Posts Tagged ‘CX’

When “New” Really Means “New to Us”

December 1, 2016

new-to-us

Companies improve their results through innovating. Innovation is synonymous with advancement and in our world where enabling tools and solutions present constant opportunities, the challenges of selection is ever increasing.

 “New” most often means “new to us.” This brings a key dimension of evaluation because “new to us” can mean that competitors for share of wallet, time and attention are already benefiting from the new approach. Leadership in our world is more often defined as being a fast follower or part of the early majority of users.

Bob Amster, Principal of Retail Technology Group sums this up in saying that  “most follow, few lead,” adding that “innovation is dictated by a combination of imagination, perceived return, trends, culture and the personality of individuals making those decisions.”

The abilities to manage risk and for change management are some key ingredients of innovating.

Mark Ryski, Founder, CEO and Author, Headcount Corporation noted in a RetailWire comment “When it comes to innovation, retailers in particular need to focus on the critical few versus the trivial many of business challenges”. He notes “there are so many solutions available that determining which solutions to evaluate let alone implement is a problem. Retail executives need to be clear about their business objectives, set priorities and then narrow their focus to explore the solutions that can help them achieve these”.

Many innovations contribute to the accomplishment of a range of business priorities. Email and electronic commerce are good examples of broadly applicable enabling infrastructure, and umbrella approaches such as omni-channel marketing, customer relationship management and partnership strategy provide the context to assess the applicability of innovations.

Innovation only happens when somebody is expected to do it. Otherwise the force of inaction will prevail. Everybody in the enterprise must expect it from everyone above and below as a culture of innovation.

Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Marketing Director, Retail, Consumer Products, IBM Corp cautions against trying to be incrementally better than the business next door, because consumers are measuring everyone against their last great experience regardless of what it was”.

Innovation in the “new to us” world can mean applying approaches that are proving successful in different applications. For example, quick serve restaurant drive-thru offers lessons to banking and parcel pick up. Museum, gallery and stadium media presentation offer lessons to malls and retailers. Corporate lobby display can take lessons from transportation messaging and trading floors.  

Lee Kent, Principal, Your Retail Authority, LLC advises that “The first step to saying yes to innovation is to be innovation-ready by creating an infrastructure based on a core. A core is established by looking at mission-critical processes focused around customers, suppliers and employees”.

When this is slow to emerge, innovation centers should be established to be a force for improvement by identifying and advancing business, marketing, operating and technical opportunities that others may overlook or that span organizational boundaries.

Dynamic in-store signage is an example of an approach that improves the productivity of place, processes and people and positively impacts many areas such as customer engagement, location appeal, branding, merchandising, supplier support, associate training, safety improvement, hiring, loss prevention and others. Introducing this approach requires executive or innovation group stewardship.

Digital signage and place-based dynamic screenmedia meet the definition of “new to us” innovation definition and criteria of many organization. It’s technology has been well-proven across and within business sectors even as the content that it is used to present is specific to the goals of the individual business. It’s customer engagement and business development value through branding and merchandising support traffic generation and revenue achievement, as does it’s bringing vitality and improved ambiance in locations where it is used.

For some organizations, the challenge of advancement lies in more fully using the innovations that they discover. The processes used for test, trial and discovery can differ from the budgeting and operational approaches that would allow an innovation to be more widely applies.

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Being innovative therefore entails defining approaches that are new to the organization, but also, advancing the ways that allow the benefits of these to be more fully realized.

Lyle@LyleBunn.com

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Visual Vitality for Retail Locations

August 18, 2016

Anti-boring store

B-o-r-i-n-g ! While some may say it and others are thinking it about a retail location, you can bet that consumers will be voting with their feet and not just their wallets on a possible future visit. Without the visit the conversion opportunity is lost, and so for lack of customer experience, the kingdom is lost.

March 28-30, 2016 in Las Vegas will be an interesting time for retailers. GlobalShop will feature education sessions and the show floor will include about 800 providers of design services, flooring, lighting and fixtures, all intended to make the retail location interesting enough earn a patron visits. Layout and fixtures will be planned, purchased and installed, and the store will be locked into that design and experience for many, many months to come.

From season to season, calendar event to calendar event, little will change until the brand that year-over-year traffic is declining, the shopper loop is more shallow and dwell time is shortening. Staff turnover may even become an increasing cost factor as associates become complacent or even leave for places that offer more income potential and fun.

Meanwhile, at the same time at the Las Vegas convention center at the other end of the strip, the 13th annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) will be in full swing presenting solutions to the problem of how to make retail locations better, and at minimal investment.

Vendors, including LG (which many claimed “stole the DSE16 show”) will show how vitality, ambiance and positive energy can dramatically escalate the customer experience with compelling, relevant, better targeted in-store visuals.

GlobalShop delegates who care most about their brand identity and cost-effective retail design will likely make their way to DSE to visit LG and others of the almost 200 providers, many of which partner with LG. Perhaps they’ll hit the high points of GlobalShop on March 28-29 and visit the DSE show floor on March 29-30.

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays were unveiled last year and will be on full display again this year at DSE by LG.

The vibrant colors of images presented, the Wow-factor in fashion, outdoor, destination, action and lifestyle media that can make the store a destination and the ultra-thin, modern form factor that can fit into any store design or architecture makes OLED from LG a digital display that can attract traffic, increase dwell time and amplify the brands like no other retail device.

The inherent ability of digital signage to present images that are most suited to day and time, and the major calendar events of consumer’s lives, mean that store refreshment and messaging relevance are as simple as posting new media materials through an easy to use media management desktop.

