Endless Aisle Capabilities Drive Incremental Demand For Retailers

Adam Silverman

Omnichannel initiatives have dominated eBusiness priority lists for a few years now, and leading retailers have been doubling down their investments in omnichannel fulfillment technology. Most of the focus, however, has gone toward store fulfillment of online orders and click-and-collect functionality. Why did these capabilities rise to the top? Because of their clear financial impact on the business, as well as minimal impact on store and associate processes.

But considering that roughly nine out of ten retail sales still take place offline, a much larger opportunity exists when retailers leverage inventory while the customer is shopping within a store. By offering the ability to fulfill out-of-stock items from any location within the enterprise, endless aisle tools offer a scalable tactic for retailers to drive incremental revenue. Today's endless aisle programs allow retailers to:

 
  • Meet customer expectations. Consumers expect the conveniences of eCommerce—including virtually unlimited inventory and assortment—regardless of whether they’re shopping online or in the physical store. Forrester data shows that in the event that an item is out of stock, over half of US online adults would opt to have a store associate order the item for them if they could get it shipped for free. Offering endless aisle capabilities means never having to say you’re sorry to customers looking to buy your products. 
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Become Customer-Obsessed Or Fail

Michael Gazala

What’s the top imperative at your company? If it’s not a transformation to make the company more customer-focused, you’re making a mistake. Technology and economic forces have changed the world so much that an obsession with winning, serving, and retaining customers is the only possible response.

We’re in an era of persistent economic imbalances defined by erratic economic growth, deflationary fears, an oversupply of labor, and surplus capital hunting returns in a sea of record-low interest rates. This abundance of capital and labor means that the path from good idea to customer-ready product has never been easier, and seamless access to all of the off-the-shelf components needed for a startup fuels the rise of weightless companies, which further intensify competition.

Chastened by a weak economy, presented with copious options, and empowered with technology, consumers have more market muscle than ever before. The information advantage tips to consumers with ratings and review sites. They claim pricing power by showrooming. And the only location that matters is the mobile phone in their hand from which they can buy anything from anyone and have it delivered anywhere.

This customer-driven change is remaking every industry. Cable and satellite operators lost almost 400,000 video subscribers in 2013 and 2014 as customers dropped them for the likes of Netflix. Lending Club, an alternative to commercial banks, has facilitated more than $6 billion in peer-to-peer loans. Now that most B2B buyers would rather buy from a website than a salesperson, we estimate that 1 million B2B sales jobs will disappear in the coming years.

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Finding The Right Inspiration To Transform Your Customer Experience (Updated With Podcast)

Sam Stern

A few years ago, The Mayo Clinic wanted to design separate consultation and exam rooms to reflect the reality that most appointments consist mainly of conversations between doctors and patients, with less examination time. But there wasn't enough floor space to accommodate the number of separate rooms that it envisioned. Then, inspiration struck from the least likely of places . . . The Brady Bunch. On the show, viewers may recall that the boys and girls of the blended family shared a bathroom with two doors connecting it to adjoining bedrooms (i.e., a Jack and Jill bathroom). Mayo borrowed the concept and now has two consultation rooms that share one inner exam room.

I love examples like this — finding the spark of creativity from unlikely sources. And in my latest report, "Finding the Right Inspiration To Transform Your Customer Experience," I provide more examples for CX professionals about how to get inspiration — from both likely and unlikely sources — to spark their CX initiatives.

What we found is that CX professionals benefited from three types of inspiration:

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Select The Right Agency To Help Overcome Your Top Digital Challenges

Xiaofeng Wang

Marketing leaders in China are looking at the largest and fast-growing digital market in the world and face more challenges in digital marketing than ever. As a result, they need more and more help from their digital agency partners. My new report, Overcome Top Digital Challenges In 2015: Choosing The Right Digital Agency In China helps them to do so.

In China, digital disruption is affecting nearly all industries, including telecommunications (WeChat); transportation and travel (Didi Dache, Kuaidi Dache); and banking and financial services (WeChat Payment, Alipay Wallet). In this digital era, marketers in China face opportunities and challenges in digital marketing:

  • Opportunities: fast-growing digital marketing budgets and more digital marketing duties. More than three-quarters of the marketers responding to Forrester’s Q1 2015 China Digital Marketing Online Survey indicated that they will increase their digital marketing budget in 2015. Also, they are increasingly expanding their digital marketing duties into newer areas such as social and mobile marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and eCommerce.
  • Challenges: meeting increased pressure to deliver business outcomes. Marketing leaders are bearing more responsibility for business outcomes. As a result, they face the challenge of measuring the results of digital marketing efforts and achieving positive ROI. Marketers are increasingly concerned with the effectiveness of their digital marketing spending and are striving for better strategies, tactics, and targeting.
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US B2B eCommerce To Reach $1.1 Trillion By 2020

Andy Hoar

I’m pleased to announce the release of Forrester’s US B2B eCommerce Forecast: 2015 to 2020.  In this first-of-its-kind report, Forrester forecasts that US B2B eCommerce will grow from $780 billion in 2015 to $1.13 trillion in 2020 – at which time it will constitute 12.1% of the total $9.39 trillion US B2B commerce market.

