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Omnichannel / Cross-Channel Strategies

Cross-Channel Strategies offers readers an inside look at the successful cross-channel promotions, campaigns and programs employed by industry leaders. Retailers across industry segments and regions are adopting unique and innovative approaches to reaching today’s cross-channel consumers. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Don’t Keep Them Waiting: BOPIS Pickups Under 2 Minutes Generate 4X The Return Visits

Retailers today are operating in the “NOW economy” — a time when mobile-first customers can summon almost anything they want on-demand. Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) programs are key to serving these shoppers, but speed is of the essence: customers who wait less than two minutes to get their order are more than 4X as likely to return to the store than customers kept waiting for 10 minutes or more, according to a study by Rakuten Ready. “In a sense, it's not all that surprising: the reason they're using a mobile order program is because they're busy and they want to save time,” said Jaron Waldman, CEO of Rakuten Ready in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “So if they get to your location and they feel like they are saving time, they're going to be really grateful and invest in your brand. But if they're kept waiting when they get there, unsurprisingly, they're less than 20% likely to come back after an experience where they're waiting 10 minutes or more. That underscores the importance of wait time as a whole.”

Lids Leverages Customer Data For Targeted Marketing From Facebook To The Store

Personalization and customization are major components of what makes the Lids brand stand out, especially as the specialty retailer caters to sports fans by selling all kinds of hats and fan gear displaying their favorite professional and collegiate sports teams. Lids has taken personalization to the next level, particularly through its marketing campaigns with the help of customer data platform from AgilOne (recently acquired by Acquia). With the implementation of the AgilOne CDP, Lids has bolstered its omnichannel capabilities to identify specific characteristics of online shoppers — such as the products they view and buy, or behaviors such as when they shop — and apply them to the in-store experience so that it can understand which locations they purchase in and the frequency/timing of purchasing. These data points ultimately enable the retailer to create more personalized and relevant marketing messaging.

BOPIS Blossoms As Holidays Hit The Home Stretch

Black Friday has come and gone, but retailers can’t afford to rest on their laurels: seven of the year’s busiest shopping days are still ahead, according to data from ShopperTrak. Last-minute shoppers provide retailers with a bevy of opportunities — provided they can rise to the occasion and deliver a great shopping experience all the way through Christmas Eve. One of this year’s key offerings is buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), which saw a spike in adoption during Thanksgiving Weekend and will remain important through the remainder of the season. This offering blurs the lines between e-Commerce and physical shopping, letting shoppers purchase items on their terms rather than conform to busy sale days or inconvenient delivery windows. “Your shoppers are your shoppers regardless of whether they’re purchasing online, through their phone or in the store,” said Brian Field Senior Director, Retail Consulting Practice at ShopperTrak. “It’s entirely within their control, and they’re very agnostic in terms of how they’re shopping. They’re not thinking ‘I’m shopping on my phone,’ they’re thinking ‘I’m shopping at this retailer.’ They’re still thinking in terms of where they’re shopping and deals they’re getting, but now they have options of how they want…

Smart & Final Upgrades Online Grocery Experiences For Shoppers, Businesses

With hungry consumers forecast to spend $100 billion per year on online grocery by 2022, according to the Food Marketing Institute, more food retailers are realizing the need to upgrade their offerings to deliver an efficient and consistent e-Commerce experience. California-based Smart & Final, which operates more than 300+ stores, has the challenge of building out not one, but two, different online portals, designed to cater to traditional household shoppers as well as business customers including restaurants, caterers and other foodservice companies. Smart & Final worked with digital commerce platform Mercatus to build these online experiences. With the launch of the new SmartandFinal.com and Business.SmartandFinal.com sites, Smart & Final customers gained access to new features, including the retailer’s weekly digital flyers and coupons; shoppable recipes and meal planning; and customized shopping lists, all within the retailer’s branded web and mobile apps. The customized shopping lists are powered by consumer data, with a strong influence from prior purchasing habits. Shoppers can create a profile to reflect dietary allergies or preferences, and through their personal account they can manage subscriptions, payment options and purchase history.For business shoppers, the Business.SmartandFinal.com site enables users to create an account under their business name and even…

