In-store technology: top tips for high street retailers

The exponential growth of digital has created a retail environment that 10 years ago did not exist. The retail environment is now a blend of the online and physical world. It has long been thought, online shopping would be the demise of brick & mortar and shoppers would be shopping and browsing solely online. We’ve now learned the online experience can’t reproduce the physical interaction between consumers and products. Instead retailers are embracing technology to engage with customers in unique and personalized ways. 

An independent agency, based in the U.K, Life recently carried out an audit of 16 stores on the high street, focusing on the central London area, looking at how each retailer was using technology in-store. Here are some of the things they discovered:

From the article posted by The Guardian:

The latest technology isn’t always best

Start with the shopper need and then implement the most effective solution. Italian design factory Alessi used a simple QR code shopping wall on the window of its store in London’s West End to grab the interest of passing people by linking to arresting content. Technology in this case was the enabler, not the end result.

User experience matters

If shoppers can’t easily get to the point of transaction, they’ll be frustrated and lose interest. Topshop’s design-your-own T-shirt concession from printing pioneers Yr showed the importance of a slick and intuitive user interface that makes it easy to create personalized products. It was engaging and offered instant gratification.

Make use of a shopper’s own devices

Our personal technology develops quicker than comparable hardware in-store. Leveraging social media to encourage us to share physical experiences with one another is a good way of getting around that fact. Topshop offered a great example of this when it linked up with Pinterest for a Christmas gift guide that encouraged shoppers to pick and share their inspirational gift ideas. Physical “Most pinned item” tags were hung on popular Pinterest picks in-store.

Not everybody wants a sales person in their face

Technology can also engage customers by selling to them. Clinique’s fixture in John Lewis features a self-service skin diagnostic terminal promising “90 seconds to great skin” – shoppers are presented with a printout of the results with a list of personal product recommendations. The consumer gets a valuable service with immediate results, while the retailer gets a chance to sell its product. It’s a great technological solution for those who prefer not to speak to a consultant.

Don’t neglect training

Technology is often only as good as the staff present. Audi City is a multi-sensory experience that allows car buyers to create and interact with virtual vehicles. Serious prospects are ushered downstairs where an experienced sales person takes them through all of the finishing trim options to spec their car. It’s a smart combination and as a result sales at the virtual showroom are now among the highest of any Audi dealership.

Consider all five senses

When creating an immersive experience in-store, consider extra sensory elements to communicate with shoppers. Plenty of cosmetics brands are using iPads, but Bobbi Brown’s concession in Selfridges offers headphones to browse its online beauty tutorials, making the display more engaging. Extra screens or related sound effects in the environment can increase dwell time and engagement.

Striking a balance

Digital and retail can appear separate, but bringing them together can be hugely effective. Burberry has done just that with a new retail space on Regent Street. Digital features include products that trigger video screens, audio-visual experiences and digital mirrors. Staff use iPads to check stock availability and make orders and fashion shows are streamed live to the store.

It’s now all about the omni-channel experience

Omni-channel retailing – joining up the customer experience across all channels, not separating it across individual ones – has to be seamless. Smart brands are looking to re-engineer the experience in a way that puts the shopper at the centre of the equation. Argos for example is ditching its laminated catalogues in new stores for iPads, easy navigation, fast-track collection and free Wi-Fi. But stores remain important, in particular making it easier for shoppers to collect purchases within a few hours of buying online.

Far from hastening the death of the high street, canny retailers are using technology to breathe new life into their offering. Boots recently teamed with Facebook for a 90-minute streamed event featuring style, hair and beauty tips from its Nottingham store. Shoppers could ask beauty experts questions and benefit from related deals in Boots stores.

The warning, however, is that technology is only a great experience when it works, but when it does the opportunities abound. The winners in the future will be those who can build an experience that takes the best from both digital and physical retailing.



Fashioning A Solution

Retailers for the past two years have been striving to optimize omni-channel strategies. However, too many companies still run their physical stores and online experience as separate entities. Notoriously, the fashion industry is the retail vertical that always lags behind. The issues retailers have in delivering a seamless customer experience is due to rapidly changing inventory, short seasons and abundant amounts of new and existing SKUs.

These issues are prompting fashion companies to re-evaluate their operating platforms. Siloed data between channels need to merge together in-order to support operations and real-time analytics. At the core of this endeavor is an ERP solution — an integrated set of business applications that can be used to store and manage data across the enterprise.

In a post by Stores.orgArne Tjalma, vice president of information technology with Tommy Hilfiger; Marc Van der Heijden, senior vice president of global IT and head of competency center sales and global development for adidas Group; Dario Scagliotti, group CIO of Luxottica; and Michael Braine, CIO of retail and optical services of Luxottica spoke about their company’s visions in adopting the next generation of ERP platforms. 


From the article:

Retail companies must be ready, willing and able to sell merchandise and fulfill orders, regardless of the channel or business model customers use to make a purchase.

As omni-channel retailing evolves, however, many companies continue to face inhibitors. For example, too many companies still run their physical stores and online experience as separate entities.

To address these challenges, retailers need reliable enterprise resource planning platforms that can manage operations and support real-time analytics across integrated business channels. SAP plans to deliver this platform with the help of key fashion industry partners.

“A successful omni-channel strategy is not about running e-commerce as a separate channel,” Thomas Vetter, senior vice president and head of retail and multi-channel for SAP, said at a January press event announcing plans for the platform. Vetter was accompanied by Arne Tjalma, vice president of information technology with Tommy Hilfiger; Marc Van der Heijden, senior vice president of global IT and head of competency center sales and global development for adidas Group; Dario Scagliotti, group CIO of Luxottica; and Michael Braine, CIO of retail and optical services of Luxottica.

“Brands need integration across channels so that consumers have a seamless, consistent experience across the brand,” Vetter said.

In the fashion industry, the issues are intensified due to rapidly changing inventory, short seasons and abundant amounts of new and existing SKUs.

“Each factor makes data more complex to manage,” Vetter said. “The speed of change is increasing, so it is imperative to maintain correct product information — especially as business models evolve.”

These issues are prompting companies to re-evaluate their operating platforms to ensure they can facilitate data access and maintain one version of the truth — two factors that can simplify business and deliver the flexibility needed to adapt to new market changes. At the core of this endeavor is an ERP solution — an integrated set of business applications that can be used to store and manage data across the enterprise.

ERP platforms gained popularity at the turn of the century when some companies considered them to be a solution for the widely anticipated (and ultimately over-hyped) Y2K bug, as well as the introduction of the Euro — two business issues that rigid legacy systems were not designed to support.

These early versions mainly focused on back-end operations; it took almost another decade for next-generation systems to address customer-facing and transaction processing functions. Retail’s evolving omni-channel business model is changing the game once again, and requiring even more flexibility from current companies.

“ERP is a solid backbone that takes complexity out of systems,” Tjalma said. Using a common data set “provides a single version of the truth for the whole business.”

A reliable and flexible ERP solution is also the foundation needed to support growth. “Companies need global inventory, allocation and marketing processes … that span across the enterprise,” said Vetter. “A solid platform also helps companies treat business models as they evolve.”

A variety of fashion brands are collaborating with SAP on development of a platform that will allow fashion companies to merge wholesale, manufacturing and retail data into one all-encompassing business suite.

This next-generation ERP platform will enable brands to manage big data and support an omni-channel experience. Ideally, the solution is expected to deliver a unified view of product information. By integrating its HANA analytics solution, SAP’s platform will enable users to process these volumes of information and use analysis to understand product demand, availability, movement and fulfillment of merchandise enterprise-wide.

Plotting their course
While the fashion partners are all on the same journey, each is at a different stage. Luxottica operates retail and wholesale channels and struggled to merge these software platforms when required. Due to a fast-growing global business that was accelerated by the acquisition of other global companies, Luxottica currently operates four interconnected, but independent, SAP platforms.

“You cannot predict how business opportunities, and consequently, the business will evolve, and it is daunting to think an operating system can be a roadblock to any new business model,” said Scagliotti.

