Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

Streamlining the Supply Chain: Applications of Business Experimentation

August 8th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Manufacturing | Retail - (Comments Off on Streamlining the Supply Chain: Applications of Business Experimentation)

Marketing, merchandising, promotions, and pricing: these are just a few of the areas in which leading retailers and CPGs are already leveraging business experimentation to test new programs and measure their overall impact. While organizations are increasingly standardizing analytic processes to evaluate new initiatives in these areas, there is a significant opportunity to optimize programs in another crucial area: supply chain.

With the emergence of Amazon and other online-only competitors, it’s more important than ever that CPGs and their retail partners collaborate to ensure they have the right products on the shelf at the right times. Applications for retailers and CPGs to leverage test vs. control analysis may seem more easily applicable for programs such as new pricing structures and marketing campaigns. However, there are a variety of “testable” initiatives that retailers and CPGs should consider to inform their decision-making and strategies. This approach will ultimately help them develop a greater competitive advantage in a changing industry environment.


Modern Retail: Reinventing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience in the Face of E-Commerce

August 1st, 2017 | Posted by APT in Marketing & Media | Retail | Technology - (Comments Off on Modern Retail: Reinventing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience in the Face of E-Commerce)

A green screen studio, a movie-theatre-style marquee, and a stylish mural depicting classic Hollywood imagery—Warby Parker’s newest Los Angeles location is undeniably cool, and stands as a beacon of life amidst what some have deemed the “Retail Apocalypse.” In an era where many are struggling and a number of high-profile retailers are consolidating their networks, brands that started out as online-only players, such as Warby Parker and Bonobos, are doing the opposite: opening new physical locations.

These “showrooms” operate differently from typical brick-and-mortar stores in that they carry less inventory and serve primarily as an avenue to engage with consumers, providing the opportunity to experience a product before an online purchase. In addition to showrooming, in-store features such as Nike’s basketball court, where consumers can take part in Nike’s “personalized sports experience,” highlight a growing shift in the role of physical retail locations. Stores are now places where consumers can connect with a brand, discover new and exciting products, and make decisions around purchasing—whether in-store or online.


Taking Your Customer Analytics Beyond Campaigns

July 31st, 2017 | Posted by Haley Jackson in Analytics | Financial Services | Hospitality & Travel | Insurance | Marketing & Media | Restaurants | Retail - (Comments Off on Taking Your Customer Analytics Beyond Campaigns)

Researching. Browsing. Transacting. These are all components of the customer journey, and now more than ever, they are taking place beyond physical channels. While the process of researching and browsing increasingly shifts to online and mobile platforms, the majority of consumers still prefer to transact in brick-and-mortar locations. As a result, while physical channels certainly remain relevant – to a varying extent – the way organizations across industries evaluate new programs and initiatives must be customer-centric.

Many best-in-class organizations have already established a standardized test vs. control approach with which to evaluate new initiatives. Business experiments at the customer level are common in areas such as marketing, where leading companies leverage customer analytics to measure the true impact of their campaigns. But as the question for executives shifts from “How do we collect more data?” to “How can we use our data more effectively?”, decision-makers must think outside of the box in their application of customer analytics.


Thinking Outside of the Trip: Enhancing the Customer Journey from Start to Finish

July 26th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Hospitality & Travel - (Comments Off on Thinking Outside of the Trip: Enhancing the Customer Journey from Start to Finish)

Customer experience is critical – so critical, in fact, that customers who had the best past customer experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experiences. In the travel industry, customer experience has traditionally focused on only the stay or trip itself; but today, leading organizations are thinking beyond just the in-person touchpoints, to all touchpoints throughout the traveler journey.

Airlines, hotels and cruise lines must think across the four stages of their customer journey: customer awareness, customer acquisition, customer experience, and loyalty and retention. To remain competitive and drive profits, organizations in the travel industry must enhance the traveler experience across each of these dimensions. But how?


Introducing “Zelle”: How Banks Can Capitalize on the P2P Trend

July 18th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Introducing “Zelle”: How Banks Can Capitalize on the P2P Trend)

Millennials’ zeal for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments may go mainstream. Zelle is a P2P payment service that offers the transfer of money directly between customers’ bank accounts. It is the result of a collaboration between over 30 banks, connecting over 86 million U.S. customers and requiring only the recipient’s email address or phone number to transfer funds. Unlike most existing P2P services, which delay deposits by several days, Zelle enables instantaneous deposits into customer’s bank accounts directly from their mobile banking application.

