Announcing the Dinner

Thought Leadership Dinner On Customer-Centric Merchandising and Category Management

In the wake of latest industry events including Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and its impact on retail, the Research division of Ensemble IQ is hosting an exclusive thought leadership dinner for a select group of executives

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Served from Blog

Is Digital Transformation working in the Path-To-Purchase Journey? – Part 1

It is a well known fact that the emergence of online shopping has drastically changed the way we shop and besides brick and mortal stores, online shopping plays a very important role for every brand…..

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Point of View

Lamps Plus : A Case Study-Led Approach to PLM Success

This report entails some key insights from the conversation between EKN’s principal analyst & CFO of a leading lighting retailer operating in US……

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2016 Wrap-Up & 2017 Retail Industry Outlook

While 2016 was a pretty good year for US retail, for most retailers a repeat of 2016 growth will be not be easy replicate in 2017. After all, it is a transition year and as new economic and fiscal policies get activated….

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Point of View

The changing role of the store: Is your workforce ready?

Due to rapidly changing role of store on account of advent of disruptive digital technologies, retailers are contemplating or implementing store transformations and finding themselves in a tough spot….

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Omni-channel Customer Intelligence, Journeys & Engagement for Retailers

Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, Carrefour, Aldi, Target or not, retailers know that both current and future retail business survival is intricately tied to understanding and responding to shopper or customer evolution in agile and innovative ways. New age customer engagement is now entering the realm of precision Omni-channel marketing. Retailers need to stay updated with these solutions to ensure effective personalized customer engagement. Download Full...

Foundation for Digital Transformation

Consumer expectations for applications, digital solutions and networking systems initiatives within retail are constantly evolving and present a unique set of challenges and opportunities for cutting-edge retailers. Download this e-Book presented by EIQ Research and Infovista and discover how investing in backend firepower allows retailers to meet changing shopper demands and power their digital transformation. Download Full...

Changing the In-Store Experience Forever

Strategic Product Marketing Executive of Infovista Network Performance Solutions, Ricardo Belmar, discusses digital transformation in retail and how it is changing the in-store customer experience highlighted with some industry examples. Download Full...

Competing in the Age of Amazon – Profitable Category Diversification & Expansion Leveraging Customer Insight

A closer look at the category management process of Amazon reveals the customer-centric approach they have adopted while efficiently planning the category development process. This ebook discusses how retailers and suppliers have the opportunity to tap into this category development and optimization opportunity window and emerge as the leaders in their respective categories and markets. Download Full...

Strategies for agile, profitable and secure omnichannel execution

The surge in omnichannel commerce has redefined the way retailers interact with customers. In the pursuit to remain competitive and increase the customer base, retailers have mostly focused on front-end strategies to grab customer attention.However, of late, they have also realized the importance of an integrated order fulfillment and secure back-end process for seamless omnichannel execution.This report entails the various strategies that aid them to do so. Download Full...


Infor’s Wonderful Journey Continues

Modern day corporations are slowed down considerably due to legacy, capital-starved and often complicated enterprise IT architecture and application environments. In fact, line of business employees (and even end-customers) suffer everyday due to numerous complexities surrounding usage, functionality, productivity and overall application experience draining precious time, resources and process quality. To address these and other unmet enterprise software needs, it was three years ago at the headquarters in NYC that Infor executives laid out a bold vision of sprucing up and modernizing enterprise IT applications and tools that in large part still remain legacy and outdated across manufacturing, health care, retail and other industries. I had called out this vision as being noteworthy in a blog that I published in 2015. At the time when Infor made the announcement in 2015, there were plenty of skeptics in the room as industry analysts always are and so they should be as there are several software companies that lay out a big vision but fail to follow through. To an extent, I was a skeptic too as I was curious to see what becomes of the new Infor roadmap which on surface seemed fresh and customer-friendly but needed quite a bit of work. Three years hence, I attended Infor’s 2018 Innovation Summit last week and conversations with a few Infor customers ensued. It is my humble observation as an industry analyst that while there are many paths to greatness in software, in three years Infor has achieved quite a bit and is on the right path. Evidently, Infor’s team has a sense of stewardship and belief in the overall approach and...

Cashierless Stores & Futuristic Experience Can Have a Big Impact But..

This past week Amazon finally went live with Amazon Go- a cashierless convenience store concept, and several other retailers including Kroger announced that they are about to launch similar cashierless and other innovative store concepts. In order deliberate upon these market developments, on January 27th 2018, EnsembleIQ analysts, and representatives from American Express met a few leading retailers such as Starbucks, Price Chopper, Piggly Wiggly Midwest and a few other major food brands in Miami, FL. The objective was to discuss the business implications related to future store customer experience, cashierless stores, checkout complexities and role of payments. Some key takeaways from this share group and brainstorming session are summarized below. • While both retailers and food brands agreed that Amazon Go is disruptive, they emphasized that a few key elements must be considered by all retailers in rolling out cashierless stores and other new store concepts: 1. Retailers must accept all forms of payments including EBT within the mobile wallets 2. Training of consumers will lead to greater adoption of unique store concepts 3. Technology uptime in cashierless stores is bound to experience periodical complexities including but limited to automated checkout, as a result retailers should prepare a fall back plan to prevent customer backlash 4. New store concepts are more effective when targeted towards specific customer segments 5. Cashierless stores could save customers time if executed properly- specifically due to the time saved in terms of scanning/bagging and customers using automated mobile wallets for payments. According to a recent Ensemble IQ and Amex survey, average mobile wallet transaction time is less than 1 minute compared to an...

NRF & 2018 Innovation Trends in Retail Technology

By most counts, 2018 is not a year retail industry will see downward trajectory. Some corrections like store closures, bankruptcies or near-bankruptcies happened last year (please read my published 2017 NRF trends blog from last year here). While there may still be a few more blemishes left, this is the year that will usher continuous and unprecedented innovation in the retail industry. Up until November 2017, total US retail trade sales are up a healthy 4.2% over 2016. Non-store retail (10.2%), Gasoline stations (8.8%) and building materials and garden supplies (8.2%), Auto parts (4.9%) and furniture (4.6%) showed respectable gains. In all likelihood, when December sales figures are reported, retail sales will end up close to or over 5% comp over 2016. As of third quarter 2017, e-commerce sales were 8.4% of total retail sales. In order to kick-off 2018 in an insights-led way, outlined in this blog are a few key industry trends, strategies and solutions that can help retailers focus better, innovate and address the business challenges facing them today. The business challenges are several and can be classified into three groups: Organizational:   • Lack of internal and external collaboration; uninspired workforce; cultural conflicts between bricks and clicks teams Operational:   • Poor store execution; low product differentiation; high cost of digital orders; unpredictable store demand; pricing and promotions-related pains Customer:   • Unexciting loyalty programs; inaccurate segmentation; wishy-washy personalization; lack of actionable customer insights The question remains why outside of a complete lack of investible capital and executive leadership are most retailers delaying or postponing bringing a customer-led and a balanced innovation approach to the forefront? In...




EKN is a boutique research and advisory firm focused on business-technology insights in the consumer industries of retail, consumer goods, travel and hospitality. Our goal is to fill a gap in the industry by offering prescriptive insights on topics of greatest importance to our audience, and to assist business and technology executives in discovering disruptive technologies and vendors.