Has an experience-focused HMV found its mojo again?

For those with an interest in the retail landscape, the opening of HMV’s flagship store the Vault presents yet another interesting example of a well-established retailer taking an ‘experience-first’ approach.  Considering how things were looking for the brand at the beginning of the year, the fanfare which the opening of the Vault is a receiving, is remarkable in more ways than one…

The story of HMV is a familiar one.  Once one of the most recognisable brands in the UK – shopping for records in HMV was a cultural rite of passage for many a British teenager – the seemingly unshakeable giant, found itself in hard times with the rise of the streaming generation, and a global decline in CD and DVD sales.

While it’s certainly true HMV suffered in some part due to an inability to keep up with the rapid changes in the industries that were once its stock and trade – there was sense if you entered a store in the years between it’s two periods of administration, of a business that simply wasn’t quite sure what to do with itself.

 

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Putnam showing of his record collection in the newly opened HMV Vault

Some recent innovations – a partnership with the independent cinema branch Curzon in South London and an attempt to capitalise on the vinyl boom – showed attempts to innovate in the face of increased customer demands, but the things that made shopping at HMV special in the first place – knowledgable staff, interesting stock – were slowly being eroded by the all-encompassing convenience of online.

For self-admitted vinyl junkie Doug Putman (the man behind the acquisition of 100 HMV stores in February of this year) the answer to the question ‘How does a well loved brand get its mojo back?’, appears to be double down on those aspects of the record store experience that simply can’t be replicated online.

With a huge selection of over 25,000 vinyl records (plus 80,000 CDs), and a projected lineup of in-store signings, performance and DJ sets, the Vault feels like a store designed by a team who truly understands what its audience are looking for from a retail experience.

Speaking to Retail Gazette, before the Vault’s grand opening, Grahm Soult observed that many recent examples of successful retail take-overs have been driven primarily by the passion of their leadership, “If you’re trying to rejuvenate a brand and appeal to people’s emotions and senses, it needs someone who really gets it”.

It will be exciting to see whether Putnam’s vision for HMV can translate into a new era of destination stores, one that not only creates happy memories for the next generation of music fans, but sets an example for experience-driven retailers everywhere.

 

Is Nordstrom putting customer convenience above the competition?

In ‘shock of the week’ news Nordstrom, announced that it will be accepting returns from two major department store rivals – Macy’s and Kohl’s – at its recently opened NYC concept stores, Nordstrom Local.

With returns a pain point for customers and retailers alike, the strategy marks a bold leap into the prioritisation of convenience over competitive rivalry, in a surprise but welcome move from the retailer.  Discussing the reasoning behind the decision, Jamie Nordstrom commented, “Once the customer decides they want to return something, they want to it as quickly as possible… unlike wine, fashion doesn’t get better with age.”

While the open-arms policy may be a first for Nordstrom, it is not entirely without precedent.  Indeed Kohl’s announced only this past July that it would be launching a full roll out of its ‘Amazon-return’ kiosks in over 1,100+ US stores, following a successful trial pilot earlier in the year.

While the apparent move to place customer convenience over the retailers own short-term needs is an inspiring example for other retailers, the stores are unique in more than one sense as they don’t actually sell any traditional ‘product’ in store at all.  The stores instead offer customers the opportunity to book consultancies with stylists, along side a range of additional services such as shoe repairs, charity drop-offs for used items and stroller cleanings.

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Jamie Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom Stores

“In New York you have more choices than probably anywhere else in the world on where to buy stuff,” Nordstrom said to Bloomberg,  “Everything that we sell, you can buy lots of different places. Our service offering and focus is on engagement and convincing the customer that we’re a better alternative.”

With the so called ‘experience’ economy on the rise, Nordstrom is pinning its hopes on picking up an increased market share, by luring busy New Yorkers in with innovative offerings.  Could Nordstrom’s bold move mark the end of an older era of direct competition and see retailers joining together to truly put customer convenience at the heart of all the do?

There could be worst places to watch things play out then at one of the luxury retailers latest NYC locations.

