Last year, one of the biggest consulting companies in the world - Accenture - released they retailers guide. In general, they wrote about "what to do to keep up with digital revolution", but guess what was the most densely used word? No, it wasn't a customer. It was adaptability.
We at ShopTrotter love to experience fashion. That's why we decided to throw this event and invite top notch experts to find out how to sustain physical fashion retailers from being eaten by e-commerce. The times are changing, digital transformation is a must, and optimizing actions to suit the digitally native generation - something we cannot argue with.
For those of you who were with us last Thursday in TechHub London, but also for those who couldn't make it - here's a recap of what was said:
Merged. Why the future of retail is made of bits and atoms
Good news: e-commerce isn't going to eat physical retail. Yes, it's convenient, but also boring, no sociable, involves no emotion, and eventually - not very fun.
- O2O (online to offline) is a huge opportunity for the physical retail. With little investments, only using existing platforms, you can scoop out all that traffic, all that interest that happens online, and drive it to the physical retail. It can work also in the opposite - think of all the people who visited your store and get them back onto your online platform.
- The customer is the heart of it. Listen to your customers, try to understand who they are. Tech is only a tool here. See what they are using. Try to understand their journey.
- Data is sexy. Collect customer behavior data from as many sources as possible, filter it through the loyalty strategy. Add creative engagement concepts and make this accessible through number of audience relevant touchpoints to get measurable increases in loyalty, footfall and spending.
- Noise vs. need - don't use technology for its own sake. Let it be relevant to your customer and solve their problems, or work along with their shopping journey.
- Take risks! The biggest risk is not taking risks. Online tools and platforms allow you to conduct small and measurable tests to figure out what's the best solution for your business.
Bridging offline and online. The digital revolution
Dawid presented 3 business solutions for smaller retailers:
- Make the most out of showrooming - a curse of our times thanks to unlimited supply and choice. Offline retailers can provide experience at the physical location and make connection and reach clients after they leave their shop. And you don't need to invest in dedicated app to get connected with the audience. Reach them using the physical web (internet relevant to the place). Beacon activated mobile webpages show dedicated content and help create communication with prospective clients.
Are you afraid that when they leave your store, they will search for similar products online? Worry no more - if you are in the physical web, they will find your info via search engine (Google's algorithms change in favor of physical web solutions). If your content is relevant, your position in search results will be on the top.
Cherry on top: retarget customers who pass by your shop or entered but didn't buy anything. It's way cheaper than regular ads.
- Automated conversations - chatbots to communicate with your customers directly.
Chatbots allow attracting clients one-on-one where they already spend their time and develop new buying opportunities.
- MovStat Analytics
Installing smart cameras in-store will give you insights on your customers behavior (through heath maps and pathways) and will let you figure out how to redesign interiors to get better conversion. Similarly - you can optimize your storefront based on its performance!
The way customers behave and move around your shop or other space is one of the most interesting elements of marketing analysis.
Millennials & Gen Z
The huge number of digitally native customers have entered the market. They have substantial spending power. They look for particular experience. We all should get to know them better.
18-35 years old, their purchasing powers in U.S. only are as high as $65 bn/year
⦁ are their own influencers
⦁ need to be unique and at the same time to have a tribal belonging
⦁ look for authenticity
13 to 17 years old, $44 bn annual purchasing power, mobile natives, a.k.a. "millennials on steroids"
67% of them shop in-store, not only because they prefer physical shopping, but also because of the fact that they don't have credit cards! This is great opportunity for offline retailers to capitalize on that, offering wonderful customer service (i.e. Supreme).
But - beware!
Gen Z expects emotions, experience and your loyalty to them.
“Although technology is rapidly changing how consumers shop, they still want to feel surprised and delighted”
- Angela Ahrendts, Apple
So don't use technology just for the sake of being modern and fancy. Use it to make a connection and they feel a relevancy of it.
Always have in mind what they value:
⦁ Social presence
Do you know your customers?
If London visitors weren't on your radar yet, it's time to change it. Yes, they come and go, but if you act wisely, you can make them loyal and frequent customers, using the right solutions and tick your presence in their world - a digital world.
The stats are impressive - the number of tourists grow year by year (18,8 m in 2015, 14 m in first nine months of 2016), but what's most impressive is their spending behavior. Visitors dedicate 25% of their overall travel expenditure on shopping, and they mainly shop for fashion. In 2014 overseas visitors spent in UK £5.5 billion! It's roughly £739 per capita.
Tourists mainly choose high streets and shopping centers. Why do so few of them go to independent boutiques?
Let's see what their problems are:
- they come to the city for various reasons - sightseeing, visiting friends, work and so on. Their time for shopping is limited. Sometimes they hit the stores only for couple of hours.
- they probably know well established British brands, but learning about local independent boutiques would require extensive research and is time consuming
- even when they are passing your store by, they make quick assumption based on the appearance. If there's something wrong - they won't enter!
- sizes vary between brands, returning the purchase is unsure...
- Fear of missing out - do you know that? London is huge and without comprehensive guide it's hard to find relevant offer.
And here ShopTrotter comes in handy! It's not only a guiding shopping app that connects visitors with hidden gems in less frequented neighborhoods. It's also a marketing tool for smaller retailers who can easily (and inexpensively) adapt digital tools to drive traffic and boost sales.
What's the most important message that we want you to learn? Know your target audience and by that learn how to reach them.
Being proactive creates relationships that last beyond one-off transaction. I bet the happy client is most likely to come back to you, and will be looking for your offer - even remotely. That's why your offline and online presence should get merged.
The whole market is screaming buzzwords – “physical retail is dying!”, “go online!”, “e-commerce first!”, “omni/multichannel!”. Probably you’ve heard it many times. And each time you were wondering – do I really need to sell my kidney to go digital with my boutique and actually save it from collapsing in the age of digital transformation?