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.


Appboy Connected Content Helps Streamline Personalization Through Email, Mobile

In order to create more compelling and memorable shopping experiences, retailers are striving to create rich, multichannel campaigns tailored to individual customers.

Appboy has released Connected Content, a new feature designed to help marketers leverage rich user profiles and craft personalized marketing campaigns that improve customer engagement and conversions.


Sephora Makes Strides Towards The Store Of The Future

Over the past few years, Sephora has implemented a variety of innovative technologies in stores that make the shopping experience more compelling. Now, the cosmetics retailer is moving towards a new store of the future concept designed to make the brick-and-mortar store more relevant for shoppers.

“Components of our store of the future outlet include enhanced digital signage, as well as dynamic in-store and in-mall promotional items,” explained Peter Chow, Lead IT Project Manager for Sephora. “We’re leveraging the data we have on our customers and providing them with an enhanced shopping experience.”


5 Marketing Realities To Maximize Customer Lifetime Value

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In June I attended Retail TouchPoints’ Retail Innovation Conference (RIC) here in New York, and with a stated theme of “reimagining the customer experience,” I could not have felt more at home. I admittedly attended the conference with my own agenda — to persuade an audience on the power of personalization in driving customer lifetime value — but was thrilled to see many of the day’s sessions round out this thesis.


Personalization Delivers Big E-Commerce Wins For National Pen

1 National Pen newFollowing the implementation of a new e-Commerce solution from Oracle, National Pen has seen its loyalty and retention rates rise significantly; and e-Commerce average order size is now 20% larger than the company's traditional direct mail orders. National Pen, a 60-year-old company, supplies personalized, branded products to more than 1.2 million customers in 27 countries.

Today at National Pen, "One plus one equals five," stated Dave Thompson, CEO, in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. "What has surprised us most is that we thought our new e-Commerce customers would be more transactional than loyal. But we've found that retention is higher than normal; average annual spend is outside normal; and we're attracting a new, different type of customer."


Localization And Personalization Become Key For Successful Back-To-School Campaigns

Although it seems most Americans have just completed the school year, retailers are already planning their back-to-school initiatives. As they start planning their marketing campaigns and sales, retailers should keep personalization and localization top-of-mind.

After all, two thirds of students and 74% of parents say ads promoting nearby stores are the most likely to drive back-to-school purchases, according to a survey from Eyeview. This tactic, also known as localization, is more impactful than retargeting campaigns, which were spotlighted by only 34% of students and 26% of parents.


CVS Health Opens Digital Innovation Lab In Boston

CVS has opened a Digital Innovation Lab in Boston, focused on developing digital services and personalization capabilities to make the personal pharmacy and health experience more accessible and integrated for shoppers.  The facility also will serve as a hub for the digital team at CVS Health, which will remain headquartered in Woonsocket, R.I.  With the introduction of the lab, CVS is doubling its investment in the digital arena, according to Brian Tilzer, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for CVS Health.

The lab is designed to bring digital innovation strategies to market quickly through a rapid test-and-learn program. The team will explore digital health through innovation in mobile, personalization, multi-channel e-Commerce, connected health and digital therapeutics. CVS Health also will pace its innovation by partnering with selected startups and mature companies in the digital and health care space.


Keeping Up With The Times: Five Steps To A Personalized Retail Experience

VP site only Cayan head shotAs the lines between our virtual and physical worlds continue to blur, the brick-and-mortar retail experience is changing. And there’s a common trend among those retailers leading the way: A movement toward greater personalization.

But while in-store technology like beacons and interactive product displays is becoming more commonplace, large-scale adoption remains a work in progress, creating a less-than-ideal customer experience. A recent report from Google found that 79% of shoppers seek information essential to their purchasing decisions while in a retail store, but only two out of every three actually find the answers they need.


5 Persona-Based Segments To Fuel Your E-Commerce Personalization And Optimization Plan

VP site only Dynamic Yield head shotUncovering patterns and trends in behavior is a key step for marketers who are analyzing, optimizing or personalizing web sites. This ongoing effort can be achieved by creating segments in their analytics tool. Unfortunately, the standard, ready-made segments that many web analytics tools offer are too limited. In this article, I will outline practical segmentation ideas that you can use to find actionable insights to fuel your personalization or optimization plan.

Segments allow us to narrow down the volume of data to extract the essence hidden within. I’ve recently written about the importance of segments as a tool that allows us to tell the real and interesting stories behind the “what” and “who” of our data. Nevertheless, it is a tedious, time-consuming task. Locating distinct and powerful user archetypes, not to mention incorporating those segments into your overall marketing strategy, requires a deep understanding of who your audience is.


The Next Billion-Dollar Retail Opportunity? Mobile

OtherLevels - CEO Ramsey Masri Headshot
For retailers anxious to crack the code on mobile marketing to their smartphone-empowered shoppers, look no further than these numbers:

  • 30% of shoppers aged 16-34 use apps to plan out their purchases each month;
  • 32% of consumers want retailers to integrate their online, mobile and in-store shopping experiences; and
  • 75% of consumers use their smartphone while shopping.

So if three quarters of spending-age consumers use a mobile device as a shopping companion, and the mobile internet is predicted to support $700 billion in commerce by 2017, then there’s a “billion dollar mobile opportunity” waiting right around the corner.


La Jolla Group CEO Sets Sights On Content Merchandising With Reflektion

La Jolla GroupWith a target consumer base that largely consists of Millennials, La Jolla Group CEO Daniel Neukomm is tasked with the challenge of not only understanding these elusive shoppers, but also creating highly relevant and compelling experiences across all channels.

To address this business imperative, La Jolla Group has implemented Personalized and Visual Site Search for its O’Neill and Metal Mulisha e-Commerce sites. The solution, developed by Reflektion, is designed to add a layer of personalization and real-time product imagery to e-Commerce site search results.


NetSuite Set To Acquire Bronto For $200 Million

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is acquiring Bronto Software for approximately $200 million in cash and equity, the two companies announced today. The deal is expected to close in Q2 2015. This acquisition continues NetSuite's focus on delivering a complete and consistent omnichannel experience for its 3,000+ customer base of retail brands using the SuiteCommerce solution. In the past three years, NetSuite also has purchased Retail Anywhere, Venda, and TribeHR.

Bronto currently has more than 1,400 brands using its commerce marketing automation platform, including Armani Exchange, Timex and Gander Mountain. Bronto and NetSuite also share a number of retail customers, including Precision Cycling and Cyberswim.


EngageClick Machine Learning Helps Personalize Offers

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To build long-term and profitable customer relationships, retailers need to engage and incent their consumers in a relevant way at every stage of their browsing and buying journey.

EngageClick has released the Machine Learning Optimization Platform, which combines retargeting and predictive targeting software to calculate desired outcomes for each consumer. Using the solution, retailers are positioned to deliver content and offers that are personalized and optimized for specific delivery channels.


The Walking Company Enhances Customer Experience With Epicor Solutions

The Walking Company thewalkingcompanyselected three Epicor Retail solutions to help enable more personalized experiences for in-store customers. The retailer has deployed Epicor Retail CRM 7.0, Epicor Retail Clienteling, and Epicor Retail Store Point of Sale (POS) solution throughout more than 210 stores.

Epicor Retail CRM 7.0 delivers customer insights that allow The Walking Company to provide more personalized offerings and loyalty rewards and incentives. The CRM solution also recently helped launch of the retailer's new loyalty program.


Retailers Close The Personalization Gap With Content Campaigns

If retailers want to capture the attention of savvy consumers, they need to provide personalized experiences across channels. However, providing these experiences remains a key challenge for businesses of all sizes and across categories.

For the most part, retailers understand the role of personalization in the buying process. In fact, as many as 83% of retail marketers think they do a satisfactory job in personalizing experiences for consumers, according to research from Adobe. Customers do not necessarily agree, and there is a wide personalization gap between both sides. In fact, the same survey indicates that only 29% of consumers feel retailers effectively offer them personalized content or offers.


Creating PACTS To Enhance Customer Experience

In today’s digitally disrupted world, leading players are creating superior customer care with interactions that are personalized, accurate, collaborative, timely, and appropriately self-served.

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This is true for the challenges many companies are facing as they try to be everywhere for everyone in today’s digitally connected, omnichannel world. The complexity of an ever-increasing variation in channels, devices, and data makes navigating the path to “simple” more challenging than ever.


Custora Raises $6.5 Million In Series A Funding

CustoraCustora, a New York City-based marketing software startup, has raised $6.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Foundation Capital.

Greycroft Partners and Valhalla Ventures also contributed to the round, which Custora will use to help scale sales and marketing operations and build out its B2C marketing software platform. In 2011, Custora raised a seed round of financing and has grown consistently over the past few years. The company’s current list of retail clients include Ann Taylor, Bonobos and Guess?.


Retailers Embrace Personalization To Ramp Up Content Investments

As shoppers become more empowered and educated, retailers are tasked with the challenge of ensuring each consumer has a satisfying and memorable experience. Today's consumers have different shopping goals and preferences, and they now expect their browsing and buying journeys to align directly with their wants and needs.

To meet and exceed the expectations of choosy consumers, best-in-class retailers aim to display content that personalizes the shopping experience and helps build long-term relationships with shoppers. After all, 71% of retail consumers report that they like receiving personalized offers as they shop, according to the Adobe Retail Personalization Survey.


Retail In 2015: It’s Payback Time For Apps

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In 2014, retailers really embraced mobile apps. TechCrunch recently reported that unique app sessions in the shopping and lifestyle categories increased overall by as much as 174% year over year.

But will retailers see a real return on the investment they poured into mobile apps in the year to come?

That will depend on how well they grasp the opportunities — and challenges — ahead. It’s not enough to just install an app. Savvy retailers must not only understand both changing consumer behavior and new technologies, but also how they can use apps to help them react to these changes. 


Cultivating Loyalty In The Digital Age

VP site only QuickPivot head shotIndustry data shows that three in five Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience, and 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. 

As we strive for better integration between technology (marketing automation tools, CRM, social listening platforms) and massive amounts of data, marketers still find themselves at a point of heartbreaking irony. At a time when so much is known about the customer, marketers still struggle to build loyal and lasting customer relationships.

In fairness to marketers, data silos and weak marketing systems still hamper efforts, but an equal hindrance is the know-how and experience in crafting loyalty programs that keep the “human” side of their business alive in order to cultivate long-term brand loyalty in the digital age.


Barilliance Facilitates Personalization Across The Buying Journey

SS Barilliance ImageIt is no longer enough for retailers to provide consumers with a consistent experience across all channels. In fact, savvy shoppers now expect seamless experiences that are tailored to their unique wants, needs and preferences.

Barilliance provides an e-Commerce suite designed to help retailers personalize the entire omnichannel shopping journey. The suite includes a personalized product recommendation engine, a multi-stage cart abandonment email solution and a real-time web site personalization tool.


Apple Watch Presents Retailers With More Opportunities For Real-Time Engagement

Mobile has become a critical channel for retailers to connect with consumers more directly, whether they are at home or on the go. But the new Apple Watch is expected to help retailers to make that connection even more real time and powerful. Retailers such as QVC are already developing apps for the new hardware.

Earlier this week, Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch, with CEO Tim Cook announcing that the new wearable will be available in nine countries on April 24, 2015. 


SABON Boosts Black Friday Sales By 35% With Site Personalization

Each shopper has a unique journey. They have specific goals and preferences, and as a result, have different expectations of brands and retailers.

Retailers are striving to connect and engage customers, regardless of their unique preferences, by embracing personalization. While ratings and recommendations have become more commonplace, new tools and technologies empower retailers to personalize different phases of the browsing and buying journey.