RetailNow 19: The TruRating Round-up

The TruRating team was lucky enough to be in attendance for the annual RetailNOW event in San Antonio this past week.  While we certainly enjoyed our panel session on Innovating as an SMB Retailer – thanks to ScanSource’s Kevin Kent and TSYS’s Marc Castrechini for being such good sports! – there was more than enough on the floor to keep even the casual attendee interested.

With the VAR community undergoing something of a transformation at the moment, evolution was a key word on the lips of many. Here’s a selection of some of our key takeaways and what they mean for the payment’s world at large.

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“We have to do the hard things today, so we don’t have to do the impossible tomorrow” – John Kirk, President of RSPA

The traditional VAR model has long focused on one thing and one thing only – selling POS and then making money on the processing.  While this may once have been sufficient, the model has evolved and it’s a plain fact that SaaS (Software as a Service) and HaaS (Hardware as a Service) are the new norm.

While some forward-thinking parties have embraced this change, a large part of this has been driven by an increased sophistication in terms of expectations from retailers.  Technology has changed the game – the businesses who succeed in the future are those who offer a truly consultative approach to payments – a one-time cash hit and run is no longer a sustainable approach.

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SMB retailers are ready to innovate  – with or without you.

A point echoed in several sessions across the course of the event was that SMB retailers are ready to innovate – and they’re ready now.  Many SMBs are now run by tech-savvy millennials with high expectations.  The role of the reseller community is now judged by a new standard – ‘near perfect’ is taken for granted as the rule, not the exception.

The VARs and ISVs that will succeed in this new world are not necessarily expected to be ‘experts’ when it comes to every value-added solution under the sun, but they do need to know what is available and, perhaps more to the point, which solutions will add the most benefit to their retail clients.  By bringing new opportunities to the fore that deliver clear and measurable value to the retail community, resellers can not only keep their current customers happy, but drive acquisition too.

ISVs and VARs need to maximize vendor-partner relationships for growth

While the message from retailers sounded loud and clear, on the other side of the ecosphere vendors, manufacturers and distributors were also vocal about their desire to work with the reseller community to help drive innovation and growth.

In a panel hosted by veteran Jim Roddy, it became clear that the idea of VARs as purely buyers, and vendors as purely manufacturers, is one that is now simply out of date.  By working closely together and developing a deeper understanding of the services each party offers, there is an opportunity to maximize vendor-partner growth, through identifying adjacent revenue streams and delivering an expanded business offering that works for vendor, partner and retailer simultaneously.

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The future

 In a statement from the closing session of the event – Uncrappify-ing the future – Jeff Haven made a passionate plea to the reseller community to provide solutions that are simple but powerful enough to allow retailers to focus on what they do best: selling. “We’ve got to find a way to make the world smaller for our customers, so they can feel they have a place in it.”

By empowering retailers with innovations that give them the confidence to know that they are providing experiences their customers love, the community as a whole has the power to do just that.

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If you were in attendance at RSPA 2019 and have thoughts on the key takeaways from the event we’d love to hear them – tweet us @TruRating.

To find out more about TruRating’s point-of-sale customer feedback technology, visit our website and book time with one of the team today.

Mastercard Start Path selects TruRating to join award-winning program

TruRating recently had the honor of joining a select group of ten start-ups chosen to join the Master Card Start Path accelerator for 2019.  The award-winning program was designed to support later-stage tech startups as they scale through access to Mastercard’s technology solutions expertise and partners around the world.

With a starting pool of over 10,000 companies around the globe, acceptance to the Start Path program is a huge validation of all the work that has gone into building TruRating to where it is today.

To read our full press release, click the link below:

Mastercard Start Path + TruRating

PAX and TruRating Are Simplifying Customer Feedback for Retailers

TruRating, customer experience experts specializing in retail insights, and PAX Technology Inc, a world leader in electronic payment solutions, have announced today the availability of TruRating as a feature of the PAX payment platform, allowing retailers to collect real-time customer feedback at checkout.

