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Analysis: Mobile customers affect retail across channels

BY CSA STAFF

Consumers are using their mobile devices to shop in ways that have an impact both in-store and online.

Analysis of daily surveys of recent online buyers by Hayley Silver, VP of Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity, shows that online purchases on a mobile device as a percent of online orders have been growing and maintaining market share since late 2014. However, nearly 12% of all online shoppers still don’t use their mobile device to shop at all.

And among online shoppers who do use mobile devices, tablets have lost their standing as the dominant means of conducting mobile transactions and are still declining as a percentage of online sales. Meanwhile, smartphones continue capturing a larger piece of the pie.

When comparing smartphone and tablet purchases by device type, Bizrate Insights found that as of the first quarter of 2016, online sales on iPhones are now equal to online sales on iPads. Android purchases have also been rising.

Also, mobile devices continue to affect the in-store experience before and during in-store purchase. One in five (21%) of shoppers use their mobile devices to assist their in-store shopping experience. More than six in 10 (63%) check whether an item is in stock via their mobile device before visiting a store, or think that’s a good idea).

However, almost two-thirds of mobile shoppers use their devices while in a retailer’s store to look for discounts and better prices at competitors. And 58% compare a retailer’s in-store prices and coupons with their online prices and coupons, meaning omnichannel price consistency is important.

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TechBytes: Five reasons Facebook will have a major impact on CRM

BY CSA STAFF

Facebook has been getting a lot of attention for recent updates which make it more of a direct customer engagement tool. The attention is deserved, because Facebook is on its way to becoming a vitally important CRM platform. Here are five reasons why.

Everyone is doing it

Facebook is a lot like TV — nobody admits to spending their precious personal time with something so trivial, yet almost every household has at least one TV and cable and satellite providers make billions of dollars a year. No matter what type of retailer you are, a large majority of your customers are already on Facebook. That includes Gen Y — recent comScore data shows millennials spend almost an hour a day on the Facebook app.

Nobody else is duplicating it

No social network offers the same full personal experience as Facebook. It is the one virtual spot where you can connect with and keep up with friends, browse a targeted newsfeed, click through personalized ads, and tell everyone what you’re doing.

Facebook already engages consumers in a way no other social media entity matches, making it uniquely suitable to expand into a full-fledged CRM tool. As for Google Plus, nobody is hanging out there.

The data speaks for itself

Google may offer a deeper dive into what consumers are searching for, but Facebook delivers an unparalleled range of detailed customer data. A review of a consumer’s Facebook activity can reveal who and what they like, as well as where they go when they go, and what they do when they get there.

Very often, there are handy pictures and videos to help illustrate how consumers spend their lives. The results of search keyword analysis are typically not quite so revealing.

Celebrities are cool

One of the new Facebook customer engagement features is an update that allows retailers to work with “influencers” such as celebrities. Retailers are now allowed to place certain types of branded content on the Facebook platform, including ads and sponsorships involving celebrities.

While Facebook will still prohibit certain “overly promotional” branded content, such as pre-roll digital ads, retailers are now able to leverage assets including text, photos, links and videos specifically mentioning or featuring a celebrity.

Like it or not, we are living in a true “celebrity culture” where famous people have millions of social followers and can set fashion trends by simply wearing a certain item in public. Being able to more fully tap into this consumer fascination with fame on Facebook will make it that much more of a valuable CRM tool.

Messenger is cool, too

The most important CRM-related upgrade Facebook has made so far is the introduction of “chatbots” in its Messenger app. The new chatbots can automatically perform CRM activities such as sending receipts and shipping notifications, as well as live automated messages.

There is also the intriguing possibility of integrating Messenger with Facebook’s artificial intelligence-based “M” personal assistant, opening the potential for fully automated and intelligent customer service. Consumers are increasingly interacting with retailers via mobile devices. Facebook now offers the opportunity to deliver sophisticated services in real time, without the need to download any new apps or leave the Facebook platform.

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Study: Omnichannel, Amazon “effect” impact retail supply chain

BY CSA STAFF

Increased customer expectations for a seamless front-end experience, as well as the “Amazon effect,” are having a significant influence on retailers’ back-end systems and operations.

According to a new study of 24 senior retail supply chain executives from Auburn University’s Center for Supply Chain Innovation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Checkpoint Systems, “The State of the Retail Supply Chain,” 81% of respondents are either using, developing or investigating integrated demand planning.

Reasons for this strong interest in integrated demand planning systems include a desire to better expose store and distribution center inventory to customers, as well as acquire richer analytics about demand for goods and services.

In addition, 67% of executives surveyed offer store pickup by customers as an omnichannel fulfillment method. Perhaps it is not surprise that 61% agree that e-commerce “greatly complicates” company demand planning activities.

Looking ahead, 56% of respondents work for companies that will increase spending on supply chain process improvement this year. Forty-nine percent work for companies that are increasing their investments in omnichannel fulfillment to support faster, more efficient “click-to-delivery” capabilities.

Other notable findings include:

  • 45% of executives highlight the need to develop more effective omnichannel returns strategies
  • 26% of executives say their companies are prioritizing “enhanced customer service” as their primary supply chain strategy. This is more than double the 11% who said so in 2015.

Brian Gibson, executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Innovation, said the convenience and effectiveness of purchasing and receiving goods from Amazon.com is pressuring retailers across all verticals and channels to operate an advanced omnichannel supply chain.

“Amazon is at the epicenter of this,” said Gibson. “They’re really forcing everyone to up their game, and everybody is feeling pressure. You can’t have a conversation with a retail executive today without it coming back to the omnichannel topic — how you’re trying to monetize it and make it profitable. And how do I get my product delivered quickly and, at the same time, efficiently?”

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Y.Kuznetsov says:
Apr-15-2016 03:19 pm

Great story, Dan!

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