What Cost-Per-Hour Means For Retail Marketing Spend

VP Sailthru head shotJust a few months ago, the traditional ad model was served a shakeup when the Financial Times announced they’d be rolling out new ad rates based on time and attention versus impressions. This is just one in a series of interesting new — and interrelated — tactics that media sites are taking to diversify their revenue streams from adopting publisher analytics platforms like to monetizing reader intent data via adtech providers.

This particular model is being called CPH or cost-per-hour, and for retail marketers it presents an interesting new reality. I’m sure many would agree that they’d far rather work in a world where ad rates were based on how long they appear in front of target audiences than anything else, but with any new metric can come some institutional changes and an education curve. Ultimately, what matters today is how you get people on-site, keep them there and keep them coming back.


Getting Back To Customer Service Basics In A Digitally Connected Era

FEAT Omni Service imageFor as long as retail has existed, so has customer service. One would argue that the two go hand-in-hand, and that a retailer cannot continue to exist — let alone excel — without exemplary customer service.  

But throughout the past decade, the world has become far more complex, with consumers referring to myriad devices and resources throughout their unique shopping experiences. In turn, these savvy shoppers, who retailers now profile as "omnichannel consumers," are expecting more out of service experiences — from initial engagement with a brand or retailer to post-purchase interactions.


Delivering Better Customer Service: Putting The Person In Personalization

VP OLR Retail head shotThe proliferation of business technologies is creating greater scope than ever for automating customer service processes, but how do retailers ensure these capabilities deliver an effective, personalized experience?

It’s no secret that consumers are moving away from traditional paths of promotion to purchase, towards an unpredictable pattern of browsing and buying wherever, however and whenever they want — often referred to as a ‘Commerce Anywhere’ approach. While this presents great opportunities for retailers, the increase and variety in customer touch points creates new challenges, in terms of offering a seamless and satisfactory level of customer service.


60% Of Retailers Lack The Data To Successfully Personalize Campaigns

RR COLLOQUY image2As many as 60% of retailers admitted that they do not have reliable or sufficient data to ensure their targeting efforts are successful, according to a COLLOQUY report.

The report, titled: Ally In Aisles And Online, outlines the top challenges that retailers face in providing a seamless and secure experience to customers. These challenges include: Providing customers with relevant offers; delivering value without increasing costs; and converting sales through the checkout process.


Thorntons Aims To Have One Million Rewards Program Members By Q2 2015

fuel phoneLoyalty and rewards programs have been mainstays in the retail marketing mix for decades. But with the rise of mobile devices, some industry players are questioning the effectiveness of plastic cards and general offers and coupons.

But gasoline and convenience store chain Thorntons is turning the traditional rewards program model on its head by partnering with Paytronix Systems, which provides rewards program solutions to restaurants and retailers.


Woodman’s Foods Taps Birdzi To Personalize Offers Across Channels

woodmans storefrontWoodman’s Foods, an independent and employee-owned grocery retailer, will roll out the Birdzi Shopper Engagement platform to all 15 of its stores in 2015. The retailer, which operates under the brand name Woodman’s Markets, will use the platform to personalize offers for consumers using their desktops and mobile devices. In addition to the rollout, Woodman’s has joined the Birdzi Personiphi Network.

With the platform, Woodman’s Foods can offer shopper enrollment and shopper ID capabilities so consumers can receive customized savings without an ID card.


Party Galaxy Sees 1,520% Boost In Social Media-Driven Site Traffic With SocialCentiv

Retailers can use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with brand fans and even engage prospective customers. Some retailers are bringing their social strategies to the next level by using tools and implementing campaigns that drive traffic to their stores and e-Commerce sites, and eventually, boost sales.

For example, Party Galaxy, a party favor, decoration and costume retailer, used the Twitter marketing tool SocialCentiv to increase traffic generated by social media by 1,520%. Over the course of several months, Party Galaxy also tripled the number of its Twitter followers.


Taking Things Personally: How Connected Data Enables Personalized Customer Courtship

VP OrderDynamics head shot1The retail environments we recognize today have seen a massive transformation since the storefronts of the 1500s in the English countryside. Each had a sign, a storefront and an owner, serving the unique and very personalized needs of residents in the surrounding hamlets — the clothiers, the haberdashery, the grocery, the cobblers, the butcher and the blacksmith. Owners knew every patron and family by name, along with their inseam measurements, shoe size, weekly grocery list and personal wardrobe preferences.

Since then, retail has come a long way with store design, staffing, inventory and scope. However, it has in many ways lost its focus on knowledge of the customer’s true needs, as retailers have used averages or groupings to scale their merchandising decisions. Further, personalized interactions have fallen adrift with the introduction of today’s mass market selling strategies across brick-and-mortar stores and e-Commerce sites.


BCBGMaxAzria Maximizes Email Performance With Personalization And Automation

BCBG emailWith a thriving, 25-year history, BCBGMaxAzria has made its mark in the fashion and retail worlds by creating high-quality apparel and accessories that appeal to the wants and needs of its customers.

Across all three brands — BCBGMaxAzria, BCBGeneration and Herve Leger — marketing campaigns and engagement strategies focus on the subtle, yet extremely important details of each item. To create more tailored and compelling email campaigns, BCBGMaxAzria has leveraged Bluecore, which has helped create highly personalized, automated trigger campaigns.


74% Of Online Retailers Send Irrelevant Promotions

RR OrderDynamics ImageDespite a myriad of research studies pointing to the importance of personalization, the majority (74%) of online retailers still promote irrelevant items to shoppers via email, according to OrderDynamics research. Some retailers (33%) don’t even sufficiently follow up with consumers after they sign up for the brand mailing list.

The report, titled: Customer Relationships: The Dating Game, compares retailing to dating, in that businesses have to convince consumers to “go out” with them to start and continue a business relationship. The study specifically measures the effectiveness of a “first date,” or purchase, as well as the long-term relationships that can lead to additional purchases and increased order values. Opinion Matters conducted the study on behalf of OrderDynamics by surveying more than 60 retailers and 2,000 consumers.


J. Hilburn Brings Personalization To The Store With NYC Pop-Ups

Menswear brand J. Hilburn is focused on optimizing the art of personalization. With more than 3,400 "stylists" nationwide, J. Hilburn relies on this network to generate brand awareness, build a strong clientele and sell a vast assortment of apparel.

But that doesn't mean the stylists do the lion's share of marketing. Quite the contrary: J. Hilburn is poised to address challenges associated with engaging and marketing to current and potential stylists, as well as engaging shoppers. To address these two significantly different marketing goals, the brand has adopted a variety of physical retail strategies, including trunk shows, showrooms and most recently, pop-up shops.


Creating Personalized Customer Journeys


To create more compelling and relevant shopping experiences, best-in-class retailers are leveraging mobile, digital and interactive technologies.

In fact, 56% of retailers are working toward cross-channel personalization and 31% are striving to build one-to-one tactics.

This infographic, courtesy of STRATACACHE, outlines how retailers can leverage cutting-edge technology throughout the six stages of the customer journey. 


IBM Study: Consumers Want Inventory Visibility

IBM studyUnveiled at the 2015 NRF BIG Show, the IBM Institute For Business Value study found that consumers are looking for better inventory visibility and more personalized offers. The research featured data from more than 110,000 consumers in 19 countries, collected over four years.

As shoppers spend more time researching product availability before they head out to a store, they have become less tolerant of out-of-stock (OOS) scenarios. As many as 66% said that it is important to confirm an item is available before entering the store. And when presented with an OOS in-store, 46% of shoppers expect store associates armed with mobile devices to rectify the problem.


RetailNext Aligns With StepsAway

RetailNextretailnext, a provider of retail analytics for physical stores, has formed a new strategic alliance with StepsAway, a mobile retail solution provider that offers shoppers smartphone access to hyperlocal in-store deals. The partnership will allow retailers to target and deliver promotions to shoppers and then measure the redemption and conversion rates for both store and mall traffic.

“Analytics [can offer] deep insights into what is happening in and around the store,” said Arun Nair, CTO and Co-Founder of RetailNext. “Enhanced value is delivered when the platform and its partner applications, like StepsAway, allow data to be instantly operationalized and proactively acted upon to better manage the business.”


NCR Spotlights Expanded Solution Suites At NRF

NCRNCR SelfServ 90 unveiled a number of new solutions at this year’s NRF BIG Show. The company announcedthe inclusion of private and multi-tenant cloud capabilities for NCR Connected Payments customers in the U.S. The solution, already in place at more than 17,000 stores, meets the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and EMV, and prepares retailers for accepting alternative payments, such as mobile payments.

”In our discussions with retailers large and small, security and protecting digital assets are top-of-mind and deeply integrated into any solution,” said Michael Bayer, President at NCR Retail. “Our Tier-Zero and Tier-One customers were specifically interested in a private cloud solution for NCR Connected Payments which we have created and are now offering for the broader market today.”


Personalization In Online Marketing: How Far We’ve Come!

VP Neustar head shotThe ways in which retailers use personalization in online marketing have changed dramatically since the early days of the Internet.  When we look back, it’s clear we have come a long way, but considering what we know is on the horizon, there’s so much more we can do to take advantage of personalization to improve retail business. How did personalization in online marketing begin and what are some changes we can expect in the New Year?

In its nascent stages, online marketing didn’t allow for personalization. Retailers were simply happy to be able to put up websites, and have an additional way to reach customers on a large- scale basis. But as the Web expanded exponentially, so too did the number of competing sites. It quickly became clear that retailers needed a process or technology with which to personalize their campaigns so they could reach the consumers that mattered most to them. Without personalization, finding the right customer via online marketing was like searching for a needle in a haystack.


Mondelēz Sweetens Marketing Campaigns With Idomoo Personalized Video

CadburyThe media universe is becoming more complex, and advertisers are striving to capture mind share and raise brand awareness. But as the media universe grows more fragmented, it is becoming more difficult for brands to remain top of mind and capture long-term loyalty. 

This is a common challenge that Mondelēz International faces in engaging consumers on a global scale. After all, in today’s omnichannel universe, “simply pushing advertising or content to consumers won’t work anymore,” said Josep Hernandez, Senior Director of Global Communications Planning and Media for Mondelēz International. To create more compelling brand messages that emotionally resonate with consumers, the company partnered with Idomoo to develop personalized videos for its Cadbury chocolate brand.


Retailing: Re-tailored For 2015

VP siteonly SalesforceThe retail industry is at a crossroads. Consumers are now in the driver’s seat. They require more flexibility and the ability to connect with retailers seamlessly across every channel. While the proliferation of social networks and mobile devices has provided new opportunities for retailers to create one-to-one experiences, many are struggling with how to connect it all.  

To deliver what the customer needs and maximize sales, I offer five key ways for retailers to win in the New Year.


Engaging The Connected Consumer: Reviewing The Top Trends Of 2014

FEAT Top10 imageWith 2014 coming to a close, retail businesses are increasing focus on satisfying their customers’ wants and needs across all touch points.

Although mobile and wearable technology gained momentum in the first half of the year, customer loyalty and social media came to the forefront in the second half, as well as cutting-edge technologies designed to help improve the brick-and-mortar experience.


Kate Spade Saturday Lets Shoppers Get Creative With Product Customization

Targeting women 25 to 35 years old, Kate Spade Saturday has an extensive apparel and handbag line that touts bright colors and bold patterns. With a brand story that focuses on fun, Kate Spade Saturday has used customization to drive engagement, social shares and sales on its e-Commerce site.

Last year, Kate Spade Saturday celebrated its official launch by providing an interactive tool that enables consumers to design their own weekender bags. Within a few weeks of launching, the product customization page became the third-most visited page on the e-Commerce site.