TruRating’s point-of-payment customer feedback software is now integrated with PAX’s terminal range, beginning with the PX5 and PX7 models, giving PAX clients the ability to ask customer feedback questions on the terminal at checkout. The simplicity of the solution, coupled with the innovative use of payment technology, has seen a global response rate of 88% of customers, unheard of in the world of customer surveys and customer experience platforms.

“As a global leader in payments, PAX continues to add innovative products to their line of terminals,” said Georgina Nelson, Founder and CEO of TruRating. “They are known as being developer-friendly and the PX devices were the obvious choice for us to continue our success with multi-lane merchants.”

“PAX is committed to enabling our partners to provide services beyond just payments” Andy Chau, President and CEO, PAX Technology added. “In today’s rapidly evolving retail environment, listening to customers is more important than ever and the ability to engage with the once silent majority of consumers is a game-changer for retailers of all sizes. We’re very happy to be working with TruRating to deliver this opportunity to PAX customers.”

To learn more about how TruRating can help your business, visit http://www.trurating.com/business

About TruRating

TruRating is a company specializing in customer experience insights, with a particular focus on retail and hospitality industries. Utilizing original point-of-payment technology, TruRating operates on the simple principle of only ever asking one question per customer, which means the vast majority are happy to respond. As the feedback is collected at point of payment, in-store or online, every response comes from a guaranteed customer and is linked to transaction data. With industry-leading response rates at an average of 88%, TruRating’s unique technology platform gives businesses the real-time data they need to make better decisions. Founded in the UK by CEO Georgina Nelson in 2014, TruRating has since expanded operations to Australia, Canada and the United States, and is live in two additional countries, Ireland and New Zealand. Learn more about the ratings revolution at http://www.trurating.com.

About PAX

PAX Technology Inc is an innovative global provider of electronic payment solutions, offering world-class, cost-effective and superior quality products. Building on its service excellence and proven leadership position, PAX is one of the fastest growing payment industry suppliers with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, excellent R&D capabilities and a worldwide network of sales and channel partners. For more information, please check out http://www.pax.us.

RetailEXPO 2019 Wrap-Up – what we learnt.

RetailEXPO has fast become a highlight in the European retail calendar and this year’s event was another fantastic showcase for the latest in technology, design and innovation. We were absolutely thrilled to play an active part in the show this year, with TruRating founder Georgina Nelson speaking to a packed house on the Marketing + Branding stage on Day 1. It’s hard to capture the breadth and diversity of the action on display over the course of the event, but here are a few of our key takeaways.

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Dismantling Myths – ‘The death of the high-street’

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, picked up on a common thread for industry analysts worldwide when she noted that a lot of her and the BRC’s time was still spent “trying to dispel the myth of the death of the high-street”.  In 2019 the fact that this message still has to be driven home feels a little strange.  While no-one would deny the seismic impact of e-commerce, as industry analyst Steve Dennis noted this time last year – Physical Retail Isn’t Dead. Boring Retail Is.

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The Future is Personal

Martin Wild, the Chief Innovation Officer for MediaMarktSaturn (one of Europe’s leading electronics retailer imprints) delivered a refreshingly honest keynote on the future for next-generation retail.  While Wild was happy to admit that, “I don’t know what the future of retail will look like”, he was clear on one thing – “personalisation and hyper-personalisation will be a very big thing.”  As customers become increasingly used to brands building experiences around their expectations, this seems like one of the few remaining certainties in an ever-changing retail landscape.  A quick shout out to Andrew Busby, who ably intro’d the Headline Stage at the event – if you haven’t already, check out his excellent regular retail column in Forbes.

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Data-Driven Insights Today

While we’re not usually ones to toot our own horns, we’d be remiss not to take a quick look at Georgina’s feature on the Marketing and Branding Stage.  Discussing our work with JD Sports, it was great to be able to shine a light on a collaborative relationship, showing how TruRating has helped the retailer to operationalize their customer feedback, rather than simply use it as a marketing opportunity. George offered a strong call to action on the day, “Find a customer feedback solution that removes friction, connects sentiment data to basket and delivers in real-time”.

