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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Rapid Evolution of Unified Commerce in New Age Retail

Modern POS is an integrated customer-centric platform for unified commerce. It combines real-time contextual marketing, order, delivery & inventory visibility to aid digital and location-based commerce. This infographic reflects the Rapid Evolution of Unified Commerce in New Age...

Changing the Retail Labor Model for a New Retail Environment

The existing labor model in retail is being turned on its head. The rapidly changing retail environment is creating new challenges for retailers and consumer goods manufacturers that have an impact on their labor needs. Omnichannel sales growth has led to a number of in-store challenges – increased competition accessible via a smartphone in a shopper’s hand, inventory and fulfillment challenges, need for merchandising alignment with the online experience and a much more demanding...

Engaging Connected Consumers through Location Insights

Retailers can no longer be left in the dark about consumer shopping habits in the store. 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. Download this whitepaper that illustrates how a store’s existing Wi-Fi data and insights can help monitor in-store customers and define the specific areas of the store, staffing focus and merchandise that keep these customers returning. Download Full...

Changing the Retail Labor Model for a New Retail Environment

The existing labor model in retail is being turned on its head. The rapidly changing retail environment is creating new challenges for retailers and consumer goods manufacturers that have an impact on their labor needs. Omnichannel sales growth has led to a number of in-store challenges – increased competition accessible via a smartphone in a shopper’s hand, inventory and fulfillment challenges, need for merchandising alignment with the online experience and a much more demanding consumer. In this report, we will reveal findings from our latest retail labor survey, cite recent other EKN and several other industry studies that reinforce these changes in retail, and establish the need for a change in the labor model. The following pages help identify the biggest retail store labor need areas, how those needs can best be met, and how outsourcing can play a role in meeting them. Download Full...

Building a New Digital Foundation for Retail and QSR with Wi-Fi

Delivering on a unique, consistent, and ‘frictionless’ customer experience has been the mantra for the retail and restaurant business for years. A huge element in achieving this goal is having the knowledge and understanding of the customer’s behaviors across the buying journey. Leveraging Wi-Fi as an engagement model can help improve customer service wait time, provide communication via direct messaging with customers, enhance associate productivity and sales. This Point of View illustrates the current challenges & key benefits retailers and QSRs are experiencing in the adoption of store or location Wi-Fi. Download Full...

A Framework for Omnichannel Personalization

Personalizing the shopper experience across channels is a goal most retailers covet, yet few truly achieve. The gulf between vision and reality is a reflection of two factors: the lack of a clear definition of the end-state and its associated benefits, and the gap in retailers’ current business processes and technology systems. This infographic illustrates the business value of personalization, and provides a 4-part framework for retailers to successfully execute omnichannel personalization strategies....


Retail Enterprise Agility: A Necessary Step for Future of Retail

Within most softlines, grocery and hardlines retail segments, the need for enterprise agility and speed to market has often been talked about in terms of response time of store, headquarter or supply chain teams to align with current and emerging market and consumer trends. Agility in retail can translate into initiatives including but not limited to rolling out new channels/stores, new product introduction, marketing, content and technology innovation that improves customer experience or operational efficiencies. Retail enterprise agility is not just about quick decision-making and resource allocation but also enabling improved sales, cash-to-cash cycle time and product lead time attainment. It requires collaboration and common workflows at the product and customer-programs level between stores, digital teams, merchandise planning, sourcing, product development, marketing, IT, business intelligence and supply chain visibility and collaboration. While agility in the product value chain must conform to seamless movement of product from concept-shelf, creating deeper customer connectivity, engagement and personalization during the customer path-to-purchase journey, requires retailers to demonstrate consistent dedication, commitment and a steady flow of investments in ensuring customer-facing digital transformation. Digital thinking, data insights and customer science is inherent in such a transformation and no department or channel in retail can be devoid of essential building blocks such as access to real-time digital data, digital device-based insights & accessibility and workflows enabled on digital assets. The simplest example of the ROI waiting to be gained from such a transformation is in the ease of doing day-to-day business in a store. Retail store associates or managers should not have to pace back-and-forth between the back office and the customer front-end every time they...

How to Re-Activate Current Loyalty Programs to Bring Alive Loyalty

In this age of well-informed, technology-savvy, connected consumer, is customer loyalty dead? An EKN survey (EKN 2014 Next Generation Shopper Experience: A Millennial Consumer Perspective) shows that the customers, especially the millennials, are willing to spend additionally upto 30% over the same period in case they get a great shopping experience. EKN’s analysis shows that the same customers sometimes defect their loyal brand in search of better prices and convenience. Retention had never been so difficult. So how exactly then a retailer claims to retain a loyal customer base when the customer’s behavior suggests otherwise. One needs to figure out the good that the existing retail loyalty programs are doing for the business except for providing a momentarily transaction-based attraction for customers. It is interesting to find that many retailers run these contests amongst their employees in store in return of incentives, to get the maximum no. of registrations for their loyalty program. Does the buck stop here? No, we believe, it is equally critical for retailers to ensure the subscribed customers make use of the program consistently and this can only happen when customers realize the associated far-reaching rewards than mere transactional benefits. This notion ties back to the concept of customer lifecycle value, one of those metrics which has seen most retailers struggling with. Measuring customer’s lifecycle value considers into account a more holistic view of the value derived from the customers over the period and thus challenges the retailers’ myopic view in executing a transactional loyalty program. The concern mentioned above is applicable to most retailers irrespective of their format, segment and size. Key issues that...

Unified Commerce: A System or Process Change?

EKN’s 2016 Digital and Omnichannel survey indicates that re-investments in eCommerce/mobile in shaping up retailers’ future strategies is of considerable importance as the expected CAGR in eCommerce and mobile commerce is expected to be 14.5% and 29.4% by 2018. At the same time, EKN’s 2015 POS Blueprint Study highlights the fact that for 7 in 10 retailers store POS transaction volume accounts for more than 70% of total retail volume. For sometime now, store transactions are no longer considered pure store purchases and over the last few years offline-online basket or shopping cart integration is widespread as customers want to merge pure store POS transactions and digital transactions into a singular store experience. Despite the need for integrated offline and digital transaction experience for customer convenience at check out, retailers are using separate systems or browser windows within the existing POS system. This creates higher waiting time and inefficiencies as associates, managers and eventually customers experience a rather odd and time-consuming toggle back-and-forth between the store POS user experience and online/eCommerce transaction interfaces. With the average age of a fully deployed POS system at 7 years (EKN’s 2015 POS Blueprint Study), unified commerce solutions can take over where legacy POS systems have created gaping opportunities in operational and customer service space. The cumbersome user experience, lack of ease of access to customer information and difficulty in creating unified shopping carts which combine online/catalog orders with in-store purchases, are only some of the challenges faced by over a third of retailers.  Seamless shopping behavior can be triggered via a unified commerce platform. Such platforms have the ability to combine omnichannel...




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.