Monday Jan 04, 2016

4 Essential Considerations for Hassle-free, Low-risk Returns

According to NRF, retailers estimate holiday return fraud will cost $2.2 billion in 2015. Combine this number with the rise in online shopping this holiday season, of which 80% includes free return shipping, and you’ve got some significant revenue loss potential.


About $62 billion in goods bought between November and December 2015 will be returned, up 8% from the same period last year, with about a third of those items (more than $20 billion worth) purchased online, according to Customer Growth Partners.


A pain-free returns process is a vital part of the customer service experience and denying legitimate returns presents significant risk to customer loyalty. A well defined and managed returns process will enhance the customer experience while protecting the business from theft.


We asked Michael Colpitts, Solution Market Director, Stores & Commerce, Oracle Retail, to share his tips on how to achieve the right balance between fraud prevention and excellent customer service.


4 Essential Considerations for Hassle-free, Low-risk Returns


1. Plan for Unreceipted Returns

It is estimated that more than 13.4 percent of nonreceipted returns are fraudulent; unfortunately, you can't just deny all nonreceipted returns. Studies show that a customer's experience of returning merchandise is a key decision point in building loyalty and many of them expect to be able to return when and where they wish. So on one hand, you have to factor fraud cutting into the bottom line, and on the other hand you have to consider how a poor customer experience diminishes loyalty. Managing exceptions from your POS data allows loss prevention professionals to quickly flag recurring issues like unreceipted returns so that field investigators can prioritize investigations.


2. Leverage Automation to Ensure Compliance

It’s fine to write a policy statement and distribute it throughout your stores, but actually achieving compliance is another matter. That’s where automation becomes really important. You want a system in place that offers associates the right guidance during the execution of returns so that policy is adhered to, customer experience is consistent at every location, every time and employee knowledge of policies becomes widespread.


3. A Single View of the Customer is Critical

If your in-store POS and online sales data is siloed you are inevitably going to miss patterns. This is key because a customer’s return history is invaluable in determining the likelihood of fraud. Just as important, leveraging a central repository for all customer transactions enables you to convert a nonreceipted return into a receipted return by looking up the original transaction at the POS.


4. Look for Flexibility, Scale and Seamless Integrations

When selecting a technology solution always consider what the business will look like in 5, 10, 15 years and consider integration requirements with other solutions (both cloud and on-premises). The Oracle Retail Returns Management solution gives retailers the ability to create flexible returns policies that are fully integrated with the broader Oracle Retail Stores and Commerce solutions ensuring a consistent data set. Even the most complex policies are easy to create and manage with 40 built-in rules that evaluate the return. These rules incorporate all available criteria to determine how the return should be handled including presence of a receipt, customer return history, store location, item or brand being returned, condition of the item—and much more.


The Risk of Doing Nothing

As loss prevention technology adoption accelerates criminals strategically look for retailers that have manual processes and loop holes. For those who do not act, losses will inevitably accelerate. We’re helping retailers strike the right balance of risk mitigation and hassle free shopping experiences. Learn more at oracle.com/retail or drop us an email: oneretailvoice_ww@oracle.com.


For more information on retail fraud statistics and trends read NRF’s 2015 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry report.




Monday Dec 28, 2015

Nordstrom Drives International and Omni-Channel Growth with Oracle Solutions

Founded in 1901, Seattle-based Nordstrom has long been known for superior service, going above and beyond to create a fantastic customer experience, and empowering employees to do whatever it takes to keep customers happy. To know Nordstrom, is to love Nordstrom. I would encourage you to explore for yourself, the Half-Yearly Sale is on until January 3rd. Below is an editorial view of the recent Oracle OpenWorld presentation. 

Today, the department store chain also leads the market in bringing customers new omni-channel conveniences. For example, Nordstrom offers not only in-store pickup of goods bought online, but also permits cross-channel returns with buy-anywhere-return-anywhere service at any of its Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and Haute Look outlets.

