Retail Industry Research


Owning The Customer Experience: The CMO's New RoleOwning The Customer Experience: The CMO's New Role

Industry reports confirm that the CMO must take ownership of the customer experience as shopper behavior and new technology transform the retail industry.

By now, you have likely been overwhelmed by the reports screaming of the changing behaviors of today’s digital customers. They are online — ALL THE TIME. They are sharing. They are complaining. They are raving about our products. They are raving about our competitors' products. At this point, I would normally share an overwhelming graphic about how many tweets are generated per day (it’s 58 million per day by the way).

Marketers, it’s time for a re-evolution. I carefully say "re-evolution" and not "revolution" because what I suggest is a shift in view — a leap forward into a better version of ourselves — not a complete and total overhaul.


Interdepartmental Synchronization: LP's New NormalInterdepartmental Synchronization: LP's New Normal

The LP team and the highest levels of management across the enterprise must work synergistically to improve sales and solve companywide business problems.

Retailers are always searching for technology solutions to mitigate theft and fraud, but not just any technology will do. They are looking for innovative, next-generation solutions that will address the challenges they face today, and those that lie ahead. With the 2014 RILA Retail Asset Protection Conference just completed, we saw many of the emerging technologies, software or cloud-based products, and physical security solutions showcased by industry leading solutions providers that will assist with the challenges retailers face in asset protection and throughout the enterprise.


WFM 2014: Bridging The Execution GapWFM 2014: Bridging The Execution Gap

According to Retail Systems Research, there’s a massive gap between modern WFM/HCM (human capital management) solution capability and retailers’ execution of sophisticated labor management practices. In its recent report, “WFM 2013: The Store Employee in the Customer Age,” RSR revealed that only 33 percent of retailers consider themselves highly capable of absence management and recruiting. Slightly fewer consider themselves highly capable with their hiring/onboarding and labor budgeting and planning systems. And most startlingly, well under a quarter of retailers rank themselves highly capable of forecasting and scheduling, task management, and labor analytics.

The laggard state of retail WFM adoption is no doubt — at least partially — a product of the propensity for retailers to leverage multitasking POS software for labor management functions like time and attendance and scheduling. This approach, however, often fails the scalability test as the business expands, and the retailer finds itself returning to old labor management classics: pens, paper, and Excel.


Solving The Omni-Channel PuzzleCan You Meet Consumer Expectations At Any Cost?Can You Meet Consumer Expectations At Any Cost?

There’s no prescriptive approach to establishing true, seamless, anychannel retail commerce, but experts agree on four imperatives to the equation.

The race to any-channel (or omni-channel, if you prefer) seamlessness is looking more like a disorderly, staggered-start distance medley relay than it is a sprint. Retailers, bound by legacy, channel-specific sales and fulfillment systems, and equally legacy mindsets, are for the most part only making incremental advances toward presenting an any-channel brand and meeting any-channel consumer demand. The field of merchants in the race is so scattered around the track that it’s become difficult to determine who’s leading and who’s flailing. Retail technology vendors fuel the race with cheers, hype, and promises of the spoils of victory, only to quietly turn their attention to the plodding task of mapping next moves as batons are passed and split-time performances assessed. It’s a new event, one without precedent and rife with complexity.


Mobile 2014: Best Bets And Epic Fails In Retail MobilityMobile 2014: Best Bets And Epic Fails In Retail Mobility

Mobile POS races to the bottom, customer service apps reign supreme, and BYOD begins to make perfect sense.

 If retail mobile adoption stats are any indication, there’s a stout infrastructure of mobile devices, applications, and the networks that support them in retail. Our annual survey of retail tech buying decisions revealed that for the first time ever, retailers plan to spend as much on mobile hardware and software applications as they do on traditional fixed retail systems in 2014. The applications those mobile devices will support are many and far reaching — from inventory management to POS to clienteling and a host of other customer experience enabling apps.

Still, mobile adoption and mobile execution are two entirely different things. Mobile is pervasive; that’s lost on no one. But is it effective? How? What’s the quickest path to mobile device deployment success and ROI? Rather than go long on the plans of your retail peers to plug mobile devices into their retail systems infrastructures, this report will seek to identify where early adopters have stumbled, why, and how you can avoid the same mistakes. We’ll also discuss mobile trends such as bring your own device (BYOD), how machine to machine (M2M) and geolocation are bridging the gap between enterprise and consumer mobility, and how these trends can either fuel your initiatives or bring them down in flames.


Supply Chain Execution 2014: Making Any-Channel Retail Fulfillment Profitble.Supply Chain Execution 2014: Making Any-Channel Retail Fulfillment Profitble.

Omni-channel is evolving and maturing. Retailers are turning from envisioning the future of digitalenabled shopping toward making that vision a reality. However, for all the work that has been done, one particular function of the retail business has been held apart: the supply chain.

