It seems that a lot of brands are focussing more time on fixing their online strategy rather than digging deep into their existing bricks and mortar business. The advent of the multiple online channels have given the growth in topline numbers which wasn’t a part of the forecast. On the other hand most of the brands are facing a degrowth on comp sales growth. Multi brand online operators and marketplaces are a messiah to all sales managers who are still unsure how to resurrect their current business but know that there is a window of opportunity to sell to these online players and meet their targets. Is this sustainable? Yes, its working in the short term and definitely No, in the long term.
You and I, have changed the way we buy and why we buy. We go to the stores, find the products, try them and then standing in the same store we browse on our smartphones on the best deal available online for the same product. Or during office hours we browse through the products we need and on the weekend we do our mall yatras and go to the stores try these products and finally buy them online and get a deal. The product and the brand still remains the same, only the channel where you and I are buying has changed or I rather say evolved.
As the omni channel consumers evolve , brands better evolve at a much faster speed and work on an omni channel strategy . A brand cannot segregate sales by channels and have different channel teams in the same organisation fight amongst each other for the same consumer. Before you know, even, up the ladder, the sales staff in your own Brick n mortar store would be discouraging the customer to buy from your own mono brand online store as he is incentivised for his contribution to sales in the physical store.
Given this, consumers will shop from the channel they prefer and at their convenience. Brands / retailers need to create an omni channel environment inside their physical stores to ensure they capture the intent of the consumer to buy and convert it seamlessly across channels.
- Conversion : Retail stores convert only 30% of the customers that walk into their stores as most of them walk out because their size/ style/ color is not available. Brands should provide their stores with tablets from which they can access stock availability across stores
- Click n Collect : If a customer orders online he can still pick up the product from the store
- Integrated Loyalty programmes : Customers get rewarded points irrespective whether he buys online or offline. The customers can also be rewarded for sharing or liking products
- Store Staff Incentivisation : Brands need to incentivise their store teams to convert the intent of the potential customers irrespective of the channel of sale for the brand.
- Data Capturing : Catch them when they are there! Its important to add customers to your database and constantly engage them by capturing their details. The online retailers are spending millions on this, in a brick n mortar this is still not seen as a priority for many brands.
- Relationship : The sales staff are the front office for any brand , relationship with the brand are made and destroyed at the moments of interaction. A great store relation will also ensure consumer stickiness of the brand.
All channels are connected , the customers will choose a particular channel they start their journey and complete their purchase in another channel. Hence, brands/ retailers can’t afford to let any experience of the customers be less than rewarding responsive and reliable.
About the author: Berry Singh is COO of Ace Turtle Services. Ace Turtle enables brands and retailers to capitalise on omni-channel opportunities while remaining focused on their core business. Ace Turtle delivers customised e- commerce solutions through an e- commerce platform, which is comprised of technology, fulfilment, logistics and customer support.