Time To Assess Your Omnichannel Maturity

Brendan Witcher

It's a fact: Every time customers are exposed to improved shopping experiences, their expectations are immediately reset to a new higher level. Today’s empowered customers expect seamless brand interactions across every touch point, forcing organizations to replace outdated thought-processes and legacy systems with new ways of doing business. That said, many digital strategy and commerce leaders are either not sure where to start, or simply failing to deliver excellence within customer journeys through existing omnichannel capabilities. Forrester’s Omnichannel Maturity Assessment tool, created by Claudia Tajima and myself, helps organizations discover their current maturity level, and understand what steps they need to take to reach omnichannel mastery. 

The assessment challenges organizations to evaluate their retail business across three dimensions:

  • Digital customer experience
  • Digital operational excellence
  • Omnichannel customer engagement

Organizations must score themselves across seven modern omnichannel capabilities that leading retailers are executing today:

  • Enterprise inventory visibility
  • BOPIS
  • Ship-from-store
  • Ship-to-store
  • Endless aisle
  • Omnichannel value adding services
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Open Banking Is Open For Business

Jacob Morgan

Open banking is rapidly heading to the top of the agenda for retail banks across the globe. BBVA today announced the launch of its open banking business, joining the likes of Nordea, which launched its open banking site in March. In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority obliged the top nine banks to create an open banking standard; the first stage was reference data (e.g., branch opening hours and loan data), which was delivered in March. However, open banking isn’t limited to Europe. In Australia, the House of Representatives recommended the development of a binding frameworkto underpin data sharing for open banking; in April, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced plans to make its own data available via an open application programming interface (API) and made no secret of its enthusiasm for open data. We’ve seen no formal moves in the US so far, but The US Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection put out a Request for Information Regarding Consumer Access to Financial Records in late 2016.

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Adaptable Teams Prevail Over Mythical Retail End Times

The press continues to highlight bankruptcies and store closings to support a theory that the entire retail market is in a death spiral.  However, neither bankruptcies nor store closings accurately reflect the state of the retail market.  In 2017 we see an actual Wikipedia page dedicated to the ‘retail apocalypse’.  Headlines span the past seven years touting the doom of retail:

Retail Apocalypse Headlines from 2010-2017

 
Bankruptcies Aren’t Proxies For Retail Market Health…
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Back To Basics: How The Most Improved US Auto Insurers Mastered The Mobile Customer Experience

Ellen Carney

The results are in!  Along with my fellow researchers August Du Pont, Mike Chirokas, I  just completed our yearly review of the mobile features offered by leading US auto insurers.[i]   In our fourth year of assessing these essential portable features, these 13 auto insurers achieved an impressive average score of 75 out of 100, seven points higher than our 2015 benchmark, even as we raised the bar in terms of our expected performance of these mobile auto insurance features. 

What were the key takeaways from this year’s study?

  • Geico again leads; Allstate squeezes past USAA by a nose.  With a nearly perfect score of 96 out of 100, Geico retained its lead among the 13 US auto insurers we evaluated. Allstate’s strong mobile capabilities moved it up into second place, a nostril ahead of USAA.
  • Many digital teams have made big improvements.  Nationwide, The Hartford, Esurance, State Farm, and American Family all improved their mobile services substantially.  Leading digital insurance teams are creating more personalized and simplified experiences, and they are providing more guidance to their customers on how to make the most of digital features.
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The Digital Insurance Imperative: Go Digital Or Go Bust

Ellen Carney

The bedrock of the insurance industry is quaking. For decades, large North American insurers got bigger by dominating distribution and methodically mastering information technology.  But the confluence of changing customer demands, hundreds of insuretech startups and non-traditional competitors sniffing around the business of insurance is messing up the long-standing insurance equilibrium.  Insurance carriers--and their agents and brokers--must go digital or go bust.  

During the second half of 2016, my fellow Forrester analyst, Oliwia Berdak and I interviewed digital business strategy executives with traditional insurers and hot startups around the globe to get their take on the role that digital will play in the business of insurance over the coming decade.  What were the big takeaways from our conversations?  Consider that:

  • Digital technologies have enabled new insurance models, threatening incumbents. Digital disruption threatens to reduce many insurance companies to low-margin utilities, with limited engagement with or relevance to customers.
  • Legacy insurers are struggling to respond.  Even though nearly one in three insurers told us in a separate survey that they were in the midst of massive disruption, insurers are being thwarted by their business silos, legacy tech, disconnected business partners, their scramble for skills, legal and compliance, AND the fact that except for auto, other business lines are profitable.
  • Vertical integration will break apart. The vertical integration that served insurers so well in the past has become an obstacle to the rapid change unleashed by digitally empowered customers. The insurance value chain will fragment as companies build new partnerships, pursue new revenue streams, and seek new ways to create value for customers.
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Which Nifty Mobile Banking Features Is Your App Missing?

