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RetailX and Dune London – Panelist discussion best bits

Rewatch the panelist webinar best bits

Watch our brand new panelist webinar now for a deep dive discussion on everything retail: from connecting with customers, shifting online and promoting sustainability, through to people-pleasing, popular payments and post-pandemic predictions! 

During the event, Ian Jindal was joined by a fantastic line-up of ecommerce experts, including speakers from Klarna, The Dune Group and Critizr who shared their industry insight with us.  

For those of you who missed out – or for those who just want to relive the experience – don’t worry! We’ve collated some of the best bits down below…

Elaine Smith, head of district product at The Dune Group, kicked off the conversation by telling us about trading during the pandemic.

She explained that The Dune’s Group’s focus quickly shifted towards digital and made them realise that they needed a bigger, better platform if they wanted to keep up – whether that be adding new ranges or managing shipping methods. 

“We manage the entire replatform online and haven’t had a single face-to-face meeting with our SI. We went live a few weeks ago.” 

On expansion 

“We’ve had to look at online marketplaces and other channels. And we’ve also continued to open our own stores as well, including a raft of outlet stores.

“Typically with footwear, people aren’t always loyal brand shoppers. So you have to be out there in front of them wherever they want to be and not think they’re going to actively seek you.” 

On supporting store colleagues

“We have mobile devices in the stores so that they can use that for clienteling and shop on our website. We provide them with all of the necessary product data, stock availability – all of that so they can serve the customers and obviously expand the ranges beyond their four walls.” 

Smith went on to share that 80% of The Dune Group’s traffic is mobile and so a key goal is to improve its store pages and discoverability for customers. One day they hope to create a connected journey where the customer can reserve a pair of shoes on the high street, from their mobile and be notified when they’re ready to collect. 

On sustainability 

“We’re making our boxes recyclable. We’re trying to reduce the amount of plastic that we include with them in the stores. We’re trying to move away from plastic bags.”

The returns process is also a key component of The Dune Group’s next steps towards a greener future, we discovered. 

Smith commented: “We’re looking at what we can do to reduce that overhead…we also  work with charity partners where we can send shoes to be recycled.”

Hazel Morton, Head of Growth Marketing at Critizr delved into the changes and challenges brought about by the coronavirus crisis. 

“91% of retailers state Covid-19 has impacted their customer journey,” she began. 

“Of all the retailers we surveyed only grocery and DIY said they saw increased in store traffic, where everyone  else said the traffic moved online.” We quickly came to the entertaining conclusion that this was likely due to the fact that a day out to your local Wickes was about the only way to get out in lockdown…well, besides the park. 

“Covid has also accelerated innovation,” Morton added. Some restaurants, for instance, needed innovation to continue to serve customers and had to start offering take away services to survive the pandemic period. When interviewed by Klarna, they stated that “it was like setting up a whole new business”.

On proximity and connecting with customers

Moving our focus onto the customer, we discussed the value of interaction and how it has been emphasised during the pandemic. Morton emphasised that customers are looking to move away from one way comms, towards actual conversation and chat to retailers in the same way they would with their friends. 

“As retailers, we have to be extra connected to customers and do everything we can to ensure that in-store visits are the best they can be.” 

We also spoke about the potential of Google business messages, a feature recently switched on by Critizr which allows customers to directly contact local retailers for one-to-one chats. 

This has received fantastic feedback so far, as demonstrated in this quote from Stéfen Bompais, Director of Customer Experience & Employee Engagement France and Group, Carrefour: “Interactions with our customers via digital and physical channels are real diamonds: they are thousands of opportunities to better understand our customers’ expectations, to forge a sincere and lasting emotional bond and to create a close relationship.” 

Marc Ó Fathaigh , Head of Merchant Success at Klarna shared some authoritative insight on new trends that arose during lockdown.

On new payment methods

When asked about how newer online shoppers were adapting to paying online, Ó Fathaigh stated: “40- 54 traditionally will be credit card users. And what we’ve seen across the US and the UK in particular, is people reducing their credit card debt during the pandemic.” 

“People were shifting from credit cards to buy now pay later,” he added. We learned that this was common amongst those lucky enough to stay in employment who had paid off their credit cards and were ready to try out new payment methods. 

On the mature customer

Klarna UK spend data from June 2020 reveals that Gen X (40-54) was the age segment that grew at the fastest rate during the lockdown period, and is now the second largest segment of Klarna’s UK consumer spend. The next fastest growing segment during June was those aged 54+

On live shopping 

“With the acceleration of online shopping around the world, and the livestream market in China expected to hit $125 billion this year”, Ó Fathaigh revealed. 

Circling back to the idea of consumers craving community, we discussed how live streaming could be the answer when it comes down to the online space: 

“When you’re browsing online, it’s a very personal, very lonely experience – just you and the computer and you and your mobile phone. Whereas the live shopping element brings us a bit more community to us.” 

Lasty, we talked about Klarna’s app which saw three times the volume compared to an average weekend in 2020, following the success of last year’s Hauliday event. 

For further insight from our expert guests, you can watch the full webinar by registering below.

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