Changing the supply chain is time consuming, resource intensive, expensive, and risky. And though most retailers have grappled with how digitallyenabled consumer shopping behaviors are changing, most have responded with a thin layer of omni-channel veneer and a supply chain unchanged — isolated and protected at all costs.

Like a pressure cooker locked down too tight, however, the forces acting on supply chain are only building greater pressure, from shifting consumer behaviors to demands for omni-channel service. And those forces won’t be easing up anytime soon. While the retail supply chain has been designed and refined to serve one channel only — stores — most retailers are looking to other channels, digital channels that only increase retailers’ need to become more seamlessly omni-channel, like mobile.


Tech Spending 2014: Responding To The Consumer InfluenceTech Spending 2014: Responding To The Consumer Influence

2014 retail technology budgets are strongly influenced by consumers’ newfound control of where, when, and how they shop — and how much they pay.

Retail technology budget building isn’t what it used to be. Not long ago, technology spending decisions traced a direct path from CIO to CFO to the board of directors. Today, these decisions are being driven by a much larger board of consumers, pushed down to the CMO who answers to that board and implemented with the blessing of the CFO and the assistance of the CIO. The consumer is calling the shots, and the newly empowered CMO is listening.

Our 2014 tech spending forecast illustrates this changing dynamic, driven in some cases by fear of — and in other cases the opportunity presented by — consumer control.



Tech Spending 2013: Mobile Makes Its MarkSMRs: Balancing Needs And Resources.

Small to midsize retailers (SMRs) face the same challenges as the big retailers, but with much fewer resources. See where they focus these resources to maximize sales and growth.

Retail is all about the customer and sales. Unfortunately, when people talk about retail, they think only of the big-box retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. These companies, along with Amazon and every other large retailer, definitely are a driver of retail, but the real drivers are the small and midsize retailers (SMRs), such as bohme, bebe, and all of the mom and pop stores out there.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 4 million retailers in America, employing nearly 45 million people full and part time, both directly and through associated businesses. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail supports nearly one in four American jobs. Whether it is through manufacturing, distribution, transportation, or working directly for a retailer, the economic impact of retail cannot be denied.


E-Commerce — Much More Than Just A ChannelE-Commerce — Much More Than Just A Channel

E-commerce has become much more than just a channel. It is an integral part of a complete retail business and the fastest-growing part of the business.

No channel of retail is growing faster than e-commerce. But e-commerce is much more than just a website; it is a global influencer of retail sales across all channels. Nowhere is this more evident than in the increased use of smartphones and mobile shopping by consumers. Consumers are changing how they shop and how they prefer to interact with retail brands, and retailers need to pay attention. Retailers’ e-commerce strategies can either enhance this relationship and increase sales, or it can damage that relationship and destroy a brand.


Loss Prevention/Security Research Supplement What's Driving The Future Of Loss Prevention?

Loss prevention professionals' duties are undergoing a massive shift as retailers deploy new technologies, and criminals follow suit.

We all know how retail has changed with the emergence of omni-channel retailing and mobility. However, something that has been somewhat overlooked as stores are renovated, new e-commerce and m-commerce sites are built, and mobile devices are deployed in stores is the effect on loss prevention.

Internal and external shrink numbers have always fluctuated, but with the rise in organized retail crime (ORC) and advancements in the technologies they use, LP professionals are being forced into a whole new world.


2013 Mobility Supplement CoverAre You Maximizing Your Mobile Potential?

Mobile devices are making their way into all aspects of retail, from consumers to associates and managers. This is causing a shift in everything from online marketing to workforce management.

Mobility has impacted retail like no other technology except for the Internet. The technology is rapidly being embraced by retailers, associates, and customers at a rate previously unseen in the world of retail, where new technologies are normally slow to make it to the mainstream. Even e-commerce was not as readily adopted by traditional retailers, with many entering the market late and having to play catch-up. It appears these same retailers have learned their lesson when it comes to mobile technology adoption.

E-Commerce has grown to more than 5 percent of all retail transactions, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and it is continuing to grow. The fastest growing segment of e-commerce is mobile commerce (m-commerce), as consumers become more comfortable making purchases on mobile devices with smartphone penetration exceeding 50 percent of the market. Mobility offers a unique market for retailers to reach customers, but it is also causing headaches when it comes to “showrooming” and customers having more data than associates.


Payment Security/PCI Special ReportDon’t Be A Target — Secure Your Payment Applications

Payment security is a responsibility shared by retailers, vendors, acquirers, and processors — all working to secure card data as it’s being accepted, processed, transmitted, and stored.

Recent industry reports underscore retail as the hottest target sector for stealing valuable payment card information. And according to Trustwave’s 2013 Global Security Report, 63% of the breaches investigated in 2012 were a result of security vulnerabilities introduced by a third party responsible for system support, development, and/or maintenance of business environments. Verizon noted similar findings in its recent breach report. These vulnerabilities often come by adding or reconfiguring a new system, new software, or through other integration failures. One seen most often is a very simple one — not changing factory default passwords in added system components — leaving you open to a vulnerability you may not even be aware exists.