Shopping. It’s a pretty simple concept, right? Walk into store, find something you like, try it on, make a purchase decision, stand in line, check out, leave. And for all of you online shoppers out there, shopping is even easier! Open laptop, search favorite retailers, browse items you want or need, add to cart, checkout, wait for package. Boom – quick and easy! But retailers are learning how they can make your e-commerce experience not just easy, in-and-out the door in 10 minutes, but fun and engaging. We’ve picked out the top three trends that we see gaining the most momentum in the retail industry today. Check it out!
Beacons and Mobile Engagement
In-store shopper tracking is fast becoming a norm in the retail tech scene. Retailers are desperately looking for ways to not only get to know their consumers better, but how to bring more personalization and convenience to their shopping experience. The beacon technology is produced by several companies in the space today and works in the mobile space by sensing when a consumer enters down to the aisle they are walking. Apple recently branded iBeacon as its championed wireless networking technology that determines when a shopper enters the store with the retailer’s app on their smartphone. This allows special offers to be pushed to the mobile device as the consumer moves through the store, giving retailers more data on store shoppers and how they interact in the retail space. The true purpose and role of beacon technology has yet to be leveraged, but keep an eye out for more widespread use in the coming years.
Wearable technology can mean anything from smart watches and fitness wristbands to Google Glass and “mood-sweaters”. Retailers are beginning to explore how wearable tech can be incorporated into the in-store experience to bring a more interactive environment to life. Shoppers may soon see Google Glass cropping up in their favorite retail stores to employ virtual fitting, browsing and outfit accessorizing capabilities.
Transformed Search & Discovery, Visual Browsing
In a world where people have literally hundreds of options during each shopping experience, you’d think our search and discovery process would be a bit more discerning. You might say, “Hey, I can always find what I’m looking for when I’m shopping online,” but you may not know what you’re missing. Retailers are now looking into how they can customize the search and discovery process by allowing for more filters, preferences, settings, and browsing/recommended items in the online stores. It’s a new trend out there that will quickly gain popularity once the droves of shoppers realize just how granular they can get with their needs and wants while shopping online.
Would you want to see any of these trends when you’re online shopping for that next go-to sweater? Are you happy with the current online experience or are you hoping for a more interactive and engaging virtual shopping atmosphere? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of online retail and e-commerce.
The 103rd Annual National Retail Federation Big Show 2014 was bigger and better than ever this year, with 30,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors. The show is a great way to check out retail technology trends, mingle with industry thought leaders, update key media on company updates and hopefully chat up a few potential customers or partners. It’s quite the social event, off and online, with nearly 30,000 total tweets throughout the Big Show’s duration. It’s an event that requires weeks of ramp up, so we would all hope to bring home some useful information from the three-day extravaganza!
Here are the biggest trends to come out of NRF’s 2014 Big Show:
The NRF buzzword of the season was absolutely “omnichannel”, as debates on the accuracy and relevance of the concept cropped up in sessions and appointments throughout the show. A clear emphasis lies on bringing together the online and brick-and-mortar worlds for an ideal, seamless service in the retail environment, from inventory management to product search and discovery to checkout and the transaction experience.
Customer Experience Trumps All
The customer is always right — at least when it comes to knowing what they like and don’t like about a shopping experience and retail interaction. Retailers are constantly competing to offer more personalized promotions for the consumers they so ardently work to keep happy. Many solutions providers at NRF set out to help retailers better connect with consumers, so it will be interesting to see how this aspect of the industry evolves in 2014.
The next hot topic supports a more personalized customer experience, and goes hand in hand with an enhanced shopping environment tailored to individuals.
Mobility, Loyalty and Location
Shopper tracking using mobile apps such as Apple’s iBeacon allows retailers to bring offers to consumers that are based on actual shopping preferences and behavior within a specific retail space. Understanding the in-store path-to-purchase was a major focus at the show, and retailers are looking for strategies that drive sales and optimize the customer experience. Mobility allows for greater attention to the individual shopper’s needs, as well as integrate analytics and digital touch points, resulting in a better overall understanding of the extremely aware and selective customer.
What big trends did you see at this year’s NRF? Let us know what you think about these big ideas and how you’re approaching them in 2014!
We’re at Shop.org’s Annual Summit 2013 in Chicago this week! It’s been a great show so far, and we’re especially excited as this marks the official launch of our new end-to-end e-commerce solution! If you haven’t had the chance to make it by our booth, #1036, let’s try to connect after the show.
