesn’t come free.  

Putting The Pizzas Together: 3 Tips To Help Small Businesses Get CCPA-Compliant Fast

When the impact of the California Privacy Protection Act is discussed, the business community tends to be treated as a homogenous block with homogenous interests. Of course, it isn’t. “The business community” has, in many ways, a much more diverse set of perspectives than other stakeholders in the data privacy discussion. Some businesses are built on the back of user data and have efficient data management at the core of their identity. Others are built on the back of pizza. Let me explain. A few weeks ago I visited a regional pizza chain at one of their four San Francisco locations. I ate a truly delicious pie. But, job-obsessed as I am, I realized I was looking around the restaurant while eating, wondering to myself: Who exactly is looking out for businesses like this when CCPA comes into effect on January 1st, 2020? A regional pizza chain is not a FAANG (Facebook-Apple-Amazon-Netflix-Google)-sized company. User data is a useful but secondary component of their business. Most pizza chains can’t employ lobbyists to bring their concerns directly to privacy regulators. They are unlikely to have huge internal legal and technology departments. Their marketing teams, if they’re in-house, are less likely to have…

Resolving Complaints And Keeping Your Retail Customers In The Process

How you handle customer complaints often determines if you build or lose relationships with busy shoppers. This is especially true online where retailers often rely on remote contact center agents to resolve things. While lacking the opportunity for face-to-face interactions, service-savvy agents know how to sooth and assuage unsatisfied customers. According to CustomerThink: “96% of unhappy customers don't complain, however, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.”In Groove, Salesforce suggests “74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.”

Retailers Falling Behind In Path-To-Purchase Analytics

Though the first wave of P2P Analytics was born in the CPG/Retail space, retailers and consumer products groups now find themselves falling behind in its adoption and application. P2P arose as market-leading brands found that legacy brand strength was losing its ability to deliver growth. New, digital native competitors were entering the market and younger shoppers no longer had the same brand allegiances. P2P Analytics held out the promise of providing a better understanding of where and why legacy brands were losing shoppers.

Click-And-Collect: The Tool Of The Year In The Harmonic Retail Toolbox

Running a retail business is not unlike pushing a boulder uphill while trying not to break the eggs in the bowl you are balancing on your head. It takes equal parts strength, endurance, balance and ingenuity to reach the top. "Click-and-collect" is an essential tool for retailers — it can carry your bowl of eggs so you can focus on the rock. Over the past decade, retailers have discovered the benefits of giving customers a choice of channels. But as retail evolves beyond omnichannel, customers are evolving, too, both in their comfort level with technology and in their path to purchase.

Pricing Intelligence Fuels Food Company Growth: Use Robotic Process Automation To Gain A New Edge

(Pictured: Left, Will Hankla; Right, Brandon Pemberton) Over the last decade, the industry dynamics for food companies have radically changed. New distribution points have emerged as convenience, discount and e-Commerce options have begun to directly compete with traditional grocery. Consumers have fallen in love with small brands that gained placement in large retailers — brands that are now taking market share from incumbents. Yet total demand has not increased. In fact, overall food consumption in the U.S. has barely kept pace with population growth over the past few decades. At the start of the recession in 2008, consumers chased value and lower price points, compounding the challenges of sluggish product growth. Private label products captured share as consumers perceived them to be quality alternatives to branded products. In turn, food brands reduced prices to remain competitive.

Smoothing The Customer Experience To Close Out The Holiday Season

Before the first leaf dropped on a cool, crisp autumn day, holiday decorations were already on display in most local retail stores, reminding us all of the biggest shopping season to come. I admit, I am a sucker for a good Black Friday sale; I already planned for my future house appliance purchases to take place immediately after the stuffing was passed. With U.S. holiday sales rising 3.4% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, according to Mastercard, it is critical for every major retailer to have a strategic plan in place even as the season winds down. This strategy should consider every stage of your customers’ — and potential future customers’ — experience, starting at account creation through the initial transaction, which will then (hopefully) be followed by repeat transactions.

Retail Artificial Intelligence and Extended Reality: Operational and Legal Trends

(Pictured from left to right: Kathryn Deal, Courtney York, Emily Fuller Opp) The retail industry is at the forefront of innovative uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented, virtual and extended reality (XR). Not only can AI and XR tools increase business efficiency and opportunity, but they also enable retailers to provide the customized interactions and convenience that their customers desire. Below we explore current operational and legal trends impacting retail AI and XR.

5 Important Design Features Your E-Commerce Site Must Have To Succeed

E-Commerce is on a tear. Frost & Sullivan reports that annual B2B e-Commerce will reach $6.7 trillion by the year 2020. Meanwhile, eMarketer estimates that global e-Commerce will reach $25 trillion in 2019. With so much to gain, e-Commerce businesses can’t afford to lose sales due to poor web site design. For most web sites, there are established best practices that can help you build a useful, functional site.

Retail-As-A-Service: Solving The Payments Challenges In Pursuit Of Global Growth

It’s not hyperbole to say that the subscription model has revolutionized the software industry. As such, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that consumer brands and retailers are, themselves, now testing out direct-to-consumer (DTC) and subscription strategies. Nike, in August, unveiled its Nike Adventure Club that for $20 a month will deliver new shoes to kids every 90 days. Urban Outfitters, also this summer, launched its Nuuly subscription program, while Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe, in July, unveiled its own curated subscription box, Personal Shopper. The rush of established brands to launch subscription programs speaks to a number of factors. Evolving consumer behaviors, for one, have fueled the hyper growth of subscription startups offering everything from razor supplies and meal kits to jewelry, pet supplies, toys or any other SKU category imaginable. Beyond offering a “frictionless” experience that appeals to customers, companies are also drawn to the enhanced “stickiness” of the DTC model, while subscription pricing fosters greater revenue stability and access to proprietary customer and market data.

Building Trust In A Retail Workforce Threatened By Automation

The retail space has changed through technology over recent years, be that through the replacement of cash by card, introduction of scanners or business to business (B2B) integration. The emerging technology may transform retail more fundamentally than in the past, where artificial intelligence (AI), logarithms and faster hardware may combine to produce new technological capabilites. As 5G emerges with faster communication speeds that will aid greatly improved location accuracy, new AI and robotic solutions for retail may present themselves. Despite the potential changes in technology, any future changes are more likely to emerge in waves over time than as a single large-scale change. Any new retail technology is likely to only be implemented only when it is able to demonstrate improvements in functionality and capabilities.

Next-Generation AI Is Here And Connecting Retailers With Their Customers At The Start Of Their Journey

Today 87% of shoppers start their journey online. Before a potential customer interacts with a salesperson, company representative, or steps inside a store, they start by looking online for information, colors, sizing, overall look and answers to their questions. This is the brand’s first chance to make a strong first impression. Stellar reviews, detailed product descriptions and multiple photos found on a brand’s web site may not be enough to address a potential customer’s questions. In some cases, even the flashiest web site isn’t enough to help a potential customer come to a purchasing decision, and if the customer leaves without all the answers they need, that can be a lost opportunity.

4 Ways Retailers Can Stay Relevant In 2020

Retail has invariably changed and evolved over the past 10 years. A decade ago, it would’ve seemed crazy that you could get all your Christmas shopping done online. That knowledge would have definitely eased the pain of heading out to the mall on Black Friday every year. Even though some consumers are just getting used to vast commercial changes, retail marketers have to stay much more ahead of the curve — especially if they want to predict the monumental shifts that are bound to come in the future.  2020 will close out years of dynamic changes, but here are four predictions to kick off the new year. 
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