Executive ViewPoints

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

The Holiday Selling Season: A Hacker’s Ideal Time For Attack

1 VP site only Radware headshotAs a retailer, the fourth quarter is the most critical revenue driver for your business. As you double down on your inventory, web site, Black Friday specials, and in store displays — you should also be doubling down on your network security.

E-Commerce sales are expected to reach nearly 80 billion U.S. dollars this holiday season, accounting for 9% of total U.S. retail sales, according to projections from eMarketer. That is a lot — A lot of sales, a lot of traffic and overall, a lot at stake.  For a hacker, this is an ideal opportunity to target your business, and take your site down when you stand to lose the most revenue.


Five Practical Security And Risk Management Tips For Retailers

Kenya husband- Retail marketingAccording to a recent report, retail is among the top five industries suffering the most from data breaches, with POS intrusions accounting for one in four breaches observed last year. Not surprising given the fact that retail systems hold extremely valuable customer information, making them an attractive target for hackers.

With the recent surge in high profile data breaches, retailers are acutely aware of the need to safeguard against a possible security breach. However, the reality is that in today’s hyper-connected age, it is increasingly difficult to stay a step ahead of every security threat. It can be difficult not only to know exactly where to focus efforts for the best result, but also to justify the associated ROI. There are, however, practical steps that retailers can take to improve their security measures so they are armed with practical solutions that enable them to be better prepared and ready to act before a threat arises.


6 Keys To Better Mobile Performance

1 moovweb headshot
Consumers are now using smartphones at every point in their customer journey to engage with businesses. Almost half of all U.S. consumers now turn to mobile to access financial services, search for real estate, engage with healthcare providers and shop. But business performance in the mobile channel has disappointed. Average conversion rates are 70% lower on mobile than on desktop, contributing to a substantially lower customer lifetime value.

At Moovweb, we like to think of page performance along six dimensions: speed, responsiveness, searchability, content, conversion and usability. When we assess an existing mobile experience, we use this checklist as a starting point for identifying quick opportunities for performance optimization.


Personally Perfect: How Individualized Value Explodes The World Of Retail Potential

a VP ThoughtWorks
There’s no debating that a great experience inside the retail store is a genuine joy. Shopping, whether it’s at a brick-and-mortar store or on an e-Commerce site, can be a lot of fun. But shopping is far from the only joy or challenge in life, so retailers that want to differentiate themselves and delight their customers need to think about the broader context of customers’ lives.


Harnessing Changing Shopper Behaviors To Improve Retail Results

AVP ShopperTrak headshotOne of the inherent benefits of technology is speed. From business processes to our personal daily routines, the world operates in a blur. Inventory is shipped to stores in hours, products are ordered in minutes via mobile and items are delivered directly to shoppers’ doorsteps.

As a result of such immediacy, a new consumer has emerged. Many click their way to purchases, with Forrester reporting that $300 billion of annual retail revenue is generated by e-Commerce. And yet, brick-and-mortar stores are where the bulk of buying still takes place. According to Forrester, more than 90% of the $3.2 trillion in annual retail revenue comes from physical stores.


Live Chat Gets Joyful And Jolly For The Holidays

AVP site only Moxie headshotIt’s September and that means the holiday season is just around the corner. Like most smart businesses, yours is already full-steam ahead with holiday merchandise on order, online and in-store promotions being planned, and designs for the ho-ho-ho look and feel you want to convey undergoing refinement.

One area of holiday planning that sometimes gets overlooked until the last minute is online chat. While the rest of your operations are in the holiday swing, chat continues on its not-so-merry way with the same look and feel, messages and style of interactions that you use throughout the year.


3 Easy Steps To Omnichannel Success

AVP PointInside headshotShoppers are demanding more convenient ways to shop and receive their orders, and more retailers are listening. In Target’s recent earnings call, CEO Brian Cornell listed one of the key priorities as “providing guests with easy access to items from our entire digital assortment through in-store pick-up.” Last spring, Meijer grocery chain piloted their own in-store pickup, with plans to expand into additional locations.

As more shoppers prefer to purchase items online and pick them up in-store, the demand for omnichannel fulfillment has been steadily increasing. According to a recent study by Accenture, 32% of U.S. consumers surveyed said the biggest improvement retailers could make was to integrate all three sales channels — the physical store, online and mobile apps. It’s important in today’s digital age that retailers consider the option of integrated purchasing channels in order to remain competitive or risk falling behind.


Data Strategy: The Magic Behind Mobile Advertising

AVP 4INFO imageAs consumers shift their attention to mobile devices, marketers are doing the same with their media spend. But to measure their return on that media investment, they need the ability to link first- and third-party data to mobile devices so they can be sure they’re reaching the right people and, ultimately, tie ads on those devices to actual sales data.

This calls for a mobile data management platform (DMP), which uses a persistent match key to link target audiences across multiple screens — and all of the data known about them. And behind any good DMP platform is a smart data strategy. However, many marketers admit they have no strategy behind their DMP and they know it’s holding them back.


Drive Sales The Data Way

AVP site only SPS Commerce heashotHistorical sales and pricing information. Remember when “knowing your customer” was limited to these two metrics? We had no way of knowing just how important data would become in today’s omnichannel retail environment, an environment in which retailers meticulously develop customer engagement, retention and loyalty through everything from transactions and demographics to what consumers express and share through social media.

And while information has always been equated with power, it’s now essential to survival. That’s because Big Data is now “big business.” Hotel chains harness data to create digital engagement with their customers to increase bookings; professional sports teams use data to attract more fans; and retailers use data to drive traffic, increase sales and improve margins.


What Retailers Should Do Before Investing In IoT Technology

VP HappiestMinds 090815
The Internet of Things (IoT) — the automated transmission of data over a network, without the need of human interaction — promises to change the ways customers interact with retailers, and it is no wonder that the retail industry is all excited about this technology. According to a recent survey, nearly 96% of retailers across the globe are keen to integrate IoT technology into their business processes, and 67% have already done so.


Holidays Spotlight The Biggest Cloud Benefit: Accelerating Speed To Value

VP Oracle 090815
While cost savings provided by a cloud-based IT model drive many decisions, they obscure what I consider the cloud’s biggest benefit: Accelerating speed to value by delivering innovation faster, a high priority for any retail CEO. This is never more apparent than with the approach of the critical holiday shopping season, when retailers have their greatest opportunity to leverage innovations and fundamental systems improvements to drive more sales and better performance.


Secrets To Building Successful Mobile In-Store Experiences

AVP Hughes headshotDo you have a mobile in-store experience strategy? Many articles and studies tell us mobile is the greatest technology disrupter in retail since the barcode. At three Retail TouchPoints executive breakfasts in New York City, Dallas and Minneapolis earlier this year, mobile was the hottest topic of discussion. So hot that at one event the presenter never made it past the third slide when mobile strategy was brought up for discussion! The question for retailers remains deceptively simple: How do you build a successful mobile in-store experience that leads to higher conversion rates and larger basket sizes?

A successful mobile experience starts with a well-defined strategy, beginning with a basic choice between mobile app and mobile web. This may lead to questions concerning user interface or device type — are you designing for an iPhone experience or Android? Is it a customer facing or associate driven experience? What features are needed across channels and should they all be delivered at once or over time? Will push notifications be implemented? Keep in mind 86% of mobile users’ time is spent in apps vs. mobile web since April 2014 according to a Flurry Analytics, comScore and NetMarketShare study.


Analytics That Make A Difference: Data Shows Increased Conversion Rates For Staffed Fitting Rooms

AVP site only RetailNext headshotIt’s a constant struggle for retailers to protect margins. If it’s not global macro-economic concerns, it’s unseasonable weather, intensified competition, multichannel conflict and inefficiencies, increased theft or any number of countless other causes. In response, many retailers have responded with short-term fixes of reducing staffing coverage and labor costs, but in doing so, have created long-term unintended consequences.

Professor Saravanan Kesavan and a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business recently published a paper that considered the case of a large Midwestern department store chain that changed its operational models to include a self-service fitting room. The research findings illustrate the need to complement value and intuition with hard data in making decisions to optimize retail store operations.


Why Intelligent Alerting Beats Predictive Analytics

AVP Kim Garretson head shotA news headline from June 2015 reads: “Why investors can’t stop investing in predictive analytics.” This makes me scratch my head, because in my view, most predictive platforms promise negligible increases in conversion. I wonder: Why not just ask the non-buying shopper what she wants to buy next and why?

But the tide is turning, and some retailers who profess to be “customer-centric” realize that expensive predictive platforms using past-history browse, CRM, purchase and other data sets, while improving, are still merely ‘guesses’ at future purchase intent. And, even worse, they often irritate shoppers when un-requested retargeting emails and ads plead for a second chance to sell them something.

Subscribe to this RSS feed