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Retail Execs. Say Customer Retention is Top Sales Growth Driver

KPMG Warns Retailers to Reevaluate How They Share Customer Data

Sep 3, 2014 10:30 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Seventy-percent of U.S. retail executives have now adopted an omnichannel strategy that links the in-store experience with the brand's website, mobile apps and social media platforms, according to the KPMG 2014 Retail Outlook Survey.  While a retailer's omnichannel initiative is meant to seamlessly integrate the shopping experience with legacy systems, 53  percent of retail executives stated that the cost and complexity of technology upgrades were one of the main challenges that their organization faced.

Cyber security is also becoming an increasingly worrisome issue, as 77 percent of executives surveyed say that their companies share customers' personal and payment information across their channels. Given numerous large-scale  breaches this year at retailers, KPMG urged executives to reevaluate what customer information they really need to share across their channels and determine the appropriate level of security necessary to protect that information.

Such measures will also increase customer loyalty. The most significant driver of revenue growth is customer retention, according 70 percent of the executives. This potential is why a retailer's omnichannel strategy -- coupled with operational efficiencies and technology investments -- continue to consume the most amount of time for senior leadership in 2014, according to the survey. Forty-one percent of the executives  stated that losing market share to lower-cost competitors is the top threat and in relation to lower-cost competition, 36 percent stated that discounting and other sales incentives have had and will continue to have the greatest negative impact on their company's profit margins during 2014.

"Consumer preferences have evolved, and the omnichannel approach has become an imperative for organizations to provide their customers with the shopping experiences they demand," said Mark Larson, KPMG's U.S. and global retail sector leader. "Organizations that have adapted well to the rise of ecommerce, customer mobility and other technological disruptions of the last decade are showing some early signs of breaking away, while others are still near the starting line. Regardless of where they are in the process, one thing is clear – retailers have acknowledged the shopping habits of today's consumer and they are making transformational changes to embrace them."

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Tags: customer data, Jeff Miller, kpmg, mobile, omnichannel, retailers, security, shopping experience
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