In-store merchandising, rbm technologies, RIS News, research report

New National Study Finds In-Store Merchandising is a Broken, Outdated Process at Most Retail Chains

RIS News Research Identifies Keys for Optimizing In-Store Merchandising

In its newest custom research report, RIS News examines retailers’ in-store merchandising practices, identifying that this process is a broken and outdated one for a majority of today’s national and regional retail chains. The study, which is available for download, was sponsored by RBM Technologies.

In-store merchandising, rbm technologies, RIS News, research report

“After surveying and speaking with these retailers, and learning more about their current practices, it became clear that in-store merchandising is a very broken process. Too many retailers are still relying on spreadsheets when they really need a comprehensive solution for managing their in-store merchandising campaigns and measuring execution.”

Optimizing In-Store Merchandising,” which is based on survey responses from senior executives across national and large regional retail chains, identifies a new industry term – Known Problem Management (KPM). While the terminology might be new, anyone in retail IT can tell you what their KPMs are. For some, KPMs include shrink and, for others, heterogeneous databases and legacy systems that linger year after year with no end in sight. A major KPM in retail, and the focus of this report, is inaccurate planogram knowledge.

Key findings from the report include:

  • A quarter of retailers have up-to-date store surveys, yet only 3.7% say they have accurate planogram knowledge down to the fixture level for all of their stores.
  • A major part of the problem is that 63% of retailers are still using Excel spreadsheets for in-store merchandise planning, communication and compliance.
  • A quarter of retailers do not even measure store execution and compliance regularly. In fact, a miniscule 7.4% say they only measure it one to two times a year and a much larger group of retailers – nearly 20% – say they never do it.

Joe Skorupa, RIS News editor-in-chief and the author of the report, comments, “After surveying and speaking with these retailers, and learning more about their current practices, it became clear that in-store merchandising is a very broken process. Too many retailers are still relying on spreadsheets when they really need a comprehensive solution for managing their in-store merchandising campaigns and measuring execution.”

The report also found that the bulk of the retailing industry is doing workarounds when they create merchandising plans and forecasts. They are working with historical and aggregated averages; using guesswork instead of hard numbers.

“Retailers have lost confidence in their stores’ ability to execute localized campaigns quickly and effectively,” said RBM’s Chief Operating Officer Dan Wittner. “Retail executives need access to real-time information in order to carry out directives from headquarters. This level of compliance ensures that every customer walking into their stores – regardless of store location – is seeing the right marketing messages and the right merchandise, exactly how it was envisioned to be placed within the store in order to create the optimal customer experience.”

To download a free copy of the report, visit the Research section on the RIS News website.

from Business Wire

Tesco Cisco, StyleMe Mirror, In-store media

Tesco digital pilot brings online experience to in-store shopping

With the drive towards a fully-integrated omni-channel experience, retailers are test driving any number of digital solutions to bridge the online and in-store experience. The trick is to find the right combination of technologies to keep the shopper engaged without oversaturating their experience.

Tesco Cisco, StyleMe Mirror, In-store media

The fortunate news for retailers just setting out is that countless hours of research have already been logged in this endeavor. According to an article on Retail Customer Experience, Tesco has teamed up with Cisco to implement their newest solution to meet shoppers’ demands.

From the article:

“Tesco is trialing an array of interactive technologies at three store locations across the U.K. The new customer-facing upgrades include a digital signage display that advertises clothing available through its F&F line, and a self-service touchscreen kiosk developed by Retec Interface where customers can peruse online items, use barcode scanners for product ratings, reviews and suggested accessories, and make purchases using chip-and-pin.

The move to couple the kiosk and digital signage was intentional, explained Retec CEO Graeme Derby.

‘The kiosk is there to sell a broader array than what they have in the store, and it allows people to order sizes that are out of stock,” Derby said. “The 46-inch Samsung screen then acts as an attraction to direct people to the kiosk, which is linked to the POS.’

In addition to the kiosk and digital signage, Tesco also is trialing the Kids StyleMe Mirror, a creation by C In-Store that uses augmented reality in hopes of engaging even the most uninterested shopper. In this case, a PrimeSense camera captures a child’s image and overlays it with pictures of clothing selected through a gesture-based interface.”

