The National Retail Federation (NRF) held its annual convention January 17 – 20 in New York City. It’s a perfect chance to review the past year and look at what’s on the horizon for retail in 2016. Will in-store sales rebound? Can retailers regain customer loyalty and profitability with an omnichannel strategy? How can e-commerce and new technology be used to grow sales? We’ve got news highlights and some of the answers just ahead.
Personalization and seamless mobile access are two top trends for 2016 according to ChainStore Age.com. Pitney Bowes, identified five key e-commerce trends for 2016 including Internet of things, personalization and data analytics. Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report looks for IoT mobile, millennial’s and globalization to impact retailers most. RIS News provided an excellent, in-depth overview of the best of the National Retail Federation annual conference. Recommended reading.
Apparel Magazine ranks the Top 50 most profitable apparel brands including The Buckle, Kate Spade and Lululemon. At the NRF Show, technology leaders like Intel, NCR and SAP talked tech innovations and analytics to retailers. New retail concept Star World combines bricks and clicks in a new technology-fueled store targeted at Latinos in the LA area. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz highlighted the impact of e-commerce and mobile shopping on retail. Pitney Bowes points to the rising cost of e-commerce fulfillment via price increases by UPS, FedEx and USPS in a new report.
FiveStars, a loyalty programs and shopping analytics service for small brick-and-mortar retailers, raised $50 million venture capital for expansion. A new facial recognition program called eyeQ can accurately scan seven different types of emotions and deliver content accordingly to customers entering a store. US malls of the future may look more like China according to Deborah Weinswig, executive director at Fung Business Intelligence Centre. Interesting times ahead in 2016 and we will keep you current on retail and technology news.
Emerging Trends in Customer Experience for 2016
2016 will be a year when many niche innovations in customer experience will become mainstream as consumers expect more out of their shopping experiences, forcing traditional retailers to step up or risk becoming irrelevant. Marketplace buzzwords and emerging trends, such as personalization and seamless mobile access, will become table-stake elements of the customer experience.
Here are ways retailers will take their customer experience to the next level. Via chainstoreage.com
Pitney Bowes: The top five e-commerce drivers for 2016
In the coming year, seamless technologies that blend physical and digital channels will have a major impact on e-commerce.
According to Pitney Bowes, five key developments will primarily drive e-commerce in 2016. These are:
1. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will drive better business outcomes
Machine-to-machine and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies allow retailers to extract and analyze data from industrial machines to drive better business outcomes. Business benefits include lower cost of operations, greater productivity and output and higher service levels. Businesses also need the flexibility to reach customers across their preferred physical and digital channels. Via chainstoreage.com
NRF 2016: Why brick-and-mortar retail faces a shakeout
Almost everyone that Retail Dive spoke with at the NRF’s Big Show agreed on one thing: The retail business is changing fast. “We are right now in the middle of the biggest, most profound transformation in the history of retail,” Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report and a former executive at VF Corp. and Women’s Wear Daily, told Retail Dive in an interview.
The biggest drivers of retail’s transformation are the emergence of Internet and mobile technology, the rise in millennial spending power, the impact of globalization, and the empowerment of the consumer. Via retaildive.com
Best of NRF 2016: Top 10 Takeaways
RIS News provided an in-depth overview of the best of the National Retail Federation annual show held Jan 17-20 in New York City.
In the Samsung booth, eyeQ demoed its facial recognition technology which is able to recognize and analyze the characteristics and behaviors of each shopper and customize the content that is highlighted on digital displays based on age, gender, location, frequency of visit and emotion.
Elo Touch Solutions highlighted its Elo View technology that allows headquarters staff to quickly and seamlessly update digital signage content in individual stores or across the chain with a simple drag and drop interface…. Via risnews.edgl.com
Top 10 Most Profitable Retailers, 2015
Revenue is great. Stock performance is a bonus. But profit is king. Retailers are in business to make money and there is no greater indicator of financial success than profit margin.
Apparel Magazine’s annual Top 50 ranks the 50 apparel brands with the highest overall profit margin. The good news for apparel retailers is the average profit margin for the first 10 retailers to make the list increased to 11.37% in 2015, up from 10.68% last year. Interestingly, last year’s highest profit margin among retailers was claimed by lululemon with a 17.57% score, which bests this year’s top retailer The Buckle (14.10%) by over three percentage points. Via risnews.edgl.com
Tech giants court retailers chasing omnichannel dream, Amazon
Large technology vendors such as Intel, NCR and SAP as well as a bevy of specialists this week are using the Internet of things and analytics to court retailers, which are struggling to meld their brick-and-mortar operations with faster-growing e-commerce operations.
At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York this week, omnichannel was a primary focus as digital leaders from Home Depot, Macy’s, Barnes & Noble and The North Face are scheduled to speak. Like previous years, the NRF show floor features next-gen technology demonstrations, lots of talk about the Internet of things and mobile tools to go omnichannel.
The economic backdrop for retailers this year is a bit gloomy given most players have seen sales fall due to a warmer-than-expected holiday season, Amazon’s e-commerce gains and less traffic in malls. Retailers are seeing growing e-commerce sales, popularity of ship-to-store arrangements and mobile, but that gains aren’t enough to offset slowing revenue from their physical locations. EBay Enterprise reported that omnichannel fulfillment volume was up 72 percent during the holidays and ship-to-store orders on Cyber Monday were up 30 percent. Via zdnet.com
New retail concept, Star World, combines bricks and clicks
Designed to offer the convenience and selection of online retail in a physical environment, Star World caters to the Latino market. It combines a futuristic environment with a high-tech business model that digitally extends its aisles into the warehouses of its suppliers via interactive in-store kiosks. It’s a model that translates into low overhead for the fledging enterprise.
The merchandise mix is heavy on consumer electronics, furniture and appliances, and includes packages that combine items, such as a sofa and television. The store also carries cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, watches, sunglasses and seasonal items. Although the company intends to start slow out of the gate, it has plans to ramp up significantly once it gets going. Via chainstoreage.com
STARBUCKS CEO: ‘Seismic change’ in retail
The announcement by Walmart last week that the retailer will close over 100 stores is a fair gauge of the state of American retail. Sales and earnings are down, but costs for labor are climbing. Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Sears are all limping along.
This downturn hasn’t been lost on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. In a quarterly-earnings call on Friday, Schultz laid out his thoughts on the current and future prospects for retail business. “I think we said three years ago publicly that we began to envision that there would be a seismic change in consumer behavior, and that seismic change was due in large part to e-commerce and smartphone shopping,” said Schultz. Via businessinsider.com
Sticker shock: E-commerce fulfillment costs rising
Recent rate increases for shipping services by UPS and FedEx and the pending Jan. 17 rate increase for U.S. Postal Service (USPS) shipping services, are challenging businesses — especially small retailers and e-retailers — to look for new and innovative solutions to optimize their shipping operations, according to Pitney Bowes.
Here is an update from Pitney Bowes on the latest increase by each major carrier… Via chainstoreage.com
FiveStars Gets $50M To Help Small Retailers Run Loyalty Programs Like Their Bigger Rivals
FiveStars, a five year-old startup that has built a platform and app to run loyalty programs and shopping analytics for small brick-and-mortar retailers, has received a reward of its own: the company has raised a round of $50 million, funding that it plans to use to continue its focus on “mom and pop shops” and building its brand and business across the U.S., CEO and co-founder Victor Ho told me.
To date, some 10,000 merchants across the U.S. and Canada are using FiveStars’ loyalty services to track customer visits and give them incentives to come back for more in the form of discounts, coupons and other perks; 10 million consumers have used its apps; and FiveStars has logged more than 35 million visits to stores in the last year based on its messages and reward offers. Via techcrunch.com
In-Store Screens Read Faces To Deliver Targeted Content
Although our smartphones, PCs and TVs can’t yet read our genders, ages and emotions to deliver targeted content, that time is already here, as you know if you happened by the Samsung booth at the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show in Manhattan this week.
Fully Aware and Responsive In-Store Technology (FARIS), embodied in a system called eyeQinsights, was on display there in a demonstration that enticed passersby with four different lifestyle images depending on whether the target was male or female and older or younger than about 35.
The product is capable, however, of much finer distinctions. “We get age pretty accurately plus or minus five years,” says Doug Bain, the chief revenue officer for eyeQ, the Austin, Tex.-based company developing FARIS. The newest version of the system is able to discern “seven different dimensions of emotion as measured by expression” and adjust the content it delivers accordingly. Via mediapost.com
What the mall of the future looks like
High-end, futuristic malls in China and parts of the US are upgrading technology, hoping to attract customers with “smart” shopping centers.
“In the US, the malls look exactly the same they did 20 year ago,” Deborah Weinswig, executive director at Fung Business Intelligence Centre, said recently in a talk at a JDA Executive Luncheon. “We’ve got to make it more exciting, and more fun, and more experiential.”
Changing consumer tastes and the rise of e-commerce means shoppers are visiting malls less and less, with Weinswig reporting that the average American now visits a mall three to four times a year, as opposed to five to six. To compete with online shopping, malls need to match e-commerce in convenience and create experiential reasons to visit the mall that you cannot find online. Via businessinsider.com
We’ll have regular retail coverage for you in the months ahead including research reports, loyalty programs, e-commerce, mobile shopping, new technology and in-store innovations.