With today’s shifting attitudes to consumerism, it’s gradually becoming second nature to share things we’d once take our sole ownership of for granted – whether it’s our homes, cars, underused Wi-Fi, storage, or even a vacant driveway space. But clothes might sound like a step too far for the sharing economy. They are personal, even intimate belongings, and with fast fashion having gained ground in the last two decades, they are often designed not to last.
However, given that the alternatives to sharing the pieces in our wardrobe that we don’t fancy any more or have grown out of are less economically viable or sustainable, sharing may turn out to be a good solution. Landfill capacity comes at a premium, and many African countries, from Nigeria to Rwanda to Tanzania, that used to import second-hand clothes (mainly from the UK and the US) have put a stop to the practice. Panipat, the so-called “cast-off capital” of India, where much of the West’s waste clothing is destroyed and re-purposed, has been pushed into decline by the rise of cheap synthetic Chinese fleece.
With an estimated £140 million of apparel ending up in landfill every year, and a further £30 billion of unused clothing sitting in our wardrobes, according to figures recently published by UK charity WRAP, a major change in our attitude to second hand apparel is overdue.
Early adopters who have already warmed to the idea of clothes sharing have a wide array of different models to choose from. The least disruptive ones are rentals with an inventory of selected – and typically premium or designer label – brands, which they rent out for a couple of days or a week at a set percentage of the RRP – which they sometimes charge to both the renter and the borrower.
Meanwhile, the likes of Rent the Runway (RTR), which pioneered the clothes rental model in North America, run basic and premium plans with subscription fees that let their clients rent out a set number of items (usually between four and six) at any one time, with an unlimited number of change-outs. In this model subscription fees often include insurance for minor mishaps and wear-and-tear issues, and the renter takes care of dry cleaning (RTR also happens to be the world’s biggest dry cleaner), as well as repairs. All items go through a rigorous inspection.
In contrast, P2P clothes-sharing platforms that tap into unworn items in their subscribers’ wardrobes tend to leave cleaning, handover and maintenance up to lenders. Some of them do offer cleaning, delivery and other services at a fixed rate. However, using any of these will result in higher costs and lower margins for users. Regardless of the formula, though, building trust between transacting partners through advanced verification technologies is a key part of the offer.
It remains to be seen whether these new models will eventually gain traction. Even RTR, already an established $1 billion player, continues to display teething problems (in September the firm was struggling with a delivery chaos and didn’t accept new subscribers for almost a month). Luxury brands are naturally not particularly welcoming of clothes rental services, as they feel their brand identity may be diluted the more widely accessible it becomes. Another potential turn-off for brands is cannibalisation, or the likely event of a brand’s customers deciding to opt to rent rather than buy the same apparel.
However, when brands are considering a foray into the clothes-on-demand space, they shouldn’t overlook the benefits the move can bring. A brand’s rental arm can also help monetise its inventory – instead of marking down excess items through discounts and moving them to an outlet, an additional revenue can be generated. They can also acquire more customers though rentals, and generate more revenue from existing ones.
But the most compelling case for brands to dip their toes in the apparel rental business is the flow of granular data they will have access to. They will be able to paint a much more detailed profile of each customer, learning about how fashion-conscious they are, the pattern of special occasions they rent out high-end dresses or suits for (a number of rental services cater for male and child customers as well), or their genuine preferences based on which garments they decide to keep. Retailers, on the other hand, will get a clearer idea of which of their gateway brands are drawing in the highest number of customers.
A number of brands, many of them based in the US, have already identified these opportunities and have either opened accounts with clothes rental services or set up their own proprietary unit for “pre-loved” clothes, as the industry jargon calls them.
Caastle, a turn-key clothes subscription solution that has developed from Gwynnie Bee, a rental service originally serving the plus-sized women’s clothing market, provides – as its name suggests – “clothing-as-a-service”. By becoming its client, retailers and brands can enter the rental arena with all the load of the subscription model – cleaning, returns and data bases – taken off their shoulders by Caastle.
The platform has no less an ambition than “to power a new economy for retail”. Caastle claims that some of the brands it has been working with have experienced a 50 per cent growth in NTF (the number of customers who never made a purchase on their e-commerce site before) and a 60 per cent share-of-wallet increase (the money one client’s customers spend on a client’s brand rather than other ones). Moreover, the increase in Caastle’s operating margin has been reported to range between 25 to 45 per cent.
