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USPS OIG — Window Retail Customer Service: Audit Report

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Window Retail Customer Service: Audit Report (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

Between FYs 2012 and 2013, an increasing number of customers expressed dissatisfaction with the service they receive at retail facilities. While the Postal Service’s goal is 90 percent customer satisfaction, in FY 2013 more than 20 percent of customers who responded to surveys stated they had been treated “worse than other retailers” at Postal Service retail counters.

Dissatisfied customers exist, in part, because procedures for improving customer service are not functioning as intended. Although management communicates with sales associates periodically via service briefings known as “stand-up” talks and provides video instructions, there is a lack of continual, formal customer service training. Further, sales associates are selected based on seniority rules, rather than suitability for the position, as suggested by best practices. In addition, the Postal Service does not have a mandatory process to ensure managers regularly observe sales associates and provide feedback. Regular observation would help sales associates recognize where they need to improve their performance.

Cupid to Shower Americans With Jewelry, Candy This Valentine’s Day

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Cupid to Shower Americans With Jewelry, Candy This Valentine’s Day
Source: National Retail Federation

The new consumer online shopping outlook for Valentine’s Day is in — and it spells good news for retailers. According to the latest consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for NRF, one-quarter of Valentine’s Day shoppers this year plan to make some portion of their purchases online. Another positive sign: Prosper’s Consumer Snapshot found that consumer confidence has risen for the third consecutive month. With these results in mind, shoppers planning to buy Valentine’s Day gifts online anticipate:

  • Spending an average of $199, up 13 percent from last year, and a good 40 percent more than the average across all Valentine’s Day shoppers.
  • Treating family and friends — the lion’s share of spending will go to significant others and spouses, but other family members, friends, co-workers and even pets will feel the love.
  • Shopping for tried and true Valentine’s Day categories — retailers selling candy, greeting cards, flowers and jewelry will be among the most popular with Valentine’s Day shoppers, who plan to shop both online and in stores.
  • Tapping mobile devices to find, research and buy gifts — smartphone owners shopping for the occasion expect to use their devices to buy products, redeem coupons and more. Additionally, almost one in 10 expect to use it to pay for their purchases at checkout.

See also: Delivering Customer Delight on Valentine’s Day

USPS OIG — Parcel Payment Technologies and Payment Strategies

January 12, 2015 Comments off

Parcel Payment Technologies and Payment Strategies (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

A new white paper from the Office of Inspector General proposes the U.S. Postal Service must consider additional payment options that address how individuals and small business conduct transactions. Providing flexible payment options will allow the Postal Service to capitalize on revenue in shipping and package services and be more relevant in the digital age. The findings and recommendations found in this report are in line with the numerous advancements in technology, e-commerce, and mobile technology and there connections with the future of the business world.

The Decoupling Effect of Digital Disruptors

January 7, 2015 Comments off

The Decoupling Effect of Digital Disruptors (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

While the Internet’s first wave of disruption was marked by the unbundling of digital content, the second wave, decoupling, promises to generate more casualties in an even broader array of industries. Digital start-ups are disrupting traditional businesses by inserting themselves at every juncture in the customer’s consumption chain. By decoupling-the act of separating activities that people are used to co-consuming-new digital businesses are disrupting retailing, telecom, and other industries. Decoupling allows consumers to benefit from the value created at a lower cost or effort compared to what is delivered by traditional businesses. For those companies, the only solutions are to either recouple activities or rebalance to create and capture value (i.e., revenues) from both activities separately. Here, digital technologies can be seen as an instrument that will both disrupt traditional business models and potentially preserve them.

The State of Private Label Around the World

January 7, 2015 Comments off

The State of Private Label Around the World
Source: Nielsen

Perceptions about private-label brands are favorable around the world, but value shares are not correspondingly distributed; they are much higher in developed regions like Europe, North America and Australia.

Private-label success is strongest in commodity-driven, high-purchase categories and those where consumers perceive little differentiation. Private-label growth typically comes at the expense of small- and mid-sized brands, while category leaders remain relatively safe.

Retail consolidation and the expansion of the discount format are key drivers for private-label growth in developed markets. Private label struggles to gain consumer trust in Asia and the Middle East, where consumers are fiercely brand loyal.

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The Impact of User-Generated Content on Sales: A Randomized Field Experiment

January 6, 2015 Comments off

The Impact of User-Generated Content on Sales: A Randomized Field Experiment (PDF)
Source: Technischen Universität Darmstadt

This study examines the causal relationship between popularity information and purchasing behavior in an online store. In a randomized field experiment we exogenously manipulated the visibility of user-generated content similar to Google’s +1s or Facebook’s Likes. Displaying the number of people who “Like” a product caused a +12.97% sales increase (13,883.74 EUR in the treatment group; 12,289.46 EUR in the control group). We find that popularity information influences shopping behavior significantly if it is displayed in the consumers’ leisure time. This result is consistent with observational learning. For well-planned and goal-oriented purchases, knowing the preferences of others is of little importance. This information is more valuable on not so goal-oriented and, hence, more time-consuming shopping trips where consumers are searching for interesting, new products. The results also suggest that Likes have a significant monetary value, but without orthogonal variation, the valuation of Likes can easily be overestimated (by a factor of 2.26 in our sample).

KPMG Report: Global Business Executives See Cloud Driving Business Transformation And Improving Customer Alignment

December 30, 2014 Comments off

KPMG Report: Global Business Executives See Cloud Driving Business Transformation And Improving Customer Alignment
Source: KPMG

New data from the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP, show the increased use of cloud technology by global business to better connect with their employees and customers. In a new report, titled “Elevating Business in the Cloud,” the firm outlines the results of its 2014 Cloud Survey and interviews with more than 500 global executives from the financial services, retail, health care, media, and pharmaceutical industries. The report contrasts select aspects of the 2014 survey results with data collected in the 2012 edition of the survey, and outlines important shifts in the usage of and attitudes toward the cloud.

According to the executives in the 2014 survey, the top use of cloud remains driving cost efficiencies (49 percent), as was evident in the 2012 version (48 percent). However, the 2014 survey results reveal that in increasing numbers, organizations are using cloud technology to enact large-scale change, whether within individual business units or across the enterprise. These transformative uses of cloud include: better enabling a flexible and mobile workforce (42 percent) and improving alignment and interaction with customers, suppliers and business partners (37 percent).

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