It’s Time to Radically Rethink the Customer Experience. Here’s How to Get Started.

To provide millions of personalized interactions, organizations will need to lean heavily on automation and AI. It’s no secret that customers expect better service from companies these days. Over the past decade, tech-savvy firms like Amazon, Uber, and Netflix have conditioned customers to expect service that is personalized to them, accessible on-demand across multiple channels, and responsive to their needs at that exact moment. Now, no matter what you sell, you’re on the hook to deliver this kind of experience. “Your customer’s expectations are not being set by your industry. They are being set by the best of the best of the best,” says Mohan Sawhney, a clinical professor of marketing at Kellogg.

KELLOGG INSIGHT | Read More →

Pop-Up Stores Earn a Permanent Place in Retail Strategy

Just three years ago, pop-ups were mostly used for three purposes: experiential marketing exploits, fashion-week stunts, or e-brands making the leap to brick-and-mortar. However they’re becoming more collaborative and are gaining in popularity with bigger stores and brands. Part of pop-ups’ appeal is that they represent little risk. Executives can commit to eight weeks and see how it goes. Why launch a collection nationwide or bet the farm on a 10-year lease when anything can be tested in the short term: new collections, new locations, new concepts.

BLOOMBERG | Read More →

Older People Are Ignored and Distorted in Ageist Marketing, Report Finds

Older consumers, who hold trillions of dollars in spending power and make up a growing portion of the global population, would seem to be a prime target for advertisers. Instead, the demographic is shunned and caricatured in marketing images, perpetuating unrealistic stereotypes and contributing to age discrimination. More than a third of the United States population is older than 50, but the group turns up in only 15 percent of media images.

THE NEW YORK TIMES | Read More →

THE TECH PROVIDERS WHO ARE CHANGING FASHION RETAILING

While the famed “merchant princes” of retail may be long gone, the innovations and technologies driving business today aim to do what they did best: sell compelling fashion by offering top-notch service in a way that delights customers. And where yesterday’s merchandisers relied on intuition, today’s retail leaders are making data-driven decisions to boost sales and margins as well as increase shopper loyalty. And it is not just at in-store and online. The entire supply chain is being enhanced and empowered by artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and data science. Today's tech solutions solve problems and empower retailers.

WWD | Read More →

BRICK-AND-MORTAR RETAIL IS CHANGING -- ASSOCIATES NEED TO CHANGE, TOO

It’s no secret that a strong frontline boosts the bottom line. Under this new paradigm, it’s not the artists and designers who power the power stores, it’s the retail associates who make the experiences come to life, who solve problems, who connect one on one with their neighbors in the community, who know their products and brands inside-out and backward. They’re less cashier-behind-the-counter and more community ambassadors living and breathing the brand. They’re the reason customers come to hang out or make their next purchase again and again. In other words, those associates-turned-ambassadors? They’re a retailer’s most valuable asset. And enabling them with the right training and tools is key to unlocking success in a new world of experience-driven shopping.

FORBES | Read More →

RETAILERS STRUGGLED DURING BOOM TIMES. WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S A RECESSION?

High-profile bankruptcies and store closures have gutted some of the nation’s biggest retailers — and that’s during good economic times. Now, amid fears that the United States is headed toward recession, analysts say another reckoning might be in store as a slowing global economy, volatile stock market and new tariffs are likely to take their toll on American consumers in coming months. There is little middle ground left in the retail industry: Companies are either doing brisk business or struggling to hang on, analysts say — a trend that is likely to become even more pronounced if the economy sours. Analysts expect the gulf between winners and losers to widen.

THE WASHINGTON POST | Read More →

AMAZON SAYS IT CAN DETECT FEAR ON YOUR FACE. YOU SCARED?

Rekognition has been assessing emotions in faces along a sliding scale for seven categories: “happy,” “sad,” “angry,” “surprised,” “disgusted,” “calm,” and “confused.” Fear, added Monday, is the eighth. However the online documentation for the service warns that it “is not a determination of the person’s internal emotional state and should not be used in such a way.” And as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft charge ahead with algorithms that intuit feelings, psychologists warn that trying to read emotions from facial expressions is fundamentally misguided.

