News Feature | December 9, 2013

Retail IT News For VARs — December 9, 2013

By Anna Rose Welch, contributing writer

BSM-Mobile Devices

In the news, distributed order management (DOM) technology is in demand from retailers to strengthen their omni-channel initiatives, a study shows mobile can help your customers draw and retain shoppers, and statistics and projections continue for the holiday shopping season.  

DOM In Demand For Omni-Channel Initiatives

Steve Banker for Forbes discusses distributed order management (DOM) technology. In particular, he cites a survey by ARC, which asked retailers which technology they thought would help them strengthen omni-channel initiatives. According to the study, out of fifteen technologies, DOM was the most frequently mentioned technology retailers believed they needed to drive a more successful omni-channel initiative. Banker also interviews Brian Kinsella, VP of order management at Manhattan Associates about important features for DOM systems. Some systems can integrate markdown system data to ensure customers get items for the cheapest price; too, a DOM can help operationalize returns and can help correct “wrong inventory locations following a return." Similarly, Kinsella also argues that a DOM should also encompass dull ordering history for a customer in order to help a retailer serve important customers.

Leveraging Mobile Could Encourage Customer Loyalty

The second annual mobile shopper study from GE Capital Retail Bank reveals that 61 percent of those surveyed have used a mobile phone to make a shopping purchase in the last three months. Smartphone usage in shopping is increasing rapidly, with 36 percent (10 percent more last year) having shopped with a smartphone in the past 3 months. In addition, 40 percent say offers delivered via mobile would draw them to a retailer.

“Couch Commerce” Becoming A Thanksgiving Tradition

According to comScore, consumers spent $20.6 billion online during the first 29 days of November. This is a 3 percent increase compared to last year’s $19 billion in online sales for November. However, because Thanksgiving was so late this year, data has been skewed slightly because 2012 data contained a full week of post-Thanksgiving shopping. However, analysts expect the rate to normalize as the season continues. For Black Friday, desktop online shoppers spent $1.2 billion — thus far, the highest amount spent on a Black Friday. This data represents a 15 percent increase compared to Black Friday 2012. Those turning to online channels on Thanksgiving also rose 21 percent to $766 million.

Thanksgiving Weekend Deals Drew In More Holiday Shoppers

According to the NRF, the number of consumers who shopped Thanksgiving weekend reached 141 million, up from 139 million the same weekend last year. Traffic on Thanksgiving Day grew 27 percent, with nearly 45 million shoppers (31.8 percent of holiday shoppers) hitting the stores after their holiday meals. However, 65.2 percent, or 92 million people shopped for holiday gifts on Black Friday, making Black Friday still the biggest shopping day of the season. While traffic increases were seen on both days, there was a slight decline in average spending, brought about by lower prices and aggressive discounts. On average, the total amount spent Thursday through Sunday was $407.02, down from $423.55 last year. The NRF sticks with its predictions that total holiday sales will increase 3.9 percent to $602 billion. Online sales also saw increases over the weekend, with the average person spending $177.67 online — roughly 43.7 percent of their total weekend spending. The bulk of sales online occurred on Black Friday (47.1 percent). However, 26.5 percent of customers shopped online Thanksgiving Day, and an additional 35. 7 percent shopped online Saturday.

Retail IT Talking Points

4Hoteliers writer Jonathan Byrnes argues that profit-based segmentation via profit mapping can better help a retailer implement omni-channel initiatives and same-day delivery services. He argues this is the best way to target the high-profit/revenue “islands of profit” customers.

In his column for Forbes, Steve Olenski highlights some of the ways retailers are using technology to improve customers’ shopping experiences. Olenski says technology is helping customers simplify checkout, personalize shopping experiences, and build customer loyalty. He also interviews experts from Lowes, Zappos.com, and IKEA about how they are using technology to aid customers and how they integrate offline marketing with online marketing.

Mark Troselj for Power Retail lists five tips to ensure a retailer’s omni-channel Christmas success. These includes optimizing customer touch points, making real-time inventory data available, and leveraging customer data to cross-sell and upsell. Troselj also emphasizes customer service; providing customers with a fast and convenient experience and keeping a holistic view of a customer are also on his list.

BSM guest columnists weigh in on Big Data for retail, with columns by Spindle, Zebra Technologies, and WhenToManage.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Retail IT Tech Center.

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