“Ideally, we want the ability to run all of our businesses on one software platform that uses a single set of information for all enterprise operations. Integrated software platforms will also lower IT operating costs overall.”

Luxottica is currently co-developing the solution to foster integration between SAP’s IS-Retail and AFS platforms. The company hopes to go live in 2015.

Tommy Hilfiger, which operates some 400 retail stores as well as a wholesale business, currently uses SAP’s AFS solution. As the company plans its move to an all-encompassing ERP solution, it will co-develop a next-generation platform with SAP. The company will begin the project this spring, “with a complete migration by 2015,” Tjalma said.

With more than 2,500 stores worldwide, adidas’s retail division accounts for 25 percent of its revenue. In the late 1990s, the footwear brand began migrating to SAP’s AFS solution. AFS is live in most of the company’s major markets, yet its growing global presence continues to increase the complexity of an integrated retail operation.

Besides integrating its wholesale and retail operations, adidas Group envisions a platform that will deliver more speed, reduce operating costs and support one view of real-time data. “We will include preparation activities for the new SAP platform in our next planning cycle,” Van der Heijden said.

All three partners have high expectations for the solution, which Braine described as “game changing.”

“This will change the paradigm of complexity,” he said. “Operations will be simplified, processing speed will increase and operating costs will decrease. It will also free up the IT department to work on solutions that will help produce revenue for the company. It will change the way we think about business enablement and support.”


Luxottica’s vision towards exciting retail experiences for eyewear

In a recent Vision Monday article, Andrea Guerra, who has led Luxottica Group for over 10 years, spoke at last month’s 8th annual VM Global Leadership Summit. Guerra called the U.S as the world’s “biggest emerging market” in terms of sunwear as well as consumers’ new attitudes and the undeniable trend toward exciting retail experiences for eyewear. 

Following are excerpts from the Q&A. 

VISION MONDAY: Last year, Luxottica talked about strategizing very much toward the NA market, and that it was strategically important for the company. 

ANDREA GUERRA: When you’ve got 55 percent to 60 percent of your business in North America, you must say that is an important part of your business and you have to focus on that. I think that will always remain our primary focus and our primary objective. On the other side, the world is changing and it’s changing fast. There are five countries that only five years ago represented less than 5 percent of our business. These are 14 percent of our business and some of those businesses are growing 100 percent a year. 

VM: And those countries are? 

GUERRA: We said six years ago that there were five countries in the world where we would become ‘domestic.’ That would mean we would have become a very important local player and, in order of importance at that time, it was Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, India and China. 

And in some of those markets, in six years, we tripled, in some of those markets, we doubled. I can tell you that today Brazil is as big as France. I can tell you that our sun sales in China doubled in the last year, basically going from 1 percent to 2 percent. There are people who tell me the story of exponential growth. You don’t see it, you don’t see it, you don’t see it…and then finally it’s big and I think that our sun business in China is going down that path. 

VM: When it comes to other things that are particular to the U.S. market and the U.S. consumer, can you point to those characteristics in contrast to consumers in other markets. Or, do you find that is no longer relevant? 

GUERRA: I think there is a big difference, and it is one of those things that makes me really happy about this market. When people ask me what I think about emerging markets, how are we behaving in emerging markets, what we’re doing in emerging markets, I always say, when we are talking about premium sunglasses the U.S. is the largest and most potential emerging market in the world. 

It’s the largest opportunity we have and we have seen it. I mean everyone has seen the change, the evolution and the revolution of Sunglass Hut in the last 10 years. It was a ‘Hut’ and was a place I was shopping sunglasses. Today it is something else. It is display, merchandising windows, brand, music, songs, lights, mirrors and I am happy, I enjoy myself, I enjoy shopping sunglasses there. Just like I enjoy shopping iPads or a sleek pair of sneakers … and that has radically changed the environment. 

I am always saying to our guys, the average like-for-like growth of SGH has been more or less in the 10 percent range. So I am saying, guys, you are great, but on other side, this market is getting bigger and this market (North America) is the smallest market in terms of penetration (for sun) in the largest market in the world, and it’s growing fast. 

VM: So when it comes to sun or that kind of passion about a product or excitement about the retail, is that something that can be brought into the prescription side of things and what are some of the things you are trying to do with that? 

