During last week, Lab attended The Drum’s Breakfast Briefing about the Retail and eCommerce space. The briefing offered an extremely interesting discussion, with terms including personalisation, human, trackability, amongst others flying around the room. Below are the main observations made whilst tucking into a croissant.
With a large increase in the use of technology, retailers need to ensure that there are still evident elements of ‘human’ within their processes. This can be a real differentiator in a market which is constantly trying to keep up with the latest technology.
Customers are often searching for a localised customer experience, like the one you get in your local coffee shop when the cashier memorises your order, but on a mass scale. Arguable, this is enabled with the help of technology, but retailers have to make sure that there is still traceable evidence of human presence at each touchpoint.
It is often assumed that customers want to instantly receive gratification from their purchases and have the same experience online as can be had offline. This can be seen through Amazon trying to implement drones to cut delivery times as well as many retailers offering next day delivery. There has been a clear shift towards a more instant process, however this is not desirable to all customers. Many customers want to be able to feel, smell or taste products before they purchase, or even extend their browsing time, especially for larger purchases.
The introduction of the ‘Buy Now’ button has essentially given away the customer experience all together as more focus has been placed on efficiency rather than ‘thrills.’ Even though the customer journey should be as simple as possible, retailers need to think about what a customer really wants.
Marrying online and offline is now essential to aid trackability. An example of this, which gets used time and time again, is the Tesco Club card. By being able to track personalised data offline as well as online, Tesco gains a lot of valuable information about its customers. Since consumers use many different platforms to interact with a retailer both online and offline, the gap between both is gradually getting smaller.
Real time data is becoming more widely used within the retail space. For example, BuzzFeed uses a system that replaces content if it’s not gaining wide exposure. This automatic evaluation of the effectiveness is vital as it can also be used for tracking and navigation.
When the room was asked whether we would like to be sold products on our own personal social channels; only two people raised their hands. Selling on social platforms is being explored extensively by retailers, but as was clear from the room, most people would be reluctant to adopt this. However, an opt in – opt out system could be the saviour of implementing sales into social feeds.
Attending the Drum Breakfast Briefing was a great way to get involved in the discussions about how the retail and eCommerce market is changing as well as what new concepts are being introduced. We already look forward to the next one!
There are plenty more upcoming events in 2016, so keep up with our staff and all of their endeavours on Twitter @LabDigitalUK.