Here’s the full press release for the details of our official launch:
Newgistics Launches End-to-End E-Commerce Solution at Shop.org Annual Summit 2013
Austin, TEXAS—Oct. 2, 2013—Newgistics, a provider of e-commerce solutions and services for leading brands and retailers, officially launches its end-to-end e-commerce solution at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org Annual Summit 2013, today in Chicago.
Newgistics recently announced its evolution from a provider of technology-driven order fulfillment, delivery and return solutions to an end-to-end e-commerce company. Through new relationships with hybris, an SAP company, and Manhattan Associates, along with the acquisition of Tacit Knowledge, Newgistics now offers a complete omni-channel commerce solution that fully integrates every step in the order life cycle, from customer acquisition through fulfillment, delivery and returns.
From the start, Newgistics has built the company by identifying needs in the e-commerce industry and responding with innovative solutions. It began with the Newgistics SmartLabel® and continued as the company evolved into the e-commerce logistics expert. The same spirit of innovation guides Newgistics today with the introduction of the industry’s leading omni-channel commerce and order management software as part of a complete end-to-end e-commerce solution that provides customers with systems designed for growth. Anyone wishing to schedule a media interview should contact newgisticsPR@ketnergroup.com.
“Newgistics has a history of innovating technology-driven solutions that facilitate e-commerce,” said Bill Razzouk, CEO of Newgistics. “We are thrilled to build on that legacy—and open a new chapter in our company’s history—with the launch of our end-to-end e-commerce solution.”
To discuss e-commerce, fulfillment or shipping needs, retailers should contact Jane Bergos, director of marketing, at 1-866-647-0688.
Newgistics has always been a leader in forward and reverse shipping, with many of the world’s top brands trusting us as a partner. Last month, we shared our biggest news yet when we announced our capability to deliver a complete, end-to-end e-commerce solution.
We’ve worked with eTailers for more than 10 years, and we’ve gotten to know their unique challenges intimately. As a result, we sought to deliver an end-to-end e-commercesolution that would meet their needs from start to finish. This new offering provides retailers with web design, implementation, integration, hosting and support services as well as order management technology and order fulfillment, parcel delivery and returns management.
Our commitment to excellence led us to hybris, an SAP company and the world’s fastest-growing commerce platform provider, to be the platform that powers our new end-to-end e-commerce solution.
The hybris platform offers Newgistics’ e-commerce customers the tools to provide state-of-the-art shopping experiences across channels and unify commerce processes on one highly flexible platform. This highly modular and omni-channelB2C Commerce platform also scales seamlessly with retailers as they grow, eliminating the need to re-platform in the future.
hybris was founded in 1997 with a simple mission: to create superbly engineered commerce solutions. Today, hybris has expanded well beyond its central Europe roots to operations in 15 countries, accelerated in 2011 by the acquisition of another highly ranked on-demand commerce provider in North America, iCongo, which gave it a strong presence in the U.S. and Canada.
hybris now serves over 400 customers, including some of the most-recognized companies in the world: global B2B brands as well as consumer brands. It is now by far the fastest-growing major commerce platform company with a compound annual growth rate since 2009 of83%.
Newgistics CEO Bill Razzouk summed it up well when Newgistics made our initial hybris announcement saying, “hybris is at the forefront of providing the technology solutions that retailers need to succeed in this dynamic environment.”
We are extremely excited about this new chapter in our company history, and are proud to have a solution backed by the continual innovation and proven expertise of hybris.
We are proud to partner with the supply chain solutions provider of choice for supply chain leaders around the world. Manhattan Associates has partnered with more than 1,200 customers globally, representing many of the world’s best-known brands. For more than 20 years, Manhattan Associates has provided services for multi-channel retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, 3PLs and wholesale distributors.
Manhattan’s revolutionary platform-based approach to supply chain has helped companies worldwide achieve measurable efficiencies—decreased labor costs, lower inventory costs and improved asset utilization. Many have achieved transportation savings of 10-15 percent, labor savings of 15-30 percent and inventory savings of 8-10 percent—real-world, bottom-line results.
It’s an exciting time at Newgistics, as we officially announce our new end-to-end e-commerce solution.
Newgistics has long been recognized for providing innovative, technology-driven parcel delivery and returns management solutions that help merchants improve the customer experience. And with today’s announcement, Newgistics is now integrating these services into a complete omni-channel e-commerce solution that fully integrates every step in the order life cycle, from customer acquisition through fulfillment, delivery and returns.