The metrics cited by Caastle – although expected to drop with increasing uptake – make a good case for brands and retailers to pay heed to this emerging market. And until researchers come up with more sustainable textiles that biodegrade and – unlike cotton – don’t take thousands of litres of precious water to produce, it can definitely serve as a lucrative detour.
by Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
2019 has not bought a lot of good news for retailers. Demand has been low, both on the high street and online and, in consequence of the tough trading experienced over the summer period, things were not looking bright moving into the November and December retail peak.
This is a particularly vital time of year for retail as most people have to buy Christmas presents. Many retailers tend to make around 25 per cent of their annual sales in those two months alone. This is why you see so many retail administrations in Q1 – if you have a bad Christmas, you’ve had a bad year.
So why has shopper demand been so weak in 2019, and could Christmas produce the turnaround industry so desperately needs?
To answer the question about weak demand first, you could argue all of the following issues are potentially exerting some negative influence over retail:
While many retailers will obviously be relieved to have made it through Black Friday with positive sales growth secured, it is only a few days in a peak trading period that covers two months. What about demand more generally? If shoppers responded so strongly during that week, what about November as a whole?
And, of course, December. The below chart shows the month-on-month growth between October, November and December for the period 2013-18, which serves to illustrate the impact Black Friday has had on December sales volumes. Where sales volumes used to rise moving between November and December, there is now a clear pattern of decline (in 2018 for example, sales revenue fell by 15 per cent between the two months).
If people have done a lot of purchasing over the Black Friday week, can demand be sustained leading up to Christmas – or have shoppers already spent all their money?
Retailers will be hoping their interest can be piqued again.
by Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG
It’s a common misconception that retail customers are invisible as soon as they step into a store. Using IoT, edge computing and smart applications, we can now extract as much data from in-store shoppers as online customers, and turn it into actionable insights for retailers. But what are the modern methods retailers can use to extract this data, and what challenges do they present?
Every retail business knows how important it is to cater to customer expectations, wants and needs, and data ultimately provides a holistic picture of the shopper. Retailers are in possession of a vast amount of information on the shop floor, but it is rarely put to good use. This information can come from point-of-sale, inventory, rotas and other sources, and it’s vital to combine, compare and correlate to glean the best insights from it.
Heat-mapping, basket analysis, campaign analysis and measuring rotas against sales are all technologies that can be hugely beneficial to retailers, along with calculating dual conversation rates by comparing passers-by and paying customers.
Advantech pulls information from various sources together into a framework where they can speak to each other, creating valuable insights that retail businesses can take advantage of. Importantly, this also enables employees to contribute to the performance of the company as a whole, creating a more connected company culture and raising employee satisfaction.
Advantech is developing a framework for the retail sector using its WISE-PaaS solution, creating products that allow businesses to gather data and send it to the cloud, ensuring they are using technology to their advantage.
Technology should be seen as an investment, not a cost, and ultimately it aids retailers in freeing up time for interpersonal communication on the shop floor.
by Styrbjörn Torbacke, Head of iRetail – Europe, Advantech
Explore Advantech’s WISE-Paas platform and its retail capabilities here.
Speech recognition is in great shape – accuracy levels are good and improving all the time. The accuracy is no longer focused on the easy scenarios, but is now being used for noisier, harder conversational use-cases, making the technology practical for real-world applications. This is supported by the ability to deploy the technology in scalable ways that meet business needs, offering on-premises models as well as a public cloud.
The way it is consumed is getting easier too. Speech recognition can support things like multi-accents and dialect models to avoid the challenges of managing deployments for the diverse world that we live and operate within. Speech technology is not just for English either – it also supports native speakers of a growing range of many different languages. The capabilities of speech technology are ever increasing, enabling businesses to operate globally with the same scale and support that they would have in the English-speaking world.
There is always greater possibility in any industry. Non-English support for speech recognition is not as good as it is for English in many cases, especially taking into account accents and dialects. With the support for multiple languages comes the challenge of understanding which language is being spoken. This means that the ability to detect and decipher language itself is still a growing need. Language identification and detection and code switching are now becoming increasingly important to the adoption of speech technology, but still remain a challenge for most speech technology providers. Personalisation to specific users and use-cases is still very much a challenge but the foundations have been laid with features such as custom dictionaries and are expected to get better in the short term.
