When Should You Apologize for a Service Failure?

  • MSI

GPS and other new, digital technologies have given companies capabilities like never before. They also bring up new questions. For instance, if a company using GPS can see a small service failure is about to occur, should it proactively apologize in real-time or let it go? Proactive apologizing can backfire, which may cause the customer to perceive this service experience as lackluster, leading to decreased satisfaction, trust, recommendations and patronage. What can be done to help managers decide if and when to apologize, and when appropriate, how to do so in the right manner? This study offers some insights.

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How Bad Is a Bad Product Review?

  • MSI

Ever wonder what the impact of one negative review is on a product? Researchers in this MSI award-winning working paper were able to quantify this recently, from a retailer’s “newest first” review display policy. In technology and home and garden products, a single critical opinion had a detrimental impact that was two-fold, the study found. It increased the probability of continuing to search and to competitors while decreasing the purchase probability.

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The Shopping Revolution — What’s Next? (Event Summary)


At SHOPPERxSCIENCE 2021, experts presented a framework to use to create a competitive retail environment. Attendees heard the latest research and insights to effectively maneuver the changing shopping landscape. Enjoy this brief recap of the event – including the latest research and insights to keep your business and brand successful. Key takeaways, the full event video, and presentations are available for ARF members: If you are interested in becoming a corporate member, please contact New-Member-Info@thearf.org. LOGIN TO ACCESS

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Digital and mobile alter shopper marketing – via WARC (source: ANA and GfK)

A new report from the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) has found that Digital and Mobile is transforming shopper marketing to the extent that shopper marketers are struggling to reach consumers across the right touchpoints at the right time.

It also means that shopper marketing can no longer limit itself to end-of-aisle promotions or other in-store activities but instead continue to develop an omnichannel approach.

ANA President and CEO, Bob Liodice said, “Our research shows that the new goal of shopper marketing campaigns is to make brick-and-mortar visits mirror the effectiveness of the online environment while delivering a seamless shopper experience.”

Access full article from WARC

OmniChannel Shoppers Evaluate Their Shopping Experiences

The e-tailing group’s Omnichannel Consumer Insights, 1st Annual Survey, provides a “consumer-facing evaluation” of the shopping experience.  According to this survey, 84% percent of shoppers surveyed strongly/somewhat agree that they enjoy the efficiency of shopping online combined with the touch and feel of the retail store.  In addition, most shoppers identify themselves as multi-channel, with 38% using a combination of channels to complete their shopping.

However, according to Lauren Freedman, President of the e-tailing group, omnichannel represents an opportunity which has not yet been fulfilled.  She states that, “significant gaps exist between what shoppers expect and what retailers are currently delivering.”

This survey, done in cooperation with B2C Partners, highlights the expectations of shoppers for consistency across channels:

-When it comes to price parity, 91% of respondents believe that product pricing should be consistent.

-86% would like to see consistent free shipping across channels.

-Assortment consistency is desired by 74% of shoppers.

Among the in-store mobile technologies considered very/somewhat valuable by consumers

-Technology that assists shoppers in finding the exact location of a product within the physical store (aisles/maps may be accessible on your mobile phone).

-Notification via mobile phone that an item in your cart is available/in-stock when you arrive at the store.

-Mobile devices for check out to avoid waiting in line.

The research includes statistics on in-store mobile technologies desired by shoppers include and compares the technologies preferred by shoppers with what is actually offered by retailers.  The gaps in retail performance are highlighted.

The article concludes with an Omnichannel Clout Checklist.  Some of the recommendations for retailers:

-Consistency should be a strategic initiative, particularly around price.

-Provide adjustments to cross-channel customer experiences in order to provide a faster and more productive shopping experience.

Emphasize the role of the store, and play up its advantages as shoppers use all shopping channels

Embrace both the self-service shopper and those customers who desire assistance.

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10 Key Building Blocks for an Integrated Omnichannel Ecosystem

Fiona Blades, President and Chief Experience Officer at MESH Experience, David Guenthner, Senior Director, Global Customer Insights and Analytics at Walmart, Scott Johnston, Director of Client Services at Infoscout, and Marty Siewert, SVP, Consumer & Shopper Analytics at Nielsen discussed key building blocks to achieve a seamless online-offline shopping experience during the 2015 ARF Shopper Insights Chicago forum.

Here are the Top 10 building blocks for an integrated omnichannel ecosystem:

  1. Imaginative talent management to bring disparate specialists together
  • Overarching function that bridges gaps and fosters the right spirit
  • Providing teams an overall purpose, so that each member plays to their strengths to create something better together
  1. Putting the customer first
  • More observation than question
  • Passive data collection
  • Better use of mobile
  1. Collaboration FOR the shopper
  • Again, putting the shopper as the focus and re-thinking collaboration in relation to this
  1. Focus on theory
  • Thinking about recency or adjacencies
  • Not rushing into decision, but think and create hypotheses, models and theories about all the new knowledge and data
  1. Test-and-learn approach
  • Creating agile market research
  • Encouraging fast failure and move on
  • Making change safe/acceptable
  1. Practical hardware and tools
  • Get a big enough server!
  • Ensure flexibility of data platforms
  1. Get the assortment right
  • Both, online and offline
  1. Personalized approach
  • Given the blurring of online in physical spaces (augmented reality, etc.), new approach needs to transcend online and offline and feel totally seamless and personal
  1. Get the RIGHT data
  • Although there is a plethora of data available, there is still a need to identify knowledge gaps and find the right data to answer these
  1. Millennials understanding
  • As this audience will be of growing importance, there is still the need to focus on a deep understanding of their emerging attitudes and behaviors

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Carrefour undertakes first large-scale beacon deployment in Romanian hypermarkets

Multinational retailer Carrefour has placed iBeacon networks in 28 of its hypermarket stores in Romania, pointing to the inevitable global rollout of personalized shopping experiences on mobile. This project taps 600 Onyx Beacon devices and is able to interact with the public at a commercial network level. Consumers who download the supermarket’s application can receive customized offers and in-store maps, while the app collects valuable data about shopping behavior.

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Omnichannel Marketing

Perry Simpson, Digital Content Coordinator at the Direct Marketing News, provides clarification between the marketing concepts: cross-channel, integrated, multichannel and omnichannel.

While omnichannel marketing is the preferred approach for marketing campaigns, often the campaigns are not truly omnichannel.  Omnichannel campaign require a customer-centric approach to marketing, and the customer data must provide insights into each customer transversing the brand’s channels.

Often, multichannel campaigns consist of the use of multiple channels, often without a consistent or integrated approach.  This approach is characterized by being marketer-centric.

Cross-channel campaigns also involve a campaign with a marketer-centric approach. Cross-channel campaigns better understand the brand’s customers as they move from one channel to another during their buying journey.

Integrated marketing seeks to synchronize marketing across traditional and digital media channels, but it lacks a customer-centric focus.

The advantage of the omnichannel approach is marketing campaigns which are cohesive, targeted and relevant from the customer’s point of view.


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