WIRED | Read More →

FOR KIDS’ CLOTHES, NO ONE RETAILER HAS THE LOCK ON BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON THIS YEAR

Following Gymboree’s liquidation, parents are presented with a fragmented landscape to shop for kids clothing. Children’s Place is closing dozens of stores but is also trying hard to fill Gymboree’s void. There’s Carter’s, which also owns OshKosh B’gosh and sells a line of clothes exclusive to Amazon. Gap and Old Navy are two other popular back-to-school destinations. Beyond that, parents are scanning the aisles in places like Target, Walmart and Kohl’s. And department stores are expected to be the most-frequented stop this back-to-school season.

CNBC | Read More →

THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE IS SHUTTING DOWN FLAGSHIP STORES

It used to be considered the retailer's crown jewel — a large format store on a swank corridor that showed off the best of what a brand had to offer. But now the so-called flagship store is disappearing from high-profile shopping thoroughfares like Manhattan's Madison Avenue and Chicago's Magnificent Mile because of skyrocketing rents and the shift to online shopping. Over the last year or so, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Lord & Taylor and Polo Ralph Lauren have closed their flagship stores on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. Abercrombie announced in May that it was closing three more of its big locations Still, flagship stores aren't dead. Many retailers like Nike and Levi are embracing new versions that beckon shoppers with less merchandise and more high-tech experiences.

USA TODAY | Read More →

REALITY BITES BACK: TO REALLY GET GEN Z, LOOK AT THE PARENTS

Nobody cares about Generation X. Squeezed between baby boomers and millennials, those born between 1965 and 1980 are an “unsung generation,” Time magazine once sneered, “hardly recognized as a social force or even noticed much at all.” That’s changing, though: the latchkey kids of the 80s are now moms and dads to another cohort of practical, penny-pinching pessimists—with $143 billion in spending power. Turns out those skeptical slackers have created something that today’s companies now see as key to their success: Generation Z.

BLOOMBERG | Read More →

SEVEN PROVEN LOYALTY MECHANICS FROM THE TOP 100 LOYALTY PROGRAMS REPORT

Customer loyalty at brands like Pampers, Ikea, and Shell are driven by well-thought out loyalty schemes. What are the loyalty mechanics behind their success? Open Loyalty’s team has recently analyzed the top 100 loyalty programs from all around the world to learn proven strategies that guarantee company growth and a good customer experience. Taking inspiration from various brands and industries while creating your loyalty strategy might bring you lots of innovative ideas as well as proven practices. Loyalty programs may have various mechanics, but the most important thing is to focus on your business goals and on improving your customers’ experience and satisfaction. Let’s dive into seven examples of great loyalty mechanics and learn from their example.

THE WISE MARKETER | Read More →

AMAZON IS USING PRIME DAY THIS YEAR TO TRY TO WIN IN FASHION

When you think of Prime Day, you might be thinking about deals on Instant Pots and Amazon Echo devices — not half-off dresses and designer heels. But the market for apparel and accessories globally is worth more than $1 trillion, so Amazon clearly sees there’s a lot at stake here. It’s using Prime Day to tout fashion deals. And it’s also had a slew of recent initiatives and tie-ups with fashion influencers to show it’s trying to establish the site as a place to shop for more than just the basics.

CNBC | Read More →

THE RETAIL LANDSCAPE ISN'T DONE SHIFTING

The more digital the world becomes, the more importance consumers place on personal connections. Social selling, where consumers sell directly to other people within their circles, is rapidly becoming one of the most effective sales channels in retail. Buyers not only get to see and touch the products, but they also can make their purchases confident in the expertise of the friends who sell them. Consider the following retail trends and how brands can add a touch of humanity, both online and in the real world.

INC | Read More →

THEN AND NOW: AMERICA’S OLDEST STORES STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Online shopping sales have surpassed that of brick-and-mortar stores for the first time in US history, so it's unsurprising that discussions of how to keep customers walking through the doors of stores are at the forefront of the retail industry. However, some stores have bucked the trend, and survived changing consumer habits for hundreds of years. Take a look at the oldest stores in America and how much, or how little, they have changed. 

