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The frictionless shopping experience and metrics for customer value

This post was first published on Medium.com

In his yearly letter to shareholders published 15th of April 2021, Jeff Bezos shared some fascinating back of the envelope calculations on the value that Amazon creates to its customers.

28% of purchases at Amazon are completed in three minutes or less and 50% in less than 15 minutes. He concludes than on average a shop in Amazon takes 15 minutes. In contrast, he mentions that a visit to a store would take on average an hour and each customer would save two visits to the store per week (this latter part lacks mention of how that data was arrived to) If a time saving is value as 10$ per hour and multiplied by the 200 million of Amazon Prime members, the value creation in 2020 alone is $126 billion (after discounting the cost of Prime member fees)

As Amazon prime member myself, I have completed many of these quick purchases and find the value proposition compelling. However comparing time of purchase in store, which includes time to travel, with time for a digital sale is not a fair comparison. The lockdowns and pandemic have accelerated the transition to digital sales but should have also reminded us of the importance of the in store sales experience.

The challenge to compete with Amazon for retailers is huge. The logistics and commercial advantage that Amazon has through its scale are unparalleled. However if the main value to customers as stated by Jeff Bezos in this letter, is a frictionless digital sale, this is something that retailers can improve on today, on their own digital experiences.

A frictionless digital experience is only part of the value proposition for a store sale. If it is a convenience shop in a store, customer is not travelling to the store, the location is nearby and needs to have the ability to be in and out quickly, it is indeed the main value. Solutions around scan and go should be available so there is no need to interact with staff, if the customer doesn’t want to. This is not a sale that takes an hour. However if customer is travelling to a shop, in order to be motivated to do so, having a different rich experience is what would differentiate from buying online.

Metrics to differentiate between time spent in friction in the sales process and the value add provided by an in person experience are useful to explain why people still go to shops. Investing in both frictionless digital experiences and rich interactions delivers on critical metrics to generate value and compete against Amazon. The value add can translate into entertainment, education, loyalty rewards, gamification, social interaction, or others based on the specific retail brand. This value add is part of the digital solution.

At SkillNet a lot of our focus over the last 12 months has been to help retailers to design and implement the right digital customer journeys with the metrics built-in to track and reduce friction and enrich customer experience. Starting with the customer journey allows to ask the right questions about how to best use technology to serve customers and better measure the real value creation. Knowing the technology and the retail domain operation is still critically important but not sufficient.

As Jeff Bezos reminds us in most of its public communications, Amazon’s vision for being Earth’s most customer-centric company has paid off well.

The mechanics behind successful customer experience

Delivering Successful Customer Experience

Being a maker of modern commerce isn’t just about building cool looking applications and utilizing the latest and greatest architectural patterns. It’s about a complete and holistic approach to delivering a superior customer experience. Right now, as we enter the New Normal, everyone seems to be talking “customer experience” and that’s certainly a step in the right direction. But what are the mechanisms required to deliver a successful customer experience that will differentiate and separate your retail business from  the competition?

Focus on the Customer

While it’s important to have a strong and stable back-end supporting your applications and systems, without a focus on the front-end experience all those great integrations and data sharing won’t matter once the application is deployed in stores. If the experience isn’t usable and fails to meet the customer’s needs, whether the customer is the consumer or employee, the application will collect dust on a shelf and not be used. This will result in an application which will be a complete waste of money.

Focusing on the front-end means talking to your customers and finding out what they want and need. What’s also important to remember is that many customers may not know what they want and need. Or, worse, be wrong about what they think they want or need. If you get this wrong then you’re back to “App on a Shelf”. So how do you get this right?

Modern Methods for Modern Commerce

  • Agile
  • Design Thinking
  • DevOps

Usually, the first modern development methodology that comes to mind is Agile. While certainly not without its problems, Agile is a far cry and way above the traditional waterfall approach. It also has many different incarnations such as Kanban and Scrum that allow teams to find out what works for them. But what’s most important is keeping Agile as a philosophy and remembering the key values of Agile and not let yourself get caught up in the processes and “rules” of Agile. Trust your teams to build working software through constant collaboration with customers and never be afraid to respond to change.

As you work in an Agile environment, Design Thinking becomes a critical piece of the development puzzle. By working interactively with the Design Thinking steps, and not being afraid to work the steps out of order, you can build better applications, prototypes, and a customer experience that will better serve your business. Design Thinking is about making sure you hit all the important concepts. You have to start with talking to your customers and determine what they want and need. Then you need to define these wants and needs as requirements. Next, have brainstorming sessions with your team to develop new and innovative ideas. Building a prototype based on these ideas will allow you to do some testing and get some valuable feedback. This feedback will tell you what you need to do next. Maybe you need to go back and talk to your customers again. Maybe your requirements were off. Maybe your idea needs a few tweaks.

With both Agile and Design Thinking it’s time to get technical. This is where DevOps comes in. Like both Agile and Design Thinking, DevOps is an iterative approach that constantly loops back on itself to improve and proactively produce working software that is usable, desirable, and feasible. The cycle of DevOps allows for working releasable software to be in constant production. By always building releasable software on a consistent basis, you can easily react to new customer requirements instead of having to wait for a yearly scheduled release.

Continuous Improvement

The only way to improve is to collect and analyze quality feedback from your customers. There are multiple ways to generate this feedback. On one end of the spectrum are surveys. These can be sent out to customers as an email where, hopefully, enough customers will participate to create adequate actionable feedback. On the other end of the feedback generation spectrum is direct one-on-one interviews with customers. This may be more difficult with consumers than employees but it is extremely worth the effort. This is how you find out whether or not you truly understood what your customers desired and whether or not you delivered. The key here is that negative feedback is good. Negative feedback is actionable. Positive feedback feels good but doesn’t really give a viable means to improve. And if you’re not improving then you’re stagnating and if you’re stagnating then your competition is about to pass you by. In between surveys and interviews are focus groups where the opinions of groups of customers are solicited. This is another  great way to gather large amounts of feedback quickly and in an inexpensive manner.

In summary, using modern methodologies, focusing on end customer experience, and gathering continuous feedback will allow retailers to deliver a successful customer experience to consumers and employees. It will also keep you to ahead of the competition by differentiating your businesses.

How do Modern Commerce Leaders justify investment and change?

This is the fourth blog in a series of four blogs( Read Blog 1, Blog 2 and Blog 3) from SkillNet on how Modern Commerce Leaders have used technology to digitally transform their retail businesses to adapt to the New Normal. This ability to adapt, gives these brands a competitive advantage. While the blogs are connected each of them can be read independently.

The last year has been challenging for almost every company’s bottom line. Even essential businesses like Grocery stores that saw a revenue lift, have also seen tight margins as labor and product costs rose. In this time of uncertainty, it may be hard to convince internal decision makers to make investments which will provide long term benefits.  

On a recent call, a client mentioned that they convinced a skeptical Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to invest in a new multi-million dollar app enhancement by simply demonstrating how easy it was to complete a purchase on a competitor’s mobile app, “within 5 minutes, because I was able to show how easily I could purchase a $30 Mr. Coffee Maker on my competitor’s app, I got the funding I had been asking all year”.

Change is often initiated as a reaction to market or competitive forces. However, a true Modern Commerce Leader is often trying to be an innovator, before these forces become apparent, and may not have the easy argument “our competitors are doing it”. In those cases, a more strategic approach may need to be taken to get stakeholders to agree to not only a major financial investment, but a commitment that their organization will adopt new operational process changes.

At SkillNet, we look at developing a Return on Investment (ROI) model as a 5-step strategic effort:

  • Step 1: Define Business Needs
  • Step 2: Identify Costs
  • Step 3: Identify Benefits
  • Step 4: Gather KPIs and Baseline Data
  • Step 5: Make a Decision

In our experience, getting a customer journey defined in step 1 is critical and its effort is often underestimated. The journey could be a new or enhanced process, but a trend we have seen accelerate over the last year is the re-platforming of existing journeys to new platforms. An example of this re-platforming is the replication of the in-store shopping experience through mobile applications. Retailers, across both softlines and hardlines, are offering virtual chats with in-store sales associates. Others are creating a curbside pick-up process that allows for complimentary sales to make up for the loss of impulse purchases that would normally happen in stores. Once these customer journeys are identified and mapped, potential solutions can be identified.

We also see many Retailers stumble when trying to see if their initiatives actually paid off. Hence we make sure to include a Step 4, where Key Performance Indicators are identified prior to making a decision. Below is a model for a recent ROI exercise just completed for another client which highlights the potential solutions based on the journeys and some key performance indicators we considered.