It’s not just words that are used to convey meaning in conversation. Sentiment, the speaker, hesitation and non-speech sounds all provide additional context and meaning. There is still work to do here to enable the wider meaning of speech to be determined.
Ultimately, what we really want is to truly understand the spoken word, not just transcribe what is said. That is the journey that the technology is now very much on. Understanding means supporting continuous intelligence within businesses. Enabling that understanding in real-time enables actions to be undertaken in line rather than out of band. Understanding also means using all the available context. So, that means looking wider than just the words. It means listening to sounds and sentiment but it also means using images, video and textual forms of communication that might be available to provide the deeper meaning of the communication. As speech technology continues to develop, we expect to see a broader range of useable outputs from speech analysis such as call-steering, detailed sentiment and extending voice control capabilities.
All of this advancement needs more and more data to be processed. The long pole here is having enough labelled data to support the learning required. We are undertaking some research to enable this to be less human-intensive and provide much faster learning that is continuous. These developments will unlock the power in understanding that will form the next big step in speech recognition technology.
We waste 1,500 hours a year working inefficiently, unable or ill-equipped to grasp the opportunities that can be unlocked in the digital workplace. Many businesses continue with practices such as document version control, isolating the exchange of information (a process more commonly known as emailing), bouncing between local hard drives and the cloud, and so on. All in all, according to Gartner Research, 61 per cent of our valuable time is spent “managing” work and 39 per cent doing the actual work itself. But it doesn’t have to be like this!
The proliferation of applications and piecemeal digital solutions, while well intended, end up fuelling the fragmented workplace and piling more stress onto harried employees. The current mindset in the modern workplace is a strong desire to deploy an intelligent workplace platform (basically an intranet supercharged with intelligence) that accelerates our shift towards a singular, seamless experience where employees have all they need to do their best work. Here is how we can achieve this.
Improved “intelligent” technology solutions underpinned by artificial intelligence will reduce the noise of the modern workplace and pave the way for the resurgence of vibrant online and offline communities, which give users everything they need to do their job.
Employees are paving the way for the creation of a personalised portfolio of applications, supplemented with role-based functionality. The new digital workforce wants to work smarter, not harder. The goal of this transformation is to deliver a unified digital, physical and human workplace experience that catalyses collaboration and productivity while delivering an incredible employee experience.
Governance of sprawling digital infrastructure and the proliferation of solutions and platforms must be the new normal if we are to realise the potential the modern workplace holds for collaboration and productivity. To reach this promised land, one of the most important prerequisites will be to put in place systems that prevent the explosion of multiple channels, mute the noise of disconnected and distracting applications and set businesses up for success as they accelerate their digital workplace journeys.
Governance and compliance are bedfellows of effective collaboration and productivity. Businesses and their IT departments need to roll out processes and systems, governed by pre-determined rules of engagement, that mitigate the chaotic spread and duplication of channels. The good news is that smart governance systems exist and can be integrated into your existing or future operating systems.. A company must appoint a TISE Listing Member as a sponsor to help the company with the listing application process and meet its continuing obligations. It is worth having early conversations with a potential sponsor but otherwise, owners or their advisers can always speak to those of us at TISE in the first instance.
Trading on the exchange must be carried out through a TISE trading member. Usually a company will appoint one of these as a market maker to enhance the Intelligent intranets are content services platforms that ignite engines of collaboration and innovation across organisations. While the term “intranet” is still broadly understood by a diverse range of professionals and verticals, it understates the increasingly strategic value of intranets in the modern workplace – especially when we consider a workplace set to go through the biggest changes in content management in more than 20 years. Intelligent AI-enabled solutions can solve the business-critical need to ensure content is delivered, shared and measured through the optimum (and most secure) digital channels, further enhancing engagement and employee experience. of the stock and facilitate trades.
Digital transformation is essentially about change management, and change management is essentially about people. The issue of execution and adoption of digital workplace platforms is often the biggest challenge for our customers.
Understandably some employees can negatively perceive new technologies, or siloed teams might see collaboration as a threat. This can be mitigated by better understanding and addressing the ecosystem of employee workplace influences and touchpoints, and ensuring your people are involved and empowered from the earliest phases of planning.
This feedback from our customers has led us to introduce discovery sessions for our clients. During these sessions we delve into the specific challenges and requirements that an individual organisation may be faced with. This could be the need to slowly transition legacy systems, to prioritise front-line workers, or the obligation to put governance and compliance in place before rolling out digital platforms.