TouchStore Helps Personalize The Brick-And-Mortar Experience

SS TouchStore ImageIn the era of showrooming, retailers are encouraged to engage consumers while they’re browsing throughout the store. Retailers that embrace technology and personalization can enhance the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, leading to improved customer satisfaction and, in turn, increased sales and brand loyalty. 
TouchCommerce has released the TouchStore to help retailers personalize the in-store shopping journey. The solution is designed to provide shoppers with a personalized mobile experience, allowing them to scan a QR code or send a text message to a number promoted on product. After this initial point of interaction, the TouchCommerce online engagement window opens on the consumer’s smartphone.

Mobile Matters This Holiday Season: Best Practices for Your Ad Campaign

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The holiday shopping season is kicking into high gear, and retailers are looking for ways to get a bigger piece of the holiday pie. This year, mobile is the star ingredient: A recent
NRF survey found that a record 56% of consumers plan to shop online for holiday gifts this year. And new Yahoo research revealed that 76% of smartphone owners plan to use their device for holiday shopping.

It’s clear that mobile must be an integrated part of any holiday advertising campaign this year, but brands also need to understand how to do this effectively. Mobile often serves as an awareness and research tool for consumers. In fact, four out of five people research products on their mobile devices at least once per week, but consumers often return to a desktop computer -- or head into a store -- to complete the final transaction. Why is this? Research we conducted in April with Kenshoo found that consumers described shopping on a computer as “fast, trustworthy, and uncomplicated.”


The Future Of Holiday Retail: Mobile, Beacons And Wearables, Oh My!

Mutual Mobile head shot
With Black Friday upon us, images of crowded malls, arms weighed down with shopping bags, and long lines may come to mind. 

But shopping doesn’t have to involve camping out for hours for big discounts or waking up at 3 a.m. A closer look at the retail landscape today may bring into sharp relief just how dramatically things have shifted to meet consumer expectations of convenience, personalization and efficiency. In-store and online shopping have evolved significantly and innovation in retail technology is not slowing down anytime soon.


CVS Health Accelerates Innovation With New Lab In Boston

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By establishing in-house innovation labs, retailers like Nordstrom, Walmart and Zappos are focusing on testing new tools, technologies business concepts. 

CVS Health is the latest retailer to join the innovation lab fray. This week, the retailer signed a lease to open a new Digital Innovation Lab on Huntington Ave. in Boston, Mass. The 15,130-square-feet location will serve as a hub for the CVS Health Digital team, which will remain headquartered in Woonsocket, R.I. Recently, CVS Health also opened a new Digital Experience Center at the company’s headquarters, and is actively recruiting new talent for both locations.


Drive Personalized Engagement With Mobile Clienteling

Tony Busa BenbriaConnected consumers want shopping experiences that are fast, efficient and relevant to their needs. Mobile clienteling lets retailers give shoppers exactly what they want, anytime and anywhere throughout their journey — before, during and after the store visit. By using mobile to engage, understand and satisfy shoppers, retailers can increase loyalty, average spend and same-store sales.

Mobile clienteling lets retailers captivate shoppers by taking them on a highly personalized shopping journey. By connecting with shoppers through mobile channels — text messages, apps, e-mail, in-store kiosks and more — retail associates can engage them in meaningful dialog and learn what they want, need, like and don’t like. Insights derived from these conversations can help associates deliver the tailored experiences shoppers crave. With an effective mobile clienteling strategy, retailers can:


Ethan Allen Rolls Out New Store Concept In 300 Locations

Shopping for furniture can be an inundating, time-consuming process. It may take consumers several months, or more than a year, to make a decision.

Ethan Allen is hoping to ease this process and help consumers craft the home of their dreams by unveiling a new content-rich web site and a new retail concept designed to enrich the customer experience. The new initiatives come on the heels of the retailer releasing more than 600 new product designs influenced by rustic beach houses and more chic, urban homes.


What The Revamp Means For Mid-Market E-Retailers

VP site only head shotBig changes are underway at the world's largest big-box chain. Wal-Mart will be rolling out a more personalized e-Commerce site in 2015, which they promise will "make shopping easier and simpler for customers." Pulling weather, location and purchase history to generate user-specific home pages, the new feature will allow Wal-Mart to face off with that other retail juggernaut, Amazon.

Of course, Amazon is generally undaunted by competitive moves — the e-retailer has first-mover advantage. With its growth strategy of commerce-first + commerce-meets-physical, Amazon is already embracing the inherent nimbleness and rich data-driven model of a digitally native company, implementing "last mile" channel deliveries such as local depots for click-and-collect.


Pier 1 Imports Redesigns Business Intelligence With Microsoft

More than half (56%) of retailers are seeking to deliver cross-channel personalization, and 31% are building more one-to-one tactics, according to research from the e-tailing group.

To achieve this level of relevancy, retailers must be equipped to collect, aggregate and analyze Big Data. Home décor and furniture retailer Pier 1 Imports is partnering with Microsoft to become more customer-centric. 


6 Signs Your Personalized Marketing Efforts Aren’t That Personalized

VP emnos head shot 1It’s no secret that when it comes to marketing, retailers are increasingly shifting more and more of their resources toward delivering a personalized experience for their customers. However, most retailers will tell you that their communications are truly one-to-one, when in reality, many still have a very long way to go.

Here are six signs that your personalization efforts may have room for improvement:


Emma For Shopify Extends Real-Time Targeting To Email Marketers

SS site only Shopify imageAs consumers continue to demand more personalized offers, messages and incentives, retailers must put more effort into understanding their browsing and buying habits, as well as their overall preferences. In doing so, retailers will be able to efficiently deploy more targeted messages and campaigns.

Emma for Shopify is an email marketing solution designed to allow retailers to organize customer sales data into segments based on purchasing history, enabling real-time customer targeting. All data is updated in real time as behaviors change. The solution can track purchases that result from clicked links within an email so retailers can instantly see the ROI achieved from an email marketing campaign.


Chico’s Exec Discusses The Next Generation Of Personalization

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.05.16 AMRetailers today are striving to create unique and memorable experiences across all channels. 

The combination of customer data, e-Commerce, mobile technology, social engagement and even interactive digital signage, can help create a compelling brand experience, and in turn, stronger relationships between a brand and its consumers.

Chico’s FAS is one retailer taking this customer-centric, omnichannel approach to marketing and commerce.


ZinMobi Targets Consumers With Personalized Mobile Messaging

SS site only ZinMobi imageConsumers are becoming more tech-savvy and are expecting more personalized shopping experiences. As a result, retailers need to find ways to cater to these evolving preferences by creating more relevant campaigns and messages across all touch points.

Mobile marketing technology provider ZinMobi has built a platform designed to deliver targeted coupons and messages directly to consumers’ mobile phones. Using a personal targeting algorithm based on an individual consumer’s transaction history, the solution can tailor mobile message content effectively. Coupons can be delivered through text, email or an app, and are aimed to help boost coupon redemption rates and overall sales.


Reflektion Helps Make Mobile Shopping More Engaging

SS Reflektion image 1Mobile users expect their shopping experience to be seamless, compelling and catered specifically to their wants and needs. Without a great experience, consumers may find browsing and buying on a mobile phone to be tedious and frustrating.

Reflektion, a provider of e-Commerce personalization solutions, has extended its platform to mobile devices to help retailers create more relevant shopping experiences. Using predictive analytics, retailers can identify shoppers based on the device they’re using, as well as their past and present browsing behaviors, and personalize product assortments and recommendations.


Using Personalization To Meet The Complex Expectations Of Millennial Shoppers

VP SmartFurniture head shot 082614Now that e-Commerce has existed for the better part of 20 years, the online marketplace for furniture and home goods is starting to see a rise in buyers who grew with the internet. As these young consumers move from grad school to the workforce and into married life, they continue to use the internet for everything — including making large purchases online. So, categories like furniture and appliances — once thought to be illogical for ecommerce, are starting to see significant growth due in large part to the growing numbers of millennials.

Millennials have lived a significant portion of their social and consuming life on the internet--so the thought of having to physically see, touch or feel and item before buying it is not typically in their thought processes. 


A New Face For Birchbox: Co-Founder Discusses Dive Into Brick-And-Mortar

After meeting while attending Harvard Business School, Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp created Birchbox to help consumers test and find the products that align with their unique wants and needs.

Each month, Birchbox members receive a box filled with beauty product samples. For $10 per month, boxes cover the gamut, including test-size packages for lotions, face creams, hair masks, nail polishes and cosmetics. If subscribers like what they test, they can visit the Birchbox e-Commerce site to purchase full-size products. 


Innovative Technologies Revolutionize The Shopper Journey

FEAT Technologies imageThe retail industry is undergoing a revolution, with groundbreaking technologies guiding both the consumer and the merchant throughout the customer journey. Whether the shopper is at home using a PC, searching for a product on a mobile device, walking nearby a store, or browsing the aisles in the store, retailers have access to a number of new technologies to enhance the experience at every touch point.

In 2014, retailers are tapping a variety of new technologies covered in this report:

  • Personalization solutions;
  • Wearable technology;
  • Visual search; and
  • Augmented reality.

Lucky Vitamin Personalizes Product Recommendations With MyBuys

With a growing selection of products, online retailer Lucky Vitamin looked to find an easier way to recommend items to its customer base. After turning to cross-channel personalization provider MyBuys, the retailer was able to achieve a “noticeable lift” in conversion rates.

“[MyBuys] definitely took a load off of our plate both manually optimizing and setting up cross-sell configurations,” said Sam Wolf, CEO of Lucky Vitamin, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We were able to intelligently make recommendations to our customers who were browsing the site so they could find other items that may interest them based on what other customers had bought, looked at or clicked on.”


The Retailer’s Mobile Strategy Guide

Urban-AirshipSHADOWThere’s no question that mobile phones enhance the retail experience for customers. But, in turn, shoppers now have greater service expectations in the store, on the web and through the app. As a result, brands are playing catch-up to learn how to cater to these perpetually evolving mobile needs.


Capillary Technologies Raises $14 Million In Series B Funding

Capillary Technologies
, a cloud-based marketing platform solution provider, has secured $14 million in Series B funding to further improve the company’s marketing platform and develop its partnership ecosystem. Current partners include Blue Label Engage in South Africa and the American Express US Global Merchants Services group.

This round of funding round was led by Sequoia Capital and Northwest Venture Partners (NVP).  Capillary also received $17 million in Series A Funding in 2012.


Steve Madden Personalizes Shopping Experiences With Certona

stevemaddenSteve Madden, a marketer and designer of footwear and accessories, has selected Certona to deliver personalized retail shopping experiences to its customers. In addition to selling its 15 brands through other retailers, Steve Madden operates 124 retail stores,  including four e-Commerce sites.

Shoppers navigating the Steve Madden e-Commerce sites receive targeted content and product recommendations designed to appeal to their individual preferences. With the implementation, Steve Madden is able to identify new customer groups and target content by specific segment.


Where Is The Line Between Helpful Information Sharing And Creepiness?

Debbie head shotOne of the most challenging dilemmas for retailers today has to be staying on the right side of the line of creepiness with shoppers. You want to be able to provide real value and personalized offers, which shoppers appreciate, but you don’t want to go too far and scare them away.

It seems like now is the time to take advantage of opportunities to create more personalized communications, since 50% of consumers said they are happy to provide retailers with personal information in exchange for a discount, according to a recent survey conducted by In another survey, 93% of shoppers said they would provide retailers with personal data to receive customized offers.


8 Tips To Find And Retain Customers In The Age Of ADD

VP site only Merchant Warehouse head shotThe average American’s attention span has plummeted over the past decade from 12 minutes to a shockingly brief eight seconds — shorter than that of a goldfish — according to a recent study. This means people spend significantly less time in any one place and spread their attention thinly over many sites, apps and information sources. In this climate, it can be a real challenge for businesses to compete for consumer attention.