GUERRA: First of all there is a world, especially in this arena, which is the plano sun, which is a good world. It’s not bad, and people come more frequently to buy it and people can be more attracted by it and that gives traffic and that gives frequency. On the other side, and we all know this with the new technologies, 90 percent of sun today, you can prescribe it and you can adapt it. The curves are all technologically viable and that is a market that is growing pretty fast. I can tell you that LensCrafters comps are one third driven by prescription sun today, and a little bit of plano. Even if they argue that the average transaction price is lower when it’s just plano, I say it can be twice or three times or four times (the dollars) in a year. 

VM: What are some of the issues having to do with technology in the optical side of your business that you are paying special attention to? 

GUERRA: I want to share a nightmare I have. We all heard the panel before, I heard Carlo Privitera talking about Glasses.com and our friends at Essilor talking about similar things and we are all trying our best experimenting and understanding it. Will it (online) be quicker, slower…? I do not know. I think that we all have to be engaged there, because we all don’t really know how fast it will be. 

But I do know that there is a lot of browsing. When people browse, they are looking for freedom and finally, what is happening is that frequently there is not an interface of media between themselves and lenses. 

My biggest nightmare is not the internet or online sales, that doesn’t worry me for the next 2 or 4 years. What worries me is the freedom of the consumers and their browsing and understanding or not understanding the value of specific segments of lenses compared to others. So, the sustainability of the value of lenses and price of the lenses is a nightmare to me sometimes. I wake up and say, oh gosh, we need to do better work. And technology today is helping us there. Making them understand how different things are. How a progressive lens is different from some time ago. How digital surfacing, how coatings are different. This is so critical for all of us and, finally, technology is allowing us to show the difference and we need to use it. 

VM: So the storytelling is something you feel you can achieve through digital communications as well as in the stores? 

GUERRA: Yes, sure. And the other part of technology and digital technology is our ability to follow up with consumers. When the consumer is deciding or not deciding to go back to buy a pair of prescription frames and lenses—we can debate if it is two years or whatever, but basically it is 18 months off, 6 months on—the important thing is our ability to follow up with consumers over those 2 years. 

I think that the use of technology, the great opportunity we have today, is that technology is so available. The access to technology, databases, CRM, is so available that we need to make great use of that in getting linked to consumers for 24 months, not for the week or the day. I think that is even more critical today, where we are spending our money, and it can be a big company or a small company. 

It doesn’t make any difference but we need to talk, to interact much more with the consumers compared to the past. We need to be in the middle of the conversation. We need to talk, they need to talk. We need to have a fantastic conversation. We have implemented this probably a couple of years ago and it is paying off, absolutely paying off. 

– See more at: http://www.visionmonday.com/business/suppliers/article/opportunities-in-north-americafor-sun-rx-sun-telling-stories-and-online/#sthash.SpN0EZcU.R0JWKtk5.dpuf


AT&T to lead a retail revolution with their ‘lab’ stores

*Images posted belong to CNET*

AT&T has a vision for the future of phone shopping, but the vision does not stop at their handsets or phone plans. Over the past several years the carrier has been reinventing the store experience.

CNET, a leader in tech product reviews, sat down with AT&T’s retail president, Paul Roth, for a discussion around their retail strategies.  AT&T’s secretive and very effective approach has lead the carrier to be one of America’s most admirable, profitable, and recognized brands.

In the article, AT&T’s vision is simple: tout the benefits of connected devices and services through “experiences”. In order to provide these “experiences” AT&T calls on their ‘lab’ stores to lead the revolution. Paul Roth and his team works in these ‘labs’ to dabble with store details from layouts to fixtures. Most importantly the ‘lab’ stores are used to determine the order and placement of products. The use of sophisticated technologies place products, POP and accessories based on the carrier’s brand strategy, product priority, store attributes and other data sets. A retail initiative, AT&T feels is important given the exclusive range of gadgets only offered through AT&T.


Merchandisingmatters posted the full CNET article in it’s entirety below:

ATLANTA — AT&T wants its stores to earn the same reputation for quality as the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, which prides itself on offering five-star service.