These sessions have become an extremely enriching part of our work. We are now better equipped to provide solutions precisely to our customers’ problems, taking into consideration where they are on their digital journey, where they see themselves going and their absorption capacity for change.
Over-hyping AI or digital solutions helps nobody, and the most effective digital transformation projects will include people from all levels and stages. It may take more time, but it will inevitably be more cost-effective, successful and sustainable.
written by Karl Redenbach, Co-Founder and CEO, LiveTiles
To learn more about how intelligent intranets can drive collaboration and productivity in the modern workplace please visit:
Karl Redenbach, Co-Founder and CEO, LiveTiles
WhichPLM, a product life-cycle management magazine dedicated to retail and fashion industry news, has released its second open-access buyer’s guide. This year’s report, which features 18 different digital solutions categories, with explanations of how they could enable your digital transformation, is a return to the guide’s original, technological focus. Technologies discussed include 2D and 3D CAD, AI, blockchain, Bill of Labour (BOL), and digital asset and product information management (DAM and PIM) solutions.
The guide also includes comprehensive listings of all major PLM vendors and RFA PLM consultants catering to the retail, footwear and apparel industry. On page 86 of the report you can also find a full market analysis with geographical breakdown of sales. In its analysis the Buyer’s Guide points out that “the most salient result from our 2018/19 market analysis is the concentration of sales in Tiers 4 and 5 – businesses with revenues between $99m and $49 million or less. The reason for this is a rapid shift to cloud deployments and a Software As A Service mindset, as well as technology advancements inside and outside PLM, which have made it easier than ever to launch a new brand and sell directly to consumers with minimal overheads.”
To download the guide, click here.
In a report entitled Retail’s Revolution, global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicts that in the next decade retailing as we know it will cease to exist.
But the report is not all gloom and doom. It suggests six different new models that incumbent retailers can adopt to survive in the fierce competition they face. Models covered on page 34 of the report range from the “magnetic ecosystem” embodied by Amazon Prime to customer experience and fulfilment specialists. However, one of the most prevalent and popular models is the “choice intermediary”. The report highlights the two opposite trends of disintermediation, when brands find direct, often digital channels to their customers, and that of re-intermediation (page 24).
The best example of the latter is the choice intermediary, when consumers can often feel overwhelmed when confronted by the vast choice of products and services available on the internet. Successful choice intermediaries deliver high-quality recommendations that match each customer’s needs – in a variety of different ways. Review aggregators or businesses using AI and machine learning to give ever-more-accurate recommendations for their customers come under this category. Examples include Topshop and John Lewis partnering with Dressipi, a technology company that creates personalised “style edits”, or e-commerce player Jet.com, which acts as a market mapper by making transparent the true marginal costs of customers’ orders. Read more here.
Retailcustomerexperience.com is a web portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate on experience rather than price. It is founded on the idea that retail today is fundamentally different to what it’s been at any other time in its history, and staying competitive requires a new, holistic understanding of customers and how they want to shop.
For a taste of its concise but informative whitepapers, download the one on how retailers can fine-tune the click-and-collect experience, a problem that hasn’t been given enough focus recently, here. Another whitepaper concentrates on how the shopping app retail experience can be improved by identifying and understanding digital body language to pinpoint negative experiences.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
Customer demand for personalised items has seen tremendous growth over the last several years, and starting an online business has never been easier. Combine personalisation and e-commerce, and you get an unprecedented boom of micro-brands.
Print-on-demand (POD) is helping retailers of all sizes adjust to this changing dynamic, and is leveling the playing field by empowering small businesses to compete with household names. One POD game-changer is Printful, a print-on-demand company with five global facilities, a team of over 700 people and more than 14 million products fulfilled to date.
Printful’s origins lie with Startup Vitamins, an online store selling inspirational merchandise for start-ups. With the designs catching on, the team was unable to keep up with the incoming orders. Unable to find a service that would take the weight of fulfillment off their shoulders, the Startup Vitamins founders started building Printful, a solution that would meet their quality, speed and automation needs.
The company has always valued technology and innovation, believing that virtually any aspect of running a business can be improved with a smart technical solution. Ten per cent of the Printful team are developers, constantly working on Printful’s custom-built software and creating integrations with industry-leading e-commerce giants such as Shopify. One of the features Printful is most proud of is its mockup generator. It allows users to design products with intuitive, easy-to-use tools, generate high-quality product images for free, and publish the products on their online storefront in minutes.