The major benefit of taking a more strategic view when justifying a project is the alignment you will gain from stakeholders. The benefits of this alignment include a common stakeholder understanding on how your customer’s experience will improve, the costs to get there, and what subjective and objective metrics will prove you made your innovation goals.

Watch the Webinar on customer engagement – Real Engagement is the new normal

Top three trends in customer engagement!

This is the third of a series of four-blogs (Read Blog 1 and Blog 2) from SkillNet on how Modern Commerce Leaders are adapting to the New Normal.  SkillNet defines a Modern Commerce Leader as a retail brand that is engaging customers through new customer journeys enabled by Technology. The flexibility and ability to adapt, provides these companies with a competitive advantage.  

Retailers are using customer engagement not only to weather the current economic uncertainty but also to build a sustainable competitive advantage. As we surveyed retailers, both essential and non-essential, we are seeing three trends on how Customer Engagement leaders are investing their dollars strategically:

  1. Building or enhancing existing mobile applications from a transactional to a relationship building platform
  2. Investing in offers and programs to build customer loyalty
  3. Offering additional fulfillment options that not only promote safety, but convenience

When it comes to the first trend, there are countless examples of Retailers investing in their mobile apps. When mobile apps first arrived, they were often just designed as extensions to the company’s website, but now mobile apps have their own distinct customer journeys. An example is Avocado Mattresses which offers scheduled visual chat sessions with store team members, mimicking the in-store shopping experience from the comfort of your mobile phone.

On a recent webinar I hosted, Scott Steever, Adjunct Professor at Fashion Institute of Technology, shared his story of how his local Fairway grocery store in Brooklyn quickly turned on functionality that allowed him to have a complete contactless grocery shopping experience in-store with his app: self-scan, self-checkout, and Apple Pay all through his phone. He noted, “I don’t know whether they were working on that ahead of time or they just really pivoted quickly, but in any case, it really made a difference in terms of the experience of shopping with Fairway. It greatly reduced the anxiety for me as a consumer during the early days of the pandemic in New York City.”

Loyalty programs have been around for years, but recent trends show retailers are looking for innovative ways to reward their customers. According to a 2020 Marketing Week survey, 29% of brands are re-budgeting marketing dollars to fund initiatives to maintain customer loyalty. This trend is evident in mobile application integrations to existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) packages to tailor discounts and recommend complimentary products based on previous purchase history. Other brands such as Levi’s are offering a special concert series for their top customers while Sephora is offering special private beauty events.  

The third trend we are seeing in engagement is providing customers with additional ways to acquire a Brand’s products. Obvious additions to fulfillment options have been curbside or drive-up pick up. On a recent trip to Target after placing an order using their app and requesting drive-up pick up, I timed how long I had to wait before the team member came out with my order: 33 seconds, and this was during a snowstorm! In Q3, Target reported that 75% of digital orders were fulfilled from their stores.  This helped them reach some remarkable sales increases (19% same store sales), while starting the quarter with 3 % less inventory.  

Another example of fulfillment innovation is seeing brands partnering with each other. Even before the Pandemic, Kohl’s was offering Amazon lockers and in person return services. Another interesting example has been a test where select Walgreens’ stores are offering Kroger grocery drive-up pick-up services.  

Even when we return to pre-pandemic behavior, we believe these customer journey enhancements will continue to be adopted because of the convenience and safety they provide to the community and the improved profitability that these journeys realize for Modern Commerce leaders.

Watch the Webinar on customer engagement – Real Engagement is the new normal

Do investments in customer engagements really work?

This is the second blog in a series of 4-blogs (Read Blog 1, Blog 3, Blog 4) from SkillNet on how Modern Commerce Leaders have used technology to digitally transform their retail businesses to adapt to the New Normal. This ability to adapt, gives these brands a competitive advantage. While the blogs are connected each of them can be read independently.

During this time of uncertainty, Modern Commerce Leaders have been investing in improved customer experiences to help them build customer loyalty and to weather a drop in traffic.

A recent McKinsey study showed that in last major downturn (2008 economic crisis) the top publicly traded customer-focused companies had three times greater shareholder return than customer experience laggards.