Shoppers Don’t See ‘Black Friday’ Or ‘Cyber Monday’ — They See A Weekend Of Deals

Cyber Monday sales hit $9.4 billion this year, up 19.7% from 2018, topping the $7.4 billion sold on Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics. However, Cyber Monday is actually becoming less distinct from Black Friday, which posted nearly identical 19.6% year-over-year growth. The merging of digital and omnichannel shopping is blurring the lines between e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar, as well as whether deals are focused on one specific channel or day. "Black Friday used to be its own holiday a decade ago: it was this one day where there was a tremendous concentration of shopping,” said Scott Rankin, Principal, Consumer and Retail Strategy Practice Leader at KPMG in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Now you've got almost a mini season consisting of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday, and a lot of that shopping has been spread over more days."

Solving Omnichannel Fulfillment Challenges With Always-On Cognitive Automation

As digital natives continue to push the boundaries of convenience, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have turned to omnichannel fulfillment as a mechanism to meet rising consumer expectations. While the concept seemed promising at the outset, it has proven to be not only tough to deploy but also economically challenging to sustain, as most retail networks were not designed to manage the complexity and cost of these new physical flows.

The Rise Of Omnichannel: Critical Benchmarks For ‘Click-And-Collect’ Success

Consumer demand for a multichannel shopping experience continues to mount. The ability to leverage physical stores through BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) can be a crucial advantage in this regard. Business owners are rushing to adapt to evolving consumer expectations, and BOPIS is one of the primary channels that modern consumers expect, leaving retailers to carve out best practices. Big box stores have been quick to get on the click-and-collect bandwagon, and midmarket retailers are following suit; 90% of retailers plan to implement BOPIS programs by 2021. Over 68% of customers have already made multiple BOPIS purchases. In-store order pickup is the new frontier for retail rivalry, and those that delay in refining their BOPIS operation risk getting left behind as the industry evolves and customer expectations grow.

Exclusive Chris Riccobono Q&A: Exporting The Relaxed UNTUCKit Vibe To The UK

Expanding overseas can be formidable even for well-established brands. Retailers have to contend with different languages, cultures and tax laws, as well as sheer physical distances and the challenge of coordinating operations across time zones. UNTUCKit had one advantage going in: customers from its target country already have shown interest in its apparel products. UK residents top the list of non-U.S. visitors who shop at UNTUCKit’s North American stores or order shirts online from their home countries, according to UNTUCKit Founder Chris Riccobono. UNTUCKit is building on this momentum with a dedicated UK web site and two physical locations in London, with plans to expand further into Europe in 2020 and 2021.

BRP Study: 86% Of Retailers Offer Omnichannel Price Consistency, But How Well?

With 87% of shoppers having some expectation of a personalized, consistent experience across channels, it’s obvious that retailers can’t afford to skimp on unifying their technology capabilities. What isn’t as obvious for many retailers is which deficiencies to remedy, or how to do so. Case in point: 76% of consumers are likely to choose a retailer offering consistent pricing/promotions across channels, according to a report from BRP. While 86% of retailers say they offer some level of pricing/promotion consistency, half of these retailers also say they need to do even more in this area. Historically, retailers have built their customer experiences via disparate systems or manual processes. This has created a disconnect between what promotions they can offer via various channels and whether the systems can support them, according to Jeffrey Neville, SVP and Practice Lead at BRP Consulting.

How Hanna Andersson CEO Mike Edwards Plans To Grow Niche Brand Into Billion-Dollar Business

In this exclusive Q&A, Hanna Andersson CEO Mike Edwards (former CEO of eBags) shares insights into his strategies for competing in the $160 billion global children’s market; the company’s new Innovation Studio initiative; the importance of social media and influencers at Hanna Andersson and much more. In addition to his roles at Hanna Andersson and eBags, Edwards’ extensive retail resume includes: EVP, Global Merchandising at Staples; President, CEO & Investor at Borders, Inc.; President & CEO, Director and Investor, lucy activewear; EVP Operations, JOANN Stores; EVP Merchandising and CMO, West Marine; and VP and GMM, Golfsmith; SVP and GMM, CompUSA. He also held roles at Target Stores and May Department Stores early in his retail career.

