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IRX 2018 INTERVIEW Steph Osiol of Google on achieving seamless shopping experience in the ‘non-line’ world

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Ahead of this year’s InternetRetailing Expo (IRX 2018) and Delivery Expo (EDX 2018), Steph Osiol, industry manager of Google spoke to InternetRetailing on shopping experience from customers’ point of view and how retailers can bridge a gap between physical and online shopping experience in their endeavour to deliver a seamless one across all channels.

IR: At IRX 2018 you will be discussing the importance of delivering an orchestrated, assistive experience across channels to stay ahead of the competition in a presentation-Bridging online and offline: driving growth in a non-line world. Can you tell me about one challenge that is particularly important in this area? And one major benefit?

SO: Today’s customers are constantly connected. Some 60% of all retail customer journeys now involve digital at some point, and customers expect that they have a seamless experience no matter what channel they choose to shop in. They do not see a distinction between your online brand and your offline brand. Unfortunately, most retailers have not delivered on the promise of a “non-line” journey, and those that have tried have found it expensive and complex.

This is not to say that no one is doing this well, but that no one is making it look easy! Retailers who have successful omnichannel strategies can align and motivate teams towards common goals and also better manage towards profitable sales and lower costs. Most importantly, though, they’ll create more compelling customer experiences that make shopping easy.

IR: What would one piece of advice you give to retailers looking to use data to drive business and not channel goals? Why do you think this is so important?

SO: To move forward in today’s non-line world, retailers need to keep teams focused on business goals. Not channel goals. Not media goals. Setting KPIs based on the offline results of online investments is a good start. Linking offline and online data together can help uncover opportunities to drive additional volume to stores, while also helping tailor the local proposition to customer demand.

This is important because multichannel retailers still have a clear local advantage vs pure plays. The most of retail activity ends in an offline transaction, but many of the retailers we speak to are only starting to scratch the surface on understanding this interaction.

IR: In your view, what’s the most important upcoming trend in multichannel/ecommerce that is set to change the way we shop – and sell? Why do you think this is so important?

SO: Smartphones have been around for about ten years now, but I think that constant connectivity will continue to change how we interact with brands. There is an opportunity to provide shopping assistance in so many ways because consumers turn to their devices in many different moments – to research a product, find a shop, or even purchase.

Think about voice assistance. It’s still early days, but it’s a great example of how technology is increasingly catering to us as unique individuals — (what’s more personal than our unique voices?) — and serving us seamlessly in daily life.

IR: What are you most looking forward to at IRX (beyond your own presentation)?

SO: I love a good panel discussion (and sometimes a debate!), and I’m looking forward to hearing what the others in the Beyond Channels conference track have to say about a changing culture to help teams work together towards business goals. Every organisation is different, but I think we can learn a lot by listening to the experiences of others in the industry and taking inspiration from them. At the very least, you’ll know you’re not alone in this particular challenge.

eDelivery Expo (EDX) 2018 is Europe’s only dedicated fulfilment event covering (S.O.L.D) – Supply Chain, Operations, Logistics and Delivery for multichannel retail takes place on 21-22 March in in Birmingham.

To find out more and to register free for InternetRetailing Expo and eDelivery Expo, visit Get involved on Twitter by following @etailexpo and with the hashtags #IRX18 #EDX18.

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