Zelle is just one example of the many new mobile capabilities, such as contactless payment and mobile deposits, which banks are adding to compete with Fintechs. Venmo, a current leader in digital P2P payments, and Stripe, a global online payment service, are two firms that are pushing the industry forward. As Fintech players continue to disrupt traditional financial services models and consumers become more digitally savvy, banks must enhance their digital offerings to remain competitive. Many of them already are: APT research shows that more than 85% of banks are focused on strengthening their mobile capabilities and improving digital onboarding to accelerate channel migration.


Getting Over Promo FOMO

July 11th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Financial Services | Promotions | Retail - (Comments Off on Getting Over Promo FOMO)

What is “FOMO”? It’s simple: the Fear Of Missing Out. This term has traditionally been used in social settings, for example: “Jane had major FOMO when she was out of town for the summer party, because her whole team attended and it was always fun.”

However, the FOMO epidemic has now spread from social circles to the business world. Many organizations are experiencing FOMO when it comes to optimizing their promotional strategies – or, in other words, suffering from “Promo FOMO.”

Consider an organization that deploys a promotional campaign, first trialing it with a subset of customers to understand its impact. In this common scenario, there is a challenging balance to strike. Executives want to maximize the exposure of the campaign to the most relevant customers to avoid missed profit opportunities. However, the process of using test vs. control analysis to evaluate a campaign requires holding out a group of customers from the campaign in order to have a baseline comparison – meaning that fewer customers are receiving the campaign.


Refining Restaurant Loyalty Programs: How to Drive Guest Signups and Engagement

July 5th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Refining Restaurant Loyalty Programs: How to Drive Guest Signups and Engagement)

Loyalty programs are a growing strategy for restaurants – over 40 percent already have a loyalty program, and 27 percent plan to implement one within the year. However, restaurant executives are quickly learning that it is one thing to introduce a loyalty program, and another to build signups and engagement.

For some chains, such as coffee shops that often have daily interactions with guests, driving engagement can be a more straightforward endeavor. For brands that may have less frequent interactions with guests, however, it can be difficult to gather the consumer touchpoints necessary to build, inform, and bolster their loyalty programs.


Cracking the Code: The Importance of the In-Store Experience

July 5th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Manufacturing | Retail - (Comments Off on Cracking the Code: The Importance of the In-Store Experience)

There is an undeniable appeal to shopping without ever leaving your home. As devices like Amazon’s Alexa further shorten the path to purchase, it is becoming increasingly easier for consumers to fulfill their shopping needs online.

The growing competition from online players places greater pressure on traditional retailers to capitalize on one key advantage: real estate. While a majority of online shoppers still prefer to make purchases in physical stores, it is vital for brick-and-mortar retailers to optimize the in-store experience as the process of browsing shifts more and more to online and mobile channels.

To make the most of their physical locations, retailers must proactively take steps to enhance the in-store experience. One innovative way they can do so is through working with their CPG partners to develop new strategies and refine existing ones. Through this collaboration, retailers and CPGs can launch initiatives ranging from sampling and in-store events to live consultations and demos designed to drive shoppers into the store and keep them there, with the ultimate goal of increasing sales.


Merchandising the Room: New Possibilities for Personalization within Hospitality

July 5th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Hospitality & Travel - (Comments Off on Merchandising the Room: New Possibilities for Personalization within Hospitality)

Retailers are no strangers to refining their assortment of merchandise, but this concept is new territory for hotels. Traditionally, many hospitality brands have had a largely uniform product offering – standard rooms with minor differences in amenities, and varying tiers of suites – but now, their business model is shifting. Hotels are beginning to “merchandise the room” through customized design and amenities to provide guests with greater choice and appeal to different guest segments.

Hotels have historically focused on personalization through targeted marketing intended to drive bookings. However, research shows that now, in the face of industry disruptors like AirBnB, 27 percent of hotels are rethinking hotel and room design to be more “apartmentlike.” As a result, personalization is becoming increasingly oriented toward the room experience, as hotels seek to provide amenities and services catered to guests’ specialized lifestyles.


Cashing in on Conferences: Refining Event Investments to Boost ROI

June 26th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Technology - (Comments Off on Cashing in on Conferences: Refining Event Investments to Boost ROI)

Trade shows, conferences, webinars – tech companies invest in all of these events to grow relationships and acquire new ones. Since sales processes are often six months or longer, strategies that can accelerate them are quite valuable – and the conventional wisdom is that events play a key role in speeding up sales cycles. Given this, events are a core component of many companies’ go-to-market strategies, and organizations worldwide spend hundreds of billions of dollars in this area alone. Further, hosting, attending, and exhibiting at events can comprise up to 21 percent of corporate marketing budgets.

However, it is extremely difficult to understand an event’s true ROI. Tech companies face a major challenge in determining not just which events are worth big investments, but how much marketing budget to allocate to each event. Complex sales processes with many sales and marketing touchpoints pose an obstacle to isolating the direct impact of any individual action, such as inviting a prospect to an event.