Greetings from NRF’s BIG Show: Monday Recap

January 13th, 2015 @ Newgistics

Day two of the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show is behind us; let’s take a look at some highlights. With this year’s EXPO Hall even bigger and better, we’ve had the chance to explore a wealth of innovative retail technologies. The energy in the hall has been buzzing. If you haven’t made it over for a visit at Newgistics’ booth (#2435) come stop by today to check out our end-to-end e-commerce solution.

Monday was an exciting one for anyone who is a fan of ABC’s Shark Tank as NRF had its own business competition on stage here in New York with its Digital Commerce Startup of the Year competition. The top five finalists were showcased. We are an industry that celebrates innovation, so it was great to learn more about other companies that are transforming the shopping experience and making a positive impact on the retail industry.

The shows keynotes have been full of compelling ideas. Former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, offered discussion of the current global economic landscape and the challenges facing the world today. Providing insights into topics ranging from the flood of disposable income in the U.S. due to low oil prices, to the cause and implications of lower consumer demand in Europe and emerging markets like Brazil and Russia, Dr. Bernanke’s examined the big-picture of retail’s future.

Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and Kayak.com, came together with John Mesberg, general manager of smarter commerce at IBM, to discuss the new customer experience. Their presentation looked at how the consumerization of technology has transformed how individuals, retailers and suppliers engage with one another. Jones and Mesberg examined the unique opportunities presented by technologies that can help retailers offer a highly relevant experience to individual customers. It’s a transformative time for the industry as many of us figure out how to optimize technologies like big data analytics to enable better customer engagement.

The first two days of the BIG Show were whirlwind and we’re looking forward to the momentum continuing throughout the last day of the show. Visit us on Twitter @newgistics for more updates.

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Newgistics Showcases End-to-End E-Commerce Solution at the National Retail Federation BIG Show

January 9th, 2015 @ Newgistics

Leading Logistics and Omni-Channel Commerce Solutions Company to Sponsor and Exhibit at NRF’s Flagship Industry Event

AUSTIN, Texas – January 9, 2015Newgistics, a leading provider of end-to-end e-commerce solutions for top retailers and brands, today announced its participation as an exhibitor and sponsor of the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show. Top industry professionals gather at this four-day event for networking, presentations, educational sessions and an expo hall replete with the latest retail and e-commerce technologies.

Newgistics joins this century-long run event, taking place this year from January 11-13 in New York City, to showcase its end-to-end e-commerce solution, which addresses the entire e-commerce lifecycle from e-commerce platform implementation and integration through order fulfillment, delivery and returns.

“We’re excited to be a part of this mainstay industry event,” said Elizabeth Hunter, VP E-Commerce at Newgistics. “A surge of technological innovation has altered the retail industry, creating both opportunities and challenges. NRF offers a great forum for sharing and reflecting on the lessons learned from the past year and exploring what lies ahead for 2015. We look forward to connecting with other industry professionals to discuss the current state of e-commerce and identifying innovative ideas  for being relevant in an  increasingly consumer-centric retail environment.”

Newgistics will be located in booth #2435 in the expo hall.

For more information on the NRF BIG Show and to register for the event, visit http://bigshow15.nrf.com/.

About Newgistics, Inc.

Newgistics, a leading provider of e-commerce technology for top retailers and brands, combines leading omni-channel commerce platforms and logistics services into a complete end-end to e-commerce solution. Integrating every step in the order life cycle, our end-to-end e-commerce offering includes: web design, implementation, integration, web hosting and support, order fulfillment, parcel delivery and returns. Since 1999, Newgistics has provided top merchants with innovative technology-driven solutions that deliver an exceptional customer experience and accelerate growth—from customer acquisition through fulfillment, delivery and returns. To find out more, visit http://www.newgistics.com.

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The Holiday Season’s Over, But Returns Season is Just Beginning

January 5th, 2015 @ Newgistics

2014 was another record breaking year for e-commerce that was capped-off by a particularly strong holiday season, according to comScore’s most recent data. From November 1 to December 21, shoppers in the U.S. spent $48.3 billion online, an increase of 15 percent from a year earlier.

While e-commerce return rates vary widely among retailers and product segments, they can be as high as 30 or 40 percent for apparel and other soft goods – the types of products that are especially popular holiday gifts. Like death and taxes, this much is certain: the growth that retailers saw in holiday sales this year will be mirrored in the number of returns they’ll have to manage. Now that the holidays are officially over and people are back to their daily routines, the returns season will pick up in earnest.

