Retailers need to finetune and adopt an omnichannel-inclusive strategy to offer a seamless customer experience
Ridhima Kansal, Director, Rosemoore
It would be an understatement to say that Indian consumers have not changed significantly over the years, especially after the pandemic. Today’s average consumers are also empowered, aware, and tech-savvy. Gone are the days when a high-octane mass media advertisement would have swayed customer opinion. These days there are a multitude of options and platforms available such as web, social, mobile, e-commerce, print media, pop-up stores, malls, and high streets to research and learn about products, make purchases, share feedback, etc.
Today if someone purchases a reed diffuser, it is possible that initially they would have seen the advertisement in a lifestyle magazine. Then they would have visited the website and learned more about the product. During the customer journey, they would have visited our Instagram page and watched a product demo video too. Finally, they would have visited one of our stores. Before the last-minute purchase, the customer might have checked online to see if there is any discount offer/coupon available. After using the product, they would have written a review on Google and shared their experience with us on Facebook.
Thus, even a single purchase is no more a linear transaction which involves going and buying a product. Rather, it is an integration of multiple channels, made of both brick and click (and some print and outdoor as well.).
Accordingly, retailers also need to finetune their strategy and be omnichannel-inclusive to offer a seamless customer experience.
An Integrated Approach
A systematic and integrated approach needs to be on top of the game for retailers. Not doing so won’t just push them back but can even be crippling in the longer run. To adjust and win in these transforming times would need cohesive integration of multiple channels- physical, print, digital, etc. As brands, a retailer might not need to be everywhere but has to be firmly rooted in all those places, where the customers (and potential leads) are. They have to go the extra mile to give their customers an enhanced and seamless experience across in-store as well virtually.
Enhanced Physical Experience
Physical stores will persist in India, despite many pundits predicting their demise when the coronavirus wave hit us. Though evolution is inevitable, a dissolution is near impossible and brands should understand the same. In the brick-and-click battleground, the latter won’t completely outflank the former. E-commerce is soaring high but it can’t give a personalized touch and hands-on experience like its digital counterparts. This is one of the reasons the bigger digital retailer Amazon is also racking up investments in physical stores.
Meanwhile, the footfall will decline. There will be a sizable percentage of customers who are not returning to stores. This however also means giving a more personalised experience and meaningful interaction to the remaining lot that still prefers to shop offline.
Webrooming and Showrooming
Hybrid models of retail are evolving and we will continue to see the confluence of digital channels and physical stores. Recently, a Shopify survey showed 59 per cent of respondents prefer webrooming, which means they will learn about a product on the web and prefer to buy them in-store. Likewise, 54 per cent prefer showrooming, which means they will check out a product in-store and buy it over the web.
This means going forward, marketing is not about brick vs mortar but how to synchronise the two to give larger value to the customers. Brands need to work on seamless integration of channels- in store, e-commerce, mobile, social, etc- to offer an engaging and personalized experience to the customers.
The Rise of Video Marketing
Videos are no more just a buzzword in marketing. It is a highly essential component of the new-age marketing mix and gets a lot of attention from marketers these days. It is estimated that on average a customer watches ~ 100 mins of video content every day, underlining its importance in initiating brand communication, disseminating product information, and nurturing customer engagement. Increasingly, marketers are now earmarking a sizable part of their budget for video communication.
Videos can also be used in-store to drive engagement. It can be used for in-store navigation, safety protocol (fireplaces, exits, etc), store information (testing places, check out, etc.). This can also help in cutdown overhead costs.
Importance of Data Analytics
An integrated analytics solution is the cornerstone to running a successful omnichannel strategy. It helps in optimising the marketing budget, making concentrated efforts, improving campaigns, and enhance supply chain and inventory management.
However, omnichannel data analytics is tedious and exhaustive. It is not a skin-deep approach rather it needs to churn out a large chunk of data. It requires scrutinizing multiple channels across numerous key data points. For instance, at Rosemoore, we analyze all the relevant platforms/campaigns, which include search ads, website marketing, horizontal e-commerce spending (Amazon, etc.), institutional marketing, social media advertisements, influencer marketing, etc. Likewise, we scan multiple data points including customer interactions, inquiries, and sales across all the relevant channels. The overall step is far from being simplistic but renders accurate, actionable, and incisive inputs.