Major Account Manager Kendal Stacey discusses how retailers need to utilise every window available to them.
If, like me, you’re a person who works in tech sales, then you’ll be familiar with questions such as “What’s your elevator pitch?” or “you have 15 seconds to sell yourself, your product or your service… GO!”
The retail world is no different. In fact, it’s more intense– competition is rife and you have to fight for every customer. First impressions count so how do you, as retailers in an ever changing world, ensure you make the right one every time?
With today’s consumers growing increasingly savvy, and no longer walking down the high street to make key purchasing decisions, today’s retailers need to be everywhere their consumers are. And this involves a few different areas.
The Google effect (other search engines also available)
We all know that nearly 80% of consumers shop online and naturally most actual transactions start online as well. Finding the right product –be it lightbulbs, paperbacks or handbags – must be easy and must involve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) at its core.
SEO is inarguably a necessary investment and the bottom line is – if you want to be on the front page of Google, you have to accept that it’s going to cost you. But equally, SEO is no magic bullet. It’s only part of the way of getting savvy shoppers to find you, that’s why a content marketing strategy is also key here; using different mediums, highlighting your brand in different locations, creating goodwill, a fan base and increasing customer loyalty.
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Industry report, consumer expectation is sky-high when it comes to identifying the items they want, sourcing the best price and getting their order processed and fulfilled in the most convenient way possible. And it is this desire for instant, frictionless gratification that is driving the need for retailers to offer location-based and context specific content that makes finding, comparing and selecting the best product for their needs as easy as possible no matter where or how they decide to shop.
A 24/7 store – but are you open?
Now, I can hear you saying “What about the actual windows…the stores themselves…that’s how I do my shopping!”
Of course you do –and so do many others. So have a think about when you’re walking past a store, what is it that entices you in or, more importantly, what isn’t?
Aside from the usual posters, mannequins, bright lights etc., technology has a major part to play on your physical store windows as well, creating potential for a 24-hour service long after your flesh and blood workers have clocked off.
By leveraging touchscreen technology for example, retailers can increase their bricks and mortar footfall by allowing consumers to walk past and engage with a touchscreen through the store window allowing them to browse and even buy products through the window. Not only does this open up another revenue stream, it also bridges the gap between the online and the offline, keeping your physical store relevant and your customers fulfilled.
Similarly, a major fashion retailer at one of their concept stores placed a special weighted paving slab with footprints outside its window and in conjunction with the glass on glass browsing…when you stand on it and in the virtual mirror in front of you are suddenly and virtually wearing the shoes you’ve selected. The store no longer shuts at 6pm, its open and still selling for you 24/7 and you haven’t even got a store open!
The digital window
Your website is a shop window and a consumer’s first few clicks will determine your online trading performance. Yes it needs to look good, but it also needs to be fast, cope with demand and be there. When it doesn’t you’ve lost them for good. So get the basics right but then show them video, show them, Virtual Reality….but just get it working first!
Word of social
These days, “word of mouth” is no longer having a water cooler moment and telling your friend about your most recent shopping experience. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and even sites like Trustpilot are the new water coolers.
If you’re not focussing on, or even remotely present in the digital social arena, you’re missing out on fantastic customer feedback channels, both good and bad. Your digital teams should have a seat at the boardroom table to tell you exactly what your customers are saying about you; what you’ve done well, what you’re getting wrong and where you can take them next – all priceless information. But despite the worry in most businesses about the negative feedback when a client @’s them on twitter that their parcel is late, the power of the positive is massively beneficial. Embrace it. A customer of mine recently launched a new product which went ‘viral’ and certainly created a buzz – their timing was great, the offer was unique, it made an emotional connection and they capitalised having the correct technical support to ensure the customer always got the perfect level of service. Their trustpilot is going through the roof!!
The fun stuff of what happens when you step inside the virtual or physical store is just beginning…