Author: Miya Knights
Omnichannel Retail explores the acquisition, conversion and retention strategies that will be effective for bricks-and-clicks retailers in future. Loyalty is not dead, but traditional customer loyalty today has limits.
In this fourth Eagle Eye blog serialising our CEO, Tim Mason’s new book, Omnichannel Retail: How to Build Winning Stores in a Digital World
, we begin to focus on the role the store has to play in the total retail offer.
We explored the analogue and physical retail learnings from schemes like Tesco Clubcard in Chapter 2
, and how harnessing any meaningful connection with customers can tap into emotional loyalty in Chapter 3
But it is essential to understand location’s power as a proxy for both relevance and customer loyalty. Tim discusses this dynamic in Chapter 4, which looks at the importance of ‘your location in the physical world’.
The power of digital customer connection presents any operator of customer-facing physical space with the opportunity of improving marketing to increase loyalty in better, simpler and cheaper ways than before.
“This is what drives my belief in the potential to transform consumer experiences in physical spaces,” Tim declares.
“I describe Clubcard as a connection because it’s also the elegant way to describe Eagle Eye – a means of connecting just as relevant to loyalty now as Clubcard was to loyalty schemes then. As my colleague and Eagle Eye founder, Steve Rothwell, put it: ‘People are interested in relevant, timely content sent to them personally.’ So, he developed a platform to enable retailers, brands and audience networks and aggregators to operate personalized marketing campaigns in a one-to-one communication world.” (Mason, T., Knights, M. Omnichannel Retail, p63, Kogan Page.)
Locating the store in the digital world
Given Tim’s belief in the transformative power of digital marketing on the physical world we live, it stands to reason that we all, as consumers, relate in some way to his digital black hole trope introduced in Chapter 1
Customers can use mobile phones to find, locate and navigate to a store that sells the precise item they may be looking for. But once there, given no reason to engage, they revert back to analogue shopping methods.
But it’s not just the customer who misses out on great content and services that could inform, speed and/or smooth their journey. The salesperson, manager or operator is often blind to their needs and wants.
Consider that those digital-first players, who are by definition data-driven because they are digitally enabled, can track the clicks, dwell time and abandoned baskets of every customer that visits their ecommerce sites.
Many traditional businesses have made great strides with ecommerce. Even the Food & Beverage sector is being ‘Uberized,’ as discussed in Chapter 1, with the likes of Deliveroo opening delivery up as new channel.
But few tangibly join this view they gain online up to that of the customers they may also serve when in-store. Even though omnichannel customers spend an average of 10% more online than single-channel customers
Moreover, because consumers see no difference between off- and online, Google tracked a 500%+ increase in “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy”
between 2015 and 2017.
So, when it comes to your location in the digital world, exploiting the physical advantage of being ‘near me’ or ‘near me now or today’ is often overlooked when the sales space can’t be found or compete with online.
Location as a proxy for relevance
As the influence of digital grows across the shopping journey, we have also seen the phenomena that is ‘showrooming’ or ‘ROBO’ (research offline, buy online) and ‘webrooming’ as their counterpart.
Rather than fear or discourage this behaviour we argue that it is forcing physical retailers to raise their game: not only when it comes competing with online over price, but also in location, navigation and engagement.
The consumer will vote with their feet if they can find a better offer more easily in another store, whether that’s online or across the High Street. Embracing digital in-store is essential to head off such challenges.
It not only is a way of providing consumers with the same digital filters they use to search, browse discover and even buy online. It also allows the operator to tie that view of customer activity back to online.
Making store inventory searchable and locatable online, enabling click to reserve or buy and collect in-store, or driving customers in-store with an offer can ‘save the sale’ where it may have gone to a competitor.
Once in-store, make sure the sales space is as navigable and searchable via mobile as customers have become accustomed to online. It’s also possible to speed or smooth journeys through scan and pay or pay at table.
Improve customer engagement via mobile
The aim is to give customers a reason to engage via mobile in-store, to identify themselves in return for greater convenience, choice, transparency, and value, so they can ultimately return and spend more.
By ensuring your location’s place in the digital world and shining the digital light into your physical locations, a new world of omnichannel opportunity can open up to help any retail, hospitality or leisure operator succeed.
Omnichannel Retail: How to Build Winning Stores in a Digital World
by Tim Mason and Miya Knights, was published by Kogan Page on 3rd April 2019, and is priced £19.99.
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