Here’s what happened when Avenue, a clothing retailer, turned to tablets to increase sales

retail-tabletsIt’s a bricks-and-mortar retail reality: You can’t stock everything, and that means you lose sales when a customer is looking for a style or color you don’t have.

This is the story of how Avenue, a specialty clothing retailer, bucked that trend with tablets. Continue Reading…

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How one retailer rolled out thousands of tablets to 600 stores across the nation

tablets-in-retailA small project for a large organization is often nothing of the sort. One recent example is a large national retailer’s plan to deploy 8,500 tablets to 600 stores.

As part of a mobility push, the retailer sought to equip thousands of store managers and other personnel with tablets. After working through a proof of concept with a number of options, the retailer chose a family of Microsoft Surface tablets (primarily Surface 3 devices) for their size, light weight, touch-screen capabilities, and ease of use in the store environment. The tablets allow managers to track inventory and monitor sales from anywhere – in the office, on the floor, or behind the register. Continue Reading…

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Check this: How Belly planned ahead to avoid bandwidth bottlenecks

mobile apps retailBelly had a fairly simple problem: Success. As its user base grew, so did its data, to the point that it outpaced the company’s available bandwidth.

Belly’s loyalty platform allows businesses to create unique rewards for their customers. Small businesses can set up an iPad where customers scan a QR code in their Belly mobile app to check in and earn rewards points – sometimes for quirky benefits and rewards, like winning an ice cream date with Jerry from Ben and Jerry’s or a 30-second shopping spree. This digital loyalty program generates heaps of data in the form of check-ins, as well as information about customers and their habits. Continue Reading…

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5 ways mobile devices are changing retail forever

mobile walletUse a mobile POS device and you’ll delight a shopper for a day. Use a mobile-driven omnichannel strategy, and you can create a loyal shopper for life.

A few years ago, mobile devices were only a “line-busting” technology, equipped with a card swipe and barcode reader that allowed sales associates to check out customers from any spot in the store. But in 2015, the role of mobile devices in retail has matured – they’ve become an extension of the brand and a major component of a retailer’s omnichannel strategy.

Today, mobile devices unleashed in bricks-and-mortar stores can enhance data collection, extend the aisle to include every product in the warehouse, show customers targeted and specific advertising, and transform your sales associates into personal assistants. Here’s how. Continue Reading…

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A retail revolution: How EMV compliance is just part of the new retail

credit cardGoodbye, strips, and hello, chips. The shift of Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) liability occurs on Oct. 1, 2015, and could leave retailers on the hook for fraudulent credit card transactions.

If you haven’t heard about this liability changeover, you’re certainly not alone; a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey found that 49 percent of small business owners who accept POS credit card payments weren’t aware of the changing liability on Oct. 1.

What does it mean for your business and what can you do now?

The EMV liability change is just one step in a larger digital shift for retailers. Here’s how to plan for the EMV liability change and what to keep in mind about the broader actions needed to stay not just compliant, but competitive. Continue Reading…

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5 ways to deploy tablets in your retail store

In Store Catalog -- Glacier at Argos RetailFrom national chains to neighborhood shops, retailers understand that tablets can greatly enhance shopper experiences and they continue adopting this technology in store. Tablets and their applications possess such potential for changing the way people shop and spend that eventually all stores will be connected.

Today’s shoppers are more knowledgeable than ever before, and they’re demanding in-store, experience-altering technology – digital price tags that reflect price changes, kiosks that provide assistance and deals, and mobile checkouts, for example. Retailers are appealing to these shoppers with tablets, and are using these devices to interact with shoppers and to drive sales.

Here are five ways retail stores are creatively using tablets to reach today’s shoppers: Continue Reading…

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How this organization overcame 3 common cloud migration challenges

Cloud-and-retailThe word cloud can mean many things depending on your comfort level and knowledge of the technology. The cloud is everything from the personal file sharing folder connected to your email address to the full soup-to-nuts solution that runs retail websites.

While the cloud offers a number of advantages and efficiencies, some companies and their IT departments remain hesitant about moving their services to the cloud. Consider the story of one of my clients: A bricks-and-mortar retailer was running its website on its own servers, but was interested in moving to a cloud-based solution – Amazon Web Services (AWS). It faced several challenges on the road to cloud migration, including concerns about performance and security for its customers, the need for a different IT mindset, and a desire for visibility into the system.

Its story offers a few factors for any organization to consider if you’re debating moving your website or services to a cloud solution. Continue Reading…

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Thinking in the now: How to connect with today’s knowledge shopper

digital retail trendsConsumers are evolving. Mobile devices, social media, and always-on Internet access have set new expectations for their shopping experience. And the speed of this shift has left some retailers struggling to find the best way to connect with this new generation of shoppers in store and online.

Traditionally, retailers have found ways to engage with their customers using historical data, but this is like looking at a photo: It reflects the past, but not necessarily the present. While retailers may be analyzing data and marketing to their consumers, if they are strictly using historical data, they may not be meeting their customers’ current needs. In order to compete, retailers must be able to answer “now” questions: What are customers doing now? Where are they now? What are their intentions now?

Retailers must look beyond historical data and bring in new data sources — social, mobile, and clickstream – to have a relevant and valued interaction with customers in real time.  Continue Reading…

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Is your retail store ready for new tech?

retail technologyThe National Retail Federation’s Big Show was the biggest one yet, as 35,000 retail professionals flooded the Javits Center in New York City to see the newest retail technology and to stay up on industry trends. From digital signage to same-day delivery to mobile payments, the many breeds of technologies for bricks-and-mortar stores dominated conversation at the Big Show. But one key question remained unanswered: How do retailers accomplish it all?

Over the next eight months or so, retailers large and small will be planning, buying, and installing new technologies in anticipation of the 2015 holiday rush. But some organizations are better prepared than others to take the reins and lead the charge. Is your organization ready to start a major tech push, from planning and buying to rollout and support?

The health of your IT environment stems from your IT infrastructure, professionals, and policies. Ask yourself the following questions to check up on whether your IT department is fit enough to start implementing the newest retail technology. Continue Reading…

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What retailers will be talking about at the National Retail Federation Big Show

shopping mallThanks to holiday shopping, retailers pull in 70 to 80 percent of their year’s revenue in the last three months of the year. While reports show sales were slightly down in bricks-and-mortar stores to start the holiday season, these stores still have a leg up on online retailers.

But there’s no question that online shopping is a thorn in the side of retail stores. With free shipping more common than ever before and daily (sometimes hourly) deals to entice buyers, online retailers are racing to close the gap with bricks-and-mortar stores to keep customers coming back. But physical stores are fighting back: Digital displays with dynamic price adjustments offer better in-store pricing, beacon technology and apps enhance the customer experience, and mobile payment options attempt to make shopping easier and more seamless.

These options will inevitably be the talk of this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, being held from Jan. 11 to 13 in New York City. But it’s not just about technology — it’s about how that technology can provide a better customer experience. Retailers will try to crack the code on what the store of the future should look like, and consider the industry’s biggest mystery: How do we do it first? Continue Reading…

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