Digital natives, in particular, can be difficult to reach. They have largely grown up with computers and have a practically innate ability to filter out content that doesn’t interest them. For business owners who want to succeed today, it’s imperative to figure out how to stand out from the crowd and grab a small slice of this already-miniscule attention span.


Macy’ Sees 12% Boost In Online Sales With Predictive Analytics

Macys.comBest-in-class retailers are embracing predictive analytics to track and understand consumer behaviors, and better tailor marketing campaigns across channels. Some retailers have hired data scientists to examine the plethora of factors and data points that need to be considered to sufficiently predict future shopper behaviors.

Macy’ successfully implemented InfiniteInsight from SAP to better understand customer buying behaviors and create more relevant and effective email and web site marketing campaigns. With the solution, even the most robust predictive models are created in an automated fashion. As a result, the retailer has been able to move forward from its traditional approach, which required a number of data scientists and a predictive model for each product category.


Labelux Taps Amplience To Improve Site Personalization

labeluxPrivate luxury products group Labelux is using the Adaptive Media Platform (AMP) from Amplience to facilitate personalization and create richer media experiences across its brands.

Labelux already has implemented Amplience for two of its subsidiaries: Italian accessories company Zagliani and footwear brand Jimmy Choo’s Choo World. The technology also is scheduled to roll out to Labelux’s Belstaff and Bally brands in 2014.


RevTrax SmartOffers Personalizes Digital Coupons

SS RevTrax imageCoupons are considered key tools in retailers’ marketing arsenals. Oftentimes, though, coupons can only be used for specific products or are limited to certain departments.

Revtrax created SmartOffers to help marketers personalize digital coupons based on predefined rules and business conditions. In an effort to drive incremental sales in stores, retailers can use SmartOffers to:


Progressive Retailers Invest In Personalization Across Channels

shadow RTP RT017 Feat Personalization April 2014Retailers are acknowledging the calls for more effective personalization, and are looking for solutions geared towards optimizing the customer experience. Rue La La, and Wayfair are among the innovative retailerstapping different personalization technologies to maximize engagement and boost sales across channels.

A variety of technologies and solutions are available to retailers, covering a broad spectrum of tactics, including segmentation, targeting, customization, web site optimization, product recommendations and content marketing. With such a breadth of resources available, retailers arguably are in a better position than they’ve ever been to improve weaknesses in their customer relationships.


Skincare Brand Expands Business With Personalization

Over time, consumers establish a set of favored brands and products, especially when it comes to their beauty and skincare routines. 

Because bath and body product preferences hinge so heavily on individual tastes and experiences, brands in this category have an opportunity to engage and convert users by delivering offers and incentives that align with individual wants and needs. 

To appeal to individual shoppers, 100% Pure, an all-natural bath and body brand, is investing in personalizing the cross-channel shopping experience. With its recent implementation of AgilOne, 100% Pure is in the process of segmenting its customer base and tailoring offers, incentives and content to buyers’ behaviors. 


Retailers Seek Innovation In Personalization

FEAT Personalization imageIt’s no secret that today’s shoppers want their favorite retailers to tailor promotions and communications to their individual purchasing habits. In fact, 86% of consumers — and 96% of retailers — said personalization has at least some impact on the purchasing decision, according to a study from Infosys. The study also found that almost one third (31%) of consumers wanted more personalization in their shopping experiences.


MasterCard Acquires Pinpoint

2012-Mastercard-Logo-DSMasterCard is set to acquire Pinpoint Pty. Ltd. (“Pinpoint”), a provider of loyalty and rewards services to financial institutions and merchants in the Asia Pacific region. The acquisition is expected to close in Q2 2014. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Sydney, Pinpoint is recognized as one of Australia’s leading rewards program managers, increasing its footprint across the region into China, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and Japan.


Tarrytown Pharmacy Offers Personalized Shopping Experiences With Beacon Technology

Shelfbucks TarrytownBeacon technology has been a hot topic among retailers striving to improve the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. For smaller retailers who don’t generate the revenue required to invest in more comprehensive retail solutions, beacons represent a cost-effective alternative to communicate with and engage consumers, analyze shopper behaviors and deliver personalized product offerings via mobile.

Tarrytown Pharmacy, an independently owned and operated pharmacy, continually focuses on testing new, affordable solutions designed to enhance the in-store experience. Executives at beacon platform developer Shelfbucks heard about the pharmacy through local connections in the summer of 2013 — both companies are based in Austin, Tex. — and inquired about bringing the technology to the store.


Certona Acquires U.S. Patent To Power Personalization Platform

certona logoCertona, an omnichannel personalization platform provider, has acquired a patent for a “universal system and method representing and predicting human behavior” from the United States Patent Office.  

The patent is designed to provide Certona with the ability to profile and predict behavior across all e-Commerce traffic, particularly untapped new and anonymous segments. For consumer privacy measures, the solution does not require brands to collect any personally identifiable information.


Evergage Offers Real-Time Personalization Tools

SS Evergage imageBrands and retailers have the ability to build long-term, profitable relationships with consumers by personalizing the shopping experience across all channels. The art of personalization, however, has proven to be very effective online because consumers have the ability to learn about products that align with their personal tastes and styles while they’re shopping.

Evergage enables retailers to personalize the web experience by collecting, analyzing and responding to real-time behaviors. The Evergage solution covers three areas: Marketing, e-Commerce and customer success. Using visitor behavior, persona and intent data, the solution is designed to help retailers improve customer engagement, and more importantly, increase conversion rates.


APACSale Sees 50% Surge In Email Click-To-Open Rates

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 6.08.51 PMWhile growth is always a positive thing in the sometimes-volatile retail industry, businesses can sometimes face a series of challenges as they expand — especially in how they design and implement marketing campaigns.  

APACSale, an online shopping club, has managed its ongoing growth with the help of the SDL Intelligent Marketing Suite, a solution designed to help businesses plan and execute campaigns quickly and efficiently.

After exploring several options, APACSale selected the SDL Intelligent Marketing Suite “to send a significant amount of customer communications and target the best products and offers to relevant customers at the right time,” said Jim Lees, Head of Data Marketing at APACSale, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

Since implementing the solution, APACSale has seen email click-to-open rates increase by 50%. Email inbox placement also has improved 18% versus industry benchmarks. Campaign revenues grew 7% when customer and product targeting was applied.


O’Neill Amplifies Site Engagement By 85% With Site Personalization

ONeillMillennials have been spotlighted as the driving force behind new technology and marketing trends in the retail industry. Highly connected, tech-savvy and demanding, these consumers focus on brands rather than channels, making a seamless customer experience more paramount to retail success.

O’Neill, a surf and action sports brand, is strategically focusing on creating a consistent brand experience across all devices, including desktops/laptops, smartphones and tablets. With a primary demographic of consumers 14 to 24 years old, a key priority for the company has been to “be a leader — not a follower — in offering superior digital experiences to consumers," according to Daniel Neukomm, CEO of O’Neill.


Infor Rhythm Offers A Holistic View Of Web Site Engagement

SS Infor Rhythm imageTo build and maintain a base of loyal customers, retailers need to focus on fostering meaningful relationships with their customers. A key to initiating these relationships is engaging shoppers across multiple communication touch points.

Infor Rhythm is a cloud-based e-Commerce platform designed to help retailers optimize the online shopping experience, offering product configuration capabilities, upsell and cross-sell solutions and recommendation engines, as well as search and content management capabilities.

Using Infor Rhythm, retailers can deliver personalized online experiences by leveraging tailored content, marketing messages and offers based on user activity and buying behavior. Once personalized content is delivered, retailers can access in-depth analytics to gain a holistic view of how their site is performing. Users can integrate Rhythm with Infor ERP solutions, including Infor LN, Infor M3 and Infor SyteLine.

“It's time to modernize e-Commerce sites,” said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. “Companies have been hiring creative agencies to spruce up dated storefronts; however, without deeper customer engagement on their sites, the sales conversion rate doesn't improve as much as they'd like. Infor Rhythm delivers a more complete package in the cloud by combining world-class design with a comprehensive engagement platform. Highly personalized interactions create richer customer relationships which we believe drive higher conversion rates.”


Personalization Beyond The Product Page

VP Baynote head shot 030414A compelling and engaging online customer experience is the hallmark of the world’s most successful retail companies. And with any stellar customer experience, comprehensive personalization emerges as a critical element that enhances the entire customer lifecycle — from the first site visit, to the purchase confirmation page, to the email that prompts a return visit.

A recent Forrester report cited product recommendations and personalization as top priorities for retailers, second only to product detail page enhancements. These priorities make sense — shoppers engage with specific product SKUs on the product page so it remains the most obvious place for product recommendations. But sophisticated companies understand that personalization doesn’t stop at the product page; personalization should augment the customer experience throughout the entire site and beyond.


BevMo! Exec: Content And Utility Are Central To Mobile Success

  • Published in Mobile

For years, retailers believed that to stand out in a mobile world they needed to create flashy apps and sites. However, as time goes on, more retailers are indicating that their most successful mobile initiatives offer utility and valuable content that make consumers’ lives easier, rather than more entertaining. 

As one of the leading U.S. beverage and lifestyle retailers, BevMo! has created a mobile-optimized site with utility at the core. Created in partnership with Moovweb, the new site is stationed on a cloud-based platform that enables the retailer to seamlessly merge its mobile, desktop and in-store experiences, and empower consumers to choose the best beverage recipes for all occasions.


Avenue 32 Brings Element Of Discovery Back To Online Shopping

  • Published in Mobile

Modern, fashion-savvy consumers rely on technology to not only purchase products, but discover new designs from up-and-coming brands. 

Although many online shoppers closely follow their favorite brands and designers, Avenue 32 was created with the purpose of adding an element of discovery back to online shopping. The luxury shopping destination scouts new fashion talent, and promotes these brands and their products on the e-Commerce site.

Personalization is a primary way that Avenue 32 differentiates itself, according to Roberta Benteler, CEO of Avenue 32. “We deliver a personalized experience to customers, whether it’s in the form of product selection, customer service, or being present at every touch point — regardless of the country or device they’re reaching us from.”


Ahold Uses Mobile To Facilitate The Path To Purchase

  • Published in Mobile

Consumers typically visit the grocery store once a week — or sometimes more. But most still stick to the same list of items each shopping trip. Although there are thousands of product SKUs available within a single brick-and-mortar location, consumers are undoubtedly creatures of habit, purchasing just 0.7% of all available SKUs throughout the year, according to research from Catalina.

In a new report, titled: Engaging The Selective Shopper, Catalina examined the habits of 32 million shoppers who spent more than $55 billion across 9,968 grocery stores in the U.S. All shoppers had a unique “buyergraphic” in terms of the products and brands they purchased consistently.


Effy Jewelry Taps AgilOne To Personalize Marketing Campaigns

Effy Jewelry
, a multichannel jewelry retailer, has implemented solutions from predictive marketing company AgilOne to improve online sales and create more relevant and compelling marketing campaigns across channels.

“AgilOne will enable us to create custom recommendations for our shoppers based on their past buying patterns that will help us grow our potential customer lifetime value in the long-run,” said Jennifer Pearson, VP of Marketing and PR for Effy Jewelry.


American Eagle Launches ShopBeacon In 100 Stores

American Eagle Outfitters
(AEO) is the latest retailer to implement beacon technology, which is designed to help retailers better pinpoint consumers’ locations in store and provide them with relevant, timely offers.  

Through a partnership with shopkick, AEO is launching shopBeacon, Apple’s iBeacon-based presence signal, in 100 top-performing American Eagle and Aerie stores. The trial is expected to go live in February 2014, and span nationwide, in states such as: Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Stores with the highest traffic levels — and best traction with shopkick — will implement the technology.


Über Digital Consumers Demand More Connected Store Experiences

More shoppers are demanding increasingly immersive and connected experiences. As they do, retailers must embrace state-of-the-art solutions that enable faster and more engaging shopping experiences for their customers.

The number of in-store consumers connected to the Internet has doubled, according to a survey, titled: Digital Shopping Behavior In An Internet Of Everything World, released by Cisco Consulting Services. Today, 18% of shoppers are “Über Digital,” which means they regularly use smartphones for shopping decision-making ― up from 9% last year. In addition, 80% of U.S. consumers, or “Digital Mass Market” shoppers, now use the Internet to guide purchasing decisions.


Data Collection Plays Key Role In Social Shopping

Retailers should view social shopping not only as a way to achieve more personalized engagement with customers and drive sales, but as an opportunity to collect valuable data that can help shape future business decisions.

At the NRF Big Show 2014 in New York City, representatives from BaubleBar and Resource Interactive, a digital marketing agency, came together to discuss social shopping trends that can boost customer engagement and provide insights into buyer behavior.


Consistency, Personalization Valued Most Among Consumers



Whether consumers plan to purchase items online or in a physical store, they value consistency across all channels, according to a survey from Infosys.

Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said consistency across online and physical stores was important; and 77% said they valued consistency across different physical branches. The study, titled: Rethinking Retail, spotlighted consumer perspectives regarding the omnichannel retail experience via a survey of 1,000 shoppers. Infosys also surveyed 50 U.S. retailers to understand how their organizations were keeping pace with consumer demands.


IDC Retail Insights: Marketing, Supply Chain And Big Data On Radar For 2014

Renewed investments in sourcing, marketing and Big Data are among the retail developments forecast for 2014 by IDC Retail Insights. 

In a recent webinar, titled: IDC Retail Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Retail, executives from the research and consulting firm provided their perspectives on long-term industry trends and potential new themes. The goal of the webinar was to help retail leaders capitalize on emerging market opportunities and plan for future growth.


Apple Rolls Out iBeacon In All Stores

has implemented iBeacon, a geo-location technology developed by the company, in all 254 of its U.S. stores. iBeacon was created to help guide customers through the store and deliver product notifications, events and other information directly to their smartphones.

With the rollout, shoppers will receive location-tailored messages on their iPhones and iPads when they enter a store powered with iBeacon transmitters, according to the Associated Press. For example, consumers can be notified if products they order are ready to be picked up.


Sealed With A Kiss Designs Moves To Customized Messages With AgilOne

The e-Commerce universe provides shoppers with an abundance of product and pricing options. However, shoppers seeking a specific product, can find the large selection a bit daunting. 

Sealed With A Kiss (SWAK) Designs is taking a more sophisticated approach to targeting and personalization in an effort to give shoppers exactly what they need — and at the price they’re seeking.

As a contemporary women’s plus-size clothing eTailer, SWAK Designs is poised with the challenge of providing fashionable and affordable plus-size clothing for women, said Brad Capo, CEO and Founder of SWAK Designs, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our customers shop based on what they like and believe will work for their body, but they also are incredibly price conscious. They are motivated by savings and will window shop and browse, but then wait for a discount before committing to purchase.”


ShopRoxx Ramps Up Email Efforts To Engage Fashion-Savvy Shoppers

Email has remained a linchpin in retailers’ marketing efforts, even as omnichannel trends and strategies continue to take shape. Because consumers have access to such a variety of content and resources through mobile and social media, marketers have to find creative ways to engage shoppers — and compel them to purchase — using email marketing.

ShopRoxx, a young women’s fashion retailer, has established a loyal customer base across all brick-and-mortar stores. Located on high-traffic streets in New York City, the three total Roxx and Hot Point stores provide budding fashionistas with access to the latest apparel and accessory trends.


Toys "R" Us Personalizes Black Friday Videos Using Eyeview

Toys "R" Us is tapping a new application from video advertising solution provider Eyeview to help drive traffic to stores on Black Friday. 

Named the “Black Friday Booster,” the new solution from Eyeview was designed to help retailers such as Toys R Us provide personalized updates on Black Friday deals and price reductions based on product preferences. The ads also feature a countdown clock that shows how much time is left until the annual shopping event.


Farfetch Builds Trust And Drives Sales With Personalized Content

Only 1% of a retailer’s online shoppers will generate approximately 40% of total revenue, according to research from Qubit

Farfetch, an online fashion destination that connects consumers with boutiques from around the world, wanted to maximize sales opportunities, especially among new site visitors who may be unfamiliar with the brand. Using Qubit, the retailer has been able to customize content based on a consumer’s overall engagement and history with the brand.


ComScore: Mobile Has Boosted PC Engagement

In 2012, e-Commerce sales reached $186 billion, according to comScore research. With retail e-Commerce expected to surpass $200 billion by the end of 2013, it is important for retailers to be present and active online. 

However, the retail space has become more complex over the last year as consumers continue to hop from their desktops to mobile devices and in stores.

The explosion of smartphone and tablet adoption was expected to cause the demise of the PC, especially when it came to engaging consumers. However, the increase in mobile device usage has instead increased cross-channel engagement, helping to boost PC/desktop engagement by 17% since 2010.


TOMS Implements Oracle Commerce To Fuel Global Growth

, a shoe and eyewear brand and eTailer, has implemented the Oracle Commerce platform to support business growth and accelerate international expansion. Using the platform, TOMS will be able to personalize the online customer experience and deliver its One for One message to new markets, according to a company press release. As part of the One for One initiative, TOMS donates either a pair of shoes or eyeglasses to a child in need when a consumer purchases a product.

The Oracle Commerce platform is designed to ensure customers have a consistent experience with the brand, whether they’re on a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device. The platform also allows retailers to target promotions, personalize content, customize search results and recommendations, and update product information across multiple sites.


True Religion Brand Jeans Ramps Up Email Marketing Results With Monetate

Relevancy is key to successful email marketing, especially in the age of tech-savvy, multitasking consumers. In fact, 26% of consumers say they’ll mark an email as spam if the message isn’t relevant to their wants and needs, according to Kentico research.

True Religion Brand Jeans is ramping up its email marketing efforts by leveraging data such as customer location, as well as browsing and buying history. The apparel brand and retailer was an early adopter of Monetate email, a new addition to the vendor’s Acceleration Cloud solution suite.

“The Monetate system tells us in real time what kind of device a consumer is on at a specific time,” said Gary Penn, Director of Global E-Commerce for True Religion, during a presentation at “It’s exciting to be able to determine that on the fly.”


Lost And Found: Why Journey Mapping Is Critical To Your Business

Customer journey mapping is not a new idea. In fact, the concept of “journeys” has become so pervasive and so well understood that brand makers often find themselves being a bit complacent about their use.  Nearly all evolved brand and product marketers utilize journey mapping as a part of their toolkit. Journey mapping is so pervasive that if you were to do a Google search on “customer journey maps” you’ll find quite a few definitions.

That means it’s probably time to shake the cobwebs off the traditional thinking and revisit not only just how much time and effort you’re investing in journey mapping, but also consider whether you need to tweak how you’re creating them so that they do provide a quality input into your marketing schemes.


Cookies: Not Part Of A Balanced Omnichannel Diet

GraemeOver the past few years, the retail industry has been inundated with buzzwords like “cross-channel,” “multichannel” and “omnichannel,” all of which can be loosely translated to the creation of a seamless consumer experience through all available shopping channels. Marketers set out to create the omnichannel shopping experience, yet according to RSR’s Omni-Channel 2013: The Long Road To Adoption report, more than half of retailers still believe consumer expectations continue to outpace their ability to deliver a consistent cross-channel experience.

Now consider the buzzwords of today, “personalization” and “customization,” and it’s clear that marketers have an even bigger challenge on their hands: creating an omnichannel shopping experience that is tailored to its individual customers. Which begs the question, why is omnichannel so challenging for retailers? And how can they overcome these obstacles to deliver personalization across channels?


Giant Eagle Ramps Up Omnichannel Loyalty Strategies

Consumers typically access multiple devices throughout the day to research products, collect coupons and hunt for deals. Retailers can keep pace with these omnichannel browsing and buying behaviors by creating a personalized and compelling experience across digital and physical channels.

Giant Eagle, a multi-format food, fuel and pharmacy retailer, has revised its digital marketing and engagement strategies to include more interactive tools that are tailored to specific customer segments. Since implementing content management and commerce systems from EPiServer, the retailer has integrated the online customer experience with its brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, the technology has improved long-term loyalty across all channels, the retailer reported.


The RoomPlace Boosts Sales With Improved Merchandising And Search Functionality

Online consumers enjoy the convenience of digital shopping, but many miss the opportunity to speak with store associates directly about products, the best pricing options and other specifics.

Consumers nationwide visit The RoomPlace to receive quality deals on furniture and home décor. Although inventory is already at a discount price, shoppers have the chance to save more when if they bundle furniture and/or purchase complete sets. This value propositions is conveyed in stores by showroom associates and in-store signage, but was difficult to communicate effectively to online shoppers.


Personalized Marketing Improves Brand Perception

Personalized marketing campaigns and tactics, such as customized emails, banner ads and product recommendations, significantly impact engagement and even sales among online shoppers. 

To determine how tailored messages and offers influence customer sentiment, Responsys surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older via an online questionnaire. Results confirmed that personalization, overall, has a tremendous impression on brand perception and trust: As many as 61% of U.S. consumers said they feel more positive about a brand when marketing messages are personalized.


J. Hilburn Drives Sales By Creating Luxury Brand Experiences


When asked to define “luxury,” consumers refer to several terms, including “highest quality," “splurge,” and “excellent reputation,” according to research from Ipsos MediaCT.

J. Hilburn strives to deliver these luxury brand experiences in a more personable and approachable fashion by combining online shopping with personal fittings from independent sales consultants.

The menswear retailer taps into a network of 2,700 trained personal stylists across the U.S. to meet with customers, take their measurements and build up their shopping profiles. J. Hilburn then tailors all products — including jackets, shirts and trousers — to match each consumer’s unique measurements and proportions.


Consumers Express Frustration Over Irrelevant Online Content

Consumers no longer have patience for batch-and-blast marketing campaigns and irrelevant online content, according to new research released by Harris Interactive and Janrain.  Overall, 74% of consumers said they get frustrated when ads, offers and promotions are not aligned with their interests.

For the 2013 Personal Experience Study, Harris Interactive surveyed 2,091 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older. Of this sample, 57% of respondents indicated that they would share personal information on a web site if they would receive a better experience in return. Results also confirmed that consumers want an open dialogue with brands and retailers: 77% of respondents said they would trust businesses more if they explained how personal data is used.


93% Of Consumers Would Share Personal Data In Exchange For Customized Offers

Many retailers still are determining how to best provide personalized messages, offers and product recommendations without invading privacy or risking customer trust. However, research commissioned by Infosys has verified that consumers are more willing and eager to share personal data in exchange for customized offers.

To better understand consumers’ overall desire for personalized brand experiences, Infosys polled 5,000 consumers in Australia, France, Germany, the UK and U.S. The report, titled: Engaging With Digital Consumers, revealed that 93% of respondents would provide retailers with detailed information if they received customized offers in return. Of all data points, consumers were most willing to share their email address (78%), zip code (64%), birth date (38%) and postal address (38%).


PunchTab Launches Loyalty App For ExactTarget

, a multichannel loyalty and engagement platform, has released a new loyalty app that will work with marketing automation software from ExactTarget.  The app, which will enable marketers to reward customer engagement and create loyalty from within email, is available on HubExchange, the app marketplace for ExactTarget.

