INVENTORY

Amazon puts new fulfillment partnerships on hold

BY CSA STAFF

As online merchants firm up their holiday operations, they may have to rule out using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).

Amazon.com is restricting new merchant access to its warehouses during the busy holiday shopping season as a means of ensuring it has the capacity needed to quickly receive, store and ship merchandise to its Prime membership customers, reported Internet Retailer.

Amazon has historically imposed cut-off times for merchants across different merchandise segments during the busy holiday season. But this is the first time the pure-play retailer is placing this restriction on new sellers across all item categories, according to the report.

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: Digital, human interaction spurs in-store successes

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Omnichannel retailing continues to change customer shopping patterns, but “balance” spurs sales.

More specifically, consumers’ average single-trip spending increases nearly four times when engaged by both in-store staff and the brand’s website, according to a new report from InMoment.

The study is based on responses from more than 25,000 North American consumers about their experiences throughout their shopping journey, from their decision to visit the store to the in-store experience and their feelings post-purchase.

For example, the more help a consumer receives, whether digital or human, the higher the spending. While a balance of digital and human interaction delivers high returns, all interactions make an impact. Consumers spend twice as much in-store when they receive assistance from a retail sales associate, and 2.2 times more when they visit the brand’s website in-store.

Unsurprisingly, 72% shoppers visiting a brand’s website while in a store were younger than 44 years old, with the highest proportion of visitors (26.1%) representing the 35-to-44-year-old demographic, the study said.

“Despite fears that brick-and-mortar buying might lose its relevance, in-person shopping has transformed into an omnichannel opportunity to sell more, and deepen customer relationships,” said Dr. Paul Warner, VP consumer and employee insights at InMoment.

“For brands, it’s not about choosing one channel over the other, but rather leveraging each for their unique strengths,” he added. “Online store-fronts can showcase selection, while your people can provide personalized care. It’s this combination of the human and the digital that increases conversions, as well as overall brand loyalty.”

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ECOMMERCE

Study: Retailers struggle to deliver personalization

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers know that personalization equates to higher sales, but companies still struggle with execution.

Specifically, retailers are eager to offer personalized experiences to achieve higher sales. Failing to remove unintended barriers are only overwhelming shoppers, who then abandon shopping carts.

This message was presented in “Personalization Pulse Check,” a report from Accenture Interactive. The study, which surveyed more than 1,500 consumers aged 18 to 60 across the United States and United Kingdom, revealed that consumers do have a positive attitude toward personalized offerings and services.

For example, 56% of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that recognizes them by name, and 58% are more likely to make a purchase when a retailer recommends options for them based on their past purchases or preferences. Remembering purchase histories will win over 65% of shoppers, and three-quarters (75%) of shoppers will more likely to buy from retailers that provide any of these three services, the report said.

Where the challenges lie, however, is when messages get muddied in their execution, whether through irrelevant recommendations or too many options. For example, 39% of shoppers have left a business’ website and made a purchase elsewhere, because they were overwhelmed by too many options.

With so much competition in this omnichannel landscape, retailers are in the hot seat “to make it easy for customers to engage, buy and consume what they want, how and when they want,” said Jeriad Zoghby, global personalization lead at Accenture Interactive.

Despite the availability of data and digital technology today that allows for a deeper level of personalization, “many brands are still grappling with delivering upon customers’ desire for more personalized experiences,” he said.

One issue is the creation of unintended barriers, such as onsite searches that deliver irrelevant results or landing pages don’t match known customer intent or profiles. “In an era when your brand is the experience, it’s imperative that retailers deliver the ultimate user-friendly and tailored experiences or risk sacrificing sales and loyalty,” he added.

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