With Text And Chat, Pier 1 Imports Cuts Costs, Adds Visuals To Contact Center Interactions

Pier 1 Imports has been looking for ways to save money, including ongoing moves to right-size its store footprint. A customer contact center overhaul has not only cut costs but also made it easier for customers to add pictures to their communications. Pier 1 has moved nearly 20% of its communications to messaging options such as text messaging and online chat by implementing software from Quiq, allowing the retailer to significantly lower the costs related to each interaction (communicating with messaging is approximately half the cost of a phone call). In addition to saving money, Pier 1’s initiative enabled shoppers to choose their own method of communication. Text messaging and online chat are now the retailer’s two fastest-growing communication channels, accompanied by a natural decline in phone and email, according to Laurie Simpter, Senior Manager of Customer Relations at Pier 1 Imports.

Casper Leads Digital Brands In Store Traffic Share, But ‘Halo Effect’ Hasn’t Met Expectations

Retail’s “halo effect” — the idea that a purchase in one channel directly impacts purchases in another — has inspired many digital natives to open brick-and-mortar stores as a way to boost sales across all channels. But top digital natives that have opened permanent retail locations are likely seeing less foot traffic than they anticipated, according to a study from global location data technology company Blis. Out of seven companies studied from May to July 2019, Casper captured 56% of in-store shoppers, well ahead of Amazon (22% of shoppers), Warby Parker (10%) and Bonobos (9%). Allbirds, Away and Rent the Runway each got a 1% share. Casper came out well ahead of the remaining retail stores in “footfall efficiency,” the term Blis uses to describe the number of unique visitors per each geofenced store location.

Activate Recap: 90% Of Enterprises Will Adopt AI By 2024, But ‘Pragmatic’ AI Will Dominate

Artificial intelligence and its impact on online product search is a hot topic for retailers, and it was the center of attention at the Activate 2019 conference held in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9-12. In fact, one keynote session sought to go out of the way to “demystify” AI for the audience, particularly since Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst Mike Gualtieri pointed out that within five years, 90% of enterprises either will have implemented, or will plan to implement, AI technologies. But as more businesses onboard AI, Gualtieri asserted that they will have to focus on “pragmatic” AI. Pragmatic AI is narrower in scope than the “pure” AI that’s typically portrayed in science fiction as being able to outperform humans at all tasks. Pragmatic refers to computer systems such as IBM Watson, which can exceed human intelligence in specific areas, in combination with “building block” technologies such as human-poweredknowledge engineering, machine learning, deep learning and robotics.

CMO Q&A: How CarMax Is Bridging The Online-Offline Gap In Used Car Retailing

CarMax may be best known for a traditional in-store buying experience, but the used car retailer is delivering on a concept that blurs the lines of when and where consumers can shop for, and even test drive, their desired new car. In October 2016, CarMax launched a home delivery pilot in North Carolina using a one-hour process involving four employees. Findings from the pilot enabled the company to streamline delivery down to a 15-minute process requiring just two employees to drop off the customer’s car. In December 2018, the company launched a “customer experience center” in Atlanta, designed to enable shoppers to buy a car as well as consult over the phone or online without ever having to enter a dealership, and even to test drive the prospective purchase in their own neighborhood.

#RSP19 Webinar Series Preview: How One-Time Consumers Become Full-Time Shoppers

From Monday, Sept. 16 through Friday, Sept. 20, Retail TouchPoints will present the 2019 Retail Strategy & Planning Series, a 13-webinar series dedicated to uncovering the new ways shoppers are assessing, selecting and connecting with the brands they buy from. The #RSP19 sessions will specifically address the new tools and tactics retailers should embrace to better understand this new wave of shoppers; nurture relationships with them; and transform one-time engagement into recurring revenue.
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