PROFILE

Keith Nealon

CEO, Vyze
Keith brings 20+ years of leadership experience to Vyze where he helps leading retailers such as Home Depot, ICON Health & Fitness (NordicTrack.com) and BrandsMart uncomplicate financing. Prior to Vyze, he held President or General Manager roles at Adaptive Insights, ShoreTel and Eloqua where he helped the companies scale to acquisition or on the path to a successful IPO. Keith also serves on the advisory board of several successful SaaS companies.
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  • Posted on: 07/26/2017

    How will smaller rivals survive in an Amazon and Walmart world?

    While retailers like Amazon and Walmart are set on serving every customer demographic, the reality is that not every customer will feel that they 100% satisfy their needs. Where smaller retailers can get a one-up on them is focusing on the areas and unique customer preferences that might get overlooked by big retailers. Small retailers have easier control over their entire customer experience. Diversifying their experience to make a customer prefer shopping at their stores, over an Amazon or Walmart, is key. However, this doesn’t mean that small retailers should focus all of their energy on creating experiences that are so unique and different. There are core parts of the shopping experience that every customer expects across the board with every retailer. Shoppers are practical, and when it comes to their shopping they want value, convenience, and ease at every step from first click through purchase. To keep up small retailers need to do things like optimize their eCommerce site to run as efficiently as possible, increase their flexible payment offering, and maintain competitive pricing.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    How did mobile become the ‘glue’ in the Sephora shopping experience?

    Sephora is a digital trailblazer that has always been willing to go above and beyond to stay in step with their customer’s expectations. They were one of the first to explore video, launch store beacons, and they are continuing to adapt their experience for shoppers who turn to social applications like Snapchat and Instagram before making a purchase. The lesson that retailers can learn is that with the advances and accessibility of technology today, having a mobile channel is no longer optional. This is especially true for retailers whose target customers are Millennials or Gen-Z. It's important to note however, that mobile’s role in retail extends beyond just an on-the go checkout or visual features. Customers expect every aspect of a retailer’s customer experience to offer mobile functionality. For example, retailers should expect mobile to be a growing channel for their payments and loyalty programs. Research from IPSOS and Vyze shows that Millennials are much more likely to want a mobile application (16% vs. 1% of shoppers over the age of 55).
  • Posted on: 06/09/2017

    What does it take for retailers to thrive amid shifting consumer preferences?

    While all points made above are important, I believe that focusing on the aspect of “experience" can really make all the differences for retailers. There are a lot of different ways to think about experience, but in my opinion all great customer experiences have one thing in common: they nail the basics. Customers value things like quick checkout, flexible payment options, and helpful sales associates more than novel innovations like virtual reality or other cool in-store technology. Retailers should double down on making sure every aspect of the shopping experience is as simple and as easy as possible. This can be as straightforward as expanding buy online/pick-up in store programs. On the other hand, "acting early" is the most frequently neglected by retailers. The problem is that many retailers invest in short term solutions to solve their large overarching pain points. In adopting strategy and technology that alleviates the problem for the time being, retailers fall behind in creating agile and future proof experiences for their customers. Retailers have to be able to immediately add new touchpoints and technology as they are adopted by consumers to truly keep up. It’s up to retailers to shake off the “good enough” and “it works for now” mentality, and look to do things in new ways to stay ahead.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Can retailers keep up with Gen Z’s digital savviness?

    Retailers have to start planning for Gen Z now as they already have access to $44 billion in buying power and 75% say they spend more than half the amount of money that is available to them each month. Where retailers can really win over this generation is by optimizing their customer experience, particularly online and on mobile. Gen Z has high expectations and little tolerance for hurdles, meaning that ecommerce websites and checkouts that are hard to navigate and slow to load are enough for them to write off a retailer completely. Like any generation, Gen Z will inevitably grow older and will want to make big ticket purchases. Unlike generations previously that have looked to traditional store credit cards, Gen Z will likely want payment options that are more flexible for them. Making lease-to-own or installment plans available will open up more spending opportunity within Gen Z. However it’s important to keep in mind as this demographic is tech-centric, they will expect the same financing experience at the point-of-sale whether they are shopping in-store, online, or via a mobile device.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2017

    Will Amazon dominate the online furniture market?

    With the success Wayfair and Overstock, it’s natural that furniture retailers will need to shift to having an online presence to remain agile. However, while today's customers may enjoy the ability to browse for furniture pieces online, it’s not enough for them to see a couch just look good online. They also need the affirmation that it feels good and visually fits in their personal space. For many customers, furniture is an emotional purchase. Disruption in this vertical will have to be two-fold: providing and maintaining an innovative shopping experience not only online, but also in-store. If certain features are available online, like financing or specific payment promotions, it will be imperative that these same features extend in-store. Naturally there will be different forms of innovation unique to the channel, like improving visual search for digital shoppers or letting in-store shoppers load items into a digital cart, but cohesiveness between channels will be key. The fact of the matter is that Amazon is a threat in every category. Their challenge lies in whether they can cater to the customer emotions involved in the furniture purchasing process and compete with omnichannel furniture retailers.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    Sales associates and customer service reps, whether online or in-store, are your biggest brand champions, which is why retailers should prioritize investing in time to train their associates. Not doing so can be a huge mistake. Customers want consistent shopping experiences between retailer’s in-store and online channels, however in many cases, online is a step above the rest in terms of efficiency and meeting customer expectations. A good retail brand merges online and off and gives advantages to consumers in both. In-store sales associates have the ability to directly influence the customer experience by building a relationship and connecting customers to the products, payment methods, and service they look for to keep them happy and coming back into stores.
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