As a retail consultant, your life and times revolve around jargons! Upon reading an article recently on ’Click and Collect’ in a leading daily, I had taken it to be a new addition to the large heap of jibes or buzzwords, typical to retail. A number of terms like Customised Shopping Experience, Omni-channel retailing, Crowd-sourcing, and online retail marketing have been sending ripples across all marquee retail events worldwide, where each person, be it the retail marketing companies, manufacturers or retailers have been painstakingly and proudly explaining each such ’Retagons’ to goggle-eyed audiences. Yes! A personal addition, Retagon (Retail+ Jargon) is my contribution to the never ending list of retail marketing vernacular.
Have you been wondering as to why Digital, just another seven letter word has taken the world by storm? Were not we supposed to have been over with the apparent boom of Digital Commerce and the sudden mushrooming growth of online retail stores everywhere? Have we not been accosted with every little detail on how the retailers worldwide have already deciphered the nuances of shopper behaviour? Why concoct another one of those articles that tells you something you already know. In case I still command your attention, let me help you understand the scenario better!
Let’s first delve into a few of the recent media reports and researched statements, which you must have already read while scouring for stuff like retail marketing solutions, retail marketing trends, innovation in retail blah blah,
- To establish a personalised mobile powered communication, Macy and Marsh Supermarket uses Beacons.
- Combining the best of Online shopping and Store experience, retail giants ASDA, Tesco, and Sainsbury are implementing new customer experience model which they call click and collect.
- For their brand, Wella Shockwaves, P&G has used Social Media to kick start a new consumer co-creation model.
By now you must have already noticed a pertinent pattern in retail marketing strategy emerging out of these snippets. Before we prod further let us first ponder upon one of the key note ideas which were floated around in the Indian Retail Forum (IRF) this year.
“Rather than dictating Retail Businesses to accept Digital as an individual business vertical, the approaching era would ascertain Digital as an enabler.”
In brief, The ’Digital’ realm would encapsulate each and every facet of Retail businesses rather than being limited to fancy Facebook pages or a ’peer influence driven’ and forced kind of investments on e-commerce.
The clash between Digital and Brick-and-Mortar seems to be reduced to a null in an era heralding a retail experience which is seamless in an Omni-channel realm. In simpler words, we are talking about a world in which a consumer will go ahead and,
- Research in depth online
- use online communities for recommendations
- Look for and trust online product reviews as a basis of final purchase decision
- Use ’Show-rooming’, wherein a customer intends to test the product at a store before going ahead and buying it online.
- Finally a customer may want to use a store for not only purchasing a product but to also avail sales services and up-gradation.
If you look closer, you must have already grasped that neither brick-and-mortar nor online store play a dominant role. Instead they form a cohesive unit, thereby elevating customer convenience. While brick-and-mortar stores will use physical shopping to drive user craving, a well-rounded Digital marketing strategy will help retail businesses to conjure a sophisticated experience when it comes to shopping by diversifying options on product s, pricing, SKUs, user convenience and bespoke services and products.
So while a retail brand goes ahead and lays down an online marketing strategy, how does all this gibberish matter?
- In an Omni-Channel world, it is about time we started to analyse buyers and map them according to expectations and behaviour. In other words, it is about time we stopped segmenting ’Buyer Profiling and persona’ as either offline or digital.
- By using certain predefined Value-Adds and services, ’Digital Roll-Out Plans’ can be looked at and constructed as an end to end Supply Chain Pipeline, that cuts across all retail processes and factors.
- Most importantly, the ’Measurability’ factor of Digital marketing for retail must use indicators like profitability, loyalty, Top Line, process innovation and the likes to align itself with these tried and tested indicators.
Last but not the least let me bring to your notice one recent report published by Delloite. In its report titled ’Digital Influence’, it went on to claim that the kind of influence digital has on in-store sales, the shopping journey at some point will be an amalgamation of both these phases and will be complementary to each other.