Returns can be a drag on the bottom line when retailers are left holding last season’s fashions or other merchandise that’s no longer on consumers’ shopping list. Plus, adding additional customer touchpoints to the e-commerce lifecycle naturally increases the potential for mishaps, mistakes and customer discontent. However, when returns are done efficiently, they’re a win-win for both the merchant and the customer.

With nearly 15 years of experience improving the e-commerce returns process – beginning with the introduction of the Newgistics SmartLabel in 2001– Newgistics knows how to make returns seamless, convenient and efficient for everyone involved. Here are some of the benefits we’ve brought to leading brands and their customers.

Merchant Benefits

  • Visibility for Better Planning. Knowing what is coming back helps the merchant better plan for the labor that will be required to disposition the merchandise, refurbish it if required, and get it back in stock faster during peak selling season.
  • Cost Savings. Being able to better plan for what is returning and when it will arrive can reduce labor expenses and ensure that facilities are not over- (or under-) staffed. In addition, proactive communication with customers about their returns will reduce inbound inquiries to save on call center expenses.
  • Brand Experience. Newgistics integrates closely with merchants so they maintain the entire consumer experience from order to return. While Newgistics technology powers everything, details such as branded tracking pages enable a consistent experience for the customer.
  • Profit Opportunity. Additional communication with customers gives retailers another chance to market and upsell or cross-sell. They can also opt to charge a fee for prepaid return labels.

Customer Benefits

  • Convenient and Easy. Newgistics SmartLabels can be included in a shipment or printed through a retailer’s website to offer consumers a hassle free prepaid return option. Once a label is affixed, getting packages on their way back to a retailer couldn’t be easier. Packages can be dropped in a home mail box, scheduled for a USPS Free Carrier Pickup, dropped at any post office or at one of the nearly 170,000 USPS collection boxes nationwide.
  • Peace of Mind. Transit triggers provided by tracking and proactive email communication inform customers of the status of their return so they know when it will be back in the retailer’s hands and when they’ll be credited for the merchandise.

You can learn more about Newgistics Returns Management at the links below which will bring you to our Website or to a Newgistics YouTube video:

http://www.newgistics.com/corp_returns/returns-management.aspx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQt4AKZA4sI

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NRF BIG Show: What’s on the Agenda?

December 23rd, 2014 @ Newgistics

We’re less than three weeks away from one of the most anticipated events in retail. There’s no better way to combat the post-holiday blues than to attend the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show. Taking place January 11-13, 2015 in New York City, at some point during its century-long run the convention and expo earned the nickname “Retail’s BIG Show” – and with good reason. As Newgistics joins the show in 2015 as both an exhibitor and a sponsor, here are some of the sessions and events we’re most excited about:

Commerce in the Age of Flux

In this keynote presentation, Fast Company editor in chief Robert Safian welcomes us to “the Age of Flux.” Safian will explain how disruption and innovation are altering the landscape of commerce in all industries. With this future of fluidity and uncertainty how can we forecast roadmaps and business models? It may be time to embrace instability and we’re excited to see the advice Safian has for modern businesses.

Lessons Learned From 2014 Holiday Shopping

While we’re still in the midst of this holiday shopping season, it seems we as an industry have come a long way from the 2013 shopping season with all its e-commerce and delivery blunders. In this breakout session led by StellaService it will be interesting to take a look back at this year’s peak season and all the challenges and triumphs.

Omnichannel Commerce: Successfully Navigating the New Purchase Path

The always-on, omnichannel digital age we’re living and working in has increased customer expectations when it comes to meeting their needs. We’re looking forward to this breakout session of panelists including retail innovators from Uber, Cole Haan and American Express. Panelists will discuss strategies that bring the purchase path to life and also include mobile innovation case studies and best practices.

First Look: 2015 Outlook for Digital Retail

Led by Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, panelists in this breakout session will discuss the significant retail developments of 2014 and predict what lies ahead for 2015. This panel should offer us perspective about where retailers should (and shouldn’t) focus, which benchmarks to factor into plans and which initiatives are on  the drawing board for the next twelve months.

We’ll also be showcasing our custom solutions including our end-to-end e-commerce solution – which address the entire e-commerce lifecycle, from site design through order fulfillment, delivery and returns – in booth #2435 in the expo hall. Hope to see you there!