For the last six years, among Printful’s main strengths have been the quality of products it offers, its world-class customer support, the optimisation of the manufacturing process, and the diversity of e-commerce platforms it partners with
With Printful, online merchants have access to a one-of-a-kind user experience that saves time and money and gives freedom to experiment with their ability to sell online. There’s no need for upfront investments, building a supply chain from scratch, or taking the risk to stock up on products that may not sell. Orders are fulfilled on demand in state-of-the-art facilities and shipped worldwide without leaving a trace of the Printful name. The end-customer will never know that Printful made their product, unless the merchant they bought it from explicitly revealed it.
For the last six years, among Printful’s main strengths have been the quality of products it offers, its world-class customer support, the optimisation of the manufacturing process, and the diversity of e-commerce platforms it partners with. The company intends to stay true to this method and further its ambitions by expanding its fulfillment network and establishing its presence in international markets. Printful is already looking forward to the opening of its second Europe fulfillment center in Barcelona, Spain.
Looking five years ahead, Printful sees itself as becoming even more global and diverse. Apart from focusing on its core business of POD, Printful will also develop its warehousing and other e-commerce services to speed along its mission of helping entrepreneurs sell anything anywhere.
by Chris Ozols, Director of Business Development & Partnerships, Printful
Professor Tim Cooper is responsible for leading research in the field of sustainable design and consumption at the Nottingham Trent University. He is also the initiator of the biennial PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) conferences, the third of which took place this September in Berlin (for an update see here). One of the highlights was a series of hands-on workshops where participants addressed important sustainability issues such as “proactive obsolescence management” and “testing for premature obsolescence”.
The Environmental Audit Committee, whose task is to consider how government policies affect the environment and sustainable development, also drew on evidence submitted by Professor Cooper when preparing Its Sustainability of the Fashion Industry Inquiry investigating the social and environmental impact of disposable ‘fast fashion’. In June 2019 the Committee proposed a 1p levy for each fast-fashion garment to raise £35m a year for better clothing collection and sorting, which ministers rejected.
Walmart is planning to offload its high-end subscription-based concierge shopping service, Jetblack, after the service reportedly lost $15,000 per member in its first year, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Jetblack’s head, Jenny Fleiss, has been replaced by Nate Faust, who moves from a supply chain role in Walmart’s e-commerce division. Fleiss was previously the co-founder of Rent the Runway, a subscription-based designer dress and rental service, before becoming head of Jetblack.
Jetblack’s aim was to turn e-commerce into a personal experience – for a subscription fee, members of the Jetblack community can send text messages to an AI-powered chatbot listing the items they need, which, in turn, the business’s couriers will buy and deliver. The chatbot can also make personalised recommendations for gifts. According to the WSJ, the failure of the business is down to its crippling operational fees and inability to upscale beyond its exclusive New York member base.
To address environmental concerns over e-commerce’s increasing carbon footprint, Wembley-based logistics service company Magway announced plans this [month] to build a network of underground pipes that could be used to deliver parcels in the UK, similar to the pneumatic tube systems used in large office buildings in the early 20th century. The advantages of such a system would include a reduction in air pollution, congestion and accidents, says Magway. The planned system of tunnels, when completed, could deliver 600 million packages a year in London alone. Robert Cruise, one of the founders of Magway, worked on Elon Musk’s futuristic Hyperloop transport project.
Magway hopes to build a series of pipes, less than a metre wide, that could transport items in pods travelling along a track powered by a magnetic motor, connecting distribution centres to retail outlets and consumers. The start-up aims to raise over £750,000 via crowdfunding to finance a commercial pilot scheme in an airport to deliver duty free goods to its terminals.
Farfetch, the leading global technology platform for the luxury fashion industry, has joined Facebook’s Libra Association, which is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2020. Farfetch has already been looking at blockchain technology to help solve a range of luxury fashion industry issues such as IP protection and transparency in the product lifecycle. By keeping unalterable records of the product journey from raw material to finished product, blockchain can solve the problem of counterfeit items. Customers will be able see the product journey by scanning the product code.
The Libra Association will be overseen by its founding members, who meet at least two range of criteria in net worth, reach and industry leadership. The fact that Libra has reserve assets including bank deposits and short-term government bonds will give users a high degree of assurance that they can convert their digital currency into local fiat currency.
