One of the main messages to come out of Internet Retailing Expo last month was that retailers need to start thinking across all channels about how to deliver experiences to consumers in an attempt to keep them loyal. If you don’t believe me watch all the vids from the SoLoMo part of the event here
and count how many times they say ‘experience’.
But this isn’t just a case of bandwagoneering, consumers have driven retailers to this point of view as they have rapidly – perhaps more rapidly than ever before – shifted their shopping behaviour from a tried and trusted store/online model to one where they are researching, showrooming, then buying – all from a range of devices and touchpoints.
It comes then as no surprise that in the week that Tescos abandons (well, for now) its plan to take over the world and focus instead on becoming the “best multichannel retailer” for customers that much of this week’s newsletter is not taken up with apps and m-web developments, but more in how retailers need to look at how to make these touchpoints happen and how they need to rely more and more on data to get them to where they want to go.
Now, usually data is a big yawn, but it is becoming the key thing that retailers need to collect, mine and act on – often and increasingly dynamically – to make sure that consumers are getting the service that they want. And key to gathering this data is, as ever, the mobile.
It is a really hackneyed old truism that mobile is the glue that holds multi-channel together, but increasingly this is becoming the case. Only it is not so much what you can do with a mobile as a retailer, but more looking at how your customers use mobile as part of the multi-touchpoint retailing paradigm (did I really just say that? Gulp).
Data is key and acting on that data is what will unlock the door to making everyone better multi-channel retailers. However, most retailers don’t even have the basics in place yet. According to Sponge, 76% of major high street retailers don’t have wifi in store. This is a huge boo-boo. It may look a bit pricey up front, but getting people on your network where you can see what they are doing is vital. Its also a nice warm fuzzy feeling for the customer too, since getting mobile broadband coverage is getting more and more difficult as everyone’s smartphones clog up the creaking MNO networks.
This summer I suspect most majors will roll out wifi – some will also start looking at m-payments and even a total rethink of the POS experience – and by the tail end of this year we are likely to see a much better, more targeted approach to consumers across all channels.