LOVE MONEY | Read More →

HOW THIS 120-YEAR-OLD APPAREL GIANT IS TRYING TO REINVENT RETAIL

VF, the owner of iconic brands including The North Face, Vans and Timberland, is entering another period of big transformation as it looks to lead the charge through purpose-led design and sustainable innovation. From augmented reality mannequins to ultra-customisation, the parent company wants to prove big corporations can embrace change fast and stay relevant in a volatile retail landscape. “This industry needs to get out of the mode of that one-time transaction; it really is about building that loyalty, that engagement with our consumers, back to the brand and the purpose that these brands bring to life.”

MARKETING WEEK | Read More →

HOW DIGITALLY NATIVE BRANDS ARE UPENDING THE AMERICAN MALL

With fresh, innovative stores their lifeline, American malls are bending over backwards to lure digitally native brands. The pressure to provide these brands a seamless transition to physical retail is forcing big changes and the malls up to the challenge on the right track. “The retail landscape is waking up to the idea that DTC brands need flexibility.” Before, the only way to find your consumer was to be in a retail location. Today, the location needs the brand more than the brand needs the location.” And one hot brand works to attract others.

GLOSSY | Read More →

CRMC 2019 In the News

The Retail Challenge: Data to Insights
From CRMC, how Lovesac and Sweaty Betty are meeting their marketing challenges
DMN 6/11/2019

The CRMC 2019 Recap – Retailers, Loyalty, and Fireworks
It was difficult to pick just a few of the best experiences to talk about at CRMC.
CLARUS COMMERCE 6/11/2019

5 Key Takeaways from CRMC 2019
For 26 years, CRMC has continued to deliver as the premier Retail CRM event of the year.
MOVABLE INK 6/10/2019

CRMC 2019 RECAP: PERSONALIZATION AND DATA TAKE CENTER STAGE
At CRMC 2019, almost every discussion touched on the competition between retailers.
CONVERSANT MEDIA 6/7/2019

5 Things Not to Miss at CRMC 2019
The CRMC has earned its reputation as the No. 1 networking event for retail marketers.
CLARUS COMMERCE 6/4/2019

The Expedition Starts Today!

In just two hours, 800 executives representing nearly 200 top retail brands will kick off the 26th Annual CRMC. From opening Keynoter, Nicholas Thompson of WIRED, Day Two Keynoter, serial entrepreneur, disruptor and innovator Josh Linkner, and closing Keynote from CX Expert Blake Morgan; to the extensive list of Presenting Brands Ahold, Best Buy, Chico’s, DSW, Express, Foot Locker, Jack in the Box, Google, Lands’ End, Lane Bryant, Sephora, Shiseido, VANS, Vera Bradley, Williams Sonoma, and more…this year’s event promises to deliver insights, ideas, and actionable strategies that can be applied to your retail business. Plus, networking opportunities at every turn offer a chance to develop new contacts that you can call upon throughout the year. We hope you have decided to join us this week. If not, mark your calendars for June 3-5 for CRMC 2020, in Chicago.

CRMC

J.C. Penney and Kohl’s have failed their most loyal customers: Middle-aged moms

J.C. Penney and Kohl’s — which have toggled between courting moms and millennials — both posted disappointed earnings this past week. And Dress Barn, frequented almost exclusively by middle-aged working women, announced Tuesday that it was closing all 650 of its stores. At J.C. Penney, sales are down and losses are mounting as the department store chain tries to win over the suburban moms that it has sidelined over the past decade.

THE WASHINGTON POST | Read More →

CRMC Keynote Blake Morgan: 50 Retail Innovation Stats That Prove The Power Of Customer Experience

How we shop has changed drastically in just the past few decades. Instead of window shopping in the mall, many customers now rely on AI product recommendations and shop via mobile without ever setting foot in a store. Retail technology and customer demands may be constantly changing, but one thing that will always be vitally important is customer experience. These statistics show the changing retail landscape and just how much customers depend on personalization, convenience and great relationships with brands.

FORBES | Read More →