We look back on ecommerce predictions for the High Street and mobile retail that were given in 2013.
Now, with our own digital marketer working with a company that promises the biggest advancement in commerce technology in a decade, is the following still true?
Beacons are taking over and one company, that’s about to launch, has already discovered the best ways to make beacons work for any business, while integrating ecommerce and mcommerce to offer the ultimate customer experience.
This company is not yet ready to reveal itself, so in the meantime, let’s see if these predictions from the UK’s leading ecommerce researchers have come to fruition.
If you took a news team and a microphone to the local High Street and asked real customers what they envisage it to be like in a decade, you’d probably hear many similar views. With big brand giants such as Comet, HMV and Jessops failing, the public believe that the High Street shop will be no more and virtually all shopping will be done online.
However one company believes there is a way where we can keep our High Streets, where we can still find the best deals online but also retain the face to face customer service we enjoy when stepping into a store. His name is John Curnow and he heads Omnico, a company whose name reveals their ethos.
If Ominico isn’t yet familiar to you, that maybe because it is the result of two companies coming together to provide an Omni channel solution to retailers, along with effective traditional multichannel options that are familiar today. Omnico is an amalgamation of the better known Digipos and Clarity, leaders in the field of providing customer engagement solutions.
What is Omni channel Retailing?
Currently many companies adopt the multi-channel marketing strategy where they may have separate providers for their mobile, online and High Street stores; however Omni channel ensures these all link up seamlessly so each can gain information from the other to engage customers, increase sales and to monitor customer behaviour.
An example John Curnow gave me was:
Imagine your favourite supermarket.
You begin your shopping list from a laptop at home, on the move you may add items as you receive requests from the family, then when arriving in the store you receive offers that save you money on items you’d already decided to buy.
Or another that could have saved Comet from the “showrooming” effect”
You enter the store to browse the TVs, Comet has WI FI so you can assess other offers while in store, however, you’ve also received a loyalty discount from Comet that lets you know that if you buy it now you receive 10% off, added to this, they can deliver the same day and they will throw in the HDMI cables for free.
Can you really be bothered to go home, find a better deal, work out if it’s cheaper once delivery is factored in and then take a gamble on if all the parts will arrive within the next 14 days?
John believes this new form of customer loyalty will give customers what they want, when they want it.
The Consumer Holds All the Power
I asked John what he thought retailers should be doing to combat show rooming, and if he had any thoughts on the demise of Jessops and HMV.
He declared that retailers need to embrace the changes and move with them rather than fight against them as the power is no longer in their hands. Consumers have unlimited choice and their behaviour needs to be analysed in order to give them what they want. It is this analysing and delivery that will enable retailers to use customer loyalty schemes and to engage the consumer so they don’t simply go somewhere else to source the cheapest.
This verifies the suspicion I’ve had myself for a while, as a consumer. At first the convenience of shopping online was exciting and profitable however now many people miss the personal touch that comes from excellent customer service. As a copywriter and journalist I always urge businesses to make every reader and visitor feel valued as we all reminisce about the days where we were treated as an individual rather than a statistic. Many people miss the chatter and the friendliness they’d receive from the local shops and now the purse strings are tighter than ever consumers need to feel valued in order to part with their hard earned cash, however we are a nation of “have it alls” and although we believe we want this service back, in reality we really haven’t the time.
So does Omni channel retailing solve this for us? Jon explains:
“Customers will showroom and they will go elsewhere looking for the cheapest however the trick is to target the customer before this happens. If retailers can understand their behaviour they can give them an offer that saves them time and money and satisfies every criterion so they simply can’t be bothered with shopping around.”
What does John think the High Street will look like in five years’ time?
“I think Argos is a good example although a few years ago people didn’t think it would work, but they cut down costs by having only limited stock on display however customers can pick up almost anything from their local store as long as it’s in their catalogue. This distribution of goods, transferring stock from one end of the country to the other may become more popular, producing more order points and more abilities to reserve online.”
I also believe retailers will focus more on giving the consumer what they want, when they want it and how they want it, as only by understanding the consumer will retailers be able to ensure their custom.