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Omnichannel Retail: The Digital Imperative

Seize Digital
Author: Miya Knights

Eagle Eye is excited to announce the launch of a new book, Omnichannel Retail: How to Build Winning Stores in a Digital World, by our CEO, Tim Mason, to help deliver profitable, bricks and mortar retail in the digital age.

To mark today’s publication, this first blog in a weekly series of 12, serialises the book chapter by chapter, and includes exclusive excerpts as a preview of its key themes and recommendations. Subscribe to the blog series and enter to win a signed copy of the book here.

If I had to pick one key theme underpinning Omnichannel Retail, it would be the digital imperative facing all operators of customer-facing physical spaces to both compete with and complement e-commerce growth.

Having had the privilege of working with Tim to bring the wealth of his industry experience and learnings to life in this book, the one irrefutable change we both agreed was its foundation was the advent of internet.

  “The internet is undeniably the biggest and most relevant recent change in retail because of its impact on the way businesses engage with and serve customers. Where the average business traditionally operated a single, physical sales channel – the store – many now support multiple digital and physical sales and marketing channels, through the store and e-commerce websites and marketplaces to social media networks and traditional advertising media, including print, television and radio.

  “So much so, the bright shiny uplands available with a blended digital retail presence that can seamlessly adapt its offerings and services consistently across all channels would be named ‘omnichannel’ if you could find it on a map.” (Mason, T., Knights, M. Omnichannel Retail, p9, Kogan Page.)

Learning from loyalty

Based on this premise, Tim applies his marketing knowledge from the launch of Tesco Clubcard, as the first major grocery loyalty scheme to the principles of customer insight and loyalty with digital execution today.

The mechanics of Clubcard enabled Tesco to better understand its customers and subsequently became a key driver of Tesco’s success, the learnings of which Tim explores in more detail in Chapter 2’s Analogue Learnings.

  “Having spent a large part of my career in senior management roles at Tesco, I have been frequently asked to speak about the Tesco phenomenon, under the heading of ‘Customer-centred growth’. I would explain that Tesco was motivated by two psychological drivers: an obsession with the customer and paranoia about competitors. These two traits drove the hyperactivity that characterized Tesco as it grew at its fastest. By then, I had been with Tesco for over 20 years, and I had worked directly for Sir Terry Leahy for 18 of them…” (Mason, T., Knights, M. Omnichannel Retail, p5, Kogan Page.)

  “…The reason I outline this brief precis of 30 years at Tesco and beyond from the outset is because it enables me to declare my hand early: I believe in the power of marketing to drive exceptional performance; I believe in putting the customer at the centre of everything; I believe in developing customer loyalty and the power of customer data; and I believe in the effectiveness of direct marketing. Latterly I have come to believe that all of those things can be achieved better, more simply and more cheaply by harnessing the opportunity of digital connection and engagement.” (Mason, T., Knights, M. Omnichannel Retail, p6, Kogan Page.)

The digital black hole

We all, as consumers, use internet-connected digital and mobile tools to connect to people, places and things. This has led to a fundamental shift in the ways businesses should interact with consumers wherever they are.

Nearly 60% of US retail sales will be impacted by digital channels by 2022.1 Yet most retail digital capability significantly lags the opportunity, where most stores and other physical sales locations are a digital black hole.

To find out how to harness the opportunity to digitally connect to your customers and use the data they generate to run a better business with an enhanced digital marketing offer, be sure to read next week’s blog.

Omnichannel Retail: How to Build Winning Stores in a Digital World by Tim Mason and Miya Knights, is out 3rd April 2019, published by Kogan Page and priced £19.99.

Make sure you don’t miss the rest of this series! Subscribe here to receive the latest blog previewing a chapter of Tim’s book each week and be entered into a prize draw to win one of 12 signed copies!

1 Kodali, S, Swerdlow, F and Wolken, S (2018) Digitally Impacted Retail Sales In 2018: Still Only Half of Retail, Forrester, 26 March