STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 2 - 24
Continued from page 22
"Alexa, add 'X' to my cart," is a comfortable, expedient way to reorder basics.
Shoppers' comfort level with this method
of commerce has nowhere to go but up.
Experts are already tossing around
numbers: Walker Sands' 2017 "Future of
Retail" study reports that one in five U.S.
customers have made a voice purchase
through Amazon Echo or another digital
home assistant, and another third plan to
do so in the next year. ComScore research
forecasts 50 percent of all searches will be
via voice by 2020; Gartner reports virtual
assistants will participate in a majority of
commercial interactions between people
and businesses by 2020.
Retailers need to raise their voice skills
- shoppers are talking.
Photo credit: ©Panchenko Vladimir/Shutterstock.
The rush to find more effective ment, they risk disappointing shoppers.
ways to get digital orders into customNew models such as Instacart, Uberers' hands will intensify, creating more RUSH and Postmates offer ecommerce castrain on the supply chain and crimping pabilities to retailers who lack fulfillment.
But the real problem is less about last mile
Retailers have been trying to solve and more about managing inventory against
supply chain puzzles for years. They des- the backdrop of omnichannel strategies that
perately want to satisfy shoppers' demands combine in-store experience with direct-tobut face a problem of inventory - specifi- consumer delivery.
cally, inventory accuracy. Despite software
OrderDynamics' recent Omni-1000
tools intended to manage inventory-related report found that only 29 percent of retailers
challenges, gaps remain in visibility and in the United States offer click-and-collect,
or buy online, pick up in store - which
Hype is focused around last-mile may be tied to inventory challenges. The reefforts; some large
port also found that
while nearly twoDigital needs physical.
Walmart and Target
thirds provide basic
with new delivery
to online consumers,
digital. The power of
only 8 percent offer
combining the two is
pick-up and refriga detailed level of
erated lockers. Getinventory visibility.
ting product into the
No doubt retailhands of shoppers fast enough to feed ers understand the tremendous value of the
their desire for items delivered in a matter omnichannel consumer - and likewise
of hours is critical to satisfying a growing the perils of gaps in the ability to serve
cadre of consumers.
Still, as the experts at RSR continue
to point out, "If you don't know what you
The path to consumer nirvana in
have, where it is or how you can get it, 2018 will consist of unique experiences,
nothing else really matters." Moreover, if transparency, operational efficiencies
retailers are fulfilling product from the near- and a vigilance on reducing pain points
est store and don't have the right inventory in the shopper journey.
systems in place to manage product moveConsumers can be a tough crowd -
demanding, unforgiving, not particularly
loyal and as fickle as the weather. Still, for
those who manage to make a connection,
the rewards can be sweet.
The trick for retailers will be to focus
their technology firepower on creating
unique experiences. Lowe's relies on AR
and VR to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to its do-it-yourself shoppers; Sephora
focuses on creating meaningful customer
connections and a customized approach to
beauty with best-in-class digital tools: Its
Continued from page 20
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12/13/17 12:21 AM
shows its power: pricing discrimination.
As data is used to segment shoppers
based on certain patterns, there is a risk
of crossing a line.
"People want to trust that a business they are engaging with is fair,"
Valentine says. "Once you violate that
trust, it's hard to get it back."
Retailers shouldn't be afraid to try
personalized pricing, which has long
roots - Valentine points to bartering
and student or senior discounts. The
key to success lies in transparency. "In
socially accepted examples, nothing is
hidden," she says.
"You know that you have to negotiate, or to meet certain age criteria.
The more that enterprises can have that
transparent relationship and let people
review the information that you have
about them, the more sustainable personalized pricing will be."
Photo credit: ©leungchopan/Shutterstock
new smaller footprint Sephora Studio is the
first to offer what the beauty retailer calls a
75-minute "Custom Makeover Plus."
How critical is it to get the experience
piece right? The answer can be found in the
long lines that form at the Starbucks units
inside convention centers. Though the host
is often supplying free coffee - maybe
even Starbucks brand - devotees line up
for their drink and an experience that can't
Personalization remains a retail enigma, and there's not likely to be a metamorphosis in the next 12 months. Nonetheless,
it's not something that retailers can let slip,
especially as companies such as Netflix and
Spotify continue to hone their skills when
it comes to individualized recommendations and playlists. Once consumers taste
what can be, they expect other businesses
to deliver the same treatment.
The one area where personalization
seems to be sticking is subscriptions.
Stitch Fix, an online service that combines
personal styling with complex algorithms
to customize clothing deliveries for men
and women, has ushered in a new era of
personalization. Winc, a wine subscription
service that is gaining popularity, sends
See "Forward" on page 26
As with so many aspects of today's
retail, data is the key. "Our advice is to
make sure that you can walk really well
before you run," Valentine says.
She recommends that retailers first
work on their internal foundation, which
includes integrating data across channels and being able to match a single
consumer's behavior across those channels, and then go after competitive data.
"I don't think anyone has perfectly
solved the competitive data issue for
stores," Valentine says. Many collection mechanisms are antiquated,
though innovative companies are
taking a creative approach with a
combination of data collection and
Ultimately, today's retailer has to
forge a new relationship with the shopper by "giving them things that they
value and not giving them things that
they don't value," Baird says. "That's
the part where retailers have been getting into trouble."
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