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The Age of the Customer: Redefining “Customer Engagement”

December 18th, 2014 @ Newgistics

Forrester Research recently published a report authored by Kyle McNabb and Josh Bernoff and entitled, “The eBusiness Professional’s Blueprint for Strategy in the Age of the Customer” (September 2014). The premise of the report is how companies are redefining customer engagement and are putting customer obsession at the center of their corporate strategies. Forrester defines a customer-obsessed enterprise as one that “focuses its strategy, its energy, and its budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.”

One of the main drivers of this shift to customer-centricity is technology. Having once favored companies, technology now empowers customers who can learn all about your products, services, pricing and reputation with just a few clicks. Customers are now in the driver’s seat – they can buy anything instantly and have it delivered anywhere. And as Forrester points out, technology will be the important factor that enables organizations to create the company-wide transformation needed to meet the needs of today’s customer.

While there are many ways to approach customer centricity, we do know one thing for certain: brands across all industries are obsessed with understanding and catering to their customers. From Chico’s to the Bank of Montreal to restaurants such In-N-Out and T.G.I. Friday’s, brands in every vertical are working hard to ensure customers are at the core of their corporate strategy.

For brands looking to achieve customer-centricity, Forrester offers a four-part blueprint, which advises companies to:

1) transform the customer experience with a systematic, measurable approach;

2) accelerate your digital business future for greater agility and customer value;

3) embrace the mobile mind shift to serve customers in their moments of need; and

4) turn big data into business insights to continuously improve your efforts.

Forrester recognizes this is a tall order, which is why it will take the combined efforts of an organization’s most senior leaders. The firm advises these leaders to center on technologies that support the customer lifecycle, place a premium on software skills, and embrace modern approaches to application and solution delivery. According to the report, “Modern delivery approaches will be the de facto expectation when delivering customer-obsessed solutions.”

Is your organization prepared for the “Age of the Customer”? To obtain a copy of Forrester’s recommended blueprint, download it from the Newgistics website.

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday: A Tale of Two Headlines

December 1st, 2014 @ Newgistics

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two most significant days of the year for retailers, are now behind us and the trend towards digital couldn’t be clearer. The Associated Press covered both of these unofficial retail holidays in articles that likely ran in newspapers across the country, but it was especially easy to see the big picture in The Boston Globe, where both headlines appeared side-by-side in Monday’s business section.

As we alluded to a few weeks back, Black Friday has lost its luster and there are a few different reasons that this is happening. Most notably, retailers are extending promotions on both ends of the shopping seasons – they’re starting earlier and pushing right up until Christmas. On top of that, they’re offering more deals online, which is where shoppers looking for bargains will almost always do their research. In turn this will translate into many online purchases.

Recent research from comScore that shows an uptick in online shopping through the first few weeks of November validates this trend. During the first 23 days of the month, the firm says that $17.5 billion was spent online, marking an 11percent increase from the same period last year. And that’s just shopping done on desktop computers; the research doesn’t even count mobile commerce, where the future of online retail is headed.

Toys ‘R’ Us is just one retailer that exemplifies the trend of extending the season and pushing shopping online. The company is offering 11 days of online deals that began the day before Thanksgiving and includes free-shipping offers. With promotions like that, it’s no wonder cramming holiday bargains into one day – on the Friday directly following a major holiday, no less – is losing its appeal among shoppers.

The steps retailers are taking to extend the season and move more business online are smart ones, as long as they know they can handle the demand they’ll place on their e-commerce infrastructure, all the way from the first click through fulfillment, delivery and returns.

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Enriching Ecommerce: The New Online Storefront

November 17th, 2014 @ Newgistics

Until recently, many e-commerce sites lacked the personal experience a consumer gets when they walk into a brick and mortar store. But, we’ve seen a shift happening within e-commerce where many retailers are offering services traditionally found within physical stores on their digital counterparts. With the busy holiday shopping season kicking off, there is no better time to take a look at some of the new ways online retailers are enriching the digital shopping experience.

The Friendly Sales Associate

Walk into most stores these days and you’re instantly greeted by a friendly sales associate willing to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. In the online world, retailers are using live video assistance to emulate this experience. Now, consumers have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with a sales associate that can help them with their online or mobile purchase. These live video sessions include co-browsing the online store with the shopper, showing them items that might be of interest, and even helping them through the checkout process.

The Personal Stylist

Think you need to be rich to afford a personal stylist? Think again. E-commerce startups like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club offer consumers an easy way to get personal recommendations online through style quizzes that give retailers a sense of each shopper’s tastes and interests. Personalized apparel and accessories are sent to shoppers on a monthly basis to try and – if they like — buy!

