ETP – Omni-channel Technology Partner at ReTechCon 2017

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RAI is hosting the Retail Technology Conclave (ReTechCon) on 14-15 June 2017, India’s largest gathering of retail leaders and retail service providers.  The platform is to bring together industry professionals, experts and service providers together for discussing the latest in technology and deliberating on how to best use technology for the benefit of the business and industry.

ETP is the Omni-channel Technology Partner at the Retail Technology Conclave (ReTechCon) 2017. ETP is a leading Omni-Channel Retail Solutions provider across Asia Pacific, India and the Middle East. ETP V5 software is used to serve customers across 22 countries and thousands of stores for over 300 brands. ETP is enabling brick and mortar retailers to embrace unified commerce and drive their brands and customer relationships in a seamless manner. ETP V5 Omni-channel Retail Solutions enable you to deliver a unified omni-channel experience with features such as Click and Collect, Click and Deliver, Endless Aisle, and a holistic view of the inventory and of the customer. This is done using real-time integration of ETP’s POS, CRM and Promotions engine with webstores and marketplaces using ETP Connect’s secured web services framework, which has the ability to see and manage order flows.

At the event Mr. Rajkumar Jagasia, Executive Director, ETP Group will co-panel the session ‘Creating Value the Phygital Way’.  Mr. Neev Ahuja, Country Manager – India, ETP Group, will speak about ‘Omni-channel and the New Generation of Customers’. He will also throw light on how ETP V5 with its GST pack can help retailers manage extensive business processes.

Do visit us at the ETP Pavilion at ReTechCon 2017 to know more about how ETP can help you transform your business.

Omni-channel Challenges – Retailers need to tackle the risk

ETP blog 91-omnichannel-challenges

The customer is at the center of the omni-channel retail experience. The new breed of shoppers – ‘omni-channel shoppers’ are demanding and how. They want seamless shopping across channels – offline, online, mobile, and so on. They want to switch between channels at their own will. They expect hassle-free transactions. And they want all this everywhere and every time. Catering to such kind of shoppers requires retailers to reinvent their strategies when it comes to omni-channel.

Omni-channel shopping is not merely transactional, it is the composite shopping experience where a shopper researches about the product, seeks peer opinions, purchases it, chooses a delivery option followed by after sales service. This entire journey might seem pretty simple but there are challenges that could become deterrents to the seamless shopping experience retailers need to provide to their customers.

One of the main challenges that retailers need to deal with is the random switching of customers between channels during any stage of the shopping journey. So the customer might wish to research online and buy in-store or buy online and collect at the store, and so on. There are endless permutations and combinations of how the customer chooses to interact and transact with the brand. This means the brand needs to be ready and available to the customer at the desired touchpoint and time that the customer demands.

The random switching between channels by the customers can further pose additional challenges. One such being that inventory information across channels needs to be updated and available for the customer to peruse. For example, if a shopper is looking online for a particular brand and model of a mobile phone, she gets the necessary information, compares it with another competitor and finds that the deal is better at the competitor’s end, she may just decide to switch loyalty. So, a lost sale!

Another important challenge is the availability of the product when the customer wants it. The retailer needs to handle order fulfilment according to the timeframe and the channel the customer demands. Order fulfilment has been one of the major issues retailers need to get right when it comes to omni-channel. The right technology can enable retailers to manage omni-channel fulfilment to meet all customer demands.

The essence of omni-channel is unifying all channels so as to provide a seamless customer experience but the multiple touchpoints being used are posing steep challenges. There are other challenges that retailers looking to omni-channelize their business are facing, they will be delved into soon.

4 sure-shot ways to attract mobile shoppers

ETP blog Attracting Mobile Shoppers

Mobile devices, the offspring of inspiring technology have been a revolution since their inception and continue to undergo further evolution with the daily advancement in technology. Even today, there is something new happening every year when it comes to mobile technology. The number of mobile users has also increased exponentially over the last few years. Mobile devices have penetrated into the lives of the masses and have percolated to an extent where the first thing most people do when they wake up is check their mobile phones. Such is the power and influence of this technology that it has disrupted many industries and the retail sector has been the one to feel it the most.

