Why Frictionless Matters

In our last post we illustrated why it isn’t enough (or sometimes even prudent) for retailers to obsess over being omnichannel, and why they must instead focus on aggressively removing friction from the customer experience. A detailed point of view with findings and analysis from a survey of 300 global retailers and brands has now been released. While the goal is similar for both retailers and brands – identify and eliminate inefficiencies in the customer experience that may cause consumers to abandon engagement; how they get to a frictionless experience is different. We’ve also published a detailed roadmap for both retailers and brands. With NRF’s annual convention and expo around the corner, here is a quick summary of the 4 key areas for retailers to focus on. These also represent the key technologies we’ll be tracking during the show. Payments & Commerce: The Connective Tissue Payments have the potential to be the unifying tissue of the shopping experience. It already is in the case of pureplay online retailers that offer features such as one-click checkout and secure customer profiles. Extending that experience into the store is the big challenge for brick and click retailers. Recent big-name announcements not withstanding, retailers must shun the tendency to view mobile payments as a way to bypass bank-fees, and instead explore the appropriate application of payment technology suited for their customer experience strategy.  The widely panned and largely unsuccessful mobile wallet and application launched by a who’s-who conglomerate of US retailers (CurrentC) is a perfect illustration of how not to approach payments. Instead, consumer oriented mobile payment platforms and wallets – Apple Pay,...

A Framework for Omnichannel Personalization

Personalizing the shopper experience across channels is a goal most retailers covet, yet few truly achieve. The gulf between vision and reality is a reflection of two factors: the lack of a clear definition of the end-state and its associated benefits, and the gap in retailers’ current business processes and technology systems. This infographic illustrates the business value of personalization, and provides a 4-part framework for retailers to successfully execute omnichannel personalization strategies....

Omnichannel Personalization: Making Retail Personal Again

Personalization is moving from a world of transactions to a world of relationships. It means meeting the customer where she is, engaging with her in a manner and at a distance that she is comfortable with, and providing value beyond what she already expects.  It is simply about making retail personal again. Personalization is a proven force when it comes to digital (30% of Amazon’s revenue is attributed to it’s recommendation engine, personalized call to actions are 42% more effective than generic ones), but hasn’t translated across channels yet. Personalization will become significantly more powerful when it spans across the world of the digital and physical. In-store personalization can be significantly more effective than digital-only tactics (store associate recommendations are 25x more effective at conversion than personalized email). Unified omnichannel personalization can lead to upto 6.6% increase in sales. Personalization is an abstract and fuzzy term, and over the course of this year (EKN-Mindtree Personalization Study, RIS-EKN Customer Engagement Study), we’ve taken a shot at defining it and created a framework to guide strategy and execution. Simply put, personalization is the sum of two parts – Customer Relevance and Trust. Building an omnichannel personalization strategy requires focusing on the following core areas: Understanding Customer Context Investing in a Personalization Engine Building Omnichannel Offer & Content Execution Capabilities Living by a Code of honor We’ve recently published a detailed point of view that builds on the above concepts in further detail. Its available as a free download here (registration required). As retailers build out their personalization strategies, it is important to reiterate the importance of living by a code of...

Stores as Hubs of Omnichannel: Myth vs. Reality

Inconsistencies in operational execution and need for deeper integration with complex Omnichannel programs are the leading business challenges facing stores today. The complexities of creating a single integrated channel experience in the store are tremendous and the pressure of cost justifying each investment has slowed (not stalled) retailer’s efforts. As a consequence, stores are under duress from corporate to re-calibrate operations to increase store contribution to Omnichannel sales and profitability. Download this benchmark report to understand business challenges, capabilities, priorities and investment areas retailers need to focus on when undergoing Omnichannel transformation for stores. Download Full...

2nd Annual Stores Benchmark

The role of the brick and mortar store is evolving from being a destination of commerce to being a hub of Omni-channel customer engagement. And, retailers’ “organizational muscle” – a mesh of capabilities including their culture, management adaptability, business processes and technology systems – is under duress from having to dispense a type of customer-centric movement it isn’t trained for. In order to consistently and smoothly dispense an Omni-channel experience to customers, retailers will need to re-train this organizational fiber. EKN’s 2014 Stores Industry Benchmark lays out a framework for how. The report illustrates 4 key properties of stores that retailers will need to transform and key enabling capabilities retailers will invest in to drive the transformation. Each section contains specific short, medium and long-term recommendations and key data points. Download Full...