Digital trends for multichannel retail

With the number of e-retail startups entering the landscape, soon retail brands would find it difficult to differentiate the value proposition. Though ecommerce would be driving incremental revenue, for complete business transformation, retail would be focussing on multichannel optimization in the coming years.

According to Neoworks – the ecommerce people:

The focus of retail multichannel improvement will be on people and services, rather than technology and processes. Retailers are asking “how are customers engaging with my brand?” and “how can we design services that will meet the needs of our customers?”. The answers to these questions come through research and data analysis.

Below are some of the Multichannel Retail Trends for 2016 that have dominated various conferences in the last 1 year:

Data storytelling through Business Intelligence

How can we narrate our brand story through data? In short, how can my current data help me take better decisions for my brand? In 2016 we should expect more investment in business intelligence tools and data mining.

Every brand is trying to make some sense of their business data which is piling up at the speed of light. A decision on which data is relevant and which data is just noise is the first step that companies need to take if they want to make sense of all the data that they are capturing.

Need for understanding customer journey during different buying stages

Research evidence has always helped business leaders to make better decisions. In 2016 more retailers will be investing in research to incorporate the voice of the customer in product development and service improvement.

Questions like ‘How should the brand behave in terms of range of products, price, supply chain and services?’ are common areas for voice of the customer analysis.

From a business perspective, the focus on understanding the customers by listening to them and then using the information to market differently, sell differently and support differently as well as redesign processes is becoming a key differentiator for retailers.

Change happens through people, not through technology or processes

Einstein once said:

I fear the day when technology will surpass human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiots.

And he was spot on right. Technology needs to address the pain only till the point it is not pain in itself.

More than technology, for an organization to drive change, they need vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan. If one of those elements is missing transformation is not possible.

Successful organisational change is an adaptive process that requires the coordinated efforts of a wide range of people at all levels of an organization that are collectively seeking the same positive outcome.

Integration of the high street with the online e-commerce businesses

Most retailers have a multichannel strategy but only a few are going above and beyond the basic services such as wifi, contactless payment and click and collect.

While Line busting which is a wonderful way to manage your POS (Point of sale) is yet to take off in a big way, clienteling and endless aisle are becoming increasingly visible on the high street around the globe.

Multichannel service design

Service design is an interdisciplinary approach that combines many different tools and disciplines. In 2016 more retailers will be developing humanised services designing customer journeys that are alive and interactive.

Companies that understand the opportunity will support customer needs more effectively. Offering a differentiated and consistent customer experience can strengthen loyalty and generate sustainable value.

Multichannel Reality for Small Business Retail

Traditional stores will certainly exist ten years from now, but they will not look the same as today. Many traditional retailers will disappear as competition remains fierce and input costs continue to rise. Others will fail because of an inability to adapt or to change their business model to a multichannel reality in which boundaries between the online and physical worlds disappear.

The future winners among today’s bricks-and-mortar retailers will be those that take the future seriously and are good at managing change.

Increase online sales in 4 easy steps

One of the toughest tasks for any digital publishing or media company is to increase their online sales year on year. Technology has changed the way media business sells its offering to its potential clients. Gone are the days when your brand name was more than enough to achieve your online sales targets.
CMOs have become way too tech savvy now which puts the conventional, charming, cold-calling sales & BD specialist in a tight spot.
Lets face it, you cannot fool the client over few pints of beer or cups of coffee (well, not every time at least 🙂 ). The usual charm tactics of old days can take you only so far ahead.

An online sales person’s biggest battle is to find out, what does the client really wants?

Here is a simple sales checklist that would help your sales team step into the brand manager’s shoes, and eventually increase online sales:

Building Accountability

Let me re-phrase this from pre-sales standpoint, it actually means “Intent”. If your proposition offers a bland promise of delivering x no of impressions, y% click-thru & z% conversions, Reach/ SOV etc. etc., it will not get the marketing teams excited because 99.9% proposals have the same offering.

At times it is advisable to follow the rule book, just to be on the safe side. But, in order to shine in the heap, you need to build & highlight the accountability metrics in the form of showing Intent towards achieving all marketing objectives stated in the RFP brief document. Your pre-sales efforts should be to make the client believe, that all your efforts are clinically focused towards delivering a strong value to the brand.