Customer experience (CX) leaders are more resilient during recessionary periods, experiencing shallower troughs and quicker recovery

Financial performance (total shareholder returns) of CX leaders vs laggards

Even before the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, Modern Commerce Leaders had already begun investing in customer focused innovation, but the pandemic increased the impetus to find new ways to engage with a newly home-bound customer.  More importantly, it also has resulted in massive changes to behavior, with customers being more willing to try new technologies thus reducing the challenges that retailers may have faced prior to COVID-19. As reported in CNET, Oz Alon, co-founder and CEO of HoneyBook, a financial tech startup in San Francisco said, “I do believe this is an opportunity. This is a huge event in the world, people are going to change their behaviors and a lot of things that have struggled for adoption will get a new push.”

Much of the customer experience improvement has come with enhancements to existing mobile applications. Scott Steever, Adjunct Professor at Fashion Institute of Technology, on a recent SkillNet Webinar shared his own experience developing Mobile Applications for ABC Carpet and Home in New York City:

“Before the Pandemic, ABC Carpet and Home saw some customers wanting an option to be able to schedule an appointment and potentially initiate a video chat, online or through an app, with associates. Buying a $15,000 sofa or a $50,000 carpet is a major purchasing decision and anything we could do to facilitate the decision making process was seen as a win for the customer, sales associate and our bottom line. The Pandemic just pushed the adoption of this technology.” Professor Steever also added, “I think tools like this that are flexible and adaptable are very important in this age of COVID 19 because we don’t know when or where the next hot spot will come up. The good news is that we know this long-term investment and current adoption will give ABC a competitive advantage.”

Recent earnings reports seem to support this correlation between an enhanced customer experience and better financial/operational performance as shown by three customer engagement leaders:

  • Target: enhanced mobile apps, fulfillment and loyalty program
    • Q3 2020 saw digital sales grow over $2B and drive-up service grow over 500% in Q3
    • 20% increase in same store sales with 3% decrease in starting inventory for Q3 2020
    • 75% of digital orders were fulfilled by stores in Q3 2020
  • Walmart: enhanced mobile apps, fulfillment and new subscription program
    • Curbside projected to drive over $7B in sales and account for 33% of digital sales in 2020
    • Average basket size for curbside pickup were double that of in-store baskets
    • Q3 2020 saw the number of transactions drop by 14%, but average ticket increased by 24% and eCommerce was up 79%
  • Kroger: enhanced mobile apps and fulfillment
    • Q3 2020 saw 108% digital sales growth and 10.9% comparable store growth
    • Expanded to 2,213 pickup locations and 2,468 delivery locations, covering over 98% of Kroger households
    • Estimates that 50% of online revenue is coming from competitor’s customers

In conclusion, investments in customer engagements definitely pay off for retailers and, in today’s world, pay off quickly. The good news is that it is never too late to start. Given the speed with which technology changes can be implemented to support both digital and in-store experiences today, retailers will quickly see the benefits of innovation in improved financial and operational performance.

Watch the Webinar on customer engagement – Real Engagement is the new normal

Retail Spending is up 24%, if you are not seeing a bump you may have a long-term customer problem

This is the first of a series of 4-blogs (Read Blog 2, Blog 3, Blog 4) from SkillNet on how Modern Commerce Leaders have used technology to digitally transform their retail businesses to adapt to the New Normal. This ability to adapt, gives these brands a competitive advantage. While the blogs are connected each of them can be read independently.

Up through the Fall of 2020, the economy looked like it was approaching a “New Normal” of economic activity. However, pessimism based on poor holiday sales and political unrest has countered the optimism coming from new stimulus spending and vaccines. Uncertainty continues to be the defining term for 2021. In this blog, we will discuss where we are on the path to the New Normal, and how retailers can support customers changes in behavior.

First question we all have is “Has the bleeding stopped?” According to TrackRecovery.org, consumer spending in week ending January 17, 2021, was up 6.5% over same time period in 2020. Driven by $600 stimulus checks, retail spending was up 25%. Consumers have dramatically shifted spending from Entertainment, Travel, and Restaurants to Essential Retail and eCommerce.

Consumer Spending up 6%; retail spending up 24.5%

Source: TrackRecovery.org

Given this situation, if your business is not seeing a rebound in Sales, you may have a problem, in that your customer may have made a long-term behavioral change. These changes can be as simple as your customer still buying your product but just not coming into the store (reducing add-on sales), to your customer finding more convenient options from your competitors. Kroger reported in their 2020 Q2 earnings call that they estimate 50% of their new digital customers are coming from their competitors.

