Point of View

Managing Order Costs and Velocity: A Route to Dynamic Order Management

Download this Point of View to learn how increased cost per order is more than just a margin leak for retailers and understand what can be done to address the deficiencies in the current Omnichannel order management processes….

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Benchmark Research

Stores as Hubs of Omnichannel: Myth vs. Reality

The complexities of creating a single integrated channel experience in the store are tremendous and the pressure of cost justifying each investment has slowed (not stalled) retailer’s efforts. Download this benchmark report to understand business challenges, capabilities, priorities and investment areas…

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Point of View

Democratization of Retail

Several disruptive forces are at work globally — fostering a new-age consumerism that is participative, fragmented and personal. Download this Point of View to find out the key forces disrupting retail, their impact on the retail business model, and the key capabilities retailers will need to…

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Benchmark Research

Customer-Centricity: The Holy Grail of Omni-Channel Merchandising

While retailers are making great strides with customer-centricity in marketing and customer service, merchandising has not made the same progress. The move toward customer-centricity will require not just higher levels of coordination but for many retail organizations dramatic cultural change. Download this benchmark report to learn about priority initiatives, challenges and technology trends…

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Merchandising 3.0 – Why Retailers Need to Find the Perfect Blend of Art + Science to Be Relevant to Shoppers Again

To truly achieve the vision of a frictionless, personalized, channel-agnostic customer-experience, retailers will need to evolve the merchandising function to be unified across the merchandising process chain and channels rather than just optimized. Download this EKN point-of-view that lays out the roadmap for retailers to improve their merchandising maturity and the key building blocks of a customer-centric merchandising strategy. Download Full...

Transforming Retail With In-Store Customer Engagement Analytics

Retailers can no longer be left in the dark about consumer shopping habits in the store. In an increasingly omnichannel world, just as in the case of digital shoppers, retailers need to be aware of what customers do inside of their stores’ four walls before, during and after the shopping experience. The most successful retailers will be the ones that have intimate relationships with their customers, especially those that are typically harder to track in-store throughout the purchase cycle. As a result, retailers are learning to correlate point-of-sale (POS) results with other forms of in-store analytics such as Wi-Fi, a move that can optimize store layouts, improve in-store customer engagement, labor allocation and promotional effectiveness — factors that can then help companies improve number of customer visits, employee-customer interactions, assortment and sales. The infographic below explains how to transform the store with in-store customer engagement analytics so as to meet the desired objectives. To read more about the topic, follow the point of view report...

Inventory Optimization – A Key Ingredient for Increasing Customer Satisfaction

With high expectations of the new age customer and need for accurate and timely omnichannel fulfillment data, retailers need automated and accurate inventory updates to service customers anytime and anywhere, in order to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty. Download this point-of-view that highlights how inventory optimization can help retailers to better support operational performance, uphold their brand image and maintain customer service levels. Download Full Report...

Protect Your Retail Turf: Assortment Optimization Strategies

Assortment Management and optimization is one of the core customer-centric retail building blocks. However, the road to assortment optimization is long one and one that requires crossing a series of speed-bumps and milestones. Download this point-of-view to understand strategies and solutions that aid better assortment-mix decisions in retail, which can lead to more profitable retail execution – precision assortments, increased full-priced sell-through of merchandise, improved gross profitability and reduced dollar markdowns. Download Full...

Empowered and Engaged Employees are Central to Improving Customer Experience

The retailers that will separate themselves from the rest in terms of in-store experience will be those who, in addition to strategic technology adoption and business process change, will focus on empowering and engaging their employees. Download this point-of-view to understand how empowered and engaged employees are central to improving customer experience and learn how you can improve in-store employee empowerment and engagement. Download Full...


