A few weeks ago, my colleague Martin Gill and I took a stroll around London in order to see what retailers were doing in their multichannel efforts. Martin challenged me to do a similar walk-through of the Fifth Avenue stores here in NYC, and our results were largely similar.
The Club Monaco store was an exciting start given its proximity to our offices (directly below). It displayed QR codes on its windows which, in the right sunlight, led my mobile device to a YouTube video.
The effort was nice but served more as an engagement tool, not really anything that would help to drive sales.
The walk around was characterized by a few key themes:
Absence of multi-touchpoint approach. After Monaco, I encountered Ann Taylor Loft, LensCrafters, and American Apparel, none of which had anything beyond their traditional store experience. From the lack of multichannel signs (not even a URL on the window!), users might not know the Internet and phones existed, let alone the wide array of opportunities (QR codes, location-based notifications) that retailers have at their disposal.
Missed opportunities. Aveda had a large charity promotion going on in its store. However, there was no signage with a website link, no mention of Facebook, and no effort to drive the event beyond the store’s windows.
Forrester recently released a document entitled “Ratings & Reviews: Q1 2011 Snapshot.” In it, we discuss how eBusiness professionals continue to create value for customers via user-generated product review content. The next evolution of ratings and reviews should prove to be:
More flexible, as a multidimensional approach takes over.
More exposed, as social networks connect brands and consumers.
More pervasive, as retailers use multiple touchpoints to create coordination and consistency.
More strategic, as the information derived from ratings and reviews is utilized across the organization.
Of course, this research document is meant to serve as a snapshot, meant to launch a dialogue about what is happening in the space. With that in mind, what are you seeing in the world of ratings and reviews that wasn’t mentioned here? How are those technologies helping eBusiness professionals succeed? And of what we did highlight in the report, what are some examples you have seen of those being used to their fullest effect?
Read the full report here, and then comment on this post.
After two days of very well done presentations from the Bazaarvoice team, observers of the social space and some business leaders, I come away from the Bazaarvoice Social Summit with a few thoughts:
Generally, the big theme was that use of ratings and reviews by eBusiness pros continues to deepen and add value to overall business success. We heard from Argos, Urban Outfitters, J&J, Xerox, Adobe, Best Buy, Rubbermaid, P&G, LL Bean, 3M and Estee Lauder. All of these businesses showed how they have fully embedded the use of ratings and reviews content throughout their businesses. For example, improved product data gained from ratings and reviews content is sent to all customer touchpoints such as the call center, POS, etc., at Argos; Rubbermaid realized from review content that people don’t read packaging and found that products didn’t perform well when consumers didn’t use the product as directed, so it changed the packaging and the product collateral and thus set expectations more in line with the intended use of the product and now have highly satisfied customers. And the examples like this continued throughout the conference. Look for our coming snapshot report showing some other examples of how eBusinesses continue to mine this valuable content to drive business results.
Forrester has just released its US Online Retail Forecast, 2010 to 2015, and EU Online Retail Forecast, 2010 to 2015. It is clear from our forecast data that online sales in the US and EU will continue to rise as users become increasingly comfortable buying in the online space. In 2010, US online retail sales grew 12.6% to a total of $176 billion. Similarly, EU online retails sales grew 18% in 2010 to a total of $81 billion. The US and EU markets are projected to grow 12% and 13%, respectively, in 2011.
Why is retail eCommerce continuing to grow?
There is an increase in overall web buyers. There were 5.5 million new US online shoppers who accounted for 30% of the total eCommerce sales. The EU online population grew by 13.4 million users in 2010.
Web buyers are spending more online. 70% of growth in US retail eCommerce sales came from existing shoppers spending more. Similarly, EU average online spend has increased 8% from 2010.
There is an increased level of penetration for online retail. Mobile devices and the proliferation of touchpoints have contributed to the US online retail penetration growing to 8% in 2010. The EU is also seeing steady growth; Forrester is estimating 10% penetration in the UK by 2012.
Forrester just kicked-off our 2010 Retail Executive Survey, and we want your input. We partnered with Pricegrabber, PayPal, Commission Junction, and StoreFrontBackTalk to create a survey which looks at multichannel retailers' organizations and topics relevant to the challenges currently facing their roles including:
eBusiness technology decisions
Social media and mobile trends
Online customer service
Customer loyalty programs
The survey takes just about 15 minutes to complete and all of the data will be used anonymously and in aggregate. As a thank you for completing this survey and once it is closed, you will be able to access the data to help benchmark against your peers.
The results from the survey will serve Forrester's eBusiness and retail research agenda; we look forward to gaining insight from your responses.
Last week the European Commission redrafted guidelines, many of which relate to regulations around distance selling. The revised guidelines had been adopted 10 years ago and the new ones are to be in place beginning in May for the coming 10 years.
There continue to be many restrictions allowed but the overall set of guidelines pull back on some types of restrictions suppliers can put in distribution contracts. For example, suppliers can no longer prohibit authorized sellers to sell on the Internet.
In addition, suppliers can no longer prevent online sellers from taking a sale from across borders including within a distribution system such as exclusive distribution or selective distribution. For example, a retailer in the UK can accept and ship an order to a buyer in France even if they are not authorized to sell physically in that market. The retailer cannot proactively market to that customer, but they may accept an order if it comes to them passively.
If you see how fast corporate digital commerce is changing, it won’t surprise you to learn that Forrester is hiring.
We’re hiring for the position of Senior analyst. This is a key job, because it will put you right in the center of transformation that’s happening as companies begin to embrace digital commerce enablement.
This job is truly diverse in its scope and has been the most rewarding one I have ever had. You’ll spend your time speaking with people in companies who are actually driving eBusiness innovation; gathering information about what works, what doesn't, and where the industry is going. These in-depth interactions, combined with our extensive consumer research data, form the basis of our research content. You write documents on topics of interest to clients or work with clients on how to build these applications.
In the analyst job, we’re looking for people with real experience building eBusinesses — either at a company, in an agency, or in a technology vendor.
Our current analysts on this team are working in Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco; New York; and London. For this position, due to the need to collaborate freely, we're most inclined to hire analysts who can work in London or Amsterdam.
Forrester is an extremely collegial place, with analysts around the world collaborating freely with one another. We keep driving forward into new areas of knowledge. Working here is a blast.
Here's how to apply: Click to see the description for the Senior analyst position. Then click “Apply for this job.” I hope I get to work with you.
Forrester just kicked-off our first-ever Australian Online Retailing Study. This survey looks at Australian online and multichannel retailers' organizations and topics relevant to the challenges currently facing their roles including:
A few key thoughts about the recent NRF Big Show in NYC last week:
1. It was big – over 15,000 attendees, which puts it back in the realm of record years of 2007 and 2008.
2. It was optimistic – conversations were rampant about "How can I get up and running on the projects I put on hold last year?" Attendees were very interested in making investments to grow their businesses, not just get through the slowdown.