Tag Archives: Omnichannel

Marc Bolland’s departure from M&S leaves behind an omnichannel legacy

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Marc Bolland’s announcement yesterday has certainly generated some negative press towards the departing CEO of a UK institution that remains one of the country’s biggest and diverse retailers. With many offering “sage” advice to the perceived problems which contributed to a dip in the share price following a full day’s trading, let’s not forget that where other big retailers have spectacularly failed over the last six years, Mr Bolland and the M&S team haven’t done so bad.

Whilst GM (General Merchandise) sales may be down 5.8% in the last quarter and across the year, Mr Bolland did what he set out to achieve six years ago; to a save the retailer which had no digital strategy.

This included three core objectives: food, infrastructure and online presence for the retailer. Each and every objective has been completed and exceeded with M&S food up 3.7% despite not being a grocer in the traditional sense or having an online home delivery food service which helps to bolster trading.

The infrastructure has avoided any embarrassing PR disasters, unlike many competitors, by maintaining adequate stock of core lines and delivery timescales, but more importantly it’s the M&S online presence, managed by Bolland appointee Laura Wade-Grey, that the exiting CEO should be proud of and praised for.

The omnichannel experience is exemplified with click and collect accounting for an impressive 62% of online orders, revealed by Bolland himself on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, a statistic which is far higher than many rivals. It accounted for only 17.7% of the industry’s orders in 2014 and is forecasted to rise by 20% in 2015, far below what M&S has managed to actually achieve in 2015.

M&S has successfully created an omnichannel experience which has embraced a digital platform as not merely an add on, but a standalone experience which lends itself neatly to the M&S customer profile, predicted to be an older customer, to convert them into a satisfied online shopper.

This was perhaps facilitated by avoiding the same levy to customers as main rival John Lewis implemented in 2015, adding a £2 click-and-collect charge on purchases costing less than £30, with Tesco recently following the same course. Many users have complained about the change, and let’s also not ignore that there were a few issues surrounding stability and data protection.

However it can’t be ignored that as an e-commerce site which is easy to navigate and use across any device, M&S has created a true omnichannel experience. Offering a consistent brand identity for consumers and a digital platform which works, sales were up 20.9% over the festive period and served to drive footfall into traditional retail, no doubt to the benefit of other retailers and UK plc.

 

Read more at: http://wallblog.co.uk/2016/01/08/marc-bollands-departure-from-ms-leaves-behind-an-omnichannel-legacy/

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Brands should take an omnichannel approach this Black Friday

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As we lead up to the festive peak season and retailers are once again preparing for this year’s Black Friday weekend, the omnichannel experience is still a fundamental part of retail strategy. There has already been a number of sources speculating that this year’s sales will break all the records set last year, including predictions that online sales will surpass the £1bn mark, up from £810m in 2014. Notably, the number of consumers shopping online for Black Friday deals is set to increase to 30%, up from 8% last year.

Clearly, we’re beginning to see the growing importance of online leading up to Christmas and Black Friday, itself made popular by Amazon, whose recent Prime event similarly guaranteed orders and revenue. Although last year’s peak season generated a 10% increase in high street footfall compared to previous years, consumers increasingly seem to be going online for their Black Friday deals.
However, despite the growth of online sales, recent research from Gekko shows that nearly three quarters (74.2%) of shoppers benefit from the touch, feel and physical comparison of products when making purchase decisions. This is especially the case with high ticket electrical items such as a smart TVs or washing machines, where 67% of shoppers are likely or very likely to buy in a physical store, compared with only 46% who would consider buying online. Moreover, more than half (56.8%) of consumers prefer to head onto the high street so that they can seek advice when making a considered purchase.

In an increasingly connected retail landscape, in-store retail sales are gradually feeling more of an impact from online, especially with smart phones offering shoppers a way to price check in their pocket. Barclays recently predicted that 42% of all retail sales will involve a mobile device in some way over the next ten years, clearly showing how brands will need to integrate their online and retail offerings to create consistent branding and the omnichannel experience we now expect.

This peak period, brands need to ensure that their sales and promotions take into account the omnichannel nature of retail today. While online sales will certainly be a focus this year in light of increasing numbers of dedicated online consumers, brands should not neglect the legions of shoppers that will descend on the high street, often using their smart phone to ensure that the deal their considering isn’t cheaper online.

Making sure that your branding in store matches that of your online offering will ensure that the 54% of shoppers that like to research products online before buying in store will continue their customer journey to buy your brand. Placing brand ambassadors in store to support your peak promotions are proven to assist customers looking to purchase considered items, supporting the majority of consumers who want to experience a product or ask advice before making a decision.