“We provide an awesome shopping experience,” David Boeschenstein, vice president of Merchandise and Supply Chain Technology for Nordstrom, said in a presentation at Oracle OpenWorld in October. “We make it convenient for the customer to shop wherever and whenever she wants to shop.”

Oracle Powers Nordstrom’s Renowned Inventory Management

Most recently, Nordstrom employed Oracle Retail Merchandising System to enable its omni-channel initiatives by giving the department store chain a full view of inventory. The company eventually extended the system to its Nordstrom Rack division and web storefronts, but it became overly customized and siloed over time—and a new push into Canada would necessitate improved integration.

“Our strategy is straightforward: to realize the strengths and advantages of One Nordstrom,” Boeschenstein said, referring to its unified omni-channel strategy. “But we were handcuffed by a system that’s overly complex [and] costly to maintain. As we entered the Canadian market, we wanted to make sure we were able to grow. We wanted to maintain the upgrade path, so we didn’t face the same situation going forward.”

Nordstrom identified several priorities to guide the Next Generation (NGEN) initiative. “We needed to make sure we weren’t just going to replace the system we have today,” Boeschenstein said. “We wanted to be able to justify any complexity. We want to stay nimble; we want to stay focused—and prioritize what’s added going forward.”

The announcement of a Fall 2014 launch date for its first Canadian store helped the team focus on those goals and go live with RMS 13.26 just nine months later in Calgary. “It helped us balance the ‘nice to haves’ versus the ‘need to haves,’” Boeschenstein said. “We learned a lot from the implementation. It was opportunity for us to evaluate what support was there, and evaluate our internal capabilities.”

Nordstrom Rack Moves to New Oracle Retail Solutions

The next phase of the upgrade—taking Nordstrom Rack stores in the U.S. to Oracle Retail Merchandising System Version 14.1—would be more complicated. The team broke the task into stages and looked to the Oracle Retail Reference Library for guidance. Rollout will ultimately require an interdepartmental approach, and has the full support of the company. “Acknowledging that this is the most important initiative in the company enabled us to get the resources we needed,” Boeschenstein said.

“The other thing we learned, and knew intuitively, is that there’s a need for early and often performance testing,” he added. “We’ve piloted a few stores, and now we’re taking a break to make sure performance is tuned correctly so we’re on track for Fall 2016.” In 2017, the company will upgrade to Oracle Retail Version 14.1 in Canada and introduce Nordstrom Rack stores there; full-price stores in the U.S. will see an upgrade starting in 2018.

“We have a great relationship with Oracle, and we really appreciate that,” Boeschenstein said. “We’re learning along the way, and applying the lessons learned. And we feel like we’re making significant strides in achieving our One Nordstrom strategy.”

For more insight to Nordstrom’s strategic use of Oracle solutions to support its expansion into Canada, see the full presentation "Nordstrom: Technology to Enable Future Growth". 

Oracle’s retail customer community is a rich resource for peer-to-peer insights to best practices and business strategies. Follow this blog in the coming weeks as we share a series of stories presented by retailers during Oracle OpenWorld 2015 in San Francisco. We invite you to learn more about the Oracle solutions used by these and other retailers worldwide, join us at the National Retail Federation “Big Show” held January 17-20 in New York City, New York, where we will demonstrate the industry’s most comprehensive suite of cloud and retail services solutions. #NRF16 

Thursday Dec 24, 2015

Fall into the Gap Inc: Upgrade to New Global Retail Systems

In the final shopping days of the year, I am proud to profile one of my personal favorites. In case you missed OpenWorld, here is a little synopsis of the recent presentation from Oracle OpenWorld.  We are thankful for the long time partnership with Gap. Personally, I would encourage you to "Fall into the Gap" to take advantage of the winter sale for last minute gifts for the procrastinators out there. Remember you can also endear yourself to a loved one who can take advantage of these awesome sales in the coming weeks. 


