How Retailers Are Answering the Age of Consumer-Driven Retail

The retail landscape today looks quite different than it did a decade ago. How customers are making purchasing decisions and buying items has changed significantly. Customers will often be physically present in a store, yet still consult their smartphone to complete the buying decision. They will read product reviews, compare pricing, take pictures, and sometimes even purchase the product itself.

Rather than struggling with this consumer behavior shift, successful retail companies are coming out on top by embracing technology and blurring the line between the online and in-store shopping experience.

Delivering a Seamless Customer Experience Throughout All Retail Channels

From discovery to being ready to buy, next generation shoppers want to be able to do it all with minimal effort.

Retailers are responding to this demand by investing business capital into syncing systems. Global inventory management, merchandising, and logistical data meets with online platforms to provide a true omnichannel experience. This gives customers the information they need to know at their fingertips, such as real-time item availability and shipping times. Multi-channel communication also means that a retailer can eliminate overselling by viewing unified sales and inventory information across all stores and retail channels.

Empowering Employees and Customers with Technology

As global trends have shown, the prevalence of smartphones in brick and mortar stores is only going to increase over the next several years. Forward focused retailers have accepted this fact and have shifted their focus to providing a more mobile-friendly customer journey. Some examples of this which can be found in several stores today include:

  • Customers can bypass the traditional time-consuming checkout process and by using optimized websites and native smartphone apps.
  • A growing number of retailers are integrating in-store pickup or BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) technologies.
  • Retailers are providing customers with “call” buttons which allow them to receive service-on-demand from a sales associate.

Today, customers have a higher expectation of sales associates than ever. This new engagement technology means that employees can quickly respond to the needs of a customer, help them find the most suitable product, and increase the likelihood of a customer walking away with a purchase.

Gaining Better Business Intelligence to Drive Sales and Loyalty

How customers research and buy items is becoming more technologically driven, but it still does not compare to being able to physically touch and try on items. This creates an opportunity for retailers to utilize technology in order to deliver the ultimate customer experience.

Retailers now have the resources available to keep up with consumer-driven retail. With access to these tools, they can deliver a better and more memorable customer experience while driving sales and profitability.

4 Reasons Brick-and-Mortar Continues to Win Over E-Commerce

Even in an age where technology rules, people prefer shopping in store. Long live Brick-And-Mortar.

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How to Reduce Retail Apparel Returns

Each year, The Retail Equation releases a survey covering “Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry.” In 2015, perhaps the most notable stat was “Returns as percentage of total sales,” which came in at 8% according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

That is of particular significance when you consider this: the total industry sales as tracked by NRF equated to $3.256 trillion. Which means that 8% of that sizable figure is $260.5 billion. Now, imagine if the industry could get even just some of that money back.

That’s an industry average; what are your annual sales figures and revenues? Are you hitting your targets and goals for growth and earnings? What would it do for your company if you were to add back even half of that 8%?

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The Power of the Customer’s Journey (& How You Can Use it to Fix Your Fitting Rooms)

How intimately familiar are you with your customer’s journey? Do you know what brings your customer into your store? Do you know what happens while she’s in your store to make or break her decision to buy from you? What about after she leaves – what can you do to help ensure she doesn’t return her purchase?

An analysis of your customer’s journey can leave you with valuable insights into areas of weakness/opportunity.

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Just How Important is Human Touch in the Shopping Journey

A new survey released by Mindtree challenges the idea that most shoppers do not like to be disturbed by sales associates, and highlights the power of human touch to boost sales (view the full infographic here).

With the growing importance of eCommerce, it’s easy to lose sight of the one thing every sale has in common: people. And people really do like to buy from other people. Not long ago, brick and mortar retailers were casting glances over their shoulders, worried about what the rise of online shopping would mean for their sales. It turns out some of those fears were unfounded as the majority of shoppers still prefer to do their shopping in the store.

Read on to learn more about how the human touch helps to turn shoppers into customers.

The Human Touch Matters to Shoppers

Personal interaction is one of the most effective ways to encourage a shopper to become a customer. One needs to look no further than the results of Mindtree’s 2016 shopper survey for confirmation. The study found that:

  • 70% of shoppers want to interact with sales associates;
  • 34% of customers sourced information from sales associates, and 28% asked associates about offers and discounts;
  • Sales associates are a close second to websites and online reviews as sources of customer information;
  • 40% of shoppers decide to make a purchase following a positive interaction with a sales associate, versus 28% who make a purchase without any interaction.

When it comes to making a purchase decision in the store, the value of personal interaction with a member of your team is undeniable. However, the same study observed that 40% of shoppers say they are “never able to find a sales associate” when they want assistance. Clearly, there is some room for improvement when it comes to meeting shoppers’ expectations!

What Does this Mean to Retailers?

In-store sales and human touch boost the bottom line for a few reasons:

  1. Cross-sell and upselling: A sophisticated algorithm can make recommendations based on what’s in an online shopper’s cart, but it can’t make judgments based on what the customer is wearing, or register their look of delight or disgust at suggested items. An in-person connection with a sales associate lends itself to unparalleled upsell and cross-selling opportunities.
  2. Increased sales, decreased returns: Customers who have had the chance to touch and try on merchandise are more confident in their choices. As an example, let’s look at apparel shoppers. When they’ve interacted with a sales associate in the fitting room, shoppers are three times as likely to buy products from that store, and their return rates are dramatically lower.
  3. Associates can do their job even better when supported by technology: When sales associates are empowered to do their job with helpful technology, the benefits of in-person interaction can be significantly enhanced. For example, fitting room call buttons allow sales associates help customers in the fitting room on the customers’ schedule – without disruptive and ineffective door-knocking.

As it turns out, there really is no substitute for the hands-on nature of personal service. This is an area where traditional retail stores continue to maintain an edge over eCommerce.

The Human Touch Contributes to Retail Success

The majority of shoppers want to interact with associates, and shoppers who have this interaction are far more likely to make a purchase. Smart retailers will do all they can to ensure that when a shopper visits their store, that individual experiences a positive human connection.

Can a Fitting Room System Really Boost the Bottom Line?

Increasing store revenues is a challenge you can approach from any number of perspectives.

How can you adjust operations to increase revenue? One answer is a targeted customer service process that supports the customer purchase journey.

But how can you prove that such a process has an impact on revenue? What metrics will actually show a link from the changes to increased revenues?

Data-enabled fitting room systems offer a solution. These systems leverage technology to make your store more adept at serving customers and meeting their needs. Fitting room systems can provide improved customer service as well as increased revenue.

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Just How Important is Human Touch in the Shopping Journey

A new survey released by Mindtree challenges the idea that most shoppers do not like to be disturbed by sales associates, and reveals the highly positive influence sales associates have on shopper purchases.

mindtree-shopper-survey-sales-associates-influence-in-purchase-journey

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Want to Learn How to Increase Shopper and Associate Interaction in Apparel Stores? Download a Sample Chapter of ‘Fit Happens’

 

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5 Brilliant Ways to Use the Cloud on the Sales Floor

When it comes to retail success, the sales floor has always played a pivotal role. This hasn’t changed, but the sales floor itself has transformed dramatically since the rise of the digital age. Using new technologies, retailers can now use software to track data, and real-time analytics to maximize salesHere are 5 brilliant ways cloud-based systems create a more efficient sales floor.

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Increase Your ‘Batting Average’ with People-Counting Data

This article originally appeared on Data-Informed.com

Every day, retailers wonder how they can increase sales, optimize staffing levels, and improve store performance across multiple locations. It sounds like a lot to ask for, but it’s possible to get all that and then some. And it starts with people counting.

People counting is a critical part of tracking retail conversions, arguably the most crucial metric for retailers. With that in mind, it’s hard to understand why it’s so woefully under-utilized. Failure to get a firm hand on retail conversion rates is a massive missed opportunity.

Shifting the focus to conversion can completely transform a retail organization, but to make this happen, retailers need to count people.

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Online Retail Can Give Thanks for 2015 Thanksgiving Shoppers

Last week we did a Black Friday recap that took a look at how much was spent, the longer “Black Friday season”, and the effects of e-commerce.  Then we came across this great infographic that summarized the results of the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday shopping days. It further backs up what we just reported:

Spending is slightly up, but online shopping is increasing while in-store shopping is taking a hit.

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