Categories
Non-food retail Podcast Retail leadership Retail trends Technology

Leaders Leap: Transforming Your Company at the Speed of Disruption

Steve Dennis is a strategic advisor, keynote speaker, podcast host, and bestselling author of Remarkable Retail. He joins Natalie to discuss the findings of his new book, LEADERS LEAP: Transforming Your Company at the Speed of Disruption.

The explore the cost of misunderstanding risk and why playing it safe is the riskiest strategy of all; why a complete metamorphosis of the leadership mindset is essential to thrive in the face of accelerating change; why some brands get stuck in the “unremarkable middle” and how to overcome internal complacency. Steve also shares the rationale behind his belief that many US department stores have no chance of turning themselves around, and whether the Dallas drone wars are a glimpse into the future of home delivery.

Natalie also shares a few thoughts on Amazon’s 30th anniversary.

 

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
AI CX E-commerce Fashion Fast fashion Podcast Retail trends Technology

Ikea Roblox, Walmart Drones & AI Update, Pretty Little Thing Charging for Returns

The interview from this episode originally aired on The Globalist from Monocle Radio. Natalie discusses the latest global retail stories with Georgina Godwin:

  • Ikea’s Roblox venture: the launch of a virtual store and how Ikea has become the first brand to offer paid work on the gaming platform.
  • Walmart’s tech update: innovation in delivery – drones and at-home delivery – and the beta launch of a generative AI-powered shopping assistant.
  • Pretty Little Thing becomes the latest UK retailer to start charging for returns.

You can listen to the original episode of The Globalist Episode 3352.

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
AI Amazon CX E-commerce Non-food retail Quick commerce Retail trends Supermarkets Technology

It’s a Density Game, with Deliveroo’s Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson, Product Director at Deliveroo and former Tesco and Amazon exec, joins Natalie to discuss retail technology trends.

They explore the evolution of quick commerce, why Deliveroo won’t chase 15-minute delivery and moving into non-food to “bring the whole high street to the customer”.


Other topics covered include: learnings from the restaurant sector, supermarket collaboration, voice commerce and frictionless checkout.

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
E-commerce Economy Inflation Retail leadership Supermarkets Technology

Ken Towle on Supermarket Trends, Shrinkflation, International Retail

Former Tesco director and Nisa CEO Ken Towle joins Natalie on the podcast to discuss:


•    The retail and consumer outlook.
•    Why shrinkflation is not always a bad thing.
•    His experience running Nisa during the pandemic.
•    From self-checkouts to generative AI – how technology is changing the way we shop for food.
•    Grocery e-commerce and the importance of collaboration.
•    Lessons from his time as Tesco China CEO.

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
CX E-commerce Technology Unified Commerce

How Do You Actually Achieve Unified Commerce?

Paid partnership with Manhattan Associates


What do you call a retailer with a relentless drive to enhance the customer experience? This may sound like the start of a geeky retail joke but it’s a serious question. We used to brand these more nimble businesses as “disruptors”. They were the ones ripping up the rulebook, defying the status quo and continuously elevating the shopper experience.

Today, I’d argue that all retailers need to adopt a mentality of perpetual disruption. In the fast-moving world of retail, today’s innovations quickly become tomorrow’s norms. You’ve got to keep evolving and experimenting. Failing fast has become a prerequisite. 

This was evidenced in a new study from Manhattan Associates. The inaugural Unified Commerce Benchmark for Specialty Retail in Europe assessed 50 retailers across three verticals (apparel and footwear, home and DIY, luxury) in five European markets (France, Germany, Italy, UK, the Netherlands).

Retailers were categorised as Leaders, Challengers, Followers and Laggards. The study then revealed common attributes of successful retailers across four categories: Search and Discovery; Cart and Checkout; Promising and Fulfilment; Service and Support. So what have we learned?

Firstly, the study called out four participating retailers as true leaders in Unified Commerce: Adidas, H&M, Leroy Merlin and M&S. These businesses aren’t just ticking boxes by offering capabilities such as real-time inventory statistics and product recommendation tools; they are actively embracing technologies that enable them to deliver more nuanced, and increasingly personalised, customer experiences.

And it’s paying off. The study found that Unified Commerce leaders’ revenue growth outperforms non-leaders by at least twofold.

Guided Inspiration, Rich Findability and Immersive StoryTelling

Leaders in ‘Search and Discovery’ help shoppers discover meaningful products, whether they are looking to fulfil an immediate need or are looking for inspiration. Most leaders in this space already bundle product offerings (offer suggestions to ‘buy the look’ or ‘buy the set’), and I imagine this will become the norm in the very near future as more retailers embrace the power of AI.

There is always room for improvement and Manhattan specifically calls out capabilities like offering real-time visibility on product description pages (PDP), inventory status callouts for low/out-of-stock items, and personalised recommendations on home page. Retailers should also strive for greater visibility of delivery times, for example by allowing shoppers to filter by fulfilment method.