That goal would have been laughable less than two years ago, when Consumer Reports called AT&T the worst wireless provider in the country. But more recently, AT&T has climbed atop many industry satisfaction surveys and has garnered accolades such as a J.D. Power award for top customer service among wireless carriers.

Part of AT&T’s secret: a radical shift in the way that the carrier — and its retail president, Paul Roth — approaches its stores.

Instead of just selling handsets and phone plans, Roth wants AT&T’s 2,000 retail outlets to tout the benefits of connected devices and services through “experiences.” And Roth has at his disposal a number of “lab” stores where he and his team get to tinker with store details from layouts to fixtures, including something as minor as whether the base of podium should be white or chrome.

“We’re maniacal about that,” he said in a March interview with CNET.

The attention to detail comes as AT&T, like rival Verizon Wireless, works to revamp its retail stores and the industry as a whole grapples with a maturing smartphone market and declines in the percentage of phones actually sold at carrier stores.

While a majority of the 27.4 million smartphones it sold last year were purchased at an AT&T store, the company wants to further goose sales growth by pushing other Internet-connected gadgets, such as smartwatches and tablets.

For consumers, this means the conversation switches from which phone you want to buy to how a phone, watch, home, and car could work together to make your life easier. It isn’t simply about picking up a phone and paying for it; it’s about having a salesperson walk through different products and services, Roth says.

“Retailers are trying to find ways to add value to the transaction and turn it more into an interaction,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker.

Minding The Store


That may be, as Baker notes, a common approach in the consumer electronics industry, but it’s definitely a different way of thinking for AT&T.

The transformation of its retail strategy came after AT&T asked itself a simple question: Does retail exist in the future?

“The answer is yes, but it’s very different,” Roth said.

It’s a question likely on minds across the industry. In the 12 months that ended in February, 61 percent of all smartphones sold were purchased through a carrier store, down from 69 percent two years ago, according to NPD. Baker said he expects the decline to continue this year as consumers shop more online and at large retail chains such as Walmart, which sell prepaid phone services.

Countering that trend is its family of lab stores, one of which is located in the lobby of AT&T Mobility’s headquarters here. At first glance, it looks like any typical carrier store in a shopping mall.

And on Mondays, such as the one on which I visited, it acts as a functioning store with inventory and cash — the exception being that all the customers are AT&T corporate employees.

The rest of the week, the retail team tests out different ideas, or tweaks the look of displays, often behind closed curtains.

Roth, who has run the retail group for more than five years, was eager to share details about the new concept store. The glass entrance, for instance, is framed with orange, a call back to the hipper, younger vibe of Cingular, which was rebranded to AT&T after a series of mergers between regional telcos.

For the store, Roth and his team opted to remove the AT&T name, sticking with the blue globe logo unveiled in 2007. They believe that symbol is recognizable enough to stand alone now. The store is highlighted with reclaimed teak, borrowing a touch from Starbucks, alongside splashes of orange and white.

We wanted something to feel surprising, but familiar,” he said.

Inside the 2,900-square foot space were “experience” areas, such as a round table ringed by music accessories, all surrounding a guitar centerpiece. A miniature drive-in theater helped demonstrate a mini projector that can be hooked up to your smartphone. Roth said that AT&T hired someone from Nike to help choose the props used to “better tell a story.” (The company declined to name the individual).

At the back of the store was a demonstration of AT&T’s U-Verse home Internet and TV service, as well as its Digital Life connected home business, which allows you to remotely control things like your door locks or lights via a smartphone or tablet. Against one wall was the carrier’s full phone lineup. A few smaller circular bar tables in the center of the store provided a place for employees to talk over the devices with their customers.

What you won’t find: cash registers or sales counters.

It’s part of AT&T and Roth’s plan to improve the retail experience by making it less about the transaction, and more about providing customers with relevant information before and after their purchases.

AT&T isn’t alone in this strategy. Verizon in November unveiled a large “destination store” in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., and has been opening a number of smaller “smart stores” in select locations throughout the US focusing more on experiences and a higher level of service.