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves 😉.

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As always, a huge thanks to all the hard work put into the event by the organizers and folks behind the scenes.  We were honoured to take part in such an exciting showcase for the retail community.

A final word of appreciation to our incredible partners FIS, Worldpay and Payment Express for giving us the opportunity to showcase our technology on their stands.

We can’t wait to do it all again next year.

TruRating at Retail Expo 2019

We are delighted to be speaking at the Retail Expo 2019 in London on May 1-2.  As one of Europe’s leading events for retail technology and design, it’s an honour to share the stage with so many fantastic retailers and industry names.

Georgina will be taking to the Marketing & Branding stage with JD Sports Head of Retail Kevin Dowson, in a panel entitled “Innovating the Basics: Using data-driven insights to improve the fundamentals of customer experience”.

You can expect to find out about subjects such as…

  • Understanding the core factors driving your customer’s shopping behaviour
  • Data backed methods for improving customer experience and correlated revenue
  • How to collect feedback without impacting the customer experience
  • Discovering the ROI of being excellent at often neglected retail basics
  • Operationalising customer experience-based performance metrics

Join us to find out how JD Sports has used TruRating on their journey to become one of the British highstreets biggest success stories (the JD Group recently acquired iconic US sports retailer Finish Line to overtake Sports Direct as Britains’s leading sportswear retailer!)

We recently filmed a testimonial with the team that we look forward to sharing in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s a couple of very nice things that they’ve said about us,

TruRating has removed the guesswork… we’re not spending resource on initiatives that we only assume will delight the customer.” Wayne Davies, Retail Director, JD Sports

 “The bonus is that you don’t have to have a degree in data science to understand the insights.” Lee Bagnall, Managing Director for JD Outdoors

You can register for the Retail Expo free of charge here

If you’d like to book a demo with one of the TruRating team in person, just leave your details on our event landing page and we’ll be in touch.

Georgina will speak with Kevin Dowson, Head of Retail JD Sports, at 1.35pm on May 1st on the Marketing + Branding Stage.  Read the full program entry here.

 

Put a Spring in your step with our April Insights

As the clocks move forward across the globe and the cherry blossom begins to bloom, it’s finally starting to feel like Spring is truly here. And what better way to celebrate than with a round-up of our latest retail insights?

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The ‘Keanu’ Effect 

  • Working with an independent grocer in Kankakee, Illinois, we recorded an incredible jump in customer satisfaction after they hired Keanu Reeves to serve one of their lanes on Saturday mornings.  The ‘Keanu’ effect saw a 25% increase on average spend, alongside a staggering 60% spike in first-time visitors.  Asked for comment one shopper said, “What can I say, everyone just loves Keanu.”

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Puppies for all 

  • A bed and breakfast located in the ancient Cathedral city of Salisbury was able to create an impressive increase in Service scores by presenting every customer who entered with a puppy for the duration of their trip.  “I used to go the Premiere Inn up the road,” noted one guest, “but without the puppies, it just sort of felt, well, wrong.” 

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Free Hugs

  • A chain of quick service sushi restaurants in Melbourne, Australia was tentative about a staff training initiative implemented by their departing CEO ‘for a laugh’, until they noticed an impressive and unexpected impact on their product scores and ATVs.  “Sushi just tastes better with a hug,” reported a beaming manager. “You might not have ever suspected it, but it’s true.  We’ve worked out one hug is worth about $7 per transaction.  It just makes business sense.”

For more information about how TruRating Insights can change your business for the better visit our Let’s Talk page or reach out to us at any time at hello@trurating.com.

Happy April 1st.

ShopTalk 2019: 3 from the Floor

Since appearing on the scene in 2016, ShopTalk has fast grown to be a date of note on an already busy retail calendar.  Offering a fantastic variety of speakers covering the latest trends in retail and tech, it’s as good an excuse as we need to hop on a plane to Las Vegas for a few days!

Check out our Top 3 takeaways from the floor so far:

Finding the Fit Between Customer Experience + Data Strategy 

While CX continues to establish itself as the true North Star for retailers looking to understand their business through the eyes of its customers, a solid data strategy is the flip side of the modern retail puzzle.  While collecting the right data can prove challenging in itself, building the analytic and creative skills to translate that data into meaningful stories is just as important for modern retail.  Lilly Pulitzer’s Sarah Engle caught the ‘left brain/right brain’ scope of the challenge nicely, with her observation that ‘customer data is both an art and a science’, requiring both process and storytelling to be effective.

Change or Fail – Art Peck, GAP

Speaking to a packed room, Art Peck, President & CEO of Gap Inc offered a clear message to the retail industry when he described today’s stakes with brute simplicity: “Change or Fail”.  While just what ‘change’ means exactly continues to be a topic for hot debate, the idea of progress as a necessity is increasingly prevalent.  Across the floor, entrepreneur Anil Aggarwal could be found delivering a similarly tough-line statement, “Reinventing retail is not an option.  It’s an obligation“. A hush from the audience reinforced the notion that neither was talking lightly.

#StoresMatter

Do we really need to say it again? Physical Retail matters.  The old dichotomy of ‘online vs. offline’ is well past its sell-by date, but for those still looking for further proof, Macy’s keynote delivered.  Laura Heller shared the interesting nugget that when a Macy’s closes a store, online sales in the same market tended to decline.  While convenience is oft-said to be king, the tangible physicality of the in-store experience is key for building trust. Today’s smart retailers understand that channels operate as part of a single retail ecosystem.  Sing it with us, #StoresMatter.

ARA Magazine: Why an investment in staff is an investment in your bottom line

“In 2019 customer experience is a top priority and it’s success begins and ends with one transaction” – Dylan Berrington, Head of TruRating ANZ 

As the retail year begins to warm up, there’s no better time than to make sure you’re getting the fundamentals right.  Dylan Berrington, Head of TruRating Australia and New Zealand spoke to the Australian Retailer Association for the latest issue of “The Retailer” magazine, discussing the relationship between investing in staff and your bottom line.

Download your free copy today and head to p36-7 for the full story.

 

 

Retail Red Flags? The ‘decline’ of physical retail…

For those following the news in commerce, it’s clear that the much-feted ‘death of retail’ has been oversold to say the least.  This isn’t to say that there aren’t some important issues to address in the brick-and-mortar sector, or even retail as a whole, but sooner or later a culture of crisis and concern can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

As retail giants like Sephora, TJX and Ulta defiantly (and visibly) buck the trend of any supposed decline for traditional retail, and the expansion of once perceived ‘online’ upstarts like Casper into the physical space further blurs lines between the online and offline worlds, is there really any point in demarcating retail efforts ‘by channel’ any more?

“Not every customer is like you… retailers need to respect the differences among consumers and their key purchasing drivers across different occasions.”

The smart retailers are beginning to understand that the best customer experiences arise when online and in-store complement each other seamlessly.  Far from the death of ‘traditional’ retail, this hybrid notion of modern commerce is the key driver of much contemporary evolution.

In his recent excellent article for Forbes – The Stores Strike BackSteve Dennis articulates a simple but valuable lesson for those looking to stake their future in one particular realm. “Not every customer is like you…” he writes,”Retailers need to respect the differences among consumers and their key purchasing drivers across different occasions.”

While the collapse of the boring middle, as Dennis has it, is no doubt of concern for those struggling to match the pace of increasingly complex consumer expectations, for those with an ear to the ground, great opportunities are there for the taking.

 

TruRating Announces Partnership with TSYS to Provide Savvy Retailers with Smarter Customer Insights

ATLANTA – January 22 2019 — TruRating announced today a partnership with TSYS, a leading global payments provider, offering innovative solutions to issuers, merchants and consumers. TruRating will be available on TSYS’s Genius® Customer Engagement platform, where merchants can select innovative solutions that enhance business operations beyond payments. Genius is the flagship product developed by Boston-based Cayan, which was acquired by TSYS in January 2018.

TruRating provides easy-to-understand insights via an online dashboard and mobile app, and will be the first application on the Genius platform related to customer feedback. Genius, through its Unified Commerce Solution Suite, gives its business customers the unprecedented ability to manage the consumer experience across locations and between channels without ever touching cardholder data.

“Between TSYS’s innovative Genius platform and our in-store and online capabilities, merchants will be able to connect with and learn from their customers more easily than ever before,” said Georgina Nelson, CEO, TruRating. “Our partnership will give businesses the opportunity to access and analyze real customer feedback across channels, giving them the power to make smart and informed decisions.”

TruRating was launched in 2014 by Nelson, a former lawyer who wanted to help businesses get better insights by giving a voice to the “silent majority” of consumers who never give reviews. Using the payment terminal at checkout, paying customers provide a quick response to one rotating question, which produces an industry-leading 88 percent response rate. This validated customer feedback data is fed back to merchants in near real-time.

TSYS provides technology-led acquiring services to more than 800,000 merchants and more than 100 integrated partners in the U.S.  They bring a strong omnichannel presence with a fully integrated, multichannel customer engagement platform, and their flagship Genius platform delivers a seamless and scalable unified commerce experience across channels.

“Merchants have to constantly listen to their customers in order to stay relevant,” said Henry Helgeson, President and EVP, Integrated Solutions, TSYS Merchant Solutions. “Genuine, validated customer feedback provides businesses with the insights they need to stay on top of what their customers want and their purchasing experiences – whether good or bad. TruRating’s solution provides the merchants we work with the opportunity to receive feedback in near real time so they can make the customer shopping experience even better.”

For all businesses using Genius, whether large chains or SMBs, TruRating offers an equal opportunity to access customer experience data on a scale like never before. Business owners can better support their teams, while effortlessly increasing revenue — in some cases up to an eight percent increase within weeks of switching on TruRating.

Following a successful pilot program, TruRating is now live within the Genius ecosystem. To learn more about how TruRating can help your business, visit www.trurating.com/business.

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About TSYS

TSYS® (NYSE: TSS) is a leading global payments provider, offering seamless, secure and innovative solutions across the payments spectrum — for issuers, merchants and consumers. TSYS succeeds because it puts people and their needs at the heart of every decision to help them unlock payment opportunities. It’s an approach TSYS call People-Centered Payments®.

The company headquarters are located in Columbus, Ga., U.S.A., with approximately 13,000 team members and local offices across 13 countries. TSYS generated revenue of $4.9 billion in 2017, while processing more than 27.8 billion transactions. TSYS is a member of The Civic 50 and was named one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere magazine. TSYS is a member of the S&P 500 and routinely posts all important information on its website. For more, visit tsys.com.

NRF 2019: The best of the rest

As the attendees made their way for one last final after show drink on Tuesday night, it was hard to shake the feeling that this year, NRF was all about the customer.

Keynote after keynote saw retailers of all sizes, emphasizing a consistent message: in times of rapid change the key to future success is bound to your ability to know and understand the needs of your customer base.

While customer-centricity may have sounded the biggest note of the event, over the course of a jam-packed three days we heard about subjects as varied as the ‘millennial challenge’, the need for innovation in the physical environment, and a strong call for diversity among the business community, making the show – as ever – a fascinating one to attend.

As we say goodbye the Big Show for another year, we present to you our best of the rest of NRF 2019:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek 

The ever-popular Simon Sinek offered an interesting take on what it means to be a customer-centric business in 2019.  By positioning brand integrity as the ultimate motivation for consumer buy-in, Sinek provides a neat sound-bite to capture the mind-set of the increasingly conscientious consumer.  After all what we choose not to buy, says just as much about us as what we do.