What's behind our 2020 $1.13 trillion US B2B eCommerce forecast?

  • Changes to B2B buyer preferences. Today, 74% of B2B buyers research at least one-half of their work purchases online. In addition, 30% of today's B2B buyers complete at least half of their work purchases online. With that percentage nearly doubling to 56% by 2017, B2B sellers will see a significant volume of offline business move online in the next few years.
  • The opportunity for B2B firms to reduce the cost to serve customers. B2B companies report cutting their cost to serve dramatically by migrating customers online.  In addition, in a 2013 Forrester survey, 56% of B2B eCommerce executives said that they have certain customers that they can only profitably support online.
  • The value of building loyal multichannel B2B customers. Omnichannel customers spend more than single-channel, offline-only customers. For example, 60% of B2B companies report that their B2B buyers spend more overall when those customers interact with multiple channels. Omnichannel B2B customers are also more likely to become repeat and long-term customers.
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How Much Are Bad Customer Experiences Hurting Your Business? Forrester’s CX Index™ Knows

Roxana Strohmenger

We have all experienced it — a bad customer experience. Websites like Consumerist.com describe in empathy-inducing detail the “turmoil” that consumers experience, whether it be a customer having tape-recorded proof of a promise of service but the company stating they made no such promise or a company cancelling thousands of reward accounts due to insufficient proof of age, despite the inability of the customer to insert the required information.

When reading these stories, I always wonder, “Why is Company X not getting it?” Bad customer experiences are financially damaging to a company. However, what I have learned over the years, especially when talking to my colleagues on Forrester’s CX team, is that fixing customer experience is hard work. Customer experience requires sustainable discipline, investment, and a repeatable system of measurement — and most companies do not know where to start or how to get better.

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Contribute To Research On Making The Business Case For CX In B2B Companies

Deanna Laufer

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian and I are collaborating on a new report on how B2B companies can make the business case for customer experience (CX). And we'd love your input.

How will clients benefit from this report? 

With longer sales cycles, fewer customer accounts, and an abundance of client roles and influencers, B2B companies are challenged in making the link between improving CX and financial results. But without this link, B2B companies will struggle to get adequate funding to sustain their CX programs over the long term. To help CX professionals at B2B companies overcome challenges to justifying their CX programs, this report will explore:

  • What do customer and business data CX pros need to collect to support their business cases?
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New Research On Making The Case For CX In B2B — Be Part Of This Research

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

Deanna Laufer and I are collaborating on a new report on how to make the case for customer experience in B2B. And we'd love your inputs.

How will clients benefit from this report? 

With longer sales cycles, fewer customer accounts, and an abundance of client roles and influencers, B2B companies are challenged in making the link between improving customer experience (CX) and financial results. But without this link, B2B companies will struggle to get adequate funding to sustain their CX programs over the long term. To help CX professionals at B2B companies overcome challenges to justifying their CX programs, this report will explore:

  • What do customer and business data CX pros need to collect to support their business cases?
  • Which are the right metrics for modeling the relationship between customer experience quality and business success?
  • How can CX pros apply their models to proactively improve business outcomes?
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First-Year CX: Some Keys To Success — A Q&A With TSIC

Qaalfa Dibeehi

In 2014, TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) engaged Forrester Consulting to help assess its activities around customer experience and build a road map for its burgeoning customer experience program. TSIC is an international provider of telecommunication services with headquarters in Stockholm and offices in 14 other countries. It has grown from being the largest IP network in Europe to one of the top two global carriers powered by the Internet backbone, as ranked by Internet performance analysts DYN.

I had a chance to sit down with Simon Dodsworth (SD), VP of voice and mobile; Rickard Bäcklin (RB), VP of brand and marketing; and Linda Bennet-Jansson (LBJ), CX manager, to discuss their relatively young customer experience (CX) program.  

What is the mandate for the CX program at TSIC?

RB: It’s an important part of a longer journey. Back in 2011, we initiated a bold transformation project within TSIC. To redefine customer demands in the wholesale space, we looked beyond the internal club of network people, focusing on the future end users and the demands they would put on us in the carrier industry.

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It Has Been A busy Quarter For Social Media, But What Does That Mean For You?

Erna Alfred Liousas
Believe it or not, the first quarter of 2015 is officially complete. Between the snow accumulations (especially) in the Northeast, the subsequent melting process, and the ever-evolving social media landscape, we've been busy. One of my takeaways from the social world is that FOMO (fear of missing out) is alive and well across several audiences. Let me recap a few social highlights and share a bit more on my takeaways. 
  • Snapchat carries a 15 billion dollar valuation and reportedly somewhere between 100 and 200 million active users. Is Snapchat for every brand? Most likely not, but it has a measure of appeal for a particular audience. This group doesn't want to miss out on anything and they also like things that are exclusive and momentary. That's probably the draw for Snapchat's massive Millennial audience. 
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