We’re leveraging partnerships with best-in-class software providers in order to deliver these expanded capabilities, and today Newgistics can provide our customers with a true end-to-end e-commerce solution that is fully integrated and available from a single company.
There are several key components to our new offering:
First, the Newgistics e-commerce solution is powered by hybris, an SAP company and the world’s fastest-growing commerce platform provider. The hybris platform offers our e-commerce customers the tools they need to provide state-of-the-art shopping experiences across channels and unify commerce processes on one highly flexible platform. The hybris B2C Commerce platform also scales seamlessly with retailers as they grow, eliminating the need to re-platform ever again.
In addition, our new partnership with Manhattan Associates allows Newgistics to deliver an Order Management solution that lets retailers better match supply and demand in order to improve the shopping experience and increase customer lifetime value. Customers are provided with a single view of inventory across channels, which allows shoppers to control how and when they take delivery of merchandise.
And finally, Newgistics announced our acquisition of global digital commerce consultancy, Tacit Knowledge, which allows us to add Tacit’s renowned software development and consulting services to our end-to-end e-commerce solution. Tacit is a trusted partner to some of the largest names in retail, with e-commerce offerings that include web design, implementation, integration, development, consultation and support.
As we said, these are exciting developments for Newgistics and our customers. We appreciate the enthusiastic response that we’ve seen from our merchants and e-commerce retailers. We look forward to sharing more details with you in the days and weeks ahead, so stay tuned for additional information. Thank you again for your support!
Former Vice President Al Gore presented a 30-minute keynote address earlier this month at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, topping off what was an excellent show. As a long-time champion of e-Commerce, Mr. Gore’s appearance at IRCE 2013 marks his continued passion for the industry and a globalized economy.
At the heart of Mr. Gore’s speech was his conviction that eCommerce is poised to experience tremendous growth because of two driving forces:
1) The decline of the “dumb phone” and the accelerated proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices around the world that are connected to the Internet
2) The growing middle class, globally
Mr. Gore provided the IRCE crowd with a good idea of exactly how large the global network of smartphones and mobile devices is and how much it’s expected to grow. The explosion in the number of people that use Internet-enabled mobile devices is significant in many ways, not the least of which Mr. Gore pointed out can be explained by Metcalfe’s law – that the value of a network increases by the square of the people connected to it. So if you double the connectivity of people in any given place, the network receives four times the benefit. The implication for eTailers is clear: doubling the size of Internet-enabled shoppers has the potential to more than double eCommerce sales.
Mr. Gore also spoke at length about the growing global middle class, and according to his research, this growing number of people holds the buying power that will drive eCommerce. Mr. Gore estimated the global middle class presently accounts for two billion of the seven billion people on Earth. His expectation is that this middle class will double to four billion people in the next 10 years!
Finally, and most importantly for U.S.-based eTailers, Mr. Gore told retailers that their customers are looking to them to be socially and environmentally conscious and that consumers will buy more from retailers that have a similar value system to them. According to Mr. Gore, connecting more deeply with customers is key to future success, and he is convinced that obtaining, converting and retaining customers would be significantly enhanced using this approach.
It is an exciting time in eCommerce. Not only is the number of possible customers around the world exploding, presenting new, untapped markets with money to spend, but even within the home markets in developed countries, eTailers are well-situated to deepen customer relationships through responsible business practices.
For most Americans, shopping online is nothing new. In fact, 53% of Americans purchased something online in 2011. But while shopping online is not exactly novel, it’s still a process that can be fraught with indecision, uncertainty and, when something occasionally does not meet expectations, frustration for consumers. For some online shoppers, there are a lot of unknowns when buying sight unseen, such as:
Fortunately for e-tailers, many of these concerns can be addressed and minimized in two simple steps.
1. Have a clear, well-defined returns policy.
Returns policies that clearly state when an item can be returned and for what reasons can give would-be purchasers the confidence to click “buy.” Review your current returns policy and ensure that it includes specific instructions on how and where online returns can be made—can they be returned in-store? Do they include a pre-paid returns label? Can they be dropped off at any U.S.P.S. location?
2. Provider your customers with detailed package tracking information.
Partner with a reverse logistics company that provides detailed data for both retailer and consumer. Newgistics’ Transit Triggers service starts with dynamic barcodes on our delivery and SmartLabel® return shipping labels. They’re embedded with an extraordinarily rich level of data, integrating tracking information with order-specific details.