If you’re going to exist in a physical space, you want to have something else no one will have.” – Kara Swisher 

In a bold opening to Monday morning, Recode’s Kara Swisher made a passionate demand for innovation in the physical space – literally predicting the downfall of physical retail as we know it without it.  While this claim may have raised eyebrows, her position on the necessity of having a total view of the customer, rang strong and true, “You need to completely understand the consumer and have a data relationship with the consumer – if you don’t you will have trouble surviving.”

It’s a fact that companies with more diversity have stronger, better results” Mindy Grossman, President and CEO WW International

A new feature at NRF this year that really hit home was The Female Quotient sponsored Girls’ Lounge. Host to a series of fascinating conversations celebrating the need for diversity in modern business culture, Mindy Grossman put forward as strong a case as any arguing why, if your business sidelines diversity as mere tick-box measure, you’re ‘essentially de-prioritizing long-term success’.

Start with the consumer in every decision.  Invest in yourselves. Reinvest in stores, tech, fulfillment and your teams. Disrupt yourselves.” – Brian Cornell, Target.

While we touched on Cornell’s superlative keynote in our mid-way round up, we’d be remiss not to come back to his 4-point recipe for success, one of the most shared highlights of NRF.  Cornell demonstrates how every step of Target’s successful turn around was grounded in these four fundamentals, reflecting a key understanding: every improvement you invest in has to be for the good of the customer experience.

“We don’t just need to do less harm, we need to seek to do more good” – Rose Marcario, CEO Patagonia

In another inspiring example of a retailer ready to stand up for the conviction of their beliefs, Patagonia’s Rose Marcario demonstrated how actively aligning your brand values with those of your consumers can be more than a mere ‘strategy’ for customer success in 2019. With 3% of all funding dedicated to environmental NGO’s, Patagonia has built its reputation as a challenger brand whose consumers aren’t simply fans of the product, but loyal advocates philosophically aligned to Patagonia’s core beliefs.  Proving once again that real CX extends far beyond the mere transactional level.

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If you were at NRF yourself, we hope you enjoyed a fantastic few days in the Big Apple. It was a tremendous show for Team Tru, and we’d like to thank each and every one of our incredible partners for making it such a huge success.

Till next year, goodbye NRF!

 

NRF 2019 – 5 key takeaways

The National Retail Federation’s ‘Big Show’ is always a show-stopper of an event and this year is no exception.  With over 30,000 delegates descending on New York’s Javits Centre over the course of its 3 days, the event is a major showcase for the retail tech trends of the year ahead – if it’s not being discussed at NRF, it’s probably not worth knowing about.

With so many incredible speakers packed into the lineup, it’s hard to know where to jump in.  To help you along the way, we’ve picked out the highlights from our favorite sessions so far.

  1. “Millennials don’t have a low attention span, they just have a higher sensitivity to things which are boring” – Doug Stephens, The Retail Prophet

When it comes to getting to the quick of the modern retail landscape, you can bet on Doug Stephens to deliver the goods.  On the first day of NRF, Doug gave a valuable lesson to any retailer thinking about blaming the millennial attention span for their own failings.  Millennials have been big news at NRF, but it’s clear that many retailers feel uncertain how to engage them.  With a combined buying power of ‘over $200 Billion for Millenials and Gen Z’ (thanks @AliciaTillman) – it’s clear that getting this market right is going to be a critical concern for retailers for some time.

  1. Start with the consumer in every decision” – Brian Cornell, CEO, Target

Speaking to a packed room, Brian Cornell CEO and Board Chairman of Target delivered a brilliant opening to Day 2.  With a strong customer-centric philosophy, Cornell made a passionate case for the importance of Target’s physical estate, explaining how much of the success of its digital business has been down to the fulfillment capabilities provided by their traditional bricks and mortar locations.  An impressive case study for how digital and off-line can be mutually beneficial when done right.