Using Smartphones in Retail Store, In-Store Media

Consumers Calling on Smartphones for In-store Purchasing Decisions

A growing number of shoppers are using their smartphones to help them make in-store purchases. According to new Deloitte research, smartphones currently influence 5.1% of annual retail store sales, translating into $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012, according to new Deloitte research.

Deloitte arrived at its 5.1% figure by examining in-store sales driven by consumers’ store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or other mobile application use.

While that figure may not be very high, Deloitte anticipates mobile’s influence, based on consumers’ smartphone use, will grow to represent 19% of total store sales by 2016, amounting to $689 billion in mobile-influenced sales. By comparison, direct mobile commerce sales will pass the $30 billion mark by that time, according to industry estimates.

Using Smartphones in Retail Store, In-Store Media

“Mobile devices’ influence on retail store sales has passed the rate at which consumers purchase through their devices today,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader. “Consumers’ store-related mobile activities are contributing to – not taking away from – in-store sales, and our research indicates that smartphone shoppers are 14% more likely to convert and make a purchase in the store than non-smartphone users. This means that mobile is an important tool for retailers to incrementally drive traditional in-store sales, strengthening the relationship between retailer and consumer to increase engagement and loyalty.”

Some findings from the study include:

  • Nearly half (48%) of smartphone owners surveyed say their phones have influenced their decision to purchase an item in a store, and the study shows that consumers’ smartphone use tends to be highest at or near the point of purchase. Based on Deloitte’s survey, more than 6 out of 10 (61%) of smartphone owners who use their devices to shop have done so while shopping at the store, and more than half (52%) reach for their phones on the way to the store.

  • Smartphone-toting consumers appear more likely to make a purchase than those who do not own one or do not use it to assist in-store shopping. When asked about their most recent shopping trip, nearly three-quarters (72%) of smartphone owners surveyed indicated they made a purchase on that day, compared with 63% of respondents who did not use a phone. Smartphone users were also more likely to eventually make a purchase: among those who did not buy anything on their last trip, 59% of those who used a smartphone eventually made a purchase, compared to only 22% of those who did not use one.

  • Mobile applications appear to be the inroads to consumer engagement. Nearly four out of 10 (37%) smartphone owners surveyed who used a smartphone on their last shopping trip utilized a third-party mobile shopping application, and more than one-third (34%) used a retailer’s mobile application.

  • As consumers buy smartphones, they are quick to tap their devices for shopping assistance, with smartphone use for store-related shopping increasing 40% after the first six months of ownership, according to Deloitte’s survey. Once these consumers are on board, they consistently use their phones for 50% to 60% of their store shopping trips, depending on the store category.

  • The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between March 20 and 30. The survey polled a national sample of 1,041 random consumers and then augmented this sample with additional smartphone owners to reach a sample of 1,557 smartphone owners. The sample of smartphone owners has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    [via Retailing Today]

Information technology innovation, in-store media, retail

Why IT Innovation Matters more than ever

The retail industry has long been chastised for not moving fast enough when it comes to technology innovation. Perhaps we are now making up for lost time as the industry has changed rapidly over the past ten years alone and retailers are investing in new solutions to keep pace. The evolution of technology has not only changed the way consumers shop, but changed the way retailers respond and how they operate.

Information technology innovation, in-store media, retail

Retailers have long depended on technologies and partners to help make their store experience the best it can be. But for years, loss prevention technology was really the only focus and it was a fairly straightforward game of “keeping the bad guys out.” Today, the industry has become increasingly complex and the “bad guys” even more determined. Loss prevention and shrinkage is a $100 billion dollar issue. Every day retailers need to track and protect merchandise, employees and customers, combat organized retail crime – which has become increasingly sophisticated – and reduce shrink, all while providing a safe and secure store environment.

To complicate matters, shoppers have also become savvier. They want a specific item, in the right size, in the right color and they want the best deal. Customer relationships are shifting towards a one-to-one model instead of a one-to-many approach that was used in the past. The emergence of trends such as omnichannel retailing gives retailers the opportunity to address the shift and offer their merchandise to shoppers at the moment of interest, and sell at the moment of decision, but it also raises shoppers’ expectations with a promise of availability. It also shines a hard light on the ongoing issue of “out of stock” which costs retailers an estimated $456 billion dollars in lost sales annually according to IHL’s 2012 Inventory Distortion Study.