The mobile disruption in retail has given rise to a new breed of shoppers who are commonly known as ‘mobile shoppers’. These are the kind of customers who are always on the go and their mobile phone is their go-to device to cater to most of their activities including shopping. As mobile penetration increases further, so will the number of mobile shoppers and retail businesses must be able to grab a share of this incremental customer base. Below are 4 sure-shot ways retail brands can attract mobile shoppers:

  • Mobile channel for shopping: Retail organizations must ensure proper integration of mobile commerce or m-commerce into their business. This acts as an additional channel for retailers to extend their reach as well as be available to shoppers’ on-the-go. Some ways of implementing mobile commerce would be by having a mobile friendly/responsive shopping website or downloadable mobile apps.
  • Mobile engagement: Another technique by which retailers can expand their brand presence and reach larger audiences is by planning and implementing engagement strategies to cater to their mobile customers. There are various avenues that retailers can use such as mobile ads, sms, calls, and more to be on top of their customers’ and prospects’ minds.
  • Mobile payments: Revolutionizing the traditional payment methods through secure mobile payments is something retail companies must certainly consider. As mobile shoppers are highly mobile savvy, allowing them to pay using their handheld devices will be much appreciated by them as it enhances the payment experience while shopping.
  • Mobile based geo-marketing: Location based marketing is an excellent opportunity for retailers to promote their brands to mobile shoppers. Mobile devices have made it easy for retailers to enable shoppers to locate the nearest store or to send them notifications about the new or promotional offers within a particular region.

Consumers are increasingly spending more time on their mobile phones and an increasing number of shoppers are turning to mobile before any other channel. In order to make the most of this scenario, retailers must use the right mobile technology and think of ways to create and deliver lasting ‘mobile first’ experiences.

Redefining the Future of Retail Personalization using Artificial Intelligence


Personalization in retail is definitely not a new concept. Retailers have explored it in many ways over the years to improve shopping experience for the customers. While other retailers simply managed greeting returning customers by their name, Amazon has been one of the pioneers of personalization in retail with its ability to show different and relevant home pages for different customers based on their past clickstream paths and buying history. However, such rudimentary approaches are now considered the starting point for modern day retail marketers.

Customers are savvier than they were a few years ago. Personalization is not a need for them anymore, it is an expected norm. And retail brands must rise to the occasion to exceed this expectation. This may seem an extremely challenging task but with the proliferation of data analytics and implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence, retail personalization can be majorly resurged.

To begin with, a very basic and brief preview into how AI works; AI uses comprehensive algorithms and logics to find trends in available data be it internal or third party and then helps analyze those trends to derive patterns that can be associated to shopping behaviors and customer personas. Utilizing machine learning that operates on probability and statistics, adjustments can be made in data sets to achieve the best outcome when it comes to creating the right marketing message for each individual customer.

Application of AI driven process in retail marketing and promotion campaigns will not only help retailers acquire new customers, but also boost repeat business. Increased accuracy in personalized communication to the customers along with tailored recommendations and offers will compel shoppers to strengthen their loyalty as they will begin to associate the retail brand with personalized, relevant experiences.

For retail personalization, the future seems to be pretty exciting. Leveraging the potential of Artificial Intelligence, there are limitless possibilities to notch up personalization to levels beyond the imagination of the customer. Infusing AI in marketing will be the differentiating factor for retail marketers that look to stand out from the horde of advertising and marketing communication targeting shoppers.

Endless Aisles – Harnessing In-Store and Online Shopping

ETP blog Endless Aisle

Endless aisle is allowing customers to make use of technologies such as specially designed in-store kiosks or other intuitive systems to order items that are currently out-of-stock in that particular brick-and-mortar store. It is a concept that extends beyond the inventory that in tangible form is available in the store at a given point in time. Thus, endless aisle allows retailers to forge a strong link between customer demand and inventory. Retail companies that have been quick to embrace cross-channel strategies have already begun adopting the endless aisle technology to boost their sales further.