  1. “Amazon aren’t killing retail, they’re killing mediocre retail.”  Natalie Berg, Retail Analyst and NRK Founder

As co-author (with Miya Knights) of the recently published book Amazon, Natalie Berg certainly knows a thing or two about the company still considered by many to be tradition retail’s biggest threat.  In a fantastic discussion, Berg presented a clear-headed picture of the challenges faced by retailers today, and delivered some sober truths.  For Berg, it is clear that the retailers are who are willing to evolve and adapt will come out on top, while for those who choose to ignore the lessons of the convenience economy “the harsh reality is more doom and gloom, but not a retail apocalypse.”

  1. Focusing on the customer and their experience is absolutely table stakes… that’s where we’re putting our energy.” John Douglas, CTO, Tory Burch

As the CTO of luxury fashion brand Tory Burch, John Douglas (previously CTO at Burberry) is used to customers with high expectations.  In a world of ever-increasing competition, Douglas put forward a strong argument for the necessity of an exceptional Customer Experience.  Philanthropy lies at the heart of the Tory Burch model, and Douglas reminded us that Customer Experience (or CX) can be more than about just product: “the world is a better place if we have big ambitions for ourselves and others.”  The combination of excellent service with strong brand values has given Tory Burch a unique position in a difficult marketplace.

5. “We’re on a journey not to be a good company, but a great company.” Marvin Ellison, CEO Lowes. 

Closing out Day 2, Mavin Ellison of Lowes delivered a fantastic key note on ‘Fortunes in the Fundamentals’.  Ellison delivered a strong statement of intent for Lowes, and echoing a familiar sentiment, made an impassioned case for setting greatness as your goal, and not just settling for good enough.  An inspiring end to a packed day.

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We’ll be back with our final round up once Day 3 is all wrapped up, but in the meantime, enjoy the last few hours of Retail’s Big Show!

Intelligent Customer Feedback for Retailers via new GK Software and TruRating Partnership

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ATLANTA – January 9, 2019 — TruRating, customer experience experts specializing in retail and hospitality insights, and GK Software USA, a leading provider of software solutions to the retail, grocery and hospitality industries, announced today that they will be working together to bring even more value to GK Software customers.

TruRating’s original point-of-payment customer feedback software will integrate with GK’s platform to provide retailers the ability to ask each customer one question at check out. Rotated with every transaction, the questions cover a range of elements relating to the in-store experience. The simplicity of the solution means that an average of 88% of customers are happy to respond – an unheard-of response rate in the world of customer surveys and CX platforms. In addition, the integration will soon deliver a new, AI-driven opportunity to retailers – the ability to trigger different, specific questions based on customer actions, such as the brands or types of products purchased or use of a loyalty card.

“The possibilities of Dynamic Questions are vast, and we’re delighted to be showcasing it with GK Software at NRF,” said Georgina Nelson, TruRating CEO. “Their leadership and experience in the field of retail software, AI, and in-store solutions is renowned, which makes them an ideal partner for us to bring retailers access to never-before possible customer experience insights.”

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TruRating was launched by Nelson in 2014 to help merchants better understand the ‘silent majority’ of customers who don’t leave feedback. “It’s more important than ever to understand what your customers want, particularly in the retail, grocery and hospitality industries” said Todd Barstow, Vice President of Sales for GK Software. “We strive to deliver our clients the latest in cutting-edge solutions, and our partnership with TruRating means we can provide a further advantage – the ability to better engage with and understand their customers.”

Visit the GK Software booth number 3267 at NRF to see TruRating’s Intelligent Questions demo in action.

To learn more about how TruRating can help your business, visit www.trurating.com/business.

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About GK Software USA:

GK Software USA is a division of GK Software SE, one of the world’s leading developers and providers of omni-channel software for the retail, grocery and hospitality industries. GK Software breaks down the barriers to unified commerce through a single, global software platform that includes its OmniPOS solution for point of sale, mobile POS, mobile customer engagement, TransAction+ payments and a full range of store/back-office solutions – which is why 10 of the Top 50 retailers worldwide rely on GK Software. The company serves hundreds of customers in North America, representing more than 40,000 locations, both directly and with its partners. GK Software is headquartered in Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, visit www.gk-software.com.

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