Clearly, the retail market has experienced some dramatic shifts of late and the recent economic downturn has added yet another pressure point. The intersection of all these mounting challenges has created a complex environment for today’s retailers where they must adapt to not only ensure safety and security, but enhance overall store performance.

As many of our customers have learned the hard way, the processes and systems in place don’t always meet today’s challenges. Retailers are used to relying on individual technologies to address individual problems, but none of those systems “talk” to each other. It’s difficult to see patterns emerge or anticipate store needs if information isn’t accessible, updated or timely.

[via Retailing Today]

Multi-Channel, In-Store Merchandising, Retail Localization

Five Multi-Channel Trends that Impact In-store Merchandising

Gone are the days when an in-store merchandising company can put a solution on the floor and think of it as impacting what happens in the store only. Consumers shop in a world that is becoming increasingly multi-channel but they operate in a mindset that is decidedly cross-channel. A new shopper orientation toward multiple and varied inputs requires us to connect the dots when developing a solution for a retailer. The path to purchase is more personal and consequently less predictable, and display or kiosk user experiences must reflect this environment.

Multi-Channel, In-Store Merchandising, Retail Localization

Surprisingly, it is sometimes the in-store merchandising company that is raising the “have you considered” questions that bring multi-channel and cross-channel execution into the discussion of a project’s scope.

We serve our customers well by showing them how to leverage the capability of one channel to impact another. It requires us to constantly look ahead.

Here are five trends in multi-channel retailing that we think retailers should take note of:

1) Mirroring of the online experience
Online shopping has recast expectations for retail shopping. Trendwatching.com says the legacy of etailing that carries over into retailing is the desire for endless choice, instant gratification, total transparency, and seamless collaboration. Shopping kiosks and iPad stations, with software featuring inventory, the online catalog, price checking, promotional offers, and social media connection — everything that can be accessed online — are examples of how retailers can respond to this new reality.

2) Portability
Content from another channel — a PC, a counter unit, a kiosk — increasingly will migrate to our mobile device. Bringing ecommerce in-store implies the objective of completing a transaction there, and studies have shown that kiosks do keep people in the store. When something interrupts that process, referring content to the mobile device enables future consideration and purchase. The shopping path crosses from one channel to another, and there is a segment of shoppers quite comfortable with this behavior. A recent survey by Local Corporation cited on kioskmarketplace.com found 28% of consumers surveyed use two devices at one time to shop.

3) Relevance
It is a personalized web, and that experience can be replicated in-store. One way to provide relevance is to incorporate a shopper’s loyalty number into the user experience of a self-service kiosk. Additionally, we are beginning to see beacon-like hardware that can be incorporated into an otherwise passive display that can deliver location-relevant offers and information. With the addition of a consumer application running on a phone, a shopper’s loyalty information can be factored in with location to bring additional relevancy to mobile content. Coupons are a perfect example of content
that can be made more relevant and personal when accessed in-store and can be ported from one channel to another.

4) Social integration
Retailers have been taking steps for quite some time to incorporate social sharing into their marketing. This seems no less important with recent changes to social media platforms that make them more visual and with the ascendancy of Pinterest. Pinterest is a visually oriented social platform that lets users group images (think products) around themes, use-occasions and interests. In February Pinterest was reported by Mobile Commerce daily to have driven more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. From a user standpoint, it is a way to bring social recognition to products without having to express an on-going affinity for a brand. From a retailer viewpoint, it promotes discovery. It is too soon to tell exactly what commercial
impact Pinterest will have, but the Pin-It button bears forethought when developing an online, in-store, or mobile solution. users will come to expect its presence across multiple channels.

5) Personal clienteling
The introduction of tablets at retail, whether hand-held, in countertop displays or kiosks, makes for a more dynamic, interactive and convenient sales experience than anyone imaged a few short years ago. For the salesperson, tablets can be a powerful customer service and line-busting tool. If a retailer develops a specific tablet application, it can provide more information than simple access to a website. Forwardlooking retailers are now using tablet applications to integrate with inventory management, give the salesperson access to the customer’s loyalty program and connect the salesperson with similar stores and corporate headquarters. In planning for tablets at retail, consideration should be given to flexible solutions that can serve both assisted selling and self-service scenarios.