But what makes endless aisle click? Here are some of the noteworthy benefits:

Retailers can downsize unnecessary floor area of their brick-and-mortar store. This trimming of floor space will therefore result in higher sales per square foot. Implementing endless aisle also helps retail owners counteract in-store revenue bleeding as a result of showrooming. Retail companies can thus capitalize on reduced cost of rentals and optimize the available floor space. Further, retailers can reduce the effort of displaying large products physically at the store with the implementation of endless aisle. Products that have low inventory turnover can thus be removed from the shelves of the store. Endless aisle can help boost conversion rate due to the enhanced shopping feature at the physical store and help improve customer loyalty.

With the advent of endless aisle, the need to depend on warehouses to stock-up merchandise is diminished to a large extent as retailers can enter into tie-ups with manufacturers to ship the ordered products directly to the consumers from the manufacturer’s end.

In-store consumers can enjoy the comfort of e-shopping without compromising on the traditional ‘touch and feel’ factor. Also, real-time visibility of available products at the physical and virtual store empowers the customers to shop on their own terms.

With the help of data processing and analytics, retailers can display only those products that have a high turnover in-store while offering the not-so-popular merchandise through kiosks, tablets or computers so that customers can try and buy at the same time.

As the consumers of today are in the driver’s seat, demanding the best service and setting up high expectations, retailers must opt for investing in the right tools and technology to successfully implement endless aisle in their business thus ensuring that they do not end-up facing the reality of lost sales situations.

Southeast Asian consumers’ reviews about e-Commerce: Infographic

E-commerce and online shopping have transformed the entire shopping experience. Today, consumers can go online and buy almost anything conveniently in just a few clicks, thanks to e-Commerce. Here are a few stats based on Southeast Asian consumer reviews about e-Commerce.

ETP Blog Southeast Asian Consumers e-Commerce Reviews Infographic

E-commerce companies need to be aware of customers’ pain-points and take necessary actions to make the shopping experience a pleasant one.

Four Emerging Trends in this Revolutionary Era of Shopping

Everything about how the modern day consumers research, shop and purchase is changing, and established retail brands and businesses must learn to adapt. A new era of shopping has emerged leading to 4 trends:

ETP blog four-emerging-trends-in-this-revolutionary-era-of-shopping

From ‘online-to-offline’ is gaining momentum – Big online-only players such as Amazon are increasingly eyeing and realizing the value of traditional stores to grow and generate profits. In the age of omni-channel retailing, it is insufficient for large e-commerce companies to exclusively sell online as brick-and-mortar stores are the go-to destinations where consumers get the chance to touch and feel the products. Hence e-commerce players are setting up their own physical stores to allow consumers to try products prior to buying, or they are partnering with local stores to enable shoppers to collect the products they have purchased online. The convergence of the physical and digital channel into a seamless omni-channel world is accelerating.

Stores stay relevant, important, but they are evolving – An online only retail world doesn’t seem to be a possibility and brick-and-mortar stores are far from getting extinct. Even today, offline stores continue to drive the overwhelming majority of retail sales globally. However, stores are no more merely places to make purchases; they are now evolving into entertainment hubs and social destinations allowing shoppers to explore and connect. This new wave of “experiential retail” is fast gaining momentum.

Delivery options are growing and time frames shrinking – Urban online shoppers today can expect same day deliveries and next day deliveries after placing an order thanks to retailers exploring new options of delivering packages more efficiently and economically. Retailers are trying to further reduce delivery time frames with the help of existing logistics partners or signing on with startups. And while groundbreaking technologies such as self-driving cars and delivery drones could revolutionize delivery, retail companies are using the right technologies enabling products ordered online to be collected at the stores in a matter of hours.

Shopping patterns are changing globally – None of the above trends are restricted to a particular region or a single market. Similarly, innovation is not limited to any one region. For example, China was where expansive urban delivery networks made same-day e-commerce deliveries common in large cities, and it was there that the term ‘online-to-offline’ originated. So also, in other retail markets around the globe, the connection between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail stores is swiftly growing in importance.

The bar for retail brands and businesses has been raised higher today than ever before and at the same time, business growth and increase in profitability remain elusive for even the most forward-thinking companies. In order to compete, retailers are getting more creative in their strategies of how they plan to leverage the opportunities of both online and offline channels. While doing so, they are thinking of redefining the in-store customer experience, preparing for rising delivery expectations and merging the online and offline channels so as to function seamlessly. Consumers are connected, technology savvy and well informed. They are demanding a rapid change and retail brands are responding. A new era of shopping has begun!

Why should retailers consider ‘Click-and-Collect’?

ETP Blog Click and Collect

Shopping online or through a mobile phone these days is very common and every day more and more consumers engage with retail brands through these channels during their shopping journey. Having an omni-channel driven retail business is therefore essential.

Omni-channel retail entails a combination of channels used by the shoppers to research, buy and return products. And while there are multiple permutations of these channels that shoppers can choose from, ‘Click-and-collect’ or ‘Buy online, pickup in store’ is one combination that retailers need to take advantage of and here’s why.

To start with, ‘click-and-collect’ is a customer-centric approach which allows convenience of shopping. It makes it easy to browse and purchase products, and gets rid of the waiting time for shipping and delivery of the order.

‘Click-and-collect’ marries the advantages of online/app based shopping with the advantages of the brick-and-mortar stores. It allows a shopper to purchase a product online quickly and conveniently and allows them to touch and feel the product live at the store. For retailers, this translates to getting traffic and conversions on their online sites or mobile apps as well as increasing footfalls in the store.

‘Click-and-collect’ also presents opportunities for retailers to cross-sell and up-sell, thus driving higher sales. According to ICSC, 69 percent of customers who went to pick up their orders in-store ended up buying additional items. Thus, retailers can take advantage of this technique by persuading shoppers to buy more while they are at the store to pick up their order; especially during the shopping seasons or when impulse shoppers visit the store.

Since ‘Click-and-collect’ requires both online/mobile and brick-and-mortar stores to complement each other, it provides an edge for such retailers over those who are purely e-commerce players. Retailers must not miss out on this opportunity which will ensure more share of the customers’ attention time and eventually more share of the consumers’ wallets.

As shoppers these days are savvy and demanding, they expect the best experience. ‘Buy online pickup in-store’ is one way retailers with the right omni-channel retail solutions can provide a seamless and superior cross-channel shopping experience, which customers will cherish and come back for more.

Omni-channel success: Weaving omni-channel into the fabric of the retail organization

As the systems and processes are in silos, it is very difficult for retail businesses to deliver a truly satisfying customer experience. Retailers need to rely not only on technology but also on processes to enable omni-channel. In the midst of this evolution, retailers cannot afford to sit back when it comes to transforming their business to omni-channel, as the technologies that were cutting-edge last year could be obsolete soon.

Instead of carrying on with ad hoc systems and processes, retailers need to adopt a holistic approach to make their business omni-channel. Regardless of the channel used by a shopper to make a purchase, retail systems and processes should enable a smooth transaction experience. In other words, the systems and processes must be well integrated to help retailers support a channel-agnostic order and experience.

Necessarily, retailers need to develop new techniques and processes in this new omni-channel world:

  • Having a single view of the customer across all channels to be able to offer timely and relevant promotions
  • Initiating the best possible omni-channel fulfillment decision intelligently, at the moment of the sale to make maximum profit
  • Planning for and managing inventory right and ensuring it is in the right place at the right time
  • Communicating the details of multiple shipments clearly when fulfilling a single order
  • Monitoring performance when shipping from a store, just as when shipping from a centralized warehouse

Needless to say, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology that will be outdated in a year or two will be counter-productive for the business. Instead, retail owners must scale their investments and protect against obsolescence. Retailers require the ability to determine the technology that has a staying power when it comes to omni-channel, some of them being mobile POS, mobile wallet, omni-channel order management, queue busting and so on.