PunchTab App for ExactTarget HubExchange is designed to integrate consumer behavior across web, social, mobile and retail with ExactTarget email. This provides marketers with a more complete picture of the consumer, according to company officials.

Read more... Delivers On The Personalization Promise


As competition in the e-Commerce space continues to heat up, online retailers are focused on implementing solutions and marketing strategies that grab consumer eyes and dollars. For example, many eTailers are leveraging personalization and customization tools to provide more relevant shopping experiences for new and return customers., exceeds the competition with customized offers and messages that are driving engagement and sales. From email marketing messages to product pages and the checkout experience, the eTailer strives to make every channel of the browsing and buying process more pertinent to consumers’ wants and needs, according to Jessica Gillespie, Online Marketing Manager, With help from Monetate, the retailer has harnessed the power of personalization and in turn, improved overall conversion rates.

Read more... Drives Sales With Targeted Email Campaigns

Email is a key channel for winning new customers and turning them into loyal, long-term shoppers. In fact, customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last four years, according to research from Custora, an online-only furniture company, leverages a series of targeted emails to connect with customers throughout their unique browsing and buying journeys, acquire customers and drive incremental sales. As of June 2013, the email series was accounting for approximately 8% of overall monthly revenue, according to T.J. Gentle, CEO of

“We have implemented a number of targeted email initiatives and campaigns: A cart abandonment program, a welcome series, post-purchase emails, and loyalty initiatives,” Gentle said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Each of these programs target visitors at two different points of their interactions with our company — before and after the moment of purchase. Overall, these email initiatives are proving to be hugely successful for the business.” 

Flutter Eyewear Taps Digital Personalization To Drive Online Sales

Product recommendations, interactive customization tools and other customer engagement solutions can help make the online shopping experience more personalized and enjoyable for shoppers. These digital strategies especially impact consumers searching for specific products in certain sizes or colors.

Flutter Eyewear, an online-only eyeglasses and accessories retailer, relies on a variety of personalization tools to engage and educate consumers. People consider a variety of factors when searching for a pair of glasses — lens magnification, frame shape, size and color. A digital try-on tool, online catalog and even paper dolls help make the decision-making process for Flutter customers less of a struggle. With these tools and resources in tow, product return rates have reached only 4%, according to Patti Lee-Hoffman, Co-Founder of Flutter.


Fleur Du Mal Leverages Content To Fuel Interactive Mobile Experience

  • Published in Mobile

As consumers continue to shop online and via mobile devices, they are seeking detailed information and resources to ensure they’re making the best decisions. This especially is true if they’re browsing and considering high-priced luxury items. In response, retailers are offering more user-generated and branded content in their cross-channel marketing initiatives.

Fleur du Mal, a luxury lingerie and ready-to-wear brand, is converging content, commerce and a new mobile experience, which was developed in partnership with Usablenet. Featuring seamless social integration that generates rich content, dynamic wish list capabilities and rich, editorial-styled images, the new mobile site is helping Fleur du Mal create “a fun but streamlined touch-oriented experience,” according to Jennifer Zuccarini, Founder of Fleur du Mal.

“When we launched the Fleur du Mal brand in November 2012, I was very passionate about creating a digital presence before opening any physical stores,” Zuccarini said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our target consumers are shopping online and via mobile regularly, so our goal was to create a next-generation mobile site that matched the aesthetic and experience of our e-Commerce site. That meant having great content and editorial, but also having tools and features that make it easy for visitors to browse and buy.”

RichContent Curates Web Content In Real Time For Each Site Visitor

RichContentAs consumers continue to demand more personalized e-Commerce interactions, “retailers need to stand out from the crowd and find ways to deliver a unique, exceptional shopping experience,” said Deena Amato-McCoy, Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group, in a Retail TouchPoints feature series about personalization. “The best way retailers can achieve this is to personalize brand interactions to individual shoppers and groups that share similar preferences and/or demands.”

The new RichContent offering from RichRelevance, a provider of e-Commerce personalization strategies, helps retailers deliver these individualized experiences. RichContent uses multiple algorithms to assess e-shoppers’ specific interests based on clicks, searches, social network cues and more, then display the most relevant content in real time. This content includes preferred products, colors and styles; recommendations based on those preferences; videos; and other unique value propositions based on specific consumer behaviors.


Biltmore House Ties Card-Linked Offers To Long-Term Sales And Loyalty

Many merchants are leveraging card-linked offers to connect with potential and existing customers, boost brand awareness and increase sales in target markets.

The Biltmore, an estate, hotel and spa based in Asheville, N.C., is driving new business through the OfferLink Local program from Cartera, a card-linked offer advertising network. Since March 2012, the Biltmore has generated more than $2 million in sales via the program and rewarded thousands of consumers nationwide, according to Donna Nickerson, National Sales Manager at the Biltmore.

“By participating in the Cartera OfferLink Local program, we’re able to reach some of the top spenders in our market,” Nickerson said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The targeting capability allows us to reach card members in top loyalty programs along the east coast and surrounding nine states.”


Personalization Best Practices For 2013 And Beyond

Following is Part 3 of the Retail TouchPoints series focused on Personalization Strategies That Work. In this final section, industry analysts and experts share how retailers can build successful, long-term personalization strategies. Click here to access a PDF version of the full report.

PersonalizationFeatDue to the sheer variety and volume of resources available across digital and physical channels, consumers today have real-time access to a plethora of product choices and delivery options. As a result, many shoppers are abandoning brand loyalty, and are turning to merchants that offer the most relevant and personalized experiences, according to research from Harris Interactive.

The online survey of 2,191 U.S. adults, conducted by Harris Interactive, indicated that 56% of consumers would likely switch brands if a company offered more options and channels to connect with them. Furthermore, 25% said they do not feel loyalty toward any brand.


Retailers Across Verticals Personalize With Digital Solutions

Following is Part 2 of the Retail TouchPoints series focused on Personalization Strategies That Work. This article spotlights retailers that are personalizing digital and physical brand experiences to increase purchase and drive loyalty. Part 3 will appear in the May 14 newsletter. Read Part 1 here.

Personalized-MarketingAs shoppers continue to leverage digital tools and channels to research, browse and buy products, they also are beginning to demand more relevant products and offers. With these heightened expectations, personalization is becoming an integral component of retailers’ cross-channel marketing strategies.

Best-in-class organizations are taking the following measures to create more relevant and personalized customer experiences, according to recent research from The Aberdeen Group report, titled: Big Data for Marketing: Targeting Success,: 

  • Improving targeted offers to ensure the right person, right channel, right time and right message (52%); 
  • Gaining insight about the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns and channels (39%); 
  • Identifying cross-sell/up-sell opportunities to existing customers (30%); and
  • Optimizing marketing activities at each touch point along the customer lifecycle (22%).  

Tackling The Personalization Imperative


Following is Part 1 of the Retail TouchPoints series focused on Personalization Strategies That Work. In the next installment, three retailers will explain how they have optimized their marketing strategies to better engage consumers. Part 2 will appear in the May 7 newsletter.

Personalized-MarketingThe continual evolution of the omnichannel consumer has prompted retailers to rethink and revise their marketing and engagement strategies across digital and physical channels.

In light of shoppers’ increasing digital expertise and overall savvy when it comes to finding the best buy, retailers must remain competitive by providing the right product at the ideal price. Furthermore, these products must be revealed at the perfect time during consumers’ browsing and buying journeys, according to research from the e-tailing group and MyBuys.


E-Tailing Group Study Shows 72% Of Retailers Now Sell Through Mobile

Research_pieceNearly three quarters (72%) of surveyed retailers currently sell through mobile, according to a Q1 2013 study from the etailing group. In addition, 76% said mobile initiatives are key for reaching strategic goals in 2013.

The report, titled: 12th Annual Merchant Survey Report ― 2013, surveyed senior e-Commerce retail executives representing 32 major product categories being sold online. In addition to mobile merchandising and marketing, topics included: Internet strategy; features and functionality; analytics and merchandising metrics; up-sells/cross-sells; email performance and related metrics; personalization and segmentation; social media; cross-channel and strategic issues; and future plans.


Rue La La CMO Shares Views On Flash Sale Model Success And Future Plans

Rue La La
is recognized as a pioneer in the flash sale space. Touted as a members-only shopping site, Rue La La provides shoppers with VIP access to coveted brands in apparel, accessories, footwear, home and travel, among other categories. For the last five years, the eTailer has garnered a loyal customer base due to effective curation and personalization strategies across channels.

But competition in the space is heating up: More flash sale and daily deal sites are launching and growing in popularity. Additionally, retailers are implementing their own private sale models.

During a member-based Argyle Executive Forum held for retail and consumer goods executives, Perry Cooper, CMO at Rue La La, shared his perspectives on the popularity and continual evolution of the flash sale model.


Business Author And Former Kodak CMO Shares Personalization Imperatives

Retailers are using personalization as a successful way to optimize customer engagement and acquisition, and in turn, generate long-term loyalty. 

ETailers such as Amazon have pioneered in personalization by offering online shoppers product recommendations based on their past browsing and buying behaviors. However, as the breadth and depth of tools available to retailers continue to grow, marketers must determine the optimal mix of strategies based on their target audiences.

In the following interview, Jeffrey Hayzlett, bestselling author, global business and marketing expert, and former CMO of Kodak ― shares his views on how retailers can optimize their personalization efforts across all channels.


REVOLVE Clothing Boosts Conversions With Digital Personalization

Progressive retailers are personalizing their e-Commerce sites to better attract, engage and communicate with hyper-connected omnichannel consumers who are demanding more relevant offers and messages across channels.

Product recommendations that drive cross- and up-sells have been identified as effective personalization methods. According to research from the e-tailing group, approximately 91% of retailers that executed these tactics believed they were effective from an ROI perspective.

REVOLVE Clothing, for example, harnesses e-Commerce personalization as a key way to drive education and engagement, as well as promote thought leadership. Touting more than 600 designers, 20,000 products and 60,000 SKUs, the fashion eTailer partnered with Monetate to provide millions of unique visitors with relevant products and offers more seamlessly, according to Kobie Fuller, CMO of REVOLVE Clothing.


Three Ways ETailers Can Create “Uniquely Irresistible Appeal” In 2013

Research_pieceTotal e-Commerce sales are expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2015, according to Invesp in a Retail TouchPoints infographic, with sales in the U.S. growing at 10% a year. This outlook can be good news for the two million retailers selling online in the U.S. today, as reported by the U.S. Commerce Department.

But eTailers face a fundamental challenge: How to make their online stores more distinct. They must “differentiate themselves in order to survive, let alone succeed,” according to a white paper, titled: 2013 eCommerce Forecast: Standing Out in the Crowd, released by MarketLive, a provider of e-Commerce technologies and services.


Dressbarn Exec Shares Perspectives On Big Data

Harnessing Big Data has remained a daunting challenge for retail marketers working to create more relevant messages, offers and product recommendations for consumers.

Due to the sheer breadth and depth of data being generated in-store, online, and via mobile and social media, retailers still are struggling to collect, integrate, analyze and apply customer information efficiently.

In the following interview, Brian Bazer, AVP, Loss Prevention and Risk Management within the Dressbarn division at Ascena Retail Group Inc., shares his views on how Big Data is shaping the retail industry, and the role data collection and analysis plays at Dressbarn.


SDL Acquires Bemoko To Extend Customer Experience Management Leadership

, a provider of software and services designed to improve customer experience management, has acquired bemoko, a supplier of mobile web solutions. The acquisition will leverage content targeting, personalization, campaign management and customer analytics functionality.

The mobile customer experience is moving beyond simply reproducing a web site onto a smaller screen, noted Ian Truscott, VP of Product Marketing for the SDL Content Management Technologies Division, in an interview with Loyalty 360, a loyalty marketing association.