Most leaders offer back-in-stock notifications and 100% of them provide product sourcing information and detailed content on sustainability practices. This is an important point – retailers must go beyond product features and really immerse the shopper in the brand’s ethos. Transparency is going to be key going forward. 

Unified Basket, Payment Flexibility, Frictionless Checkout

The biggest point of friction in today’s retail customer experience is due to the loss of context when transiting between the physical and the digital. Those retailers leading the way in ‘Cart and Checkout’ understand that a unified cart or basket is a foundational capability when it comes to that all-important connection across channels: 40% of leaders show personalised promotions and offers on PDPs and cart, compared to 6% of non-leaders. Most leaders also allow shoppers to view promo codes in cart and check product availability status by store in cart.

Given the proliferation of payment options today, most leaders also offer checkout with buy now, pay later (100%), Apple Pay or PayPal (70%), as well as the ability to use mixed payment methods for the same order (40%).

In-store and online cart abandonment is still far too regular of an occurrence in retail. In fact, more than one-third (35%) of shoppers said that they abandon their shopping cart because of lengthy checkout process and a whopping 37% said they will not retry if asked to re-enter payment or delivery details. It’s essential that retailers provide seamless checkout experiences that reduce unnecessary friction at the point of conversion.

Flawless Fulfilment

I’ve often said that the post-purchase experience tends to be more of an afterthought than a strategic priority. Well, that is finally changing as retailers recognise that a shopper’s product pick-up or delivery experience must be as seamless as their shopping journey. Not only do leaders in ‘Promising and Fulfilment’ make sure retailers meet or beat their delivery promises consistently, they do also so while being more environmentally friendly too.

Offering shoppers greater post-order flexibility, including complete or partial cancellations, and greater delivery/pick-up options are all areas leaders excel in. Sixty percent of leaders offer shoppers the ability to cancel orders post-purchase compared to 28% of non-leaders.

And shoppers are crying out for this: more than two-thirds of shoppers want a self-service option to be able to edit order after placing them. Meanwhile, nearly three quarters (73%) of shoppers value expedited deliver (same business day) but are only willing to pay less than €5 for the service.

Manhattan calls out the ability to highlight the carbon footprint / impact of fulfilment choice as an area for improvement. Shoppers are hyper-informed when it comes to pricing and product information, but too often they are fumbling in the dark when it comes to sustainability. I believe this will change considerably over the next decade and retailers must prioritise transparency to drive greener purchasing decisions.

360 Degree Service

Leaders in the ‘Service and Support’ segment offer shoppers a wide variety of service options from call centres to in-store assistance, social media support and live agents available via their website and mobile app. What is most important, however, isn’t the breadth of support options but the fact that they offer seamless continuity, consistent quality and always-on availability.

Leaders empower shoppers to self-serve most of their needs. Nearly all (92%) offer support on order modifications, returns and exchanges via chat/call and 75% offer their customers the ability to return purchases to drop-off locations.

In addition to problem solving, leaders also offer value-added services such as customisations, style/fit guidance and in-store hospitality to turn service interactions into a secret sauce of brand stickiness. Most leaders empower their store associates to check a shopper’s online purchase history while in-store (75% compared to 48% of non-leaders). They should also be striving for in-store appointment scheduling via their digital channels, product personalisation and allowing store associates to create or manage a shopper’s wishlist.

As I have said on numerous occasions, we are witnessing a democratisation of white-glove service within the retail industry. Don’t get left behind.

Download the full report.

Categories
AI Consumer CX Fashion High Streets Podcast Retail leadership Retail trends Returns Technology

The Future of Retail with Chris Browne

Chris Browne, former Global Retail Director at Ted Baker, joins Natalie to discuss:

  • Visual AI and the opportunities for fashion retail  
  • How tech can enhance the shopping experience
  • Addressing the perennial problem of returns
  • What Western retailers can learn from Asia
  • Chris’ vision for the future of the high street

Prefer video? You can also watch Natalie and Chris’ conversation on YouTube.

This episode is part of a special collaboration with the Richmond Retail & E-commerce Directors’ Forum. Chris will be speaking at the event alongside leaders from across the industry – Tesco, Charlotte Tilbury, TikTok, N Brown and more.

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
High Streets Podcast Supermarkets Technology

The Shoplifting Epidemic

Chris Noice, Communications Director at the Association of Convenience Stores, joins Natalie to discuss Britain’s shoplifting epidemic. They explore:

  • The scale of the problem and factors driving the growing wave of shoplifting.
  • What motivates shoplifters and is it a victimless crime?
  • Cops in shops – will we see more retailers and shopping centres collaborate with the police for in-store police stations?
  • From equipping staff with body cams to hiring undercover security guards – what more can retailers do to deter theft?
  • Retail staff abuse and the issue of under-reporting.
  • The rise of middle class shoplifting and how automation is exacerbating the problem.
  • Will retailers see more TikTok-inspired mass shoplifting rampages?
  • How can the government take action to curb the rise in shoplifting?