The latest incarnation of AT&T’s store, dubbed the “Store of the Future” concept, debuted at this lab in July and then went public in August. Since then, AT&T has opened or renovated 15 stores to carry that look and feel. Other design elements, like the removal of cash registers and counters in favor of mobile iPad checkout systems, have made their way to other stores (a retail tactic copied from Apple).

The order and placement of the products you see at your local AT&T shop? Roth likely determined all of that at the lab store.

The plans is to roll out the Future Store concept to all of AT&T’s stores, though Roth didn’t give a time frame for when that would happen.

Attitude vs. Aptitude


Many of the changes were in play as far back as five years ago, when AT&T opened up the lab stores to figure out what worked in retail. Today, there are multiple facilities, including one in Milwaukee, and another Arlington Heights, Ill., equipped with heat sensors on the ceiling to determine traffic patterns. AT&T’s flagship store on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile started showing off some of the new retail elements in August 2012.

Shortly after taking over in the retail group in November 2008, Roth began hiring employees not just for their technical aptitude, but also their sales attitude. In the world of retail, that seems like a no-brainer, but AT&T was just getting started with its transformation.

Where Ritz-Carlton has its “greenbook” guide for quality service, AT&T hands out a little blue book titled “Our Retail Promise” to store employees. The book includes reminders like giving a “warm, friendly, and genuine” greeting to customers as they walk in the door and answering all of the customers’ questions before they leave the store.

Roth pointed to two “hero” tables where AT&T highlights marquee products. One of those tables is always reserved for Apple and its iPhone and iPad lineup (“Apple has been a good partner to us,” he says.) The other table offers a display for Beats Music, a mobile streaming service that launched in February that’s exclusively tied to AT&T’s wireless service.

What gets highlighted on that one hero table is entirely up to AT&T, Roth said. He noted that handset manufacturers have tried to buy out the marquee shelf space, but AT&T has declined.

“The store is not for sale,” he said.

Even as the elements of the lab store continue to trickle down through AT&T’s retail network, Roth continues to tinker with the look, including figuring out that podium base. (It’s currently a dull chrome, but he says he plans on playing around with it).

In April, the store will start showing phones with the Isis mobile payment service downloaded onto the device. Isis, a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, was created with the intent of turning your phone into a wallet. Isis is a big priority for the company, with AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega calling it a significant driver of growth in the future.

Roth said he sees a chunk of the store eventually dedicated to the cellular-connected car. In addition, more of the store space will be devoted to apps and experiences tied to your mobile device. The reason is simple: “It’s all pushing the concept that the phone is a remote control for your life.”

radioshack_in-store merchandising

Bad In-Store Experience Is The Reason Why RadioShack Is Closing 1,100 Stores

Electronic retailer RadioShack has seen better days, walking by or even into a RadioShack store you can quickly see why sales fell 19% in last year’s fourth quarter. RadioShack is in desperate need revamp the in-store experience and CEO Joseph C. Magnacca is out to do just that.

From the Forbes.com article, Magnacca points out his turnaround plan for RadioShack.


From the article

Here’s a quick breakdown of his plan:

  1. Repositioning the brand. This concept is exemplified by that 1980s Superbowl ad RadioShack won much deserved acclaim for. The company is promising a new, snazzier version of itself.
  2. Revamping the product assortment. In short, give customers more products they want and get rid of stuff they’re not buying. Magnacca promised real changes in product this summer, and noted the company is moving back to its “roots” by offering newer products ahead of the curve. He’s also betting big on his employees who he says are capable of educating consumers on new products.
  3. Reinvigorating the stores. Some RadioShack stores are getting makeovers. Well lit, clean lines and modern design will highlight top products. These concept stores include things like interactive speaker walls, and live devices that customers can use.
  4. Operational efficiency. 1,100 store closures shrink company owned stores by about 25%. Magnacca says these were the lowest performing stores, and ones that were expected to generate losses. The company still has about 4,000 locations.
  5. Financial flexibility. New financing of about $835 million from lenders including GE Capital. The financing includes $585 million in a new asset-based lending facility, and a $250 million secured term loan.

