In last week’s blog post, we recapped Takeaways #1-5 from Aptos Engage 2016, our company’s inaugural customer conference. The fun doesn’t stop there. This week we bring you – in addition to a great photo of Aptos CEO Noel Goggin getting fierce on the main stage – takeaways #6-10, highlighting what was new, notable and announced at Engage in case you missed the event, or simply want a refresher.
As a reminder, registration is now open for Aptos Engage 2017, May 1-4 at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, FL. Never too early to plan a trip to the beach … for a conference, of course!
Aptos Engage 2016: Takeaways #6-10
#6. Many in the Retail Industry Have a Profit Problem
Greg MacKinnon, Director of Value Engineering at Aptos, spent a great deal of time educating Engage attendees about an often overlooked problem many retailers face: value leakage. Greg shared comprehensive research that highlighted the scope of the problem: half of the retail industry (49% of publicly-traded retailers) is generating operating margins almost three times lower than the other half of the industry. As operating margins are the lifeblood of innovation, value leakage is crippling far too many retailers’ ability to keep pace with shifting shopper expectations.
Greg shared with us the common sources of value leakage, and the numbers are staggering:
-Poor project identification and prioritization causes 5% – 10% of the expected ROI from a given project to evaporate
-Inefficient project execution causes projects to lose another 10% – 15% of expected ROI
– Failing to effectively measure and track the proper value metrics can cause the erosion of another 20% – 25% of the expected ROI from any given project
When added together, we can see how quickly as much as half of the expected ROI of a project or investment can disappear. The good news? Value Engineering principles and best practices are well established and documented, and these principles can make a difference. If you’d like to learn more about these principles and how Aptos can help you implement them in your business, click here.
#7. It’s (Finally) Getting Easier to Bring the Customer into Merchandising
For years, industry analysts have been predicting the inevitable rise to power of the customer within the merchandising kingdom, but to date, adoption has been slower than most expected. One of the obstacles has been the difficulty of adding the customer as the fourth branch of the analytics tree. Merchants often struggle to incorporate new layers and new levels of analysis into their tried and true views of the merchandising realm.
At Engage, there was much discussion of a new report published by Aptos that studied the state of analytics in inventory management, which revealed that retailers still rely on outdated analytics tools. Over 70% surveyed rely heavily on spreadsheets, and 60% spend more time compiling information than analyzing it (19% spend at least 10 hours a week just compiling data). To many, attempting to add customer to the mix when dealing with archaic and clumsy spreadsheets must seem like an insurmountable obstacle. That’s why our new Customer Analytics module was exciting to many attendees. We have added customer to our existing dashboards to make the transition quick and painless, and we give merchants the tools they need to ease into the era of the customer as the new power broker in the world of merchandising.
#8. It’s (Already) Time to Prepare your Business to Move Past Millennials
Believe it or not, Millennials are no longer marketers’ most sought-after generation. They are ageing out of their position of leadership, and have been replaced by Centennials, a generation of 70 million people born between 1996 and 2011, who already wield close to $70 billion in purchasing power, and by 2018 they are expected to have over $200 billion in purchasing power. While Millennials are considered “digital natives” Centennials are “mobile digital natives” and their addiction to mobility colors everything they do, including how they shop, when and where they shop, and how they make purchase decisions.
If you aren’t paying attention to this emerging shopping juggernaut, check out this compelling insider’s look at Centennials, and perhaps you will change your mind.
#9. The World is Shrinking, and Growth Can Often be Found Across the Border
Growth is a constant theme in C-suites across the retail landscape, but as the US economy’s “new normal” makes consistent growth challenging, more and more retailers have begun to look outside of North America for growth opportunities. Within the Aptos client base (and Engage audience) there are dozens of brands making the move to new regions. A sampling of these brands includes: Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Payless Shoes, Tumi, True Religion, Under Armour, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Crocs, Quicksilver, and Nike, just to name a few.
To support these initiatives and to help pave the way for rapid capture of the growth opportunities, Aptos has developed “country packs” that make it easy to open new countries. Each country pack includes currency conversion, language translation, localized processes and customs and taxation tables that plug right into the base configuration for Aptos Store. Currently Aptos has released country packs for 27 countries outside the US, and we have 26 more to be delivered by 2018. To learn more, register for our upcoming webinar, Easier than You Think: Going Global to Fuel Growth.
#10. As an Industry, We Need to Engage More with RetailROI
Greg Buzek and his team at RetailROI do incredible work. To date, they have helped 150,000 kids in 17 countries find hope, opportunity, and in many cases a future that they otherwise would not have had thanks to the amazing people and organizations supported by RetailROI. The stories of these everyday heroes are inspiring, and once you hear them, I am convinced you will want to get involved.
If you haven’t done so already, tune in to our podcast series entitled The Commerce of Caring. Powerful stories of courage and heroism take place as far away as South Africa and as close to home as New Jersey. I am deeply proud of this project and I am grateful to Aptos for funding it. Search for Commerce of Caring in your favorite podcast app or visit www.CommerceofCaring.org. I know you’ll be inspired, and I hope you will Engage.