When attracting attention matters, nothing suits retail vitality, brand alignment and conversion messaging like digital signage. And no digital signage display is as compelling to consumers as OLEDs from LG.

 

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place based media subject matter expertise. He has assisted hundreds of organizations, published more than 350 articles, whitepapers and guides and helped to train more than 10,000 professionals. Lyle is a member of the Consultant Advisory Counsel of Digital Signage Expo and serves as a “BrainTrust” commentator of RetailWire. www.LyleBunn.com

Retail Stores in crisis.

August 1, 2016

Reputation

Retail has not known its crisis of current proportion since the introduction of department stores, big box or discount retailing. While these brought big changes to the retail landscape, the perfect storm of online, mobile and the Millennials demographic are placing physical retail in a daily fight for survival.

Retailers have reacted to the onslaught of online with multi-channel strategies that quickly morphed into omni channel in order to harmonize the various consumer touch points. Most are now struggling to advance quickly into opti-channel and unified communications.

These macro-strategies are all in the name of flexibility of the consumer’s path to purchase while serving brand interests. The access options available to consumers are the melting pot of commerce that cause neatly linear path to purchase map into what looks more like a plate of spaghetti. The marketers’ arsenal of inventory visibility, product comparisons, cross-selling, ship to home or store, purchase fulfillment and loyalty achievement and being tested, while technology investment by North American retailers has surpassed $125 billion annually.

“Customer experience” (CX) is the battle cry of retail on the shifting sands of consumer preference as empowered consumers led by Millennials not only vote with their wallet, but amplify or denounce brands based on their perception of value. Boomers, zoomers and savvy seniors are echoing Millennials’ attitudes.

Retail foot traffic has declining sharply. The Wall Street Journal reported ShopperTrak data that the 33 billion store visits in November and December 2010 declined to just over 17 billion for the same 2 months in 2013. A 50% decline in store traffic in just 3 years.

Meanwhile, Statista reports that in August 2015 the top 10 online shopping sites had 667 million monthly visits including 188 million for Amazon and 98 million for second-ranked eBay. Amazon accounted for 24% of all retail revenue growth in 2015.

Retail stores must succeed. They offer discovery and the tactile experiences of product look, feel and fit. Stores offer a social experience and for some, even exercise as patrons fulfill their needs and aspire to a bettered life.

Proven in-store strategies are neutralizing “show-rooming”, born of online options, and can reduce product returns. “Returns” has become the largest “supplier” for many retailers, imposing extraordinary costs on the business and challenging customer satisfaction.

Digital signage is part of the solution. It offers the simultaneously achieved benefits of branding and merchandising while bringing improved ambiance and vitality and reducing perceived dwell times at a location. Digital signage can inspire, focus and support sales associate success and express the business partnership of the retailer and its merchants.

So what is a retailer to do? This 5-point plan will be useful.Look around. See the digital signage applications in retail, food services, hospitality, transportation, entertainment and other locations that your target customers see and your competitors use.

  1. Look around. See the digital signage applications in retail, food services, hospitality, transportation, entertainment and other locations that your target customers see and your competitors use.
  2. Ask for input. Often a short telephone call can get you heading in the right direction and focused on elements of high return on time and investment.
  3. Designate a project leader to coordinate actions while creating consensus among departments.
  4. Go for the quick wins while planning for broader benefits.
  5. Allocate resources to your priorities in making store locations a more attractive destination, that attracts, holds and converts consumers to maximize your margin per visit and business value overall.

During the National Retail Federation conference in January 2016, it was declared that “bricks are the new black”. As the bricks welcome the clicks to the customer experience family, the bricks are called to mature yet again in serving consumer needs and wants.

More on Customer Experience and digital media in retail here and here.

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator related to digital place-based signage. He has assisted hundreds of organizations, published over 325 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. Lyle@LyleBunn.com

Digital Signage Addresses Customer Experience Problems

August 1, 2016

Cust Loyalty wordal

Customer experience (CX) drives revenues in retail, food services and consumer service locations. The benefits of branding, merchandising and improvement to the ambiance, vitality and staff communications that are provided simultaneously at locations by digital signage serves CX goals.

As North American retailers invest over $125 billion in technologies annually to manage operations, cut costs and improve customer experience, digital signage is one of the high growth elements of this investment.

In a Temkin Group survey, 55% of brands indicated their intentions to improve CX because satisfied customers purchase more, forgive the brand for breakdowns more readily, have greater trust for the brand and are more willing to recommend the brand.

Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research provider noted that 47% of the 4,000 CX Executives worldwide currently use digital and e-commerce strategies to support goal achievement. Digital media is one of the 50 CX projects that billion dollar companies are currently focused on noted said Ed Thompson, Garner VP and Distinguished Analyst. He added that $100 million firms typically have a dozen major CX projects moving forward at any one time.

According to Gartner research, 31% of projects are funded by Marketing and 15% by the Customer Experience function.

CX is heavily focused on metrics and analysis since in creating strategies, knowledge is powerful.

If “power” is defined as the abilty to effect outcomes, the power of consumers to impact the success of brands and retailers has never been greater. It is on his basis that Voice of the Customer programs within the marketing function have such importance.

But beyond their ABC of attention, browse and comments, consumers provide feedback by their actions, interactions and transactions. The “big data” that describes the brand engagement experience holds the key to brand success. It is the 1-2 punch of analysis followed by actions that makes data useful to validating investment.

“Not all people matter equally to the business” says Paul Pacheco, SVP, Customer Strategies, TNS Canada in describing that an occasional patron is less important to the business than a loyal, high volume patron. TNS recommends that brands focus on the optimizing and improving the touch points for the people that matter most.

Lyle@LyleBunn.com.. See other Customer experiences resources here.