Oxfam has launched a new annual campaign, Secondhand September, to raise awareness of the negative impact fast fashion has on the environment. According to Oxfam, over 62,000 people have pledged to buy only second-hand clothes for a month, which would remove 1,500 tonnes from the UK’s carbon footprint. During the campaign over 18,000 Instagram posts were tagged with #secondhandseptember. The campaign reflects a new trend of advertising second-hand clothes. Now it’s not only bloggers on Oxfam’s website sharing their second-hand clothes shopping tips for online market places such as e-Bay or Bepop, but also glossy fashion magazines.
Stuart Geekie, MD of HMY Group, told Business Reporter about how HMY’s new Digital Store brings the benefits of the online channel to physical retail. The new outlet offers customers real-time information on the shop’s full catalogue, available stock, current prices, personalised offers and promotions, as well as recommended products, encouraging cross-selling.
“Nowadays, through the development of technology, personalisation has evolved into so much more and digital advancements are key in helping shoppers feel like their bricks-and-mortar store knows their specific needs,” Geekie said. “Retailers are doing anything they can to connect directly with consumers and make shopping as personable and convenient for them as possible. Through mobile apps, beacons and new POS systems, retailers can learn more about their customers to better predict how they can improve their individual experience. Another popular technical solution for HMY customers is digital signage in store, which can transmit content in the most relevant way possible.”
Alibaba’s brick-and-mortar chain Hema is giving physical retail shopping a new lease of life too. At an investor event, Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s CEO, outlined the company’s new retail strategy of integrating online and offline retail to gain a bigger market share both inside and outside of China.
Since launching its first Hema outlet in 2015, Alibaba has developed a network of 150 stores across China combining the best aspects of both the online and the offline shopping experience. Visitors can buy food through a mobile app linked to the Alibaba-affiliated online payment platform Alipay. Hema stores also double as distribution centres: items ordered online via customers’ smart phones in or outside the store are placed into bags by assigned employees. The items carried around the shop in bags that move on overhead conveyor belts can be delivered by Hema in just 30 minutes if the customer’s home is within a three-kilometre radius.
With food safety rules far more lax in China than in Europe, barcodes and products tags pay a central role in supplying customers with provenance information and expiry dates to build trust. One highlight of the Hema shopping experience is being able to pick live seafood from the huge in-store tanks, then have it prepared and served by the store restaurant.
For a virtual tour around a Hema store, click here.
by Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
In today’s feedback economy, it’s essential to tune in to what customers are saying about your brand online and respond appropriately.
But that’s only half of the equation. Using the right technology, brands can collect and analyse unstructured data for unprecedented insight into the customer experience, and take action to transform that experience to meet the needs and expectations of increasingly discriminating consumers. Companies can harness uncensored customer feedback to reimagine CX through a customer-centric lens.
Indeed, getting your online reputation right can cause more than a few headaches. For multi-location, enterprise-scale businesses especially, the wealth of feedback they generate online can be both invaluable and detrimental depending on whether it is actioned and acknowledged, and in some cases this can be essential for future success.
This feedback, whether it is across social media, specialist review sites, search engines or elsewhere, can help to empower future business decisions, identify issues that may have previously gone under the radar, and lead new customers to choose your brand over that of your competition.
The benefits are clear, yet too many organisations still fail to use the free feedback their customers offer them online. Often this is because businesses lack the necessary platform and resources to monitor, respond and properly manage their online brand effectively.
As a business grows, the number of places online they need to manage typically grows with them, so managing it manually can become almost impossible and the need for software becomes essential.
Reputation.com works with some of the world’s leading enterprise-level brands to help them manage and improve how they look online.
Its industry-leading platform enables brands to see the complete picture when it comes to CX and online reputation management (ORM) by centralising the key areas that a person can engage with and leave feedback for that brand into a single dashboard.
Additionally, through its many patents, Reputation.com is able to offer features and functionality within its platform not available anywhere else, including the Reputation Score, a real-time numerical representation of your entire online brand.
Operating since 2006, when it pioneered the ORM market, Reputation.com continues to lead the industry with the world’s only full turnkey solution for managing online reputation. Reputation.com understands the ORM space like no other business can.