Global Sourcing Uncertainties Continue Amid Brexit, Commodities Market Slump and Currency Fluctuations, Reports CBX Q3’16 Retail Sourcing Study

The continued uncertainty in Europe over Brexit, rising wage pressures in low cost sourcing countries, low commodity prices, weak freight transit  and major currency fluctuations are shaping a rather grim sourcing and supply chain outlook, according to CBX’s Q3 2016 retail sourcing report. In fact, the aforementioned results are in line with EKN’s own Q2 2016 retail private label sourcing study that indicates significant headwinds being felt by retailers in terms lack of speed to market, global commodity price sensitivity, high merchandise unit costs, among other business pressures. While other uncertainties across economic indicators, manufacturing activity, currencies, transit and commodities are evident, CBX’s report indicates that Brexit’s true impact will play out in the next two years. It remains to be seen how Brexit will impact retailers and their trading partners that do multi-country sourcing or deal in trading with or through UK and other European countries. The report provides useful synthesis of varied economic and supply chain indicators that can impact overall retail branding and private label private sourcing. The data has some particularly useful insights and implications for apparel, fashion, specialty and other softlines companies that source products from low-cost international countries through their own buying offices or agents. Nearly 1 in 2 retailers (45%) source through their own international operations or buying agents like Li & Fung1. Among the top 8 global sourcing impact points covered in CBX’s report, most do not indicate a positive Q2 performance. Moreover the outlook towards forward looking macro-economic measures (i.e. infrastructure, labor etc.), manufacturing indices and freight demand scenarios do not seem that positive either, except for a handful of...

Key Trends & Challenges Impacting Private Label Retail

Retailers who sell private label products as part of their assortment-mix today have a reason to fear Amazon’s entry into private label assortments or collections. It has increased the threat of further online competition. EKN’s 2016 Private Label Sourcing survey (in partnership with CBX) of 50 North American retailers has revealed that compared to 2014 or prior, retailers are giving higher importance to private label brands for their top line and bottom line net earnings. Taking into account the threat from the likes of Amazon and an already high forecast growth within eCommerce and mobile channels till 2018 (14.5% & 29.4% CAGR, respectively¹), omnichannel operations is the top trend shaping the state of private label brands especially in the area of strategic private label sourcing and product development. Private label is no longer a store phenomenon and moving forward retailers fully expect private label categories to grow in the physical-digital domain. The second biggest trend impacting private label brands, sourcing and development is new consumer demand. These new consumer demand patterns are as much about growing private label demand as it is about growth in main street retail, subscription retail and food retailing in formerly non-food stores (i.e. drug). Price sensitivity is definitely increasing as there is an increase in off-price stores emerging in luxury categories. Retailers are well aware that the price sensitive consumer cares a lot about private label or store brands. Within private label, sales reached $118.4 billion in 2015, an all-time record and an increase of +$2.2 billion over the previous year. In the past two years alone, annual sales are up by +5%, or +$5.4...

Toshiba’s Bigger and Better User Show in 2016

This year’s ‘Toshiba Connect’ was held in Las Vegas and dare I say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! In fact, it will be quite the opposite for Toshiba and its customers in 2016 as there are a slew of new strategies and capabilities that are waiting to make their mark in retail and other industries. Store and point-of-sale (POS) re-investments, customer personalization, digital consumer experiences, payments and evolution of omnichannel were the main strategy areas and collaborative themes led by Toshiba, retailers, media and analysts that spurred discussion and discourse during the conference. Toshiba executives Scott Maccabe, Bill Melo, Michael Griffiths and a few others laid out the key mission focusing on Enriched Shopping, Actionable Insights and Frictionless Checkout, as well as the strategy and solution roadmap for Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions in the aforementioned areas. Customer executives from Safeway, Kroger, Brookstone, PVH and other retailers provided a promising view of their retail growth and customer experience innovation taking place today. However, large U.S. retail executives also went on the record discussing their challenges in meeting the October 2015 EMV deadline. A number of retailers spoke at length about the lack of clarity around industry standards for seamless ‘chip & signature’ POS pin-pad migrations. Retailers have experienced various concerns related to customer experience issues, 30%-50% longer transaction time, deployment delays, system testing, continued data security concerns and store employee training complexities. EKN’s February 2015 POS Blueprint study showed that 7 out of 10 retailers were ill-equipped to roll out chip & signature-ready terminals by the October 2015. The Toshiba partner ecosystem also had a lot more depth...




EKN is a boutique research and advisory firm focused on business-technology insights in the consumer industries of retail, consumer goods, travel and hospitality. Our goal is to fill a gap in the industry by offering prescriptive insights on topics of greatest importance to our audience, and to assist business and technology executives in discovering disruptive technologies and vendors.