Whether buying online or in store, Black Friday is guaranteed to make the headlines this year, either for record sales or for more riots in supermarkets over discount appliances – perhaps it will be both. Black Friday is now a retail institution, which begins the Christmas peak shopping period for both retailers and brands.

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Can the In-Store Experience Complement Online Retail?

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With e-commerce growing at an exponential rate, the value of bricks and mortar is often overlooked. Yet, with 95% of all retail purchases worldwide still made in-store according to Deloitte, the high street and retail outlets are not the dying breed we’re sometimes led to believe. In-store purchases are projected to grow by over £190 million by 2018, so brands should be putting emphasis on improving the in-store experience to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions.

For brands to fully engage with consumers in-store they need a deeper understanding of the shopper journey as a whole. It’s about getting to grips with increasingly complex buying behaviours. With consumers using both online and in-store research to make purchasing decisions, particularly on considered ‘high ticket’ products, brands should be proactively using online data to enhance the customer experience in-store.

Getting the blend right

Researching products online whilst in-store, using smartphones and even smartwatches is becoming more common among consumers. As shoppers become increasingly more connected, 20% of shoppers measure high street prices online and purchase products via mobile devices in-store, according to research by Shopper Tribes. It’s clear that new technologies are having a significant impact on the retail experience.

To meet the ever-demanding needs of consumers, forward-thinking brands are increasingly using social media to engage with their target audience. Among 18 to 35 year olds, 14% are using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores and 15% use social platforms to discuss products with their peers. While social media is a popular way to engage with the younger generation, brands need to understand how to cater to every age group. For example, shoppers aged 55 and over prefer to use online research to help them make informed decisions when purchasing electronic goods in-store. In an evolving omnichannel landscape, a one size fits all approach will not work if brands seek to cater to consumers across the board.

Making it personal

While e-commerce is changing the way people shop, the average online shopping basket is broadly made up of smaller purchases. As such, when it comes to high ticket consumer and luxury brands, the high street remains the destination of choice for making a purchase. As shoppers, we will always be motivated by the ability to touch, feel and experience products before making considered purchases. Living in a digital world, the brand you desire to wear and use remains an expression of your identity and lifestyle. Having the opportunity to view products in-person rather than through a screen is a rewarding experience for shoppers.

Ultimately, the benefits of shopping in-store can outweigh the convenience of purchasing items online. However, for consumers to realise the unique selling points of the in-store retail experience, integrating an omnichannel approach is key. If consumers are researching products online, branding in-store should be streamlined to improve sales and product recall to enhance the customer journey. By using ATL advertising across digital platforms, including social media, brands can drive shoppers in store, leading to improved conversion rates and profitability long term.

Retail outlets and the high street can offer a sensory experience for shoppers that the virtual world struggles to compete with. It’s about building and enhancing this emotional connection with customers to make the in-store experience memorable and rewarding.

 

Read more at: http://performancein.com/news/2015/08/12/can-store-experience-complement-online-retail/

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Will Rugby World Cup sponsorship reap the benefits for brands?

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As the dust settles on the Fifa scandals, meaning sponsors can keep a low profile for now, the attention now turns to the Rugby World Cup which is being held in the UK. Yes that’s correct, here at home, not that many have noticed.

It’s interesting to hear that Heineken is to push 50% of its marketing budget into Rugby World Cup sponsorship in an effort to ‘maintain its recent sales momentum and continue its association with ‘world class events’.

With the tournament starting on 17 September to the 31 October, will supporters – whether die hard or casual – be captivated for a full six weeks? More importantly, will sponsors reap the benefits before viewer apathy possibly settles in?

Statistics have shown that 20.6 million Brits tuned into the Football World Cup final in 2014, compared to just six million for the previous Rugby World Cup final in 2011. So with a longer period to keep a global audience engaged and fewer viewers, the challenge for sponsors is how do you engage with consumers to reap the rewards of sponsorship? That’s a lot of beer over and above that would have been sold to balance the 50% investment.

To keep consumers interested throughout, brands need to involve consumers in the sport, not just the tournament itself. Dedicated fans will stay interest regardless, but to keep non-fans interested there needs to be a connection to the actual sport. Using an omni-channel experience to guide consumers between online and in store is the best way for brands to create this engagement.

As part of its online strategy for the tournament, Coca-Cola is running an on-pack giveaway where consumers can enter a code online to potentially win a Coca-Cola branded, World Cup Gilbert Rugby ball. As with many past sporting events sponsored by the brand, Coca-Cola is encouraging consumers to enjoy their products whilst watching the tournament, but also to get involved and play the game itself.

By creating this engagement, the brand is ensuring continued consumer interest in the sport, and as a result the larger tournament.