Anthony Gaskell, Reputation.com’s managing director, EMEA, sat down with Business Reporter’s Alastair Greener as part of BR’s Future of Retail campaign, to discuss the ever-growing importance of ORM to multi-site brands. We’ve compiled the key takeaways from this interview along with the testimonial of one of Reputation.com’s customers, Scentre Group – the Westfield shopping centre operator in Australia and New Zealand. Here, Research Manager Michael Scarfe explains how centralising customer feedback helps Scentre Group improve operations and even drive higher retail sales growth.
by Anthony Gaskell, Managing Director, EMEA
In this fast-changing retail age, experience now ranks higher than product or price. Research shows that over half of customers won’t return to a store after just one unresolved negative experience. So understanding customers and what they think and feel has never been more important.
Yet it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gather customer feedback, and to tap into its true business value. Today’s customers are overrun with surveys, emails and special offers tempting them to share their views. Low engagement and dropout rates are a growing challenge. There is also a huge risk that the data customers share across the many channels now available to them gets stuck in disparate silos and spreadsheets, where it delivers zero benefit to the business.
So how can companies successfully get the insight they need and use it to drive their business forward? It all comes down to learning how to listen to customers – and how to effectively take action as a result.
Securing the voice of the customer and deploying the resulting insights can have a transformative effect on performance, profit and customer experience. But only if it’s collected and used in the right way.
For Critizr, that means a whole company approach. We view customer feedback as a driving force at every business level – from HQ to shop floor, not just in the marketing department. Our approach hands the keys to customer-centricity to front-line teams, making them more agile and effective. This local empowerment is the core factor in the success of our platform
. So, while Critizr generates feedback and insight for senior management to plan for the long term, staff in the field can quickly and efficiently take action at local level – doing what it takes to solve problems, win back dissatisfied shoppers and drive loyalty and revenue.
The money story behind local empowerment is compelling. A recent study conducted by Critizr in conjunction with the CX Institute assessed the value of improving customer experience. Our study showed that 53 per cent of customers who’ve had a bad experience can be turned into promoters if their issue is addressed within 48 hours. Promoters spend more, are more loyal and will actively advocate on a brand’s behalf.
Critizr’s experience with leading brands across Europe proves the positive results of transforming all employees into powerful customer champions in their own outlet. On average our clients see a 10-point increase in NPS (the Net Promoter Score, one of the most effective customer satisfaction metrics for modern businesses) in their first year of working with Critizr.
The future of retail relies on businesses and brands using customer experience and feedback to differentiate themselves, drive value from their retained customers and ultimately increasing the bottom line. What better approach could there be than to empower the entire organisation to truly understand what customers want – and then to take action to provide it.
By Douglas Mancini, VP Sales EMEA, Critizr
To understand how to empower your whole organisation using customer feedback with Critizr click here.
10 Things to look out for in 2020 10 December 2019, 14.00-14.30
This webinar will look at what the Black Friday 2019 period tells us about where the market is going, the external pressures retailers need to deal with, and new technical and regulatory developments.
IMRG’s Black Friday Reveal
12 December, 2019, 14.00-17.30
The London Transport Museum
Covering the sales growth of the top e-commerce players through the entire week of Black Friday and the campaigns of more than 300 retailers in November, and breaking down discounting rates and the volume of sales per hour of Black Friday, this event is the most informative peak breakdown this side of Christmas.
11-12 December 2019
Betahaus Kreuzberg, Berlin
Host Techcrunch has invited start-ups from retail, e-commerce and elsewhere to participate in a pre-event competition at this two-day conference. The top five early-stage start-ups in each category will get the chance to exhibit for free in the conference’s Startup Alley.
Retail Week Awards
12 March 2020
Grosvenor House, Central London
The Retail Week Awards have been celebrating excellence, creativity and innovation in the retail sector for 25 years, providing companies with the ultimate platform for industry-wide recognition and celebration from boardroom leaders to digital stars and store managers.
Retail Week Live
25-26 March 2020
InterContinental O2, London
A 48-hour gathering of the retail ecosystem where you can take in more than 200 speakers, who will be discussing everything from the transformation of the high street and digital transformation to ethical consumerism, the importance of building communities, data and AI, and rethinking loyalty.
To see the list of speakers click here.
29-30 April 2020
Europe’s leading retail tech event, where retailers, brands and hospitality providers discover new tech solutions to enhance customer experience, increase operational effectiveness and drive sales. Click here for more details.
by Zita Goldman, Business Reporter