The Demo Station

Today’s retailers know that video sells. Whether it’s a model walking down a runway to show how a dress fits and flows, or a demonstration of new kitchen gadget, video promotion is six times more effective than its written counterparts (source: REELSEO). So much can be conveyed about products through short, high-quality videos – just as they are in-store at demo stations.

The Dressing Room

One of the biggest reasons shoppers still prefer to buy in the store – especially within the apparel industry – is the ability to try items on before purchasing. Enter the virtual dressing room, where shoppers can “try on” clothing, accessories and even cosmetics from the comfort of their own home. By using Kinect technology, shoppers can simply stand in front of a computer screen that acts as a mirror of sorts, allowing the shopper to see what they would look like in different articles of clothing. The technology even allows for the shopper to split the screen in two for side-by-side comparisons in different outfits.

When shoppers feel immersed and engaged with a brand, they’ll be a much more loyal customer. In the “offline” world, retailers have turned this into an art form, using things like lighting, music and even scents to strength the bond with their customers. This is much more difficult in the online world, but thanks to technology advances and retailers putting them to use in creative ways, we’re starting to see digital stores match the experiences once reserved for in-store shoppers.

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Is ‘Black Friday’ Dead?

November 6th, 2014 @ Newgistics

Halloween just passed and it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. A number of retailers have already revealed (or leaked) their Black Friday ads, and Target just announced for the first time that it will offer free shipping site-wide through December 20 in an attempt to level the playing field a bit with its biggest competitor, Amazon, in order to get more wallet share this holiday season.

The National Retail Federation expects a 4.1 percent increase in holiday sales this year, with sales reaching upward of $616.9 billion to outpace last year’s 3.1 percent growth. And, even though there is a little more wiggle room in shoppers’ holiday budgets this year, they’ll still be hunting for those holiday bargains. According to a recent PwC study, 84 percent of consumers cited “best prices” as the main reason behind where they decide to purchase gifts, followed by “deals” as the second-most important factor.

There’s good news for these bargain-hunting shoppers; they don’t even have to wait for Black Friday this year now that many stores are set to open even earlier on Thanksgiving Day. Shoppers who can’t resist door-buster deals on popular gift items will be lined up outside Kmart while their turkey is still in the oven for the retailer’s planned 8am opening. And, Macy’s, Best Buy and others will be opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving – before you’ve even had a chance to digest that annual slice of pumpkin pie.

We anticipate a heavy promotional period in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. What was once a single sale day has extended throughout the weekend into its online counterpart, Cyber Monday, and now into Thanksgiving Day itself…and the weeks prior. So, is the whole notion of Black Friday dead (or at the very least starting to die)? In the past couple weeks alone, headlines such as, “Black Friday 2014: Thanksgiving Hours May Signal the End of Black Friday” and “Who needs Black Friday? Retailers already cutting prices” seem to indicate that this is a growing opinion.

The holiday shopping season seems to be starting earlier, just when we thought it couldn’t be extended any further, thanks in large part to e-commerce. If you want to keep up with competitors and reel in shoppers early, you better be preparing your site early too.

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Testing China’s Retail Appetite through E-Commerce

November 5th, 2014 @ Newgistics

Just last month, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. The country’s growing middle class, among a population that’s four times bigger than the U.S. (1.357 billion vs. 316 million), made this an inevitable outcome and a good reason that many businesses – including retailers – have been planning their entrance into the market.

The Economist Intelligence Unit expects China’s retail market to grow to $8 trillion by 2022, while the U.S. market is forecasted to reach $4 trillion over the same period. With this writing on the wall, the West’s largest retailers have been testing China’s retail waters, but many of them have been quickly sinking to the bottom. The Home Depot, for example, set up shop following the same format of its do-it-yourself warehouse stores that’s been hugely successful in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and other countries. However, they misunderstood or failed to see a huge cultural difference behind The Great Wall – Chinese consumers aren’t keen on tackling construction and home improvement projects themselves. They’d rather pay a professional and supervise the project. Best Buy saw a similar outcome because of a culture that’s used to bargaining for their digital wares.

Putting boots and buildings on the ground halfway around the world is an expensive endeavor, even for retailers with all the right resources at their disposal, and it’s especially costly when the effort ends in retreat. Why not test the waters first through e-commerce?