For a retailer, a presence in all the right channels is not enough. Consumers want to experience a brand, not a channel. They expect continuity and a response that is relevant to their needs. Connecting channels enables the personalized path to purchase that consumers desire. The obvious benefit is that it elevates the value of a retailer’s brand in the eyes of the consumer. For a retailer, planning across channels facilitates the development of merchandising solutions that will be on trend with consumer behavior.

[via Frank Mayer and Associates]

Sephora, iPads in stores, in-store media, retail localization

Sephora Makes Over Website, Adds iPads In Stores

San Francisco-based Sephora unveiled its social and mobile makeover, including a new personalized web experience, new mobile website, iPhone app and iOS devices in more than 100 stores. The beauty retailer has also integrated Pinterest to its site by adding “Pin It” buttons to every product and brand page.

Sephora, iPads in stores, in-store media, retail localization

“Digital is a must for the future of retailing,” said Julie Bornstein, senior vp, Sephora Direct. “With the social, digital, mobile and website updates, we’re giving our clients the most customizable experience in the beauty industry, and connecting clients with our experts in the ways that are most relevant to them. We’re excited to makeover the future of shopping.”

Each product on Sephora.com has been tagged and indexed with 25 different characteristics, including relevant data like target age group, specific ingredients, formulations, fragrance and price. The site also houses more product images and time-saving checkout. Shoppers can also use the website to check in-store availability.

The Pinterest “Pin It” button allows users to pin any of the 14,000 products from the Sephora website, as well as check out Sephora inspiration boards, highlighting current looks and new products.

As part of Sephora’s mobile focus, the retailer is also testing iPads in stores, with 20 locations outfitted with the Apple devices. Staff will also carry iPod Touch units to help clients find and research products through the Sephora app.

[via VMSD]

Bloomingdale’s holiday windows bring the store’s shopping bags to life

Vintage is hot at Bloomingdale’s this season, even in the department store’s holiday windows.

Five display cases, to be unveiled Wednesday night along the Lexington Ave. side of the 59th St. flagship store, will bring to life holiday shopping bags from years past.

“When we came up with the concept of the shopping bags, we really wanted some Bloomingdale’s DNA in our holiday window presentation,” says John Klimkowski, operating vice president and creative director of visual and merchandising presentation.

“So many customers love and collect our bags, and we love the artistry that the bags bring to our seasonal campaigns,” he adds. “I get such a kick out of being on the train and seeing, just in my one train car, three different campaigns of Bloomingdale’s bags that customers are still carrying around and enjoy.”

Klimkowski compares choosing his favorite vintage window of the five with a parent deciding which child they like best, but he eventually offers one up — “Penguin With Coveted Holiday Gift.” It’s based on a Bloomingdale’s paper bag from the 1992 holiday season.

“The bag shows a penguin coveting a gift package, reminiscent of how a penguin hatches its egg,” he explains. “So when the window opens, as a surprise, the babies are hatched and it’s spring. They all have their sunglasses on and are walking around.”

It’s one of two vintage bags that spin on a turntable, to show both an imprint of the actual shopping bag inspiration on one side and then the interior diorama on the other. The remaining three bags open up to reveal their designs.

A “Santa and Reindeer” window has roots in a 1978 bag that showed the Christmas characters ice-skating on the East River.

“That bag [in the display] opens up and you find Santa and the reindeer skating in Central Park with other skaters,” Klimkowski. “To bring it into the world of today, they are skating with their iPods.

[via New York Daily News]

Toys 'R' Us Black Friday

A Look at Toys ‘R’ Us’s Holiday 2011 Mobile Strategy

Toys ‘R’ Us today announced Friday that it has expanded its mobile offerings for the 2011 holiday season. Here’s a look at what the multichannel toy seller is doing to bring an enhanced mobile experience to its customers.

Toys 'R' Us Black Friday

Expanded Gift Finder app offerings: By the end of November, Toys ‘R’ Us hopes to have its Gift Finder app available for both iPhones and Androids. A version is currently available for the iPad. The Gift Finder asks gift-givers a series of questions about the child they’re shopping for, and provides gift suggestions based on age and interests. When customers search for a product, they will be able to sort the results by relevance, best-selling items, top-rated items or price.

 

Milo and RedLaser 3.0 iPhone integration: Through the company’s partnership with eBay, Toys ‘R’Us’s local inventory searchable on mobile apps Milo and RedLaser 3.0. Using the RedLaser 3.0 app for iPhone, customers can pay for the item they’re looking for within the app, and then pick up their item at a nearby store.

Location-Based programs Foursquare and shopkick: On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, customers can check-in at their local store via Foursquare to receive the Geoffrey Holiday Badge, while supplies last. After unlocking the badge, those who check-in can redeem a coupon for 15% off a purchase of $150 or more between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.

In addition, Super Swarm deals will be unlocked when 15 people check in at the same Toys ‘R’ Us location within a three-hour timeframe on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, allowing participants to choose additional discounts.

Throughout the remainder of the holiday season, shoppers can unlock the Geoffrey Holiday Badge and additional special savings opportunities when checking in at Toys ‘R’ Us on Foursquare.

In approximately 100 Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles metro areas, customers using Shopkick will also be eligible for certain deals from Thanksgiving through Saturday, Nov. 26, that can be redeemed the following week.

Google Wallet Availability: Customers in approximately 200 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores in major metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and San Francisco can use their phone to pay for their purchases using Google Wallet. The NFC-enabled Google Wallet is presently available on Sprint Nexus S 4G phones.

QR Codes: Toys ‘R’ Us says its customers have responded enthusiastically to QR codes that the company has used to supplement print advertising vehicles, product packaging and in-store signage. For example, in the approximately two weeks following the launch of The Great Big Toys ‘R’ Us Book, the four product-specific QR codes throughout the catalog were scanned tens of thousands of times. Each item’s accompanying QR code lets viewers see demonstrations of the product in action.

QR codes are also available as part of in-store signage and on individual product packaging to showcase product demos or provide additional information on how a particular program works.

[via MultiChannelMerchant.com]

Wireless Retail, In-Store Media

90 percent of wireless retailers looking to improve the in-store experience

Wireless Retail, In-Store Media

iQmetrix, a provider of retail management software for the North American wireless industry, has announced the results of its 7th annual “State of the Wireless Industry” survey released at its Wireless Summit held in Miami, FL Oct. 16-18. The survey, conducted by iQmetrix, polled 158 independent wireless resellers across North America, and provides an inside peek at trends, challenges and plans for expansion.

The most significant finding was that despite economic uncertainty, the majority of mobile resellers expect growth over the next five years. Additionally, nearly half of the mobile resellers surveyed see recruiting and retaining staff to be one of their biggest business challenges.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Nearly 70 percent of respondents believe the industry will continue to grow over the next five years, with the same percentage planning to expand their businesses.
  • More than 85 percent plan to improve the in-store experience in 2012 with a focus on employee training (88 percent) and store design (63 percent).
  • Mobile payments, digital signage, interactive retail and location-based advertising will be the top in-store investments for 2012.
  • 70 percent of respondents are currently using social media to communicate with their customers and many are planning to invest in mobile advertising in the near future.
  • Trends and technology that respondents consider important for the future include: 4G, mobile broadband growth beyond traditional devices with a continued growth of tablets and mobile payments.

[via RetailCustomerExperience.com]

5 Necessary Steps for Integrating Your Mobile and In-Store Retail Channels

The rapid surge in mobile and tablet device usage has captured the attention of retailers in a big way.

Forrester estimates that mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016 and 51 percent of the U.S. population will own a smartphone by the end of 2011.

As smartphone and mobile device sales have skyrocketed, retailers will see increasing numbers of in-store customers using these devices to enrich their shopping experience. In the U.S., more than 55 percent of smartphone users believe using their phone during the in-store shopping experience will make it more enjoyable and, according to Internet Retailer, a staggering 73 percent of shoppers with smartphones report a preference for using their mobile devices while in store rather than asking a sales associate for help. Statistics like these are hard to ignore, and the time is now for retailers to adapt and offer a solution that meets the needs of their increasingly mobile inclined customers.

