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Customer experience is top of mind for just about every retailer hoping to survive and thrive in today's incredibly competitive and difficult economic environment.
But while many retailers focus on topics like personalisation and minimising the number of steps in the purchase journey, they shouldn't forget that an important part of overall customer experience is the post-purchase experience they deliver.
The omnichannel revolution has begun.
In a 2016 study, Nielsen found that 87% of Australian consumers 'often' or 'sometimes' look at an item online before buying it in a store.
Recent research by Google backs this up. According to its data, more than two in five (42%) of in-store consumers research online while in stores.
How is retail being changed by digital?
What better way to find out than by looking at six icons of retail, three from the US (Macy's, Walmart, Walgreens) and three from the UK (John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and Boots).
Here are their digital transformation journeys, as they fight to compete with online and agile competitors.
Why are we still talking omni-bollocks, when we should be talking retail?
Why all the jargon?
Why all the omni-channel cliches and the multi-channel job titles? Why all the endless debates about whether digital is right for a brand or not, or digital versus in-store?
QR codes never really took off in the West.
I had nothing against them, just their implementation (on a creative and a technical level).
However, I wanted one at the weekend so I could leave feedback about a store visit.
According to the IMRG Capgemini Sales Index, online sales accounted for 27% of UK retail sales in 2015. That’s £114bn.
But obviously digital provides more than just a sales channel.
With so many retailers going through a digital transformation programme, I wanted to try to cut through the jargon and define exactly what a digitally transformed retailer should look like.
Whilst multi-device consumption is quite typical, for a marketer these usage patterns can be difficult to navigate and gaining a clear view of the user journey can be challenging.
So, how to improve cross-device measurement and deliver a seamless brand experience, with relevant, timely messages to audiences across all screens?
More data is not necessarily a good thing.
It needs to be actionable, providing marketers with insight. If it's not, then perhaps now is the time to invest in new technology.
American author H Jackson Brown Jnr once said, ‘The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best to read the weekly Econsultancy digital marketing stats round-up.’
That is a fact, which means it’s true.
But let’s not start Googling what Jackson Brown Jnr really said and accusing me of making things up. Just relax and take a look at this fine set of digital marketing stats.
Of all the buzzwords in the ecommerce industry, there is one that has created plenty of confusion among consumers and retailers alike: omnichannel commerce.
The name looks funny, and what's the difference between omnichannel and multichannel anyway?
'Omnichannel customer experience' and 'single customer view'; two terms that cause many a marketers' eyes to roll.
There's no doubt that these two concepts have been realised by a select few, bleeding edge brands, but they can be trotted out as best practice without much pragmatism.
Econsultancy's Multichannel Customer Intelligence report in partnership with Station10 looks at how brands have tackled the issue of integrating data into their organisations across multiple channels.
I thought I'd treat you to some choice quotes.
We’re obsessed with the evolution of the shopping experience.
Established retailers are trying to learn more about their customers’ shopping habits. The ones getting it wrong are trying to mash tech and the store together into one unwieldy omnichannel concept that turns the customer cold.
This can be summed up as “the screen in the corner that nobody wants to use”.