Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

E-Commerce Players Up the Ante for Grocery and Convenience Stores

October 16th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Retail - (Comments Off on E-Commerce Players Up the Ante for Grocery and Convenience Stores)

56% of US retailers say they face significant competition from e-commerce players, according to a new report from APT, with research and analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Respondents say quality, pricing, product selection, and delivery speed pose the greatest competitive risk from online-only retailers.

In particular, 31% of US survey respondents cite delivery speed as the most threatening attribute of e-commerce retail. For example, today, delivery services have become table stakes for many brick-and-mortar grocers—even big box retailer Costco is offering grocery delivery, working through Instacart and offering a same-day delivery option for orders with fresh foods. Traditional grocers now face competition on price from discount and online grocers, and are also taking a hit on convenience, with the rise of online grocery ordering and delivery services.


Report: Winning Strategies for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers to Fight Back

October 2nd, 2017 | Posted by APT in Retail - (Comments Off on Report: Winning Strategies for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers to Fight Back)

Brick-and-mortar retail is far from dead. Undoubtedly, traditional retailers are facing hurdles—a major one being the growing competition from e-commerce disruptors. This industry shift is leading brick-and-mortar retailers to innovate and adapt their strategies to maintain market share. The question is, how exactly are they modifying their approaches? And which changes have proven to be most effective?

In a new report incorporating research and analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), those questions—and many more—are answered. Based on findings from a global survey of 256 retail executives conducted by The EIU, the report reveals which online-only players they see as their biggest threat, and why; the most common strategies retailers are leveraging in their fight against online competition; and how successful they have been in changing their approaches.


Reinvigorating Retail: Capitalizing on Online and Off-Price Concepts

September 18th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Retail - (Comments Off on Reinvigorating Retail: Capitalizing on Online and Off-Price Concepts)

Could online and off-price concepts be the key to capturing market share in the retail industry? It is no secret that the industry is facing headwinds, primarily driven by shifting consumer preferences. However, many online-only retailers and off-price retail concepts have found unique success in the challenging retail environment. Yet, much like traditional retailers, these organizations must continue to introduce innovative strategies to keep pace. One example of such innovation is Gilt’s recent website relaunch, in which the online designer merchandise retailer placed more emphasis on personalization than its traditional flash sales, while also introducing a mix of full-price and discounted goods.

As traditional brick-and-mortar retailers search for new ideas to get ahead of the competition, they may not make full-fledged pivots to online-only or off-price strategies, such as developing an entirely new off-price brand. However, as they explore similar concepts—such as off-price sections in-store, online flash sales, or enhanced omnichannel offerings—there are important considerations they should keep in mind as they emulate elements of these concepts to refresh and refine their own strategies.


Convenience Stores Expand Their Offerings: Maximizing the Value of New Programs

September 1st, 2017 | Posted by APT in Retail - (Comments Off on Convenience Stores Expand Their Offerings: Maximizing the Value of New Programs)

Convenience stores are racing to establish themselves as more than just a pit stop for fuel and snacks. Previously, we addressed how some convenience store chains are adding features such as seating areas, Wi-Fi and drive-thru windows, and investing in services like USPS goposts to drive traffic.

Now, as highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, convenience retailers continue to grow their offerings and services through money-transfer options. BP gas stations in Australia partnered with Western Union to enable customers to send money overseas, with gas station attendants facilitating the transaction. This collaboration allows customers to set up a transaction using their mobile app, but pay in cash at the gas station. It is also helping Western Union compete with FinTech startups that already provide consumers with international money transfers from home computers or mobile devices.

But what are the benefits for BP? The chain is not alone in capitalizing on the concept of in-store cash transfers; 7-Eleven offers MoneyGram kiosks at select locations, and other convenience retailers may implement similar services. The obvious advantage of any new offering is that it will drive customers to the store, leading to additional purchases. However, there is a question of how to maximize this positive impact. Given the potential complexity of rollout and partnership agreements to offer financial services in-store, it is critical that convenience retailers develop a keen understanding of not just a program’s success, but how they can tailor the offering to make it as impactful as possible.


The Appeal of Amazon Prime Day and How Retailers Can Emulate its Success

August 16th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Retail - (Comments Off on The Appeal of Amazon Prime Day and How Retailers Can Emulate its Success)

With Amazon Prime Day 2016 generating an estimated $500-600 million in incremental sales, the special, one-day price-cutting event was clearly very successful. Prime Day sales for 2017 skyrocketed even further: over 60% higher in comparison. And beyond sales alone, a record number of customers signed up for Amazon Prime on Prime Day 2017 – more than on any single day, ever – to cash in on the Prime Day deals.

Many elements of Prime Day contribute to its mass appeal, from the wide variety of merchandise available and the convenience to the urgency created by the limited availability of the one-day event. While other retailers may not be able to replicate the exact recipe for Amazon Prime Day, at the heart of this concept is a focus on driving customer engagement. With more Prime members making a purchase on Prime Day this year than last, and orders via mobile app more than doubling, how can retailers harness the power of this model and apply it to their own business?


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.


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.


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.