TECHNOLOGY

Specialty retailer integrates omnichannel experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As Cole Haan expands its breadth, the retail experience must remain consistent — regardless of the touchpoint shoppers use.

In partnership with Aptos, the specialty retailer now has a platform that delivers a seamless customer experience throughout the entire shopping journey. Regardless of whether shoppers visit one of the company’s 259 stores across 30 countries, or shop online, now they will get a unified experience.

The cloud-based Aptos Singular Commerce platform manages point-of-sale and mobile point-of-sale, and an order management module supports Cole Haan’s direct-to-consumer initiatives. The solution will integrate the retailer’s digital and physical retail channels, and support one complete view of customers, inventory and orders, as well as manage order fulfillment, logistics and analytics.

“Aptos has been a tremendous partner in helping Cole Haan to provide seamless customer experiences throughout the entire shopping journey,” said Ron Edwards, COO, Cole Haan. “The addition of the order management platform will allow us to gain efficiencies and consistency with unified processing of all orders originating from the store or online,” he added. “Meanwhile, it will help associates provide customers with ‘endless aisle’ capabilities and streamline returns of online purchases in the store.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Analysis: Prime Day a success in the eyes of consumers

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon's third annual shopping event scored big with those who counted most, according to InfoScout and Market Track’s survey of shoppers on Prime Day.

Not only did a majority of shoppers make a purchase, but they also had positive reviews of the selection of products offered, pricing, and their willingness to continue shopping Prime Day in the future. In survey results, 52% of respondents agreed that Prime Day offered the lowest prices of the year, and 87% agreed that they would continue to shop Amazon Prime Days if they have them. Seventy-percent of survey respondents agreed that Prime Day offered a great selection of products.

"Many of the concerns consumers expressed on social media about the first two Prime Day events — specifically, the product selection — seem to be an afterthought," commented Ryne Misso, director of marketing at Market Track. "Shoppers had a more positive reaction to the deals available this year. Whether that’s a testament to better products being featured, or to Amazon’s efforts to improve the overall Prime Day shopping experience, perception seems to have shifted."

According to Misso, the survey data from Prime Day shows Amazon has solidified Prime Day as an annual event that shoppers will mark on their calendars.

"Close to nine out of 10 shoppers intend to shop Prime Day in the future, should Amazon continue to have the sale," he said.

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TECHNOLOGY

Prime Day knocks it out of the park — and not just with record sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon’s third annual Prime Day was its biggest shopping event yet — and the biggest day in its history for signing up new Prime members.

The 30-hour shopping extravaganza for Prime members generated approximately $1 billion in revenue, according to initial estimates from analysts at Cowen & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Some estimates put the total even higher.) Amazon itself did not provide hard sales numbers, but said that sales grew by more than 60% compared to last year’s event, with a "record number" of Prime members shopping across 13 countries.

Amazon said the event was its "biggest day ever," with sales that surpassed the retailer's results on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016. It appears that Prime Day 2017 stayed true to its inaugural mission: to reward and retain Prime members — and lure new ones. Tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase during the shopping marathon — more than 50% higher than the prior year, Amazon said. It also said more new members joined Prime on July 11 than on any single day in Amazon history.

Among the deals snagged by shoppers included Callaway Golf products, headphones, Nintendo Switch consoles and premium brand 4K smart TVs. Amazon’s Fire TV was the best-selling TV deal in Amazon history, selling through record units in less than four hours, according to Amazon.

However, the most coveted category throughout the sale was Amazon’s Echo family of smart speakers. In fact, the event marked record sales in the U.S. and globally for the Amazon devices, including its Echo, Fire tablets and Kindle.

Prime members’ most popular purchase was the Echo Dot, which was on sale for 30% off. Besides being the top-selling Amazon device, the Dot was the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across Amazon.

“Amazon announced it sold seven times more Echo devices globally on July 11 than the entire 2016 Prime Day sale,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO, Clarus Commerce.

“These sales are an interesting indicator of how important Echo — and artificial intelligence-based devices in general — are for Amazon,” he added. “Echo customers already spend 10% more than non-Echo shoppers. Prime Day was a great way to introduce people to the Amazon ecosystem and get the device integrated into more households and the lives of customers.”

And Echo users were out in droves, using the speaker to place orders throughout the shopping event. “What Amazon does well is remove the pain points of shopping,” he added. “Voice commerce removes friction and makes it easier to place orders —which drives up sales for Amazon.”

The adoption of these smart devices proves that consumers are warming up to more solutions in the Internet of the Things (IoT) ecosystem — and the benefits they offer. From controlling functionality in a smart home to streamlining e-commerce orders,

“Echo Dot is paving the way for connected devices to become new e-commerce channels,” said Ofer Klein, CEO, Kwik. “IoT devices enable brands to build direct relationship with consumers to increase sales, loyalty and customer engagement.”

Eager to take advantage of the uptick in online traffic and shopper excitement, more retailers did get in on the action this year by launching competing summer sales. Traditional retailers like J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Office Depot to online competitors Newegg and 1-800-Flowers.com were among the many brands that grabbed their own summer sale wallet share.

Where traditional retailers can get a leg up on the agile e-retailer going forward however, is to combine their online presence with their physical locations. The result is a differentiated omnichannel experience that drives customer convenience and instant gratification.

“Prime Day’s success is another wakeup call for retailers everywhere. So many other retailers still miss the point that order fulfillment is critical to customer loyalty,” said Nick McLean, CEO, OrderDynamics. “Not all retailers can offer the world’s biggest product selection, but many can combine their online and physical presences.”

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