Relevant Experience

Lets just say, nobody wishes to put their marketing dollars in the hands of a layman. It is normal human behaviour to reduce the risk by following/doing something which is tried & tested. Today, when client has so many options, they always want to opt for the safest option first that can deliver the results. No wonder brands like Google are the biggest beneficiary of that mindset. Hence, it is highly recommended to showcase your strengths in the respective category and even if you do not have any past experience in that domain, you must demonstrate it visually through some past case study as to how you delivered those metrics for some other brand.

Knowing the Customer

Get this thing in your head, every client wants you to come prepared with your research on the basic target audience of the brand. They want you to know, not just the nuances about your own product but also the basic elements of audience segmentation. In the world of media, marketeers are paying millions of dollars, just to interact with the right audience, hence it is absolutely vital for them to know if you have a clear understanding about their market. During your Pre sales research about any prospect(brand), make sure you have created a ready to use guide about the client for reference purposes. This would include the most basic level information about the brand i.e. their core target audience, list of products, info about their most recent ATL, BTL, Online, Mobile, Social Brand/ tactical campaigns along with any other company information/development. You never know when it would come to your rescue during the marathon client meetings.

Technically Yours

If you are selling a perfume, you can glorify its fragrance only if you understand the sense of smell. I guess Technology is no different, your words would mean nothing unless you demonstrate your love and passion towards technology through Technology.

Your Sales team members should not just be knowing about the product, they should believe in their product and should be perceived as ad-tech specialists by one and all. Remember, they are your true brand custodians at all times.

In a multiscreen world, everything is online

Multi Screen User Behavior Analysis

One does not require to browse any strategic research to acknowledge the growth of digital devices. It is more than apparent now that consumer is not going to stay happy with just a single (TV) screen. From Television to PC to Mobile phones to Smartphones & now Tablets, consumer is hungry for more & more screens to satiate his hunger for information, content & communication. With the advent of more & more devices, consumer’s attention span on any single device is getting minimal but his habit of screen hopping is rising exponentially. The trend is certainly in the favour of new age media specialists who have learn to thrive in randomness.

There are few eye opening trends which have forced us to look at Multi Screen user behaviour as the next big wave in the media industry, not just from theoretical perspective but from pure business standpoint as well, here’s why:

If you notice the graph below, according to the latest comscore reports, Almost 40% of total TV viewing audience across all age groups (in US) are showing light TV viewing
pattern.

US Average TV viewing per week ( by age group ) - Comscore 2013

The trend doesn’t change much on weekends(refer to graph below) where Almost 40% viewers are falling in zero to light viewership status. This clearly suggests that consumption is shifting in big numbers to other devices.

US Weekend TV viewing analysis (by age group ) - Comscore 2013

Lets look at couple of more interesting statistics in this regard. To tell you honestly, I was not surprised by this one, especially when I myself an owner of multiple information/ communication devices.

According to comScore data, Over 70% of US consumers (all ages) are now using TV & PC in the same room

US Multi Screen viewership Pattern Analysis - Comscore 2013

Close to 65% are watching TV while surfing computer at the same time.

US TV Watching while using other gadgets like PC
It is however even more interesting to see what these users are surfing while they are watching TV. According to comScore data,
Multi Screen Marketing - reasons for watching TV shows online
57% of audience at least once watch their TV show online.
This is a great eye opener for all broadcast companies to rejig their programming strategy. This can open up not just new revenue opportunities for all content owners but a step towards a handshake between traditional & new media marketing companies.

Alarmingly, 67% users are watching their favourite shows online.

because they missed it on TV or they want to match it to their schedule, classic example of a modern family who is on the move or hectic lifestyle/busy with jobs/ kids at home with remote control in their hands.

The statistics above clearly demonstrate a paradigm shift in the social landscape which is now becoming more predominant as the number of nuclear families increasing day by day. As media & marketing professionals, we cannot afford to have a narrow point of view about things simply because the line between online and offline is about to vanish.

Before I sign off here, I would like to leave you with this Keynote speech  on “Winning with Mobile in a Multi-Screen World” from Bon Mercado Head of Mobile, Google