When you think of a salesperson with a mobile device, you probably think of Apple. They were one of the first major brands to invest in the mobile point of sale experience using the iPod touch in 2009. Apple’s success has paved the way for a tremendous growth in mobile POS systems. An RIS News study found that half of department stores had already implemented a mobile POS plan or planned to do so within 12 months. For the past five years, we have been working with our clients to implement in-store mobile POS systems. We’ve seen the positive impact for these clients and the incredible benefits to anyone’s retail business.
It’s been another busy month in the world of retail as many blue-chip brands reported earnings and many retailers made their way to ShopTalk in Vegas. We saw headlines about stores shutting physical locations including JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret, Payless, and Gymboree to name a few. But not all was doom and gloom. Gap announced it would spin off Old Navy into a separate company and that it would acquire children’s retailer Janie and Jack. And Allbirds announced it was expanding to China, opening its first physical stores in the country.
Twenty-nineteen started off with a bang in the retail world as brands dug out from the holiday craze to refocus on the year’s new goals and initiatives. The NRF Big Show dominated the headlines as did reports of a successful holiday season, with Mastercard SpendingPulse reporting U.S. retail sales up 5.1 percent, the strongest performance in six years. Here’s a look at some of the stories that caught our eye in January.
It’s called the Big Show for good reason - 38,000 attendees, 700 exhibitors and more than 200 content sessions. This year’s NRF annual conference brought together retailers, celebrities, tech players and startups and KWI was proud to be part of the conference, going on more than 20 years. Our booth was buzzing all day as we had the opportunity to demo our technology and preview what’s ahead. (We also got a lot of compliments on our branded chocolate bars from our client Dylan’s Candy Bar!).
Enhancements designed to help retailers provide exceptional experiences to their customers
As the retail world kicks into high gear with the official start of holiday shopping, November brought with it some big stories. Cyber Monday hit a record $7.9 billion in sales and of note, 33.5 percent of Black Friday sales and 27.7 percent of Cyber Monday Sales were made using smartphones. Digitally-native brands continue to make headlines with more and more predicted to turn to brick-and-mortar shops in 2019. And we enjoyed reading an article in Axios about the future of malls and how Columbus, OH has become the ‘SIlicon Valley of retail.” These stories and more are below.
As the SuperBowl of shopping comes to an end, one thing became very clear: brands need to be focused on an omnichannel solution for their customers. In a year where everyone is talking about in-store experiences, Black Friday weekend was all about e-commerce. Yahoo reported that “online sales rose more than 23 percent, crossing $6 billion on Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics. On Thanksgiving, it's estimated sales grew 28 percent to $3.7 billion.” The growth continued through the weekend. CNBC reports that Cyber Monday hit a record $7.9 billion in sales, which is an increase of 19.3 percent from a year ago, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Holiday sales are at it's peak, according to Business Insider, as Adobe Analytics is predicting sales to be the biggest in U.S. history.
October was another busy month in retail as the industry prepares for the holiday season and pundits make predictions of how this year will fare compared to others. At KWI, we’ve been closely following some recent trends focused on digitally native brands setting up physical stores and the rise of pop-ups, as well as how some innovative companies are using mall kiosks as extensions of their brands. The common theme here is that customers are demanding new ways to engage with brands and that shoppers are finding that nothing can replace the ability to touch and feel a product, especially for fashion brands.
Frank Weil, Chief Customer Officer at KWI, examines if branded coin via crypto will be the future of payments in retail.
Brands have been offering their own credit cards for years. In fact, the first known proprietary cards date back to the 1920s, when they were introduced by a few US department stores and oil companies.