Natural Partners Achieves 76% Email Open Rate With Data-Driven Campaign

To produce more personalized offers and messages, companies are breaking down organizational silos and integrating cross-channel data into marketing platforms that offer a comprehensive, actionable profile for each customer.

Natural Partners, a wellness products wholesaler, is harnessing data-driven marketing tools and strategies to better connect with online customers and prospects. Since partnering with Knotice, a provider of data management, analytics and digital messaging solutions, Natural Partners has experienced a significant improvement in email open rates. For example, during a recent daily deal campaign, the company achieved a 76% open rate by leveraging targeted, relevant content and offers based on each customer’s unique preferences and information, according to Brittany Johnson, Marketing Manager at Natural Partners.


Zavers By Google Tailors Digital Promotions For Price Chopper

recently launched Zavers by Google, the first Google-branded offering following the company’s 2011 acquisition of Zave Networks. A number of retailers have signed on to Zavers by Google, including Price Chopper, D’Agostino, Bi-Lo, Harris Teeter, Pathmark, Superfresh The Food Emporium and Waldbum’s banners of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co.

While digital coupon programs have become more prevalent over the past several years, industry observers said that access to real-time data and advanced analytical capabilities make Zavers by Google an attractive platform for retailers and manufacturers.

“We investigated digital coupons because our customers were telling us that they wanted a solution so that they didn’t have to clip their coupons and remember to bring them to the store,” said Heidi Reale, Director of Marketing and Consumer Insights for Price Chopper, noting that the system was the most compatible with the retailer’s POS system of all of the digital coupon programs the retailer considered. She said it also provided a strong tie-in with the P&GbrandSAVER coupon program from Procter & Gamble. Price Chopper has approximately 100,000 total users of its loyalty card, which it has branded AdvantEdge.


Four Strategies To Combat Retail Showrooming

Dr_GaryIt’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retailers are under intense pressure from online-only providers, many of which offer lower pricing on the exact same products that populate the shelves of traditional retail stores.

In 2012, two of the nation’s leading retailers, Target and Walmart, announced that they would no longer carry Amazon’s Kindle line in their stores. Although the decision to phase out Amazon Kindles may have seemed arbitrary to some, it was actually a backlash against Amazon’s perceived encouragement of a practice known as “showrooming” — the growing practice of consumers using retail stores to “touch and feel” products before purchasing from an e-tailer.


Personalization Is Not A Key Motivator For Shoppers, Oracle Survey Reveals

While consumers may say they want a more personalized shopping interaction, they rank personalization behind service and experience, according to findings from the Evolution of Experience Retailing, which was recently conducted by Oracle.

Mike Webster, SVP and General Manager of Oracle Retail, said trust is a factor in the lack of interest in personalization. “If consumers have a high level of trust with a retailer they will be more open to personalization, but otherwise they are not,” he explained during an NRF BIG Show session in January, adding that 54% of respondents rated personalization as important or very important.

Webster said the survey intentionally did not define personalization, but most customers think of personalization in terms of promotions and offers.


Top Articles Of 2012: Customer Engagement Piques Readers’ Interest

Top10Retailers continue to commit substantial investments in new engagement strategies that help them connect with consumers. In July 2012, Retail TouchPoints (RTP) published a January-June roundup which found that case studies around gamification, mobile and social were the most popular topics that piqued readers’ interest earlier this year.

For the second half of 2012, the Customer Engagement Awards have made the top 10 list for the second year in a row. The awards recognize retailers that have taken the initiative to deliver a higher level of service and improved experience to their current and prospective customers.


Wild Things Maximizes Online Engagement With Apparel Customization Tool

Forward-thinking retailers are harnessing new tools and technologies to create more engaging and memorable online shopping experiences. With these implementations, retailers can create an e-Commerce environment as interactive and compelling as ones consumers face in the brick-and-mortar world.

Wild Things, an outdoor apparel manufacturer and eTailer, recently unveiled an e-Commerce customization tool that has helped “up the ante” on the online apparel shopping experience. The “Make It Wild” product configuration feature offers thousands of style variations that empower shoppers to personalize two products: The Insulight Jacket and Wind Pro Hoody. By offering instant access to these customizable products — presented via 3D design and 360-degree product display — Wild Things has improved engagement and overall purchases online, according to Ed Schmults, CEO of Wild Things.

“Wild Things has seen an increase in average order size, as well as an improvement in overall conversions, since adopting the new design customization tool,” Schmults said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “No longer do customers have to buy what a designer and a retailer think is best; now they can decide for themselves, based on the styles and features that speak most to their unique preferences.”

Read more... Increases Conversion Rates With Email Marketing

Despite the rise of mobile and social media marketing, email still plays a pivotal role in retailers’ cross-channel marketing strategies. To maximize customer acquisition and retention efforts, merchants across categories are leveraging a variety email campaigns, including post-purchase messages and abandoned cart reminders. is tapping email marketing to connect with current and potential customers more effectively. By partnering with Listrak, an email marketing solution provider, the outdoor gear eTailer has established a foundation for several email campaigns based on specific consumer behaviors. For instance, the merchant successfully increased conversion rates by 45% leveraging a three-part email welcome series for new site visitors that subscribe to the newsletter.


Pieroguys Pierogies Leverages Analytics To Personalize Offers

To harness the power of personalization and retain a loyal customer base, Pieroguys Pierogies has partnered with Affinity Solutions, a card-linked offer and transaction-enabled marketing solution provider. Since 2007, Pieroguys Pierogies has established a loyal following in the Midwest. However, the ever-evolving partnership with Affinity will help the brand create more engaging marketing campaigns across channels to increase awareness nationwide, said Frank Gazella, President and CEO of Pieroguys Pierogies, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

“At Pieroguys Pierogies, we continually are striving to grow our business,” Gazella said. “More importantly, though, we constantly are working to establish our marketing strategies and create a seamless marketing message across channels. Affinity Solutions has helped us connect those dots and promote our brand in new, compelling ways.”


Last-Minute Changes Could Impact 2012 Holiday Retail Success

cart-shoppingWhile most retailers should have their holiday strategies in place and ready to kick off at a moment’s notice, there still may be some leeway for last-minute adjustments based on day-to-day data or changing market conditions.

Pricing is a good example of a strategy that might be re-evaluated on an as-needed basis, throughout the season. In fact, as late as October 17 Target announced a strategy to match competitors online prices during the 2012 holiday season, including Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Toys 'R' Us, as well as their own Target online prices.

Previously Best Buy was the online retailer to implement that strategy. As of the same time in October, Wal-Mart and Toys 'R' Us are only matching local competitors’ print ads.


Mid-Market Top 5 Software Priorities For 2013

Retail executives continually seek to bridge the gap between business leadership and technology adoption. Current priorities include: improving inventory efficiencies with RFID; embracing mobile engagement, leveraging localization and personalization; and harnessing Big Data with retail analytics.

To learn more about business priorities across industries, Constellation Research conducted a survey designed to identify the current mindset specifically of organizations with $100 million to $1 billion in annual revenues. The study, titled, Mid-Market Customers Still Seek Turnkey, Last-Mile Solutions, emphasized that mid-sized businesses remain a vibrant and growing segment of the economy.

Based on input from 339 respondents, the report revealed an improved outlook on IT budget conditions in this year’s survey versus the same survey in 2011. Although 64.7% of 2011 respondents expected IT budgets to decrease in 2012, less than half (44.8%) of participants in 2012 anticipated a reduction in 2013. Almost one quarter (24.5%) thought budgets would increase in 2013, while 30.7% expected them to remain the same. 


L’Occitane Increases Conversions 37% With Personalization

As more retailers cite online comparison shopping as an ongoing threat, effective promotions and marketing strategies that combat this challenge are becoming paramount to success. Cutting-edge retailers are differentiating themselves from competitors with personalization, segmentation and other compelling strategies that create enriching yet relevant brand experiences for target customers across channels.

However, to maximize the value of these efforts, retailers must have the resources and ability to test multiple, even dozens, of strategies simultaneously to ensure they leverage the best combination of campaign components.

L’Occitane, a high-end beauty products retailer, more effectively tests web site and email messaging, offers, images and other content, with help from the Agility Suite, a testing and personalization solutions toolbox from Monetate. Additionally, the brand is increasing purchases and loyalty by segmenting visitors and customizing e-Commerce experiences based on consumers’ overall level of engagement and “their unique journey and relationship with the brand,” Matt Kritzer, Director of e-Commerce for L’Occitane, told Retail TouchPoints.


Email Remarketing Tackles Shopping Cart Abandonment

rejoiner_retailtouchpointsApproximately 80% of online shoppers have placed items in their digital shopping carts then left the sites without completing a transaction, according to a recent study from comScore. While shopping cart abandonment is an ongoing pain-point for retailers today, technology providers, such as Rejoiner, are developing opportunities for re-engaging these consumers.

Rejoiner offers a comprehensive email remarketing platform designed to help eTailers make customers of browsers who abandon their digital carts. Users simply add two lines of JavaScript to their e-Commerce programs then instantly can track abandonment in real time, as well as schedule, customize and personalize a series of emails to re-engage customers who abandon their carts.

“Cart abandonment is a completely natural part of the buying cycle,” said Mike Arsenault, CEO of Rejoiner. “It also is a strong signal of intent that most retailers don’t use to their advantage. Our mission is to help retailers leverage that intent to deliver the right message, to the right person, in the right context, and eventually convert them.”


The Power Of Personalizing The Mobile Experience

Shadow_Moving_Forward_with_Mobile_Certona_Survey_WPRetail has become a one-to-one playing field. Shoppers want to believe that messages from retailers are targeted directly to their individual preferences. As many as 88% of retailers said that “deeper customer engagement to drive sales through personalized offers” was a very valuable or somewhat valuable opportunity with mobile, according to Retail Systems Research (RSR).

In a recent survey, retailers identified their top three priorities for mobile personalization strategies: new product information, product availability and pricing.


Cutting-Edge Retailers Lead The Pack In Localization And Personalization

LocalizationThe payoff of Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) is persuading retailers to rethink their strategies for winning and maintaining customer loyalty. As consumers become more hyper-connected and informed via social and mobile behaviors, merchants increasingly are tapping localized and personalized marketing tactics to create more pertinent marketing messages, offers and merchandising.

Consumers’ push for personally relevant retail communications is growing more powerful, further elevating the importance of “Local” in a SoLoMo strategy. Localization not only allows brands to leverage the unique wants and needs of consumers, but also allows them to identify those needs across very specific geographic areas.

In fact, of the more than 5,000 smartphone and tablet users recently polled by Keynote Competitive Research, 88% sought out local information on their devices. More consumers also are location-tagging their posts on social networking sites, according to research from JiWire, a location-based mobile advertising company.


How Can Personalized Recommendations Transcend Channels?

ChoiceStreamOmni-channel retail is here to stay. Both the promise and the challenge of commerce through multiple channels (in-store, online, mobile-commerce, direct mail, etc.) are well understood by retailers looking to grow their market share. However, in this rapidly shifting retail landscape, consumers are still giving their business — and their hard-earned dollars — to the retailers they believe are more service-oriented and customer-focused. They’re buying from companies who know them AND offer great deals and great selection of the products they really want.

Given where consumers spend their dollars, I’m struck that personalized recommendations  delivered to consumers online are not more widely embraced across all channels in the retail space. Right now, data shows that only half of the Top 500 online retailers are using personalization techniques. Our own results show that personalization can drive 10% in incremental sales. This begs the question, why is such an effective approach not more widely embraced across all groups in a retail organization? And why are personalized recommendations not used more widely across all marketing channels?

Think about your favorite in-store experience. The one where a salesperson on the floor makes suggestions, provides feedback, and helps you find what you need. You shop there consistently for a reason. That “personal shopper” model can be replicated across other touch points as well, whether it be online, via email, or even in catalogs. But retailers few and far between actually provide this experience across touch points.


Godiva Improves Average Order Value 15% With Product Image Testing

Best-in-class retailers are testing and applying new strategies to better engage online consumers. The e-Commerce site in particular presents retailers with an opportunity to customize messaging and offers based on visitors’ browsing and buying histories, as well as geographic locations.

Godiva Chocolatier optimized e-Commerce personalization with the Agility Suite from Monetate, designed to allow retailers to test personalized content, images and offers more quickly and seamlessly. The retailer is recognizing an array of benefits, including a 15% boost in Average Order Value (AOV) and an 18% increase in conversion rates as a result of leveraging multiple images on product pages.

Because Godiva is such a sensory brand, photography is critical to creating a compelling experience for shoppers, Mahender Nathan, VP of Direct for Godiva told Retail TouchPoints. To ensure the best investment, the internal team for the brand conducted A/B testing through Monetate to determine the overall value of providing alternate images on inventory pages.


Nine Steps To Really Knowing Your Customers

As customer shopping patterns and the devices used to research and make purchases continue to transform, the retailer’s ability to segment shoppers and deliver relevant and engaging experiences has never been more important ― nor more possible. Accessible shopper and customer data is key to segmentation, but many consumers are not willing to share it, making today’s essential personalized shopping experience challenging to create.

New insights revealed by Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group, helped unpack this box of challenges. In a recent webinar and white paper, both titled “Nine Steps To Really Knowing Your Customers,” sponsored by MyBuys, Freedman shed light on various approaches to a cohesive CRM strategy. An online survey of more than 1,000 consumers regarding personalization and data sharing, and a subsequent questionnaire with a cross-section of merchants across the retail industry, brought the insights to the forefront.


Starbucks/Square Agreement Helps Spur Local Business Growth

  • Published in Mobile

Starbucks_SquareExpensive interchange fees associated with credit/debit card payment processing, cumbersome merchant application procedures and mandatory credit checks are just a few reasons why many retailers prefer not to accept credit/debit payments. In fact, more than two thirds of the nation’s 27 million small businesses currently do not accept credit/debit cards. While this option helps businesses of all sizes reduce related costs and procedural requirements, it can deter traffic from customers who prefer these vehicles, especially as mobile payments become more mainstream.

To provide a convenient, cost-effective and innovative payment experience for both sides of the counter, Starbucks Coffee Company has announced a partnership with Square, Inc., a provider of free credit/debit card readers and lower-cost processing for credit/debit purchases made via the iPhone, iPad and Android. Square is a start-up led by Jack Dorsey, CEO ― the former Co-Founder of Twitter.

Square’s processing fees are 2.75% per swipe, according to its web site ― much lower than the average 2% to 3% of the total transaction amount merchants traditionally are charged.


BevMo! Enhances Customer Satisfaction With Price And Promotion Optimization Tools

The continued proliferation of online shopping makes it imperative for merchants to harness in-depth shopper information for more efficient marketing, pricing and offers, as well as overall merchandising and assortment planning.

BevMo!, a specialty beverage retailer, is addressing these goals head-on with several new solutions to achieve customer centricity across its business, Bob Graham, VP of IT for BevMo!, told Retail TouchPoints.


Macy’s Adopts Shopkick Mobile Rewards In All 800 Locations


As mobile and localization become even more vital pieces to the shopper marketing puzzle, retailers are utilizing strategies to reach and communicate with consumers in more relevant ways.

Macy’s is striving for personal and interactive experiences with its recent nationwide rollout of shopkick, a mobile, location-based rewards shopping app, to approximately 800 Macy’s locations.

Through the shopkick rewards tool, consumers receive “kicks,” which act as shopkick's currency, simply for walking into a Macy’s location. The more consumers use their smartphones to scan item barcodes in brick-and-mortar locations and complete specific challenges, the more "kick" points they earn. All “kicks” are redeemable for tangible items, such as discounts and free goods, allowing Macy’s to create a “gamified” experience as well as boost impulse purchases.


IBM Unveils Augmented Reality Mobile Shopping App For In-Store Engagement

  • Published in Mobile

Shoppers are demanding more personalized offers, communications and item recommendations from retailers today. As a result, they are more willing to share personal information with retailers to ensure these experiences are provided. As many as 73% of shoppers would share their demographic information, including age and ethnicity, according to recent research from IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

The 2012 Consumer Survey also revealed that 61% of consumers are willing to share their identification, such as name and address, and 59% are open to sharing information about their lifestyle.


South Moon Under Drives 24% Conversion Rate With Shopping Cart Abandonment Email Campaign

Screen_Shot_2012-07-18_at_5.03.34_PMDespite the rise of mobile and social marketing strategies, email has remained a powerful tool for retailers to educate consumers on their brand, recommend items and most importantly, recover lost sales. Due to consumers’ growing focus on finding the best deals across digital and physical channels, shopping cart abandonment continues to be a threat to retailers’ online success. In fact, 89% of consumers have indicated that they have abandoned at least one shopping cart, according to Forrester Research.

To win the eyes and dollars of its shoppers, South Moon Under — a luxury retailer for men and women — partnered with Listrak, an email solution provider, to adopt a strategy to tackle cart abandonment. As of July 2012, the retailer has achieved a 23.52% conversion rate through the abandonment campaign.


MyBuys Launches Long-Term Targeting Solution For Personalized Display Advertising

thumb_MyBuys_imageAs retailers strive to provide engaging customer experiences across channels, progressive organizations are capturing and storing actionable insights on their consumers. By tapping into this data, best-in-class retailers are personalizing consumer interactions to foster more meaningful relationships with shoppers to drive engagement and revenue.

Moreover, innovative retailers are extending the window for re-connecting and re-engaging consumers that don’t complete transactions by leveraging new campaign approaches via display advertising. 


Serena & Lily Boosts Online Purchases With Real-Time Customization Tool

The Internet offers consumers an array of resources for accessing information, browsing inventory and purchasing items from the convenience of their homes or with mobile devices. However, many shoppers still value the rich, interactive experiences that take place within brick-and-mortar stores. These omni-channel consumer behaviors present an opportunity for retailers to integrate digital and physical channels and engagement tactics for more compelling shopping experiences.

To create more seamless browsing and buying processes that are customized to shoppers’ personal styles, Serena & Lily — a linens and homewares retailer — leverages a product configuration solution from Fluid, a digital commerce agency and merchandising solution provider.


Wize Commerce Offers Campaign Management And Monetization Tools To Drive Shopper Engagement

The capabilities of social networking sites and mobile tools and technologies have increased expectations for today’s consumers. To help retailers excel in the age of omni-channel shopping, Wize Commerce recently unveiled its suite of solutions.

“Today, it’s a multichannel retailer world,” Mike Janes, CMO of Wize Commerce, told Retail TouchPoints. “It’s more important than ever that retailers have a single view of the customer and an integrated experience online and offline. Retailers no longer need to just win a sales lead, but build a relationship with shoppers to keep them coming back to them.”


Bunchball Gaming Tactics Help Improve Customer And Employee Engagement

Bunchball-Nitro-4-3_2Gamification offers retailers the opportunity to integrate game mechanics into digital experiences to influence and motivate engagement. By incorporating gaming tactics into online communities and user-generated content, retailers can deliver more compelling brand impressions and establish customer loyalty.

Retail demand for gamification platforms is deepened today by a technology-driven shopping environment in which users expect relevant, targeted offers, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

In response, Bunchball launched Nitro Flamethrower in March 2012 to help retailers create personalized gamification programs aimed at meeting the interests of specific users. Flamethrower currently serves up to 70 million unique users and 2.3 billion actions each month.


Personalization Analysis Boosts Online, In-Store Loyalty & Sales

Each mouse click equals measurable customer data. The key for today’s retailers is learning to harness that data and turn it into actionable information.

Best-in-class providers of personalization solutions have been monitoring, collecting and analyzing mouse clicks and resulting conversion rates for a number of years. While current data is valuable, combining it with historical preferences creates the perfect storm of information measurement.


E-tailing Group Study Sees Growing Focus On Mobile, Tablets And Content Strategies

Today’s consumers are growing more savvy and accustomed to comparing prices and researching products across online platforms and in stores. Merchants must meet shoppers at their channel of choice and deliver relevant, compelling messages as well as item recommendations.

The continual growth of smartphone and tablet technology among consumers specifically has reinforced retailers’ need to increase investment in e-Commerce marketing and engagement strategies. In fact, 44% of retailers are investing more in e-Commerce initiatives during 2012, while 27% of merchants plan to spend significantly more time and money on their online storefronts and marketing tactics, according to research from the e-tailing group.


Personalization In 2012: Intent Leads, Social Matures

Scott_Brave_Headshot_2011_2While personalization has existed for more than a decade,  emerging as a priority for every online retailer, 2012 is shaping up to be a truly innovative year for relevant, in-the-moment personalized experiences for consumers.

To understand the context for these innovations, it is important to look back. Prior to this year, only vendors with deep pockets or sophisticated algorithms, such as Google, could hope to create highly relevant experiences. That’s because a completely new way of thinking was required to understand how to process information in real-time to make decisions that impact in-the-moment experiences. The alternative was to use aggregate data and batch processes that delivered less than ideal results. That, however, is about to change.


The Role Of Mobile And Social In The Path To e-Commerce Success

eTail-2012-220The phrase ‘mobile and social’ may be becoming redundant in discussions about the future of the retail industry, but the two topics cannot be ignored when it comes to the reality of current and future retail success. As anticipated, mobile and social were key topics of discussion and announcements during the eTail West conference, held last week in Palm Desert, California.

More specifically, attendees and exhibitors shared insights on key topics, such as:

  • The questionable role of Facebook storefronts moving forward
  • The increasing need for personalization in the customer experience across all channels
  • The importance of looking before you leap (strategizing) in the social media arena
  • The current and future role of mobility in retail – including mobile web sites, landing pages, apps and payment
  • The role of Big Data and analytics
  • The role of new sites such as

Misikko Improves Customer Engagement Through Personalized Email Marketing Strategy


In an online sales environment that is ever evolving and increasingly competitive, eTailers constantly are in search of ways to boost sales rates and acquire new customers. In order to stay afloat, merchants must learn how to drive engagement and catch the attention of qualified, paying customers. While many retailers rely on interactive strategies such as social networking and mobile marketing, email remains the linchpin of customer communication.

Misikko, an online retailer offering a variety of hair care products, such as flat irons and professional hair dryers, sought a solution to improve purchase rates. Initially the beauty tool eTailer relied on direct marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to engage potential and loyal customers. In an effort to drive more profit and better grab prospects’ attention, Misikko partnered with Campaigner, an email marketing solution provider.

Read more... Taps Online, Email Targeting To Boost Customer Engagement

Targeting and personalization strategies allow retailers to refine marketing materials, offers and messaging based on consumer preferences. By analyzing browsing and buying behavior, best-in-class retailers have acquired a loyal consumer base of brand advocates and frequent buyers. In an effort to optimize email marketing strategies and messaging for its e-Commerce site, teamed with Knotice, a digital marketing solution provider. began transitioning its data to the Knotice platform in August 2011. The retailer implemented the Knotice Concentri SiteTarget and Concentri EmailPlus platforms, and rolled out its first email campaign in approximately six weeks. The SiteTarget solution allows the gourmet food and care package merchant to edit “live zones” on its web site to incorporate targeted content for specific visitors. The retailer then tests personalized attributes to determine success rates and overall influence.

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