Customized advertising that effectively identifies a narrow target audience is here. One electronics retailer used location-based apps to target consumers whose cellphone contracts were expiring. How did they do it? The apps examined anonymous data to identify older phone models or operating systems and sent ads to those phones with a map to the nearest store.
The global demand for U.S. brands is on the rise, and retailers are looking to e-commerce to expand their international reach. According to recent data, online sales that originate outside the U.S. are expected to increase 67 percent between 2011 and 2015. Microsoft’s Dynamics AX can handle the multi-currency, multi-language and multi-company functions that retailers need when they go global.
Good news for retailers: The fall 2012 runway is showing more fashion-forward styles, according to an article on CNBC. It’s a sign that customers are ready to shed the basics they chose in the recession and open their wallets for the latest trends. Retailers are hoping that unique yet versatile fashion pieces will draw consumers to pay full price.
A high end grocer’s move into downtown Detroit has some questioning the retailer’s strategy. But, if you look more closely, it becomes more obvious why a downtown location — even in one of the most notoriously abandoned cities — is smart for business. There are many attractions, including proximity to a hospital, university and art museum.
A recent study cited by TechJournal identified key qualities of customer experiences that drive business growth. The experience-focused approach is fundamental in retail. The principle hasn’t changed despite the growth of new channels to reach consumers. Customer service helps retain customers and attract new ones.
The retail industry must embrace great customer service and brand identity in all its channels to attract today’s savvy consumer, according to an article from Inc. All these trends are going to come down to one thing: execution. How well can a retailer act on these ideas? It’s all about the “omni-channel” — approaching the customer through multiple shopping channels, such TV, mobile, web and brick-and-mortar.
While mobile device sales are still in their infancy, they will continue to rise. This will be a major trend during the next 18 months, and one that retailers should not ignore. Some are already feeling the upswing. Nearly 20 percent say they account for more than 10 percent of sales. The Dubin Amendment has also sweetened the climate, reducing transaction fees for nearly half of retailers.
A major department store is overhauling its brand, trading in its history of making steep discounts on its merchandise for more consistent pricing, according to a recent article on Reuters. It’s a trend that other retailers are following as well; many are creating niche stores that focus on a boutique shopping experience with exclusive merchandise.
An uptick in the job market, new spring merchandise and warmer weather combined to create the perfect storm for February — boosting major retail sales 4.7 percent and beating out predictions of a 3.4 percent increase, according to an article from the Chicago Tribune. Consumers are feeling more confident and retailers can expect that an increase in the sale of luxury and non-essential goods will follow.
While reality TV shows and smartphones are making extreme couponing more popular and accessible, retailers are taking steps to monitor use. Whether it’s by limiting online coupons, or tracking usage through in-store automation and point of sale systems, the onus is on retailers to improve their systems and guidelines so that coupons are used as they’re intended.
De-shoppers are cheating retailers out of $14.4 billion a year, so why is this growing trend so difficult to stop? De-shoppers have become highly skilled at beating the system, and retailers are fighting back — tightening their return policies, placing customer return desks away from the shopping floor and checking identification so they can track repeat offenders.
Randy Misener, Editor-at-Large
Randy Misener is the Industry Executive responsible for Enterprise Retail Management solutions at Avanade. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has approximately 15,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.