To successfully integrate their mobile and in-store channels, retails should carefully consider five key touch points: Pre-store, en-route, in-store, checkout, and post-purchase.

Integrating mobile retail

Pre-store

Integrating mobile retailRetailers have an opportunity to start engaging customers long before they arrive at a store and mobile is a powerful channel through which to start the relationship. An intuitive mobile-optimized website that allows for easy product browsing and purchasing is critical for consumers to engage with the retailer anytime and anywhere. By incorporating high-quality pictures and detailed information about products, a mobile site empowers consumers to begin their shopping experience before entering the store. Consumers can not only learn about products they are interested in, but they can also find out about upcoming promotions, in-store events and specials that are relevant to them.

While mobile-optimized websites are a great way to reach a large number of consumers, an app allows for users to integrate smartphone functionality into the mobile experience and take advantage of features such as GPS and camera. Additionally, apps can simplify the user interface, enabling consumers to search for products and easily make purchases from a mobile device within just a few clicks or find a store with availability to purchase locally. Apps can improve the pre-store planning experience as well, by allowing consumers to scan barcodes of products they already have at home to add items to a mobile shopping list, easily add items when they think of them and share lists with friends and family members.

En-route

Integrating mobile retailMobile devices enable customers on-the-go to seek out store locations, receive promotional messages and access special deals no matter where they are. Store locator functionality serves as a crucial link between mobile and traditional in-store retail channels and eliminates the potential initial pain point of the in-store shopping experience: getting to the store. Store locator app functionality give consumers the capability to locate stores and get directions quickly and easily as well as access store hours, and basic information that previously required a phone call to store employees.

GPS-enabled smartphones allow retailers to incorporate location-based promotions into the shopping experience that provide immense value to consumers. For example, customers with an enabled retailer app who enter a geo-fenced area surrounding store locations can be sent alerts with discounts, current in-store promotions or special offers. Location-based promotions have the power to drive store traffic, increase sales, and solidify the smartphone as an integral part of the multi-channel equation.

In-store

From the moment customers walk into a store, mobile unlocks the potential to enhance all aspects of the shopping experience. By using a retailer app, customers can “check-in” to receive store coupons and promotions as well as access countless features the retailer chooses to implement. Some retailers provide additional information that improves the store experience such as store maps, product advice and personalized suggestions based on shopping history. Once in the store, customers can research products by scanning product barcodes with a smartphone camera to compare prices, read reviews, add items to a wishlist, or share items with friends via social networks. Customers will be able to interact with promotional signage in stores by scanning quick response (QR) codes to create a more interactive store experience; customers can enter contests, obtain style/gear advice, access news and media to further engage with the store.

Additionally, QR codes can provide invaluable customer preference insights that can be used to deliver personalized and relevant campaigns. Barcode scanning grants customers access to extended product information allowing for more informed purchasing decisions—this convergence between mobile and the in-store channels is a core element of the multi-channel retail strategy. Incorporating mobile in stores enables customers to have a highly personalized, distinctive, relevant and fun shopping experience – while the retailer seamlessly integrates multiple channels.

Checkout

Retailers that enable customers to make payments with a mobile device will make the check-out experience quick, convenient and easy. Currently there are numerous mobile payment options and the solution that retailers offer will depend on the type of retail segment and resources available. Many retailers are implementing mobile app scanners or NFC devices at registers to allow customers to pay quickly with their phones.

Mobile POS devices can eliminate slow-moving check-out lines, poor customer service and missed selling opportunities. Importantly, linking inventory to a mobile POS device can dramatically decrease distribution and labor costs as well as allow for employees to be more knowledgeable and helpful to customers. Home Depot recently made a $64 million investment in the largest mobile POS roll-out to date. The newly launched Home Depot First Phone is a phone, mobile POS, receipt printer, inventory tracker and walkie-talkie and allows employees to quickly provide valuable information to customers. Despite the large investment, Home Depot claims the labor savings realized through this implementation will cover the cost within the first year of roll out.

[via RetailCustomerExperience.com]