Many other sponsors are yet to reveal their online strategies for the tournament, or how they will create this important engagement with fans. With just over a month until the opening ceremony, brands need to start building the hype. Only time will tell if the sponsors can reap the benefits by keeping fans engaged throughout.

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A Digital Challenge for Brands: Creating A Consistent Customer Experience

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Understanding the shopper journey and what motivates a shopper to buy your brand is essential to ensure your brand speaks to your target audience. New research has found that the number of consumers researching products online before buying in-store has decreased by 7 percent over the past year. The study, conducted by OnePoll, asked 2000 respondents what motivates them when shopping in retail. The research reflects the changing relationship between e-commerce and the high-street, the Omni-channel. Buying behaviours are becoming more complex, with consumers increasingly using both in-store and online research when making purchasing decisions, particularly on considered “high ticket” purchases.

Recent research conducted by Epson Europe also found that 45 percent of UK purchases are made online, meaning that the majority of purchases are still made in-store. However the gap is closing, with online sales in the UK making up the largest share in Europe, 7 percent above the average. The study also found that 20 percent of shoppers purchase goods online while in-store via mobile devices, using their in-store visit to guide their online purchases. It’s clear that shoppers are becoming more connected in-store, with smart phones beginning to make a clear impact on retail. Researching products online whilst in-store is common and the norm amongst some, with shoppers now able to compare prices on the shop floor more often and likely to become even more common with the development of wearable technology.

In-store social media use is also increasing among consumers, with 14 percent of 18-to-35 year olds using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores, and 15 percent using social media to discuss products with friends. Engaging with brands and retailers through social media is most prevalent with the younger age category, with older generations shying away from the social experience however, they are increasingly using online research before making purchases. Shoppertribes research identified that 58 percent of shoppers aged 55 and over use online research to aid their in-store purchases of electronic goods, and in crowded categories, brands should not ignore such a statistic. With all age groups engaging with brands across many digital platforms, it is unsurprising that the online experience, be that through e-commerce or social media, is beginning to shape how we chose to shop for certain items and brands, with those in the 35 and under more likely to shop online for smaller purchases, choosing to go down the traditional and more sociable route of shopping on the high street for those rewarding considered purchases.

Although the number of shoppers researching online and buying in-store is decreasing, the importance of the Omni-channel experience remains clear. The impact of e-commerce should not be underestimated as nearly half of all sales, predominantly small as identified by the average online basket, are now made online, a number which will likely increase. However, the primary motivation for consumers to shop in-store remains: ‘the ability to see and touch the product.’ This desire to engage in the brand experience is common with considered purchasing decisions associated with high ticket consumer electronics and luxury brands. Increasingly, in our digitally connected, social media world, the brand you carefully chose to wear, carry, and live with as an expression of your identity and lifestyle needs to be seen in person and not in the virtual world.

The benefits of the in-store experience can outweigh the convenience of shopping online. Brands need to combine their approach with seamless branding between online and in-store experiences and streamline the overall brand experience for consumers. Matching online branding in-store can assist sales by improving product recall to guide consumers through the in-store journey. By using an integrated approach, brands can guide the shopper journey, initially driven by ATL from online and social media recommendations to in-store where the unique selling points in relation to the design and quality of brand products are realised in person, which online can’t always achieve. That retail experience remains more successful in achieving the valuable emotional connection consistent with a brand and keeps “shopping” as a sensory event rather than just another virtual experience.

 

Read more at: http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2015/03/25/a-digital-challenge-for-brands-creating-a-consistent-customer-experience/

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Training: Get in the groove and go with the data flow

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Omnichannel marketing means freeing up your data and schooling employees in the analytic tools necessary to sharing digital content with social networks.

Toshiba, a longstanding client of Gekko, share their views:

For Toshiba, training is all about engagement through interaction. We work with field marketing expert Gekko to ensure our retail field team are fully immersed in the brand through interactive training.

The level of data management with our training allows us to offer more information and knowledge because we are able to have a greater understanding of the hundreds of stores nationwide that carry Toshiba products and promotions.

Data collection, for example, enables us to monitor activity on a highly detailed level, which, in turn, positively affects the information we pass onto store staff. The training element evolves constantly.

We use our own Toshiba tablets to equip staff using information in real time to bring them up to speed on the latest developments and promotions. As more information becomes available, staff are able to learn how to respond to shopping trends and promotions immediately.

It’s essential that store staff are fully up to date with key features and the latest product developments. If staff can project Toshiba’s brand message seamlessly in their approach it will form an intuitive reputation among consumers to drive sales and loyalty.

Read more at: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/trends/training-get-in-the-groove-and-go-with-the-data-flow/4007797.article

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