Senior European retailers will be gathering in Berlin next week for the first InternetRetailing Summit. There they will debate and discuss the current state and future development of ecommerce and multichannel retailing. Today we hear from Jens Reich, CMO at Mister Spex, who will be taking part in a summit discussion on what a seamless consumer experience looks like today.InternetRetailing: At the Berlin Summit, you’re speaking on what a seamless consumer experience looks like in the light of the disruptive consumer. Tell us about one particularly interesting change in the way shoppers are now behaving.
Jens Reich, CMO, Mister Spex:
Customers expect more and more of a seamless customer journey. In the old days it was always a clear differentiation between offline and online. In terms of the customer journey, you could go to a store, but probably could not return goods you purchased online in that offline store. The typical online customer would probably not necessarily buy offline and vice versa.
If you ask me, there is no real online/offline today. Nearly everyone possesses a smartphone and you are basically always online. That means that it doesn’t matter if you shop offline or online – you can always compare prices, products and this has led to the customer expecting that the company will let down the barrier of online/offline. That’s one key challenge that is driven by changed customer expectations. IR: How does Mister Spex respond to that change in behaviour?JR:
We’re not a pure online player. We always understood our customers’ emphasis on both the online and offline parts of the journey. It is highly important that you at least offer the possibility to the customer who wants to buy prescription glasses of going to an opticians to have an eye exam to get his or her own correction values. That is something that is highly important for the overall customer journey.
Mister Spex has always worked with others and now we collaborate with as many as 550 offline opticians to ensure the customer can get their eye exam.
Most recently we opened our own offline store in Berlin – there again the customer has a seamless customer experience because the way they can shop online for glasses is very similar to the way they buy glasses offline. There’s the same logic of selecting glasses that might fit your face: it uses the same process and even the same data. A customer can go to our store, return goods, look up their values, and everything is integrated in terms of processes and data. It’s just up to the customer, whatever he or she prefers. IR: How have you taken digital into the store?JR:
Based on all the data we could collect from our customers I think we have a pretty good understanding of what a customer expects from a glasses retailer. We took the online experience to the next level and transformed that into, we think, an improved offline experience.
What we do differently is to guide the customer. If you go to a normal optician, you might see 300 to 500 pairs of glasses. We differentiate between men and women, so everyone knows they can forget about this 50% but the other 50% is relevant. That cuts the relevant set by half. Then, we guide the customer through different shapes, different frame shapes and sizes and sort by a logic that enables the customer to really quickly find his or her own favourite model.
Early results in our store show that customers really use this logic online and offline to find the right pair of glasses, they prefer this to being overwhelmed by a huge and unsorted number of frames and styles. IR: How do you see this consumer/retailer relationship developing in the future?JR:
I think it will get even more important to understand the customer in order to offer the right product, at the right price and at the right time.
This is where data intelligence comes into play, which we’ve been working on for eight years in the online environment. By having lots of data, you can really understand the customer very well. Combined with data from offline store, that gives us a good, very complete picture of consumer behaviour that helps us to better understand shopping behaviour. This will be important going forward and this will also make the differentiation between different retailers. IR: What do retailers need to be doing now as they plan for that kind of future? One big priority you think they should have?JR:
You for sure need a data warehouse, a data infrastructure. The buzzword is ‘integrated’. You need to make sure you capture all the different touchpoints that the customer uses, but also use that information to offer a seamless interaction with the customer. That means the customer doesn’t get sent away because he’s in the store but ordered online. That’s something no customer in the future will understand any more and that will be crucial.IR: Apart from your own presentation what are you most looking forward to about the IR Summit?JR:
I’m looking forward to the exchange with different retailers and etailers in that field to see where they see the challenges and also to understand how they tackle those challenges. Topics like customer centricity, especially in marketing, would be highly relevant. Understanding the infrastructure tools that other retailers successfully use is highly interesting because it’s a brand new field that’s just developing now.Jens Reich will be taking part in a discussion on What does a seamless consumer experience look like today? Meeting the demands of the new breed of disruptive consumer at the InternetRetailing Summit, which takes place at Andel's Hotel, Berlin between June 27 and June 29.
That will also be the location for the launch of the InternetRetailing Europe Top500 (IREU 500).
To find out more visit the InternetRetailing Summit page or contact Andrew.Britten-Austin@internetretailingevents.com.