Launched in 1969 by Don and Doris Fisher, “the Gap” was named for the “Generation Gap” that was developing between older generations and what would become known as baby boomers. And thanks to its hip positioning and catchy Fall into the Gap jingle, Gap grew fast. In 1973, the small chain went public at $18 per share.


More recently, the company faced a different kind of gap—an upgrade gap that was threatening to make its software systems obsolete. “We were two to four versions behind in some of our Oracle systems,” said Connie Santilli, Senior Director for Gap, Inc., at the recent Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco. “When you are in that situation, every fix has to be re-engineered and retrofitted and you cannot take advantage of the capabilities of the newer versions.”


Gap, Inc. has never stopped growing, Santilli noted in the session, “Merchandising: a Foundation for Growth and Innovation at Gap, Inc.” The company acquired safari-style outfitter Banana Republic in the 1990s, and launched its own value brand, Old Navy; more recently, it has expanded into women’s athletic wear and designer apparel with the Athleta and Intermix brands. Gap, Inc. now operates or franchises more than 3,700 stores in 90 countries, and logs more than $16 billion in sales annually.


Gap, Inc. Empowers a Team with Deep Retail and IT Expertise


As its global footprint grew, the company was running three separate instances of its merchandising systems to cover North American, European and Asian markets. The company made extensive customizations to its Oracle Retail Version 10 upon implementation for North America in 2004. Europe went live with Version 12 in 2008; Asia, two years later. The highly-customized systems remained in place with multiple patches ever since.


To streamline and simplify its global IT environment, take advantage of new capabilities and set a course for ongoing upgrades, Gap realized it needed an overhaul, and fast. Together with Oracle and Infosys, the company created a plan to “de-risk” a full implementation, looking to streamline its inventory, supply chain and merchandising platforms and cut costly customizations in order to support continued growth in new markets and channels. “It’s like a new install for us,” Santilli said. “Like setting up a parallel system and firing it up.”


The plan launched in September 2014 with a new install covering Gap’s Asian markets. The deployment wasn’t easy—for one thing, stores and websites needed to stay live during a two- to three-day conversion. The team tested Oracle’s Version 14 by conducting mock deployments a week ahead of the go-live date, just nine months later.


“We took stores in Hong Kong, Japan and Shanghai, and did the installations,” said Paul Lamoureux, senior director of Enterprise Architecture for Gap, Inc. “We loaded a whole day’s data to duplicate the craziness that happens across stores, deployed it and backed it out again.”


Once deployed, the new system was a big success, Lamoureux said, delivering complete visibility across all outlets in the region. Now, the challenge for Gap and its partners is to apply that single code base in markets throughout the world to bring deliver a universal, updatable solution system-wide. Gap began deployment in Europe in the third quarter of 2015 and expects to complete it by the mid-2016; Japan will follow immediately after, and the entire company expects to be running Version 14 by mid-2018.


Gap went from an AIX environment to a Linux environment on a short timeline in Asia, noted Rick Whicker, senior director of Information Technology for Gap, Inc., and it couldn’t have been done without the dedicated, 20-person implementation team that includes IT professionals from Gap, Oracle and Infosys. “It really made the project successful in getting through the nine-month window.” Santilli applauded Oracle Consulting Services (ACS) for its attentive account management. 


“Implementing an entirely new version is a big challenge,” Whicker said. “I’ve heard of clients that were able to write a kind of conversion script to ease the transition. In our case, that was not possible.” For companies needing to implement a similar overhaul, Whicker said, “think security from day one.” Firewalls and other protections can require coordination across many departments. “Oracle Retail Version 14 is a well-written product,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have performance challenges. Lots of different stores and lots of different prices were a problem, but we were able to ‘tune’ the software—and most of those tuning exercises are now inside the base product.


“The Oracle code base is exceptionally stable,” Whicker said. “We were ready for hundreds of issues to come through, and we even never got close to that number. After implementation, we were stable within 30 days. And we were able to eliminate 58% of customizations, which we all know are costly.”

Oracle’s retail customer community is a rich resource for peer-to-peer insights to best practices and business strategies. Follow this blog in the coming weeks as we share a series of stories presented by retailers during Oracle OpenWorld 2015 in San Francisco. We invite you to learn more about the Oracle solutions used by these and other retailers worldwide, join us at the National Retail Federation “Big Show” held January 17-20 in New York City, New York, where we will demonstrate the industry’s most comprehensive suite of cloud and retail services solutions. #NRF16 

Wednesday Nov 04, 2015

Collaboration, Creativity and Contribution: Observed Characteristics of a Successful Category Management Strategy

Author: Amber Trendell, Director of Retail Marketing, Oracle 

The Annual Category Management Conference had a strong underlying thread that weaved all of the sessions together this year and that was the demonstrable upside when retailers and suppliers collaborate. And that collaboration starts with data. Lots and lots of data. From consumer insights to store transactions, category managers have one thing in abundance and that is information. On the flip side, category managers on both sides of the fence are stretched super thin as they attempt to create compelling, localized assortments that are varied enough to make consumers feel they have the best selection and targeted enough to maximize space and revenue. 

So how are category managers successfully transitioning from tactical to strategic and delivering wins for their business? I heard three primary messages at the event this fall: Collaboration is key, Creativity is not a luxury but a necessity, and with the right strategy and tools you can clearly demonstrate Contribution to the business. Here's some additional detail:

Collaboration: when retailers and suppliers work together to identify upside and define a collaborative strategy the results can be phenomenal. Take the case study presented by Wawa and Redbull. Redbull knew empirically that Wawa lagged behind its competitors in the energy drink category and based on their projections demand for the product is on a steady climb well into the future. By working together to define a strategic goal of making Wawa the destination for energy drinks the C-store not only took the leadership role in the category but enjoyed double-digit organic growth. If we extend this concept of collaboration further to include technology and data science-as-a-service there is far more upside to be captured. Learn more about leveraging Science to Drive Profit and Differentiation in Grocery Retail here.

Creativity: it's likely safe to say that virtually everyone in retail knows that the impact of eCommerce on stores is really only in its infancy. If stores become an experience destination and media becomes the new eCommerce vehicle as predicted by Doug Stephens in his keynote session, how will category managers for products that may not translate as exciting or engaging ride the wave of store as experience destination? The answer is creativity and that is not something you can aggregate, pivot and deliver a report on. You need time to think and interact and actually go out into the field and experience your stores. So where is the time going to come from? By transitioning space optimization, consumer decision trees and demand transference analysis to a partner like Oracle you can effectively get out of the business of data crunching and into the business of experience orchestration.

Contribution: understanding the future of retail and how to capitalize (or just stay relevant) is important but where the rubber meets the road is in your ability to demonstrate lift and value to the business today. Oracle Retail has thoughtfully designed its planning and optimization solutions to align with varying degrees of business maturity particularly in respect to retail science and cloud applications. Whether you're just getting started or are ready to apply advanced retail science to your data, we have options.

Download the recent Oracle OpenWorld presentation on our planning solutions from retail expert Marc Koehler: Planning: Consumer Inspired Assortments


Wednesday Oct 28, 2015

Reporting from Oracle OpenWorld: The Road Ahead

For the benefit of our global community, here is an editorial view on the presentations from Oracle OpenWorld 2015. We have had a fantastic week in San Francisco. Wish you were here. 

Oracle will continue to bring retailers new and more flexible capabilities expanding the integration of its more than 50 software products designed for retail, according to Jeffrey Warren, Oracle’s vice president of Solutions Management.

Warren outlined what’s ahead for the company’s retail software solutions in an “Oracle Retail Roadmap and Vision” session at Oracle Open World in San Francisco on Monday. “We’ve done some very exciting things in the last year,” he said. “We have several integrations and new products that are coming out as a result of hard work within our R&D organization.”

Customers no longer question the need for a “Commerce Anywhere” solution that helps satisfy customer demands across channels, Warren said; instead, they need assistance in implementing a solution. “As we talk to our partners, the most common question is, ‘We understand what we need to do, but can you help us create a roadmap for how we are going to do it?’ These are the products we believe are going to help get you there.”

Common Goals

Retailers’ goals are fairly straightforward: They want to better identify who their customers are, better engage with those customers, help them convert and reward their loyalty in an increasingly complicated, omnichannel environment. “We believe we have the capabilities to help you achieve these four goals successfully,” he said.

Commerce Anywhere retailers must be ready to fulfill demand regardless of the source, and Oracle’s end-to-end solution is the only one of its kind on the market. “We are the only company that allows you to manage and create everything from operational-level financial planning down to the in-store experience,” Warren said.

New analytics features from Oracle will help retailers manage features such cluster forecasting, mobile merchandising management, exception reporting, and improved XBRi loss prevention in an easy-to-upgrade package. Users can switch functions on and off simply by making a phone call. 

The system will help retailers plan across channels. “Commerce Anywhere is not just the ability to buy online and return in-store,” he said. “Oracle gives you the ability to plan, forecast and manage across all of your channels.”

And new analytics features will offer insights to help retailers streamline every aspect of their businesses. “The goal is to use science and analytics to make you successful,” Warren said. “It’s an arms race that not everyone can keep up with. We can help you get better insights into the data you already have, and make it easier for you to leverage and mine that data.”

Easy to Implement

At the same time the Oracle Retail platform is going to deliver a better, more intuitive user experience. Retailers will be able to access simplified dashboards that unlock operational data that helps them merchandise better at a lower cost, Warren said. The interface is already so simple that many retail associates can learn to operate the system in 15 minutes, and companies are skipping formal training programs.

A new mobile interface, expanded exception reporting, XBRi loss prevention, and other aspects of Oracle’s retail package are also getting upgrades and integrations. “Having 50 products in your portfolio is a challenge,” Warren said. “People expect all 50 of those products to work together. With every release, we will invest in integrating both process and product.”

Oracle will continue to invest in retail software development at a “disruptive” rate, Warren said, to offer clients enhanced flexibility and ultimately, marketplace success. “This is a platform that allows us to innovate,” Warren said. “We have over 100 active patents in retail, and this is something we are investing in for your benefit.”

Oracle will help retailers access the right solutions, he added, with attentive customer care. “When you need us, you can pick up the phone and we’re going to be there,” he said. “Our goal is to allow you flexibility of deployment. Our goal is to help you find the right fit for your organization.” 

The full presentation is posted in the Oracle Retail Rack: Oracle Retail Roadmap and Vision

Monday Apr 27, 2015

Insights from OIC: Nordstrom’s New Canada Stores Become Testing Grounds for Enterprise IT Initiative

Last month our customer shared some fantastic experiences at Oracle Industry Connect 2015. Here is a glimpse of what you missed from the sessions....

Among its other accomplishments, Nordstrom has been a retailing technology pioneer, beating its competitors to market with customer-focused offerings including save-the-sale and endless aisle capabilities, buy online/pick up in-store, and coordinating returns between multiple stores and channels.

From 2001 until 2013, the Oracle Retail Merchandising System (RMS) served as a technology backbone for Nordstrom’s increasingly complex operations, but this required more and more customization as time progressed. When the retailer realized it was reaching the limits of customization, it initiated the Nordstrom Next Generation (NGEN) initiative, a six-plus-year program to support the company’s growth by replacing its current enterprise foundation solutions with new Oracle Retail systems offering advanced capabilities and scalability.

Nordstrom’s recent expansion into Canada is doubling as the first phase/pilot for NGEN, according to Nordstrom Director of Supply Chain and Fulfillment Brenda Glasgow, who spoke in late March at Oracle Industry Connect in Washington DC. The retailer has already opened two of a planned 10 full-line stores in Canada, with the next opening planned for fall 2015, and also plans to open its off-price Nordstrom Rack stores beginning in 2017.

The Canada expansion “gives us a chance to test, learn, and adjust with our business partners and technologists,” said Glasgow. “It’s allowing us to socialize the ‘vanilla’ implementations of Oracle solutions, and giving us practice managing the scope of these implementations.”

Nordstrom is still relying heavily on Oracle solutions, particularly in merchandising with Oracle Retail Merchandise Operations Management (MOM). This system is supporting international requirements around currencies and import/export issues, and Nordstrom is also taking advantage of new trade management and invoice matching modules that supplant older legacy applications for these functions.

Glasgow and Deby Hansen, Director of Program Management and Architecture for Nordstrom, identified key learnings from the Canada opportunity that include leveraging best practices identified in the Oracle Retail Reference Library, and using a process-led design approach that makes extensive use of personas and job roles. “By painting a full picture of a job’s process flow, it’s been easier to work through what’s been different from one system to the next,” said Glasgow. “We need to balance respecting our people’s business requirements with our motivation to stay ‘vanilla’ with these implementations.”

Nordstrom will apply these learnings as NGEN progresses, supporting long-term corporate goals that include sustaining the company’s growth, supporting its Nordstrom Rack stores becoming more of a separate entity, and “keeping us on an upgrade path that leverages our research and development investments,” said Hansen.

Congratulations to Nordstrom for their hard work and success. Nordstrom continues to impress the industry with their approach to the enterprise transformation. Read the press release or check out the presentation in the RACK to dive a little deeper. 


Monday Aug 18, 2014

NRF Online Merchandising Workshop: Where Online Retailers Are Focusing for Holiday and Beyond

Last month we attended the NRF Online Merchandising Workshop in LA, and it was a great opportunity to catch up with our customers, meet new retailers, and hear some great presentations from VF Corporation, Zazzle, Julep Beauty, Backcountry, eBags and more.

The one-on-one conversations with Merchants and the keynote presentations carry the same themes across companies of all sizes and across verticals. With only 125 days left (and counting) until Black Friday, these conversations provided some great insight in to what’s top of mind for retailers during the most stressful time of their year, and a sneak peek in to what they will deliver this holiday season. 

Some of the most popular topics were:

When to start promoting for holiday: seems like a funny conversation to have in July, but a number of retailers said they already had their holiday shopping gift guides live on their site, and it was attracting a significant portion of their onsite traffic. When it comes to timing, most retailers were questioning when to begin their holiday promotions -- carefully balancing when to release pricing and specials, and knowing that customers are holding out for last-minute deals and price drops. Many retailers noted the frustrations around transparent pricing by Amazon and a few other mega-retailers last year, publishing their “lowest prices of the season” as early as October – ensuring shoppers that those prices were the best they could get all season long. Many retailers felt their hands were forced to drop prices. Others kept their set pricing with negative customer reaction, causing some to miss their holiday goals. The pressure is on, and most retailers identified November 1 as their target start date for the holiday promotions blitz. Some are even waiting for the big guys to release their “lowest prices of the season” guides and will then follow suit.

     Attribution is tough – and a huge focus: understanding the path to conversion is a tough nut to crack, especially in the new omnichannel world where consumers use multiple touchpoints to make a single purchase, and internal management wants to know hard data. This has lead many retailers to invest in attribution; carefully tracking their online marketing efforts to determine what gets “credit” for the sale, instead of giving credit to the “last click.” Retailers noted that it is very difficult to determine the numbers when online and offline worlds collide – like when a shopper uses digital channels for research and then makes a purchase in a store. As one of the presenters from The North Face mentioned in her keynote, a key to enabling better customer service and satisfaction when it comes to converged online and offline sales is training the in-store staff, and creating a culture where it eventually “doesn’t matter what group gets the credit” if they all add to the sale. No doubt, the area of attribution will be a big area of retail investment in the coming years.

     How to plan for the converged world: planning to ensure inventory gets where it needs to be was another concern. In conversations with retailers, we advised them to analyze customer patterns: where shoppers purchase items, where the items were sourced from and even where items are returned. This analysis is very valuable in determining inventory plans. From there, retailers can more accurately plan and allocate inventory to support both the online and offline customer behavior. As we head into the holiday season, the need for accurate enterprise-wide inventory visibility, and providing that information to associates, is even more critical to the brand-wide customer experience.

      Improving the search / navigation / usability of the site(s): Aside from some of the big ideas and standard holiday pricing pressure, most conversations we had centered around continuing to improve the basics of the site. Reinvesting in search and navigation came up time and time again (FitForCommerce blogged about what a big topic it was at the event as well). Obviously getting shoppers on their path quickly and allowing them to find what they need fast is critical, but it was definitely interesting to hear just how much effort is still going in to honing the search and navigation experience. Adding new elements to search and navigation like typeahed, inventive navigation refinements, and new navigation categories like gift guides, specialized boutiques and flash sales were top of mind, in addition to searchandising and making search-driven product recommendations. (Oracle can help!)

      Reducing cart abandonment: always a hot topic that is top of mind for every online retailer. Getting shoppers to the cart is often less then half the battle; getting them to click “buy” and complete the transaction is much more difficult. While retailers carefully study the checkout process and where shoppers tend to bounce, they know that how they design their checkout page is critical. We’re all online shoppers in our personal lives and we know how frustrating it can be when total prices are not transparent (i.e. shipping, processing, taxes is not included until the very last possible screen before clicking that buy button). Online retailers are struggling with where in the checkout process to surface the total price to be charged to reduce cart abandonment, while not showing the total figure too early in the process that it keeps shoppers from getting to checkout altogether. Recent research shows that providing total pricing prior to the checkout process dramatically reduces cart abandonment – as it serves as a filter to those shopping within a specific price band. Much of the cart abandonment discussion leads us to…

      The free shipping / free returns question: it’s no secret that because of Amazon and programs like Prime, consumers expect free shipping, much to the chagrin of the smaller retailer. The reality is that if you’re not a mega-retailer, shipping is an expensive part of doing business that doesn’t allow most retailers to keep their prices low and offer free shipping. This has many retailers venturing out on the “free returns” path, especially in apparel. A number of retailers we spoke with are testing a flat rate shipping fee with free returns to see if they can crack the price threshold where shoppers are willing to pay for shipping with an added service. But, free shipping remains king.

     Social ads and retargeting: they are working, but do they turn off consumers? That’s the big question. Every retailer we spoke with during a roundtable on the topic said that social ads and retargeting (where that pair of boots you’re been eyeing on a site magically follows you around the Internet) work and are meeting campaign goals. The larger question many retailers are asking is if this type of tactic is turning off a large number of shoppers, even if these campaigns are meeting their early goals. Retailers also mentioned that Facebook ads are working very well for them, especially when it comes to new customer acquisition, serving as a complimentary a channel to SEO when it comes to engaging new customers.

While there are always new things to experiment with in retail, standard challenges are top of mind as retailers scramble to get ready for holiday. It will undoubtedly be another record-breaking online shopping season, but as retailers get more and more advanced with each Black Friday, expect some exciting things. This excitement needs to be backed by sound solutions and optimized operations. Then again, consumers are expecting more than ever, so I don’t doubt that retailers are already thinking about the possibilities of holiday 2015… and beyond.

Customers who read this article, also found value in the following stories:

Personalization for Retail: http://blogs.oracle.com/retail/entry/personalization_for_retail
Shop Direct User Experience Focus Drives Sales:https://blogs.oracle.com/retail/entry/shop_direct_user_experience_focus
Making Waves: Australian Online Retailer SurfStitch: https://blogs.oracle.com/oracleretail/entry/surf_stitch
What’s new in Oracle Commerce v11.1 for Retail
What the Content+Commerce Equation is Missing

Tuesday Jan 12, 2010

Advice from Tesco

[Read More]
About


News and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on customers, innovation, trends and emerging technologies.




Oracle Industry Connect 2016


Stay Connect with Oracle Retail


Search

Archives
« February 2016
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
     
       
Today