My last blog talked about the challenges of becoming an omnichannel retailer, and how stores are still learning how to make changes that cut across their entire business. We discussed how, appearances to the contrary, omnichannel selling is still about meeting a basic business requirement – finding the best outcome for you and your customer. However, finding these outcomes is a more complex proposition than it used to be.
Logically, to achieve consistent outcomes you need to achieve consistent consumer outreach, input, and sales approaches. But stores are also facing the demand to create a more personalized sales experience. How do you meet these seemingly contrary requirements? The key here is to find new ways to reach out to shoppers as part of the whole shopping experience, no matter what the channel.
For example, Cisco’s Remote Expert solution is a way to offer unique, personalized, yet centralized retail experiences for customers. It connects each shopper with a product expert wherever they are located, in real time, via mobile, immersive, or on-site channels. You save by leveraging your experts across single or multiple locations and devices using a pool of experts who may or may not be co-located, instead of providing expertise at every site or asking them to travel extensively. Retailers can also use the same solution to host training and corporate meetings, or to enable store feedback on products and merchandising. The result is a personalized shopping experience at a lower cost for the store.
Pretty sweet, don’t you think? To learn more, take the time to attend the webcast “Just Ask the Expert: Connect Your Shoppers to Virtual Experts, Anywhere, Any Time,” being held on Nov. 7. You can register here.
Truly omnichannel technologies are designed to support cost savings and efficiency, providing a more seamless interface for service that is customized for the shopper. As I said in my last blog, these approaches focus first and foremost on customer needs, making it easier to do business with your company. A customer-centric strategy cuts across the business and all its channels, creating a different kind of relationship between you and your shoppers. See what Retail Systems Research has to say in their latest report about omnichannel strategies.
I love retail trivia! Comment below if you know the answer to this question: What is the second-most visited retail business in America? (Wal-Mart is first.)
Tags: Cisco, customer, multi-channel, omnichannel, remote expert, retail, Rose Depoe, sales, selling, shopper
Have been thinking about the retail implications of an early May article in the Wall Street Journal.
“Renting Prosperity” (by Daniel Gross, May 5) spoke to the growing trend of rental – and not just in the traditional housing or automotive markets. Numerous other rental business have emerged in recent years, from the Zipcar car-sharing plan to the Chegg.com college textbook service to the one million customers who have used Rent the Runway’s frock-and-accessory services.
The obvious implication for retail is all about new business models. A number of traditional brick-and-mortar players are now testing the waters. We’re aware of initiatives in which purveyors of hard goods are renting clothes washing machines by the load and high-end consumers of electronics are leasing home theatre set-ups and even iPads – along with monthly subscriptions, say, to Netflix.
But the lessons of the rental trend go deeper than simply a new business model.
Read More »
Tags: business model, Jon Stine, multi-channel, orchestration, provider, rent, retail, shoppers
Thinking about the intersection of the internet and the store, the mash-up of retail’s virtual and physical worlds.
And wondering if something as out-of-sight as the industry’s performance metrics will get in the way of progress.
When e-commerce entered retail life in the mid-1990s, it was understandably regarded as just another channel of distribution – indeed, as just one more store. With this perspective, the key performance metric was (and generally remains to this day) site revenue. Conversion, another key metric, was defined as site transactions as a percent of site visits.
This still makes sense – but at a narrow, misleading level, because e-commerce no longer defines the connected world for retail.
In this age of Google and Facebook, the primary value today of the Internet to the shopper – and to your brand – is less about transactions, and more about search. On the PC, on the tablet, on the mobile devices, amidst the aisles.
The Internet – and the search function of the ever-mobile Internet – is now the front door of the entire brand.
In this past January, according to comScore, Americans conducted 18.6 billion total search queries (roughly 11.9 billion on Google alone). That’s 81 searches per month for every one of the 231 million Americans said to be accessing the Internet on a regular basis. Last year, the search market grew by 12% – the sum of a 4% increase in searchers, and 8% growth in searches per person.
According to comScore’s February 2011 study, 58% of US consumers begin their shopping journey with search. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2010 research, a typical day finds 21% of American adults searching for product information – up from 15% just three years earlier.
Given that online transactions total just 7% of US annual retail revenue, much of that online search opens the door to a store-based transaction.
Which suggests a new set of metrics to complement the old.
Do the math.
Tags: e-commerce, metrics, multi-channel, retail, retailing