News Feature | June 27, 2014

Retail IT News For VARs — June 27, 2014

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Retail IT News For VARs

In the news, research shows retailers are planning investments in in-store technology to identify customers. Also, a study shows digital billboards are not a safety hazard to drivers — and an article explains how retailers are using digital signage to connect will millennial customers.

Research Shows Retailers Plan To Invest In In-store Technology To Identify Customers

Retailers are planning to invest heavily in in-store technology over the next five years, according to a survey of more than 500 North American retailers conducted by Boston Retail Partners, and within five years, 75 percent of retailers plan to identify customers when they walk in the store. The 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current state and planned initiatives, priorities, and future trends that relate to customer relationship management (CRM) practices associated with the retail industry’s shift to Unified Commerce.

Study Shows Digital Billboards Do Not Pose Safety Hazard To Drivers

A study by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration found that digital billboards do not pose a safety risk to passing motorists. The findings are not surprising for those in the industry, but can help you ally fears of your retailer customers. Numerous traffic studies and analyses performed in the last couple of decades have come to a similar conclusion. The report, actually divided into two studies, is officially titled “Driver Visual Behavior In The Presence of Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs.” The study examined three specific issues: First, whether CEVMS’ distract drivers’ while driving; second, do glances to CEVMS create a decrease in safety; and finally, do drivers look at CEVMS more than at standard billboards.

Tips On Digitally Connecting With Millennials

Approximately 80 million Americans fall into the millennial demographic. In the U.S., they annually spend around $600 billion. Studies project that millennials will account for 1/3 of retail spending by 2020, The first generation to be completely digitally based, they are easily becoming the most powerful demographic due to their influence on trend setting. According to “Like, Friend, Tweet: Top Retailers Digitally Connect with Millennials,” many retailers have turned to digital signage companies to remedy the lack of interest in static marketing among millennials.  By adopting digital signage, retailers can run multiple, ever-changing campaigns featuring video, music, and user interaction.  Consumer trends show that these digital signs can boost audience retention rates as high as 200 percent. 

Almost Half Of All Retail Marketing Emails Opened On Mobile Devices

A study by mobile marketing firm Knotice has found that 43.2 percent of all retail marketing e-mails were opened on mobile devices in Q3/Q4 2013, an increase of 13.9 percent in Q1/Q2 of the same year. The Knotice Mobile Email Opens Report provides an overview of 2013, and concluded that in the second half of 2013, 48 percent of all emails were opened on a mobile device. 

NRF Survey Names Top Cities for Organized Retail Crime Activity

As part of its latest survey results, the National Retail Federation ranked the top cities in the nation for professional shoplifting and retail crime rings. The National Retail Federation’s 10th annual Organized Retail Crime Survey surveyed senior loss prevention executives representing 76 companies. Retailers included big box stores, discount, drug, grocery and restaurant locales. The top 10 locations that retailers say have the most criminal activity are (by rank):

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Miami
  3. Chicago
  4. New York
  5. Houston
  6. Atlanta
  7. Baltimore
  8. San Francisco/Oakland
  9. Arlington/Dallas/Fort Worth
  10. Detroit

According to the survey, retailers are allocating additional resources within their companies. This includes adding staff, technology and budget resources to address the $30 billion a year problem. 

Retail IT Talking Points

This article from ZDNet examines Amazon’s new Mayday button, which is likely to be replicated in the enterprise. After all, Salesforce is already working on its SOS button, which mimics Amazon's Mayday approach.

Retailing Today reports that Staples has introduced Quill Ideas, a new crowdsourcing for customers and employees to share ideas in new and interesting ways. Available through a dedicated landing page at or in the header on the homepage, the platform allows customers and employees to submit and evaluate new ideas.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Retail IT Tech Center.