With this consumer behavioral change, not only does a business have to worry about  competitors, but also whether they have lost the traditional add-on opportunities in the urgency of making the shopping experience safer. When adding functionality online, retailers may have neglected to identify opportunities to replace the incremental sales normally associated with in store traffic. Traditional merchandising and pricing techniques, which offers add-on sales opportunities, just may not work if the customer is not walking your aisles, end caps, shelves, tables, four ways, or seeing your accompanying promotional signage.

I was recently on a call with a Midwest Essentials Retail client, and one of the initiatives they have undertaken to address this uncertainty, is to partner with SkillNet to improve customers mobile shopping experience and to offer additional customer engagement functionality that not only mimics in-store experience, but in many circumstances enhances on it. This functionality includes additional fulfillment options, appointment scheduling, loyalty program, inventory availability, personalized marketing and an enhanced consumer shopping experience.  

What will help retailers regain lost sales is identify what has changed in their customer’s journey. One of the ways to identify this is through financial modeling by analyzing traffic and average order values, by channel, pre-2020 and post-2021. Using technology to bridge the gap and to enhance customer experience will go a long way in deepening customer engagements and help getting the dollars back while enabling growth.

Watch the Webinar on customer engagement – Real Engagement is the new normal

5 Retail technology takeaways from NRF 2020

Another great show this year at NRF in New York. Between great meetings with our customers and partners, here are top five retail technology takeaways from NRF 2020 from the exhibitor floor.

Store Digital twins

Satya Nadella mentioned them in his opening keynote of NRF and were a topic of conversation with many partners. A digital store twin in the cloud that can monitor and predict behavior is a proposition full of potential applications across customer, product and inventory.

The increase on the number of sensors and general data gathering end points at the store augments the fidelity of the digital replicas. At SkillNet, the virtualization and devops automation of the registers and devices of the retail POS state is a solution we have been providing to customers for testing and monitoring purposes at scale.

Vendors continue to define value around Customer Journeys

Consistent with previous events and current trends across industries, a lot of the conversations on how to best define the requirements for modern retail centered on customer journeys. From a technology perspective there were more general purpose Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) in show than the more narrow solutions for retail customer relationship management (CRMs) or in the spaces of loyalty or gift cards.

From our experience working on customer journeys definition, one definite risk is in aligning too much with methodologies associated with business process reengineering. The aim of frictionless execution of business processes, particularly on omnichannel flows, is only part of the objective. Retailers look for differentiation in the customer experience, not just efficiency. While the CDP platforms revolve around customer, the customer experience is a relationship between two: the customer and the brand. It will be interesting to see if these CDP solutions evolve their focus on that relationship. This should manifest first between customer and product, bringing better capabilities on interactions between the two by the extended use of Artificial Intelligence.

AI is everywhere but not all AI is created equal

Since mentioning AI. AI was everywhere at the event. Across the buy,move,sell,return retail process landscape and in most booths. AI was mentioned as part of most services and products. However very little detail on implementation or capability. The general impression is that most vendors are using now machine learning for predictive analytics. It was difficult not to be a bit cynical about some of the claims. Not necessarily expecting that vendors will include all details of their algorithms or techniques. But at least provide some signal of what is there under the covers as a minimum standard. Some of the claims were so broad that you could think general intelligence had been achieved. May be there is already a good capability classification somewhere suitable for events like this. Going beyond powered by AI but not explicitly talking about things like naive Baynes, logarithmic regression or random forests. If exists it was nowhere to be found in NRF

AR and 3D modeling are finding more practical use cases

Practical use cases for Virtual Reality have not always been easy to find in retail. It is more exciting to be placed inside a virtual alien world than inside a virtual shopping center. However there were plenty of great uses cases for augmented reality and 3d models at the show this year.

Beyond experiences at the retail store with smart mirrors and other dedicated devices, AR should be looking to grow as part of the mobile experience with the increase of coverage for 5G in 2020. Many tools available and vendors after this market.

For 3D models, the solutions were more matured and can be used at scale on large catalogs with certain degree of automation. Multiple options were available for 3D model capabilities on media generation in content management. Beyond content management, solutions for product customization were also available, executing the configuration with 3D printing or with a traditional manufacturing process.

Robotics for store inventory management

While robots are commonplace in warehouses for inventory management, a number of solutions at the show this year were showing robot based solutions for inventory management at the store. It would be interesting to see how these solutions evolve and mature. The methods and parameters of inventory data that could be captured into the system will significantly change and expand.

A version of this article is also published at www.Medium.com

Written by Antonio Alvaro, Antonio is Senior Vice President Solutions and General Manager International

Are you ready for GDPR? We can help.

For retailers that sell goods and services in the EU, the looming May 2018 deadline to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation is not groundbreaking news – it has been barreling towards them since it was approved and adopted in early 2016. But while there are certainly some retailers locked, loaded, and ready to go, we’ve had many firsthand conversations with others on the opposite end of the spectrum. We’ve heard quiet rumblings among many retailers expressing fear over whether they will be ready in time and uncertainty over whether their current course of action will fully meet all requirements.

We are pleased to offer regional expertise to consult and provide insight into these compliance issues. SkillNet has been serving the global retail community for the last 20+ years with retail engagements in over 25 countries across EMEAI. Our experience specifically with retail implementations in the EU and the provision of internationalization accelerators for payment systems, tax requirements, and localized regulatory compliance for this region has put us in a unique position to be able to provide insight to retailers on how to best mitigate this transition towards GDPR compliance.

2-Week Rapid Assessment of GDPR Compliance

Are you unsure whether your enterprise is ready for GDPR? We can quickly put your fear to rest. SkillNet is offering a 2-week rapid assessment of your GDPR compliance roadmap. Within this timeframe, we can provide you with a tailored assessment of your current and future preparations to ensure you have taken all necessary steps to comply with the new GDPR requirements for marketing consent and profiling, as well as ensuring proper data protection compliance and procedures are in place. We want to help you better understand how your enterprise and compliance approach stacks up to these regulations.

For those organizations determined to be noncompliant, the fines are significant. The maximum penalty for serious infringements can incur a fine up to 4% of annual global turnover or € 20 million with tiered fines for lesser infringements. We are here to help you make your preparations far in advance of the deadline to reduce your risk and losses from noncompliance penalties and fallout.

Join SkillNet at the Oracle Retail Industry Forum, Europe 2017

Please contact us for more information on this topic or come meet us in person. SkillNet is proudly sponsoring the Oracle Retail Industry Forum Europe in Barcelona September 19-20. Please reach out to us at the event or set up a meeting in advance, we would be thrilled to discuss any issues or concerns you may have on this topic with regard to your enterprise.

20 years in Loss Prevention: Helping XBR customers then and now

This year’s NRF Protect Conference marks my 20th year since presenting a breakout session called ‘LP exception reporting and our success.’ Where have the years gone? I know…working and promoting the world of exception based reporting to everyone in the LP industry. I have enjoyed the success of implementing, consulting and providing training for many EBR platforms and exclusively with XBR for over 10 years. It has been a rewarding 20 years as I have been privileged to not only work for great companies, but to also be able to work with outstanding companies who have shared their enthusiasm and allowed me the opportunity to provide best practices, customizations and improve ROI (return on investment) in their EBR platform.

Bringing greater value to the reporting and your organization

When I look back at my initial implementations of XBR, I even surprise myself at how much the industry has grown from the early days of looking at basic exception types like Cash Refunds, Employee Discounts and Post Voids. Today, we analyze a broad spectrum of data elements such as All Tenders, Ecommerce Sales, Inventory Results, and Customer Info, as well as the utilization of dynamic and interactive dashboards that further drive results. At SkillNet, we are always looking to expand our data mapping to enhance the exception research, like adding Inventory results, Time & Attendance records, additional employee information (like home and email addresses) and elements from other corporate sources. This effort is what brings a greater value to the reporting and an organization.

For many of the customers that I have interacted with throughout the years, my XBR consulting has proven many times to bring the customers a new perspective on their operations. Each experience is different from another as each customer has different challenges in the EBR world. But often times in the initial review of the current setup of a customer’s EBR platform, I immediately found where reports were broken, had incorrect links, and helped identify specific usage areas not being utilized by the customer. My reward is not just making fixes, but showing them new exceptions, having them understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ to establish better control points (with an understanding of the thresholds) and providing best practice advice and setup specifically tailored to their business needs and opportunities. In future blogs, I will expand upon my findings and share more on these opportunities.

Need an XBR refresher?

We at SkillNet provide customized training sessions on all versions of XBR. Many times a refresher class for one day makes all of the difference and helps many users clarify how to maximize the efficiency of setting up a productive XBR system. Also included in this basic functionality training, we provide insight on how to investigate with XBR. It is a good start to know how to function through the application, but ultimately everyone really wants to know “where are my cases”? We can show you the areas most common to each specific retailer and get you started by showing you the true value of the XBR application.

Are you considering an upgrade to XBRi?

As an Oracle Gold Partner focused on global retail, SkillNet is a trusted leader in the industry. We can evaluate your current platform and help determine whether, when and how to upgrade so your company can best utilize key new features. Let’s discuss your plans and goals so we can start answering your questions.

Please contact me if you are interested in speaking with us about your own situation or interest in XBR. You can learn more about SkillNet’s Oracle Retail XBRi Loss Prevention services in our data sheet.

See you at the NRF Protect Expo 2017

On June 27th and 28th, we will be attending the NRF Protect LP Conference and Expo in Washington DC to share how we can secure your future and protect profitability with our Oracle Retail XBRi Loss Prevention services. If you would like to setup a private meeting during the two days, please feel free to reach out to me and we will schedule a specific time that works with your schedule during the show. You can reach me at michael.elliott@skillnetinc.com.

Rewarding customers with Bounce Back Coupons at Holland & Barrett International

Imagine, you get a coupon along with your sales receipt…

  • We are moving to Queens Street! We would like to welcome you there with 30% off on all your purchases from 20th Feb 2015 to 25th Feb 2015.
  • Congratulations! You just qualified for £10 on your next purchase.
  • Want to try something new? Try Bee’s Honey in your next purchase and get one free! (Here, the customer has bought Friars Honey)
  • Interested in Sports Nutrition? Buy any two products from our Sports Nutrition line and get 50% off and 250 bonus points on your next purchase!
  • Spending more in our store! Definitely not on your next purchase! Get £20 off on purchase of £50. Keep shopping!

Of course, you will exult with a personalised coupon considering your purchasing habits. That’s the magic of Bounce Back that we achieved at Holland & Barrett International (HBI)!

What are Bounce Back coupons?

Bounce Back coupons, as the name suggests, are the coupons with promotions and discounts bounced back to allow HBI to engage with their customer base with specific offers suited to their shopping habits. This concept was developed to increase engagement with the brand and increase in frequency of visits.

“Holland & Barrett have been deploying Bounce Back promotions across its retail and online estate for the last 12 months to encourage customers to make repeat purchases and additional visits. The offers have ranged from individual SKU level promotions to transactional money off and loyalty bonus points.

Using redemption data in conjunction with the loyalty programme has provided insight into these additional offers to the brand’s customers. The next phase of the Bounce Back initiative will be to determine relevancy to customers of promotional offers with a focus on personalised information held through the loyalty system, maintaining the level of reward and discount whilst increasing the ROI of the Bounce Back program.”

– Jonathan Haywood, Customer Insight Manager for Holland & Barrett International

Before Bounce Back

Before Bounce Back coupons, HBI was unable to treat the customer with special promotions based on their purchases and segments, relying on ‘On Shelf’ promotions in stores.

Bounce Back Coupons

Different types of coupons can be setup centrally for a specific store, price band or across the estate for all brands based on the requirements of the business. The coupons are issued to the customer based on the Holland & Barrett International customer type, customer segment, items purchased, basket total or combination of all leaving long lasting brand awareness behind. Easy to setup, scalable and measurable coupons have greatly benefited HBI by incremental sales, measurable increase in customer response, satisfaction and revisits. Over time, these coupons have been used to advertise relocations, new store openings, supplement point promotions and target specific products or basket spends.

In the first 12 months, bounce back coupons added an excellent increment in sales to HBI, and this will only increase with time as more targeted coupons are introduced.

Cutting Edge Benefits

  • Promoting or advertising right in the hands of the customer giving them an improved shopping experience.
  • Promoting specific items (promoting Bee’s Honey to customers who are buying Friars Honey)
  • Increase in customer reach via magazine coupons-posted coupons which can readily be redeemed in store.
  • The great advantage of these coupons is also in the speed in which they can be stopped-overnight-should an issue be discovered with the coupon.

For more information on how SkillNet can help you increase brand engagement and reward your customers with its store innovations, please request a consult.