Amid Disruptive Technology, Retailers Transform Operations

Boston Retail Partners releases 2018 POS Survey.

As technology continues to bring disruptions and customer expectations change, retailers are evolving to keep pace with the times.

Disruption and adaptation are changing the customer engagement model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. Online pure-plays are opening brick-and-mortar stores and traditional retailers are experimenting with new store models: stores as showrooms, theatre, distribution centers or pop-ups. To enable the new customer experience and support its rapid evolution requires a different technology approach.

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According to the Boston Retail Partners (BRP) 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, retailers recognize the urgency to transform their operations and 81% plan to have unified commerce within three years.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP. “However, the legacy retail applications and infrastructure still in place at many retail organizations are not properly equipped to support changing retail models and continuously evolving customer expectations. To meet the demands of their customer, the retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce. Victory belongs to the agile.”

“As customer expectations have been reshaped by the digital retail experience, successful retailers have shifted their focus in the physical store environment,” added Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Customers appreciate personalized offers and recommendations when shopping online or via mobile, and now they expect the same personalization, or better, when they shop in a store. Understanding the importance of personalization, 62% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority as they transform the in-store customer experience.”

Unified commerce is the key to this retail transformation. Critical to unified commerce are the four key pillars that we have identified to define the required customer experience: personal, mobile, seamless and secure.

BRP’s 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current priorities and initiatives as digital and physical retail environments converge to facilitate a seamless experience across channels.

The key customer experience trends driving today’s initiatives are:

Personal – Engaging the customer through personalization and relevance is the key to attracting and keeping customers.

62% of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority

83% will suggestive sell based on previous purchases within three years

Mobile – The pervasiveness and ease-of-use of mobile devices offers tremendous opportunities for retailers as the customer takes control of their own retail experience across channels.

62% plan to increase their use of mobile devices as the POS by the end of 2019

42% will use customer-owned mobile devices as a point of sale within three years

Seamless – Customer expectations for a personalized and seamless experience require retailers to follow customers’ journeys across channels as they research, shop and purchase.

81% plan to offer unified commerce by the end of 2020

91% plan to offer order visibility across channels within three years

Secure – Today’s retail environment requires security beyond retailers’ current focus on payments and networks.

91% will have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by the end of 2020

61% will offer a single token solution across the enterprise within three years

To download the complete 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, visit: