Will Retailers Be Ready for Europe’s General Trade Protection Rule?

Recently, the U.S. Congress voted to overturn a pending regulation that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to obtain people’s permission before selling their data about them. President Trump then signed the rollback.

As reported by NPR.org:

“This is a victory for ISPs, which have argued that the regulation would put them at a disadvantage compared with providers like Google and Facebook. Those firms are regulated by the FTC and face less stringent requirements. ISPs collect huge amounts of data on Web sites people visit, including medical, financial, and other personal information. The FCC regulation would have required ISPs to ask permission before selling that information to advertisers and others, a so-called opt-in provision.”

In contrast to the U.S. approach, Europe has a sweeping new regulation taking effect in May 2018. It will impact companies based anywhere, including the United States.

Brian Wallace, reporting for CMS Wire, describes the General Data Protection Rule (GDPR), thusly. Be sure to read the material highlighted:

“The European Parliament passed the General Data Protection Rule (GDPR) in April 2016. It is one of the most sweeping privacy laws protecting citizens ever, and is scheduled to take effect on May 25, 2018. One of the most misunderstood things about this law is that it covers EU citizens, no matter which country the firm using it is located. This means any company in the world that stores EU citizen protected data has less than a year to come into compliance with the GDPR.

According to the GDPR’s Web site, “The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy, and to reshape the way firms across the region approach privacy. The GDPR protects personal data and sensitive personal data. This includes sensitive data: name, location, identification numbers, IP address, cookies, RFID info; and sensitive personal data: health data, genetic data, biometric data, racial or ethnic data, political opinions, and sexual orientation.

Take a look at the following infographic from Digital Guardian to learn more! Click the image for a larger version.


Posted in Global Retailing, Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Privacy and Identity Theft Issues | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Engaging in Intelligent Engagement

Despite the many recent advances in enhanced retail customer service technology, many retailers are always looking for better ways to engage their customers and gain more customer loyalty. The latest technology is known as intelligent engagement.

Bold360 is an example of an intelligent engagement service provider. It:

“puts your customer insights to work in real-time, across every channel, at the point of engagement. We named it Bold360 because it gives your business a 360-degree view of your customer and guides your agents to the next best action for that customer, in that moment.”

The Right Insights at the Right Time — With intelligence gained from previous interactions and data from disparate systems, agents are empowered with real-time customer insights for more contextually relevant interactions. Intelligent Automation that Delights — Not every customer engagement is created equal. Bold360 uses customer profile information to automate routine interactions without sacrificing quality and to automate portions of the agent workflow to deliver the next best action. Channels that Work Together as One — Bold360 provides the digital channels preferred by today’s mobile-first consumers and makes it possible to seamlessly move across self-service and live channels with full context intact.”

Take a look at the video below to learn more.


Posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Video Clips (non-career) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Retail Checklist from Applause°

Applause° offers “a worldwide community of digital experience experts to help you improve every phase of software development.” It “connects your apps, Web sites, IoT products, and in-store experiences to uTest, the world’s largest community of digital experience quality experts.”

Recently, Applause° published an interesting retailing checklist:

“Are you providing your customers with the right digital experiences, in-store and online? Retail is evolving and digital is the thread that ties together the customer experience. Customers expect your Web site, mobile apps, and in-store experiences to be integrated. They expect store inventory to be available online. They expect promotions in your mobile apps to match promotions on your site. They expect an enhanced digital experience when they are standing in your stores and they expect payments to be simple and fast. It is the retailer’s responsibility to keep pace and provide customers with great experiences. Check out these five topics to see if you are doing digital right.”

Click the image to see the retailing checklist.


Posted in Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Should Employee Compensation Be Transparent?

This is certainly a controversial topic, with great differences of opinion. For example: Yes — This is part of a more open company communication style with its employees. No — This invades privacy and can cause dissension among employees. What do YOU think?

Recently, Creative Group (a staffing firm) conducted research on this topic:

“Should professionals’ pay be public knowledge? Employers in the advertising and marketing fields don’t think so, according to new research from staffing firm Creative Group. More than eight in 10 creative executives interviewed (82 percent) said their organization refrains from publicizing employees’ compensation. Of those respondents, 61 percent feel pay transparency would decrease staff morale.”

