Even the most experienced professionals can sometimes find it challenging to keep up with the ever-evolving language of retail. New jargon and buzzwords are regularly becoming part of our everyday language in response to rapidly changing consumer trends and technology. Here’s a lexicon of the most frequently heard and often misunderstood terms in the world of retail technology.
Actionable Analytics: Static reports and dashboards are not new to most retailers. These tools are now evolving, however, to facilitate interactive participation from the user, enabling them to drive business change by drilling through to perform immediate actions, which coined the term Actionable Analytics.
Beacons: The terms Beacon and iBeacon are frequently used interchangeably, but iBeacon is a trademarked name for Apple’s Beacon technology. Beacons are Bluetooth-enabled low energy devices that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones or wearables (for example, an Apple Watch) to, with the shopper’s permission, send them messaging such as promotions, useful shopping tips, in-store events and more. Beacons can also be used by retailers to collect information about shopper behavior.
Bricks and Clicks: Bricks and Clicks retailers operate physical store locations (bricks) as well as online stores (clicks). See also Omnichannel and Unified Commerce.
BYOD: BYOD is an acronym for Bring Your Own Device. With mobile technology becoming more prevalent in stores today, many retailers are looking for cost-effective ways to enable associates to use their own devices for activities such as clienteling, while ensuring that customer data remains secure at all times.
Clienteling: Clienteling is a relationship-based selling technique used by salespeople to establish long-term relationships with key customers based on data about their preferences, behaviors and purchases. The term Clienteling is also commonly used to refer to Clienteling software, designed to guide users through the best practices of assisted selling, often using data gathered from multiple channels.
Cloud: The Cloud is a term used to describe hosted software solutions. Cloud deployments provide lower initial IT infrastructure investments, reduced total costs of ownership, rapid implementations and many more benefits.
Click and Collect: One of the most requested features that consumers have of e-commerce sites is Click and Collect. Click and Collect enables users to buy online and collect their purchase in a physical store of their choice. Retailers benefit from reduced shipping fees and additional foot traffic, which often leads to additional impulse purchases.
Conversion: The number of shoppers who make a purchase and become buyers. This is one of the most important metrics within retail analytics, as it is the number one indicator of a store’s performance.
Customer Experience (CX): The retail customer experience, often abbreviated as CX, is about more than theatrics: it’s a product of the intersection between the customer journey and the product journey. To create great experiences, retailers must address product-related factors such as purchasing, allocation, and manufacturing as well as carefully orchestrate the customer journey with thoughtful marketing campaigns and relationship-building tools.
Customer Journey: The customer journey is a framework that describes the multiple experiences and touchpoints that a customer will encounter as they build a relationship with a brand. Customers will frequently interact with a brand via multiple channels along this journey, which may include social media, online and physical stores.
D2C: D2C is an acronym to describe Direct to Consumer, sometimes referred to as B2C or Business to Consumer. In contrast with B2B, or Business to Business e-commerce sites which sell exclusively to businesses, D2C sites sell directly to the public.
Data-Driven Decision Making: Unlike business decisions made purely on intuition or experience, Data-Driven Decisions are made using metrics such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As an example, a merchant might place slow-moving stock in a more prominent location after reviewing a dashboard about inventory KPIs.
Disruptive Technology: Disruptive Technology causes fundamental changes in the way people live and work. Disruptive Technology can sometimes be met with resistance at first, but usually results in long-term benefits for both users and organizations.
Endless Aisle: The Endless Aisle ensures that shoppers can always buy the product they want (in the size and color they need), even when it’s not in stock at the store they happen to be visiting. Retailers can fulfill Endless Aisle orders through other stores or warehouses, and customers often have the option to have the product shipped to them or to pick up in the store of their choice.
Etail: Etail, or Etailing, refers to online retailing, also commonly referred to as e-commerce.
Experiential Rewards: In traditional loyalty programs, consumers are often rewarded with discounts, promotions or free products. After seeing great success in the hospitality industry, Experiential Rewards, such as VIP events and concierge services are now gaining in popularity in the retail sector.
Gamification: Gamification is the concept of making everyday tasks into a game. This can encourage user adoption and promote friendly competition between team members.
Generation Z: Although there are no official dates framing the Generation Z cohort, it is most frequently used to describe individuals born between the mid-1990s to early 2000s. Although they are still young, this group has an important level of influence over the spending habits of their families.
IoT: IoT is an acronym for the Internet of Things, a category of physical products that are connected to the Internet, delivering digital experiences to everyday activities. For retailers, IoT provides a new communication and engagement channel with consumers, as well as new ways to study and understand shopper behaviors.
Influencer Marketing: Influencer Marketing is a strategy used to engage people who have a strong influence over important market segments. Influencers are not necessarily people with the largest social circle or follower count overall: rather, they are well-connected and highly regarded among a particular group of people.
m-Commerce: Shopping that happens on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, is referred to as m-Commerce. This is becoming one of the most frequent avenues for consumers to engage with retailers, so it’s critical to ensure that the m-Commerce experience is a positive one.
mPOS: mPOS is an acronym for Mobile Point of Sale, which uses a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet or other wireless device to perform checkout and customer service activities without being confined to a physical cash wrap.
Omnichannel: Omnichannel retailing goes beyond traditional retail channels such as brick-and-mortar stores and catalogs to include online touchpoints such as e-commerce and social media. With today’s customer journey involving so many channels, it’s critically important for retailers to take a holistic approach to data and operations.
RFID: Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to read and capture data stored on a tag attached to a product or card. RFID can be used to streamline inventory operations, for example, by scanning an entire mixed palette into inventory instead of counting and receiving boxes one-by-one.
SaaS: SaaS, or Software as a Service, refers to a subscription model for software that includes not only access to the software, but also hosting and maintenance services. This benefits retailers because it provides reduced initial costs as well as removes the work of maintaining and updating server infrastructure. It also provides retailers with the ability to scale up systems quickly during peak periods or as their business grows, and scale back during slower periods.
Showrooming (also Reverse Showrooming): Showrooming is the concept of customers using physical stores to see and try products, and then ultimately purchasing them online. Reverse showrooming is when customers browse and research online to then make the purchase in a local store. While these concepts were once viewed as a threat, for retailers who take a holistic, omnichannel approach, these as simply positive steps of a healthy customer journey.
Unified Commerce: Unified Commerce is an approach that brings together once-disparate channels to orchestrate a cohesive customer experience. It typically involves integrating systems to provide retailers with a single view of data, including customer behaviors, sales, and inventory.