Question is now – will it work?

With over 4,000 stores to reinvent, the pressure will be on to see how quickly and efficiently RadioShack can bring the 90’s electronic giant into the 21st century, where consumers will want to come to RadioShack to try out and buy the latest and greatest devices on the market. The key component will then be for RadioShack to sustain and continue to keep relevant after the new concept stores have been converted over.

RBM Technologies Lands Equity Round

Here at MerchandisingMatters, our passion for excellence with in-store retail planning and flawless campaign execution runs deep, and without the two components merchandising would not be effective! Over the past 3 years, Merchandisingmatters has created a retail community to share valuable insights in helping readers understand and learn more about effective in-store merchandising. There is no doubt there is not a more exciting time than to be in retail, than now. Retail technology solutions have accelerated the pace of retail and allow retailers to do more than they ever imagine possible. One of these leading retail solutions’ comes from our sponsor, RBM Technologies.

Since 2000, RBM started off in their office in Cambridge as a retail think-tank for some of the world’s largest brands. Their SaaS based concept has been a quiet secret among retail’s brightest marketing and merchandising teams.  RBM’s innovative thinking and solutions have led to changes in how retailers drive the planning and executing in-store merchandising campaigns. With a fundamentally different approach, retailers are able to optimize in-store merchandising campaign planning, communication, and execution.

Monday, RBM announced that it had closed a growth equity round of funding with Spring Lake Equity Partners and also introduced new CEO, E.Y Snowden. The funding, as described by Snowden, will allow RBM to expand and grow globally, while continuing to invest heavily in innovating for existing clients. Snowden, who comes from a strong background in mobile retail with his days early at Sprint, is excited to build on the RBM solutions that are already used around the world.  Snowden stated, “It is an exciting time to be joining a well-respected player like RBM, as mobile and merchandising innovations are driving such change for retailers. I look forward to guiding the company’s effective utilization of the resources provided by Spring Lake to accelerate enhancement of existing products, development of new products, and expansion into new sectors.”

If you I’d to know more how retailers are using RBM’s solutions to deliver a consistent in-store customer experience or learn more about RBM’s growth equity financing, please reach out to:

[email protected]







New Research Tackles Known Problem Management in Retail Visual Merchandising and In-Store Campaign Execution

In its newest custom research report, RIS News examines the state of Known Problem Management (KPM) in retail today and what companies can do to create more customer-centric campaigns that are planned and executed on time

Linking ineffective in-store merchandising to a zombie, a problem that refuses to die until someone figures out how to kill it, RIS News examines known problems through the lens of task management and corporate communication at the store level. The problems of these zombies are so bad they are eating up retail profits! And their #1 enabler, according to retailers? The use of email and spreadsheets to manage in-store execution of visual merchandising, planogram management, retail labor operations, merchandising, and customer engagement strategies. Found in the research, retailers are driven most by the need to adapt and respond to the demands of the consumer. In fact, nearly 60 percent of retailers listed it as the top factor causing them to change their approach to executing merchandising plans for promotional events. The pressure to keep up has caused an influx of these zombies.

Other findings from the RIS News research include:

  • Sixty two percent of retailers say the leading cause of ineffective merchandising for promotional events is the limitation caused by using email and Excel spreadsheets
  • More than half of retailers’ merchandising campaign materials are inaccurately planned and distributed
  • Fifty-three percent believe the number one factor preventing stores from executing campaigns on time and accurately is a heavy store workload. Tied for second at 50 percent each are the lack of ability to track stores and inadequate corporate communication


“The new research from RIS News demonstrates that retailers are beginning to identify known problems and are looking for solutions to kill these zombies,” said Dan Wittner, EVP & Chief Operating Officer at RBM Technologies. “Leading this charge is the desire to create a better in-store experience for the consumer. This is achieved through marked proficiency in executing merchandising plans and staying compliant with corporate campaigns. Fortunately, new technology now empowers store managers to get rid of Excel sheets and excess emails, and focus on the store floor by automating campaign compliance and increasing communication with corporate headquarters through visual planograms.”

Access to the full research report can be downloaded from RIS News.