Here’s how Transit Triggers Work:
Once an order ships, parcel scan events can generate automated customer emails containing updates on shipment status as well as precisely targeted marketing messages. So while you’re providing peace of mind, you can cross-sell similar merchandise or offer promotions based on the customer’s order history. Newgistics even enables you to start notifying customers about tracking events sooner, since we provide visibility on outbound parcels as soon as they enter our network.
Even when orders are returned, you can transform the anxious wait for an account credit into a positive brand interaction that promotes repeat purchases.
Eliminating the “black hole” of uncertainty with an easy-to-understand, customer-centric returns policy and an accessible package tracking system goes a long way toward building a shopper’s confidence and improving their willingness to purchase online. While shopping online may have lost its novelty, shopping online with greater confidence will not go out of fashion.
By any standard—even the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show’s own standards—NRF 2013 was a BIG show. According to the NRF, the 2013 show saw record-breaking crowds with more than 27,600 attendees. More than 500 companies exhibited, and for the first time the expo hall spread to two floors of the Javits Center.
The retail industry looks to the NRF BIG Show for the coming trends over the next year, and vendors and retailers alike look for cues to determine the course of development and investment throughout the coming year. Notably in 2013, mobile continues to be on everyone’s mind and at the cutting edge of retail technology. From mCommerce to the use of mobile devices in-store for improved customer engagement to mobile payments (the big questions remains if consumers finally adopt mobile payments and mobile wallets), the Customer Experience and Mobile Pavilion was a happening place. Whether you didn’t make it to NYC, or simply didn’t make it to as many sessions as you would have liked, the NRF has you covered. It has posted show highlights on its BIG show blog. Give it a look for recaps of speaker sessions and announcement highlights.
Here’s a look at what key retail analysts and editors had to say about NRF 2013:
During their post-NRF debrief webinar on Jan. 23, RSR analysts Paula Rosenblum, Nikki Baird and Steve Rowan identified cloud applications as “emerging from the fog.” They noticed many technology vendors delivering solid solutions on the cloud, which they found to be an improvement from previous years. When asked what trends they saw in eCommerce, they responded that more than ever you cannot have a conversation about eCommerce “in a vacuum.” It always quickly turns into a conversation about multi- and omni-channel.
Payments also received quite a lot of attention. RSR analysts also noted that retailers are taking a hard look at not only trendy mobile payments, but also at traditional POS systems. PYMNTS.com covered payments news in a three part series, which you can find here, here and here.
Chain Store Age takes a look at the top technology deployment announcements were made at the show.
Retail TouchPoints posted an insider’s look at its editors’ perspectives along with session recaps, as well as a list of the top acquisition announcements.
RIS News published a great collaboration of perspectives from industry analysts on the “Top 10 Things You Missed at NRF 2013.”
It truly was a great show. Here’s to a great year in retail!
Spring approaches, and warmer weather is just around the corner – as is the start of the annual trade show season. While some of us probably attend more of them than we would like to, trade shows can provide exhibitors and attendees with a valuable forum in which to learn about new services, listen to the needs of the market, and identify potential opportunities to make improvements across the business landscape.
The connection between shipping companies and trade shows may not be obvious, but in fact, any budgetary item accounting for up to 40 percent of an organization’s landed operating costs, such as shipping, deserves to be reevaluated each year. Trade shows provide the perfect opportunity to consider new shipping services and providers.
For far too long, many companies have looked at their shipping service provider as simply an engine that puts products into the hands of their customers. And while that will always hold true in some ways, the days of shipping service providers simply moving products from one point to another are past – or they should be. Shipping is a business function that impacts:
The impending trade show season presents all of us with an opportunity to look at what is out there in the way of services that can help address business issues that are fresh on our minds coming out of the peak selling season. It also allows us to challenge the status quo by identifying areas that require improvement for which creative solutions may exist from an unlikely source. Whether your need is to lower costs, improve inventory management practices, create a better customer experience, or increase revenues – it is likely that your shipping service provider can help you address those issues. If they cannot help you identify new opportunities – then maybe it is time to consider alternatives.
At the end of the day, trade shows should inspire you to identify new ways to solve business problems, old and new alike. So whether your need revolves around shipping, a new ERP platform, a third-party contact center, or any number of other business requirements, there are a lot of new ideas being presented that just may surprise you—if you are willing to go beyond your comfort zone. And if you are able to get a little fun and sun in your schedule while escaping a colder climate, that is okay, too.