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
AI Consumer Economy ESG Podcast Technology

Inflation, ‘Insperiences’, Industry Outlook for 2024

Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, joins Natalie for a wide-ranging discussion on:

  • The health of the UK consumer and why 2024 will be a year of two halves.
  • Richard’s inflation theory (listen to find out!)
  • Combating cost pressures in 2024 – business rates, labour costs and more.
  • November data releases – interpreting the BRC retail sales and Barclaycard consumer spending data – from ‘insperiences’ to ‘revenge spending’
  • Digital transformation progress and where next for the industry.
  • Separating hype from reality – why generative AI is not ‘the next metaverse’ (in buzzword bingo).
  • ESG – managing conflicting consumer demands for convenience and sustainability.

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
AI Podcast Technology

AI: The Word of 2023

Collins Dictionary has announced that ‘AI’ is the Word of Year for 2023. Miya Knights, Retail Consultant and Publisher of Retail Technology Magazine, joins Natalie to discuss the wide-ranging implications of artificial intelligence. They break down the learnings from last week’s first ever AI Safety Summit, held at Bletchley Park, exploring both short-term and longer-term risks posed by the technology.

They then move into a conversation about AI’s impact on the retail sector and how it will transform the way we shop, exploring the many opportunities for retailers  – from driving back-end efficiencies to utilising AI-powered shopping assistants to deliver more tailored customer experiences.

Click here to display content from html5-player.libsyn.com

Categories
AI Retail trends Technology

Perpetual Disruption Requires Perpetual Innovation

If you’re not innovating, you’re standing still and that is the most dangerous place to be in retail. Perpetual disruption requires perpetual innovation.

The most successful retailers today are those that reject the status quo. They foster a culture of innovation and fast failure. Everything they do begins and ends with the customer. They understand that they have to keep moving, constantly evolving their proposition, and experimenting with new technologies in order to stay relevant in this digital era.

That’s easier said than done in the current climate. Ongoing cost pressures and soft consumer demand mean that retailers must deal with more pressing, short-term challenges. In times like these, innovation can often get put to the back burner. 

However, now more than ever, it’s essential that retailers embrace technology as a means of driving efficiencies as well as enhancing the customer experience. I keep coming back to the phrase ‘tech-enabled human touch’. In my view, this is what’s going to separate the retail winners from the losers going forward. Store associates are a retailer’s most valuable asset. Equipping them with the right digital tools means that they can quickly address any customer pain points and cut friction from the in-store experience (ie. help a shopper to find an item on the shelf, reorder an item that is out of stock, or check a customer out on the spot with a mobile POS device).

And, with greater transparency around a customer’s shopping habits across both physical and digital channels, it also enables staff to offer a more deeply customised experience. This is only going to improve as retailers look to AI to power those more personalised recommendations. 

And things are moving quickly. At a client event in Cannes earlier this month, Manhattan Associates CEO Eddie Capel reminded us that it took Netflix ten years to get to 100 million users. It took TikTok 9 months. And for ChatGPT – just two months.

Generative AI will transform retail. This is an industry that is accustomed to a certain level of disruption, but today technology is progressing at a mind-boggling pace. Many believe we are on the cusp of another ‘smartphone moment’ where an immersive digital world is about to transform our lives.

But will we all be donning VR headsets and living in the metaverse? I don’t think so. When exploring these new disruptive technologies, it can be difficult to separate the hype from reality. When it comes to the metaverse, there is much scepticism and general befuddlement. What is it? How do you enter it? Is anyone even there?

It’s difficult to define right now because it’s still being built. And if you ask those who are building it what the metaverse is, you’ll get a ton of different answers. This means that to the layperson consumer it can be a difficult, almost impossible, concept to grasp.

However, just as retailers have digitised their physical stores, they must now turn their focus to making our digital experiences more immersive. Today, online shopping is still fairly one-dimensional. It’s transactional. But it’s moving in the right direction – it’s becoming more engaging and discovery-led. For example, retailers are increasingly using video and 3D images (often AI-generated) to create more contextual experiences for online shoppers. Augmented reality (AR) is bridging the gap between physical and digital retail, especially in beauty, luxury, footwear and home. Virtual shopping consultations are connecting online shoppers with in-store staff, again harnessing expertise to elevate the customer experience. Liveshopping, too, is picking up momentum and social commerce is taking the discoverable and making it transactional. People used to find products; today products find people.

If we look even further into the future, we won’t know where the physical world ends and the digital one begins. Our AI-powered shopping assistants will make our lives easier and more connected than ever before (Bill Gates even thinks they will kill off Amazon and Google search). Virtual showrooms will never replace the physical store but they will become the next best thing. And spatial commerce has the potential to completely redefine the online shopping experience.

The future is wildly exciting for retail. Don’t get left behind.


This commentary originally featured in the KPMG/Retail Next Retail Think Tank Q3 whitepaper. Read in full.