Companies like Home Depot and Best Buy surely had armies of consultants and MBAs guiding their footsteps into China, but none of their research was as good as the lessons they learned once they were actually operating in the market. This is why it makes a lot of sense to make the first step into a market like China a virtual one. Easing into China through e-commerce operations is a natural way to test the waters, collect data about what’s selling, get feedback on products, and learn about cultural issues that could alter your strategy. Plus, building a brand among Chinese consumers through e-commerce will make for a softer landing when you’re ready to physically set up shop in the country.

In addition, there’s still a massive potential upside from an e-commerce market that dwarfs anything we’ve ever seen. To give one example, just look at China’s biggest online shopping day of the year, November 11. Turning “Singles Day” in China into a major shopping event is the brainchild of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and last year generated more than $5.7 billion in sales in a 24 hour period. To put that in perspective, the total amount that U.S. shoppers spent during Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and Black Friday (combined) in 2013 was a “mere” $3.64 billion.

Keep in mind, this is at a time when Internet penetration in China is less than 10 percent of the population, so the numbers will only grow.

While launching an e-commerce site internationally and shipping across borders has its complexities, it’s certainly less complicated and less risky than opening a physical store. And by partnering with an end-to-end service provider, like Newgistics, that can provide everything from site design to international shipping and returns, entering a new market becomes even more cost efficient and attainable.

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Newgistics Names Trenton Brown as COO of Tacit Knowledge

October 22nd, 2014 @ Newgistics

Highly Experienced Executive Joins Digital Commerce Consultancy to Lead Next Stage of Growth and Development

Austin, Texas – October 21, 2014 – Newgistics, a leading provider of end-to-end e-commerce solutions for top retailers and brands, today announced it has hired Trenton Brown as chief operating officer for Tacit Knowledge, a Newgistics Company.  As COO, Brown will be responsible for leading strategy and execution for the company’s e-commerce offering as well as managing all aspects of the business for the company’s five global offices.

Brown offers an impressive track record of leading companies in domestic and international markets through periods of rapid growth. Brown brings a unique set of experiences that will enable him to be a key driver in the company’s overarching growth, innovation and execution across all areas of the e-commerce offering. Previously, Brown held senior executive positions with market-leading organizations worldwide, including SAP and Parametric Technology (PTC), a leading technology provider for the manufacturing industry. Through this experience, he offers profound expertise in international strategy and a deep understanding of global merger and acquisition work.

During his five-year tenure as President of International Business at PTC, Brown helped grow the company from a start-up to the fifth largest software company in the world, with revenues exceeding $1.3 billion. As an executive at SAP, Brown led the company’s manufacturing business and helped pioneer a successful utilities practice.

“As e-commerce continues to drive an increasing share of revenue, there is a growing opportunity for brands to leverage Newgistics’ comprehensive product and service offering to ensure they’re fully capitalizing on growth opportunities across the globe,” said Bill Razzouk,  CEO. “With Trent on our team with the experience he has brought to successfully growing tech companies across multiple industries, we’re in a strong position to serve the retail market and build the most robust end-to-end e-commerce solution in the world.”

“Our company has a clear vision of what it means to offer a true end-to-end e-commerce experience,” added Brown.  “Newgistics is known for revolutionizing e-commerce delivery and returns at an important turning point in a nascent industry and is building upon its reputation for bringing innovation and reliability to e-commerce technology and services.  It’s a highly compelling proposition at an exciting time in the retail market.”

Brown currently serves on the Board of Directors for companies such as Alianza Security Solutions, Kachyng and Coaloo.

About Newgistics, Inc.

Newgistics, a leading provider of parcel delivery and returns management for top retailers and brands, combines logistics and leading omni-channel commerce technology into a complete e-commerce solution. Integrating every step in the order life cycle, our end-to-end e-commerce solution includes: web design, implementation, integration, web hosting and support, order fulfillment, parcel delivery and returns. Our e-commerce platform is powered by hybris and we have partnered with Manhattan Associates to bring its leading order management solution to our customers. Since 1999, Newgistics has provided top merchants with innovative technology-driven solutions that improve the customer experience and accelerate growth—from customer acquisition through fulfillment, delivery and returns. To find out more, visit http://www.newgistics.com.

About Tacit Knowledge

Tacit Knowledge, a Newgistics Company, is the digital commerce consultancy that delivers Silicon Valley innovation to retailers around the world. Founded in 2002 by a group of software engineers, Tacit implements packaged applications, provides application support, web development, integration and content management,  and also builds custom software for globally recognized multichannel organizations, including some of Internet Retailer’s Top 25. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and employs 100 people across offices in London, New York, Mexico and Moldova. For more information please visit tacitknowledge.com.

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