Inventory Optimization – A Key Ingredient for Increasing Customer Satisfaction

With high expectations of the new age customer and need for accurate and timely omnichannel fulfillment data, retailers need automated and accurate inventory updates to service customers anytime and anywhere, in order to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty. Download this point-of-view that highlights how inventory optimization can help retailers to better support operational performance, uphold their brand image and maintain customer service levels. Download Full Report...

How to Re-Activate Current Loyalty Programs to Bring Alive Loyalty

In this age of well-informed, technology-savvy, connected consumer, is customer loyalty dead? An EKN survey (EKN 2014 Next Generation Shopper Experience: A Millennial Consumer Perspective) shows that the customers, especially the millennials, are willing to spend additionally upto 30% over the same period in case they get a great shopping experience. EKN’s analysis shows that the same customers sometimes defect their loyal brand in search of better prices and convenience. Retention had never been so difficult. So how exactly then a retailer claims to retain a loyal customer base when the customer’s behavior suggests otherwise. One needs to figure out the good that the existing retail loyalty programs are doing for the business except for providing a momentarily transaction-based attraction for customers. It is interesting to find that many retailers run these contests amongst their employees in store in return of incentives, to get the maximum no. of registrations for their loyalty program. Does the buck stop here? No, we believe, it is equally critical for retailers to ensure the subscribed customers make use of the program consistently and this can only happen when customers realize the associated far-reaching rewards than mere transactional benefits. This notion ties back to the concept of customer lifecycle value, one of those metrics which has seen most retailers struggling with. Measuring customer’s lifecycle value considers into account a more holistic view of the value derived from the customers over the period and thus challenges the retailers’ myopic view in executing a transactional loyalty program. The concern mentioned above is applicable to most retailers irrespective of their format, segment and size. Key issues that...

How Best to Achieve Employee Effectiveness in Retail

Even as 1 in 2 retailers cite unified commerce (commerce or retail sales and service management without sales channel boundaries) initiatives in the store as the leading technology investment area in 2016 as per the EKN’s ‘2015 Future of Store Report’. A similar section of retailers also indicates introducing better associate and store manager training and development as a key employee management improvement area in the stores (Source: 2015 Next Gen Retail Employee Engagement & Empowerment). This means that at least to a fair degree, the successful adoption and execution of unified commerce initiatives in the stores depends upon the training effectiveness of associate and store manager. Knowledgeable associates and managers not only impart store related knowledge, expertise and experience to the customers but also assist new and part-time associates with new processes, digital tools and several shopping devices every day. While figuring out a typical ‘customer path-to-purchase journey’ for comprehending customer sales and service lifecycles across channels, companies need to similarly incorporate nuances of ‘store employee task journeys‘ just as much. Employee effectiveness is as much a function of continued store training as much as it’s about knowing specific needs associated with in-store omnichannel and digital processes, tasks and customer lifestyle needs. With the increasing business pressures associated with technology transformation and overall cost of optimization, with 7 out of 10 retailers saying so, introducing step-by-step training and development program equipped with digital and advanced web-based training tools in the stores remains a big challenge. As long as such an investment is seen as a hard cost and not an investment or a business imperative, retailers and vendors...

Predicting Buyer Journeys and Inventory: Retail Future in a Nutshell

According to EKN’s 2015 ‘Future of Retail IT’ survey, predictive analytics ranks as the #1 enterprise technology for 9 out of 10 retailers with ‘a high likelihood of adoption’ indicated by 7 in 10 companies. This need for predictive insights has increased in the stores and within retail’s most traditional blocking and tackling issue: inventory management. EKN’s 2015 Customer Context Power report revealed that 1 in 2 retailers are unable to predict their store customer traffic patterns leading to lopsided execution in the stores. Moreover, on average retailers are unable to attain higher that 60% forecast accuracy on their demand forecasts for inventory management.  This means that a sizeable volume of inventory is not based on customer science, reliable forecasts or likely demand scenarios related prospective shopping patterns or sales trends leading to lack of sell-through and higher markdowns. . These problems exist not only due to lack of reliable and timely customer insights but also due to legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence, demand forecasting and inventory management systems. On the one hand, predictive data and intelligence about likely customer traffic helps enable optimized labor planning, floor plans, associate focus and rich customer experience readiness at a local store-level. It also helps retailers know what customers want, when they want it and which type of merchandise, channel messaging or content can help. With this, it is possible to determine if companies that invest in predictive data modeling use both structured (e.g. t-log POS or promotions data) and unstructured data sources (e.g. social sentiment data, Wi-Fi, Beacon etc.). On the other hand, advanced and predictive analytics-enabled omnichannel inventory planning...

Rapid Evolution of Unified Commerce in New Age Retail

Modern POS is an integrated customer-centric platform for unified commerce. It combines real-time contextual marketing, order, delivery & inventory visibility to aid digital and location-based commerce. This infographic reflects the Rapid Evolution of Unified Commerce in New Age...