Peter Wannemacher

Not long ago, Forrester published a report that listed “Eleven Mobile Features That More Banks Should Offer.” These features are nifty and valuable mobile services that a majority of banks worldwide don’t offer. As a follow-up to this research, we thought that we’d share three additional mobile banking features that we see more companies rolling outin the near future:

  • Cardless ATM transactions. Over the next five years, Forrester predicts a sharp rise in cross-channel banking interactions - in which a customer or prospect moves from one touchpoint to another to complete an objective. Mobile will act as the so-called “connective tissue” in many of these cross-channel journeys. For example, some banks* now support mobile-to-ATM cardless cash withdrawals. In general, the bank’s mobile app generates a code that customers can either use to enable ATM usage or send to others who can then withdraw cash directly from an ATM. Leading banks are enabling cardless ATM transactions in an effort to expand their mobile services. Wells Fargo, for example, already has a good mobile app — and the company is now being proactive by rolling out cardless ATM access and other next-generation features. There are many scenarios and mobile moments where cardless ATM transactions will prove their worth in convenience and value to customers.
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The Event Horizon of In-Store Retail Automation

It came out of nowhere: A muffled, mechanical voice with electronica undertones called out “Hel-lo there.” It was leering down at me and a few other eTail West attendees: Over 7’6”, a fiberglass robot straight out of a Transformers movie with giant glowing blue eyes and dark mechanical fingers that looked as if they had 300 psi of hydraulic force – enough to crush a car.

Of course, this robot was a ContentSquare-emblazoned suit with a person inside, but the subsequent conversation was surreal.  “Can I take a picture?” a fellow attendee blurted out.  “Cer-tain-ly.  Step ov-er here for a nice-ly lit shot,” in staccato English with the eerie, deep mechanical voice.  The neurons in my head started firing.

Suppose this robot was real? The technology is mostly here.  We have natural language processing, basic AI functionality, robotic prosthetics, centralized controllers.  Now – how about if we gave it a bit more capability – perhaps even manage basic functions in a retail environment.  How about pick and pack capabilities, identifying objects on store shelves and labeling processes.  What about moving it to the front room and engaging with actual customers?  I’m sure it could handle basic questions such as where to find my size 34 jeans or directions to the restroom.  Add a camera or two and it becomes a surveillance device as well – mobile and dynamic for loss prevention and security.  Maybe even a checkout with a torso based kiosk to scan items and a POS.

 

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Headcount Grows Again As The Hard Work Of Digital Transformation Kicks In

Martin Gill

Every year we run a staffing and hiring survey of what used to be “eBusiness” professionals. I say “used to” because increasingly we find that eBusiness teams have morphed into “Digital Business” teams. Why? Well teams are under an increasing set of pressures, including:

 

  • A mandate to drive strategic change throughout the organization. Seventy two percent of firms surveyed are executing on digital transformation, and that tables the topic of digital with the C-Suite. Digital business leaders now have more strategic responsibility and must wield stronger influence with their executive peers and leaders.
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The Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind

Martin Gill

The Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind. A bold claim? You bet.

 

The retail industry is facing a tectonic shift. Empowered customers are challenging age-old truths every day. New distribution channels, e-commerce impacting physical stores, new payment systems and innovative technical solutions disrupt old operating models. Mobile and wearables connect customers wherever they are. Retailers face new and unprecedented challenges.

 

But you know this, right? You’ve developed a digital strategy. You’re selling online. You’ve got a mobile app. Maybe some digital signage in your stores. You’re sorted.

 

Think again.

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Forrester's Digital Transformation Forum 2017: The Future Won’t Wait, So Neither Should You

Martin Gill

We’ve spent the last few weeks hothousing ideas for the forthcoming Digital Transformation forum in Chicago on May 9th and 10th. We’ve been identifying the key themes that will ripple through our Digital Transformation events in 2017. Themes that resonate with where the market is at right now, and ones that point to the rapidly emerging future.

 

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