“Is there an upside to embracing an open salary policy? According to the survey, the top benefits of sharing compensation information openly are increasing productivity (18 percent) and boosting recruitment and retention (17 percent). However, more than one-quarter of executives (27 percent) believe the potential risks outweigh any rewards.”


Take a look at the following infographic that summarizes that research findings.


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Amazon: King of the Retail World

Today, it was announced that Amazon would be acquiring Whole Foods — for $13.7 billion. This is further evidence that the retail juggernaut is becoming a true bricks-and-clicks retailer. Although Walmart is the world’s biggest retailer, Amazon is THE single biggest disruptive force in retailing!!

As Michael J. de la Merced reports for the New York Times:

“The deal comes as the high-end grocer has been trying to fend off pressure from activist shareholders frustrated by a sluggish stock price. Whole Foods last month unveiled a sweeping overhaul of its board, replacing five directors, naming a new chairwoman, and bringing in a new CFO. It also laid out plans to improve operations and cut costs.”

“Amazon has designs on expanding beyond online retail into physical stores. The company is slowly building a fleet of outlets, and much attention has been focused on its grocery store dreams. It has already made an initial push through Amazon Fresh, its grocery delivery service. The E-commerce giant has been testing a variety of other retail concepts. It has opened a convenience store that does not need cashiers, and has explored another grocery store concept that could serve walk-in customers and act as a hub for home deliveries.”


Click the image to read more.

Whole Foods shoppers in Manhattan. Credit: John Taggart for New York Times


Posted in Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Surprise? Dads Big on Coupon Use

Coupons are still widely used in the United States, although their format (paper vs. electronic vs. online) has been evolving. Did you know that males (dad) are about as likely as females (moms) to use coupons?

Here are some of the conclusions and an infographic from a Valassis consumer study on current coupon use:

“Parents are more alike than dissimilar when it comes to shopping for traditional consumer packaged goods categories, according to the Valassis Coupon Intelligence Study. Dads and moms are more prone to use coupons while shopping, with 96 percent of dads and 98 percent of moms doing so, compared to 90 percent of all adults. But when it comes to planning, dads appear to be a little more ‘last minute,’ having a higher instance of planning what to buy on the way to the store. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach dads at home – for many, planning still begins there and coupons are the driver of decisions.”

“98 percent of dads prepare a shopping list prior to visiting a store and 96 percent say coupons influence that list; 85 percent of dads plan to buy a product only if there is a coupon, compared to 71 percent of all adults; and 43 percent of dads increased their purchase of only products for which they have coupons vs. 23 percent of all adults.”


Click on the chart to access Valassis’s full 24-page report on coupon trends.


Posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Commercial Drones Circa 2017

Predictions about the coming use of drones in retail deliveries have been made for several years. Click here for a 2013 video example of this involving Amazon.

So, where are we as of today? Let’s turn to some highlights from a recent study by BI Intelligence

“Drones could allow firms to bypass many challenges with the ‘last mile’ of delivery — when a package gets to the customer’s doorstep. It is the most expensive and inefficient part of delivery, and many firms are exploring how drones can speed the last mile and cut costs. E-commerce firms want to cut delivery times and costs to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty; legacy retailers seek the same advantages to grow online sales.”

“Yet, delivering packages by drones to consumers is still years away from being a common occurrence. Important obstacles need to be overcome relating to drone regulations, developing autonomous flight and traffic control systems for drones, and consumer acceptance. Mainstream adoption will take place in stages over the next few years as regulations are put in place and drone technology improves. Today, most tests are limited in scope, take place in rural areas, and do not actually deliver packages to customers’ front doors. These tests will gradually progress, eventually bringing drone delivery to more customers in populated areas.”

“In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the benefits drone delivery can provide as an E-commerce fulfillment method, and explains the different approaches firms are taking as they experiment with nascent technology. In addition, we detail the key players working in the space and discuss the challenges drone delivery faces in reaching mainstream adoption.”


Here’s the potential for Walmart.


Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment