In the story of the three little pigs, if the third pig had only had an online domain he would have been eaten. Bricks and mortar matter.
Omnichannel businesses will thrive when customers believe the retailer is trustworthy, safe, an expert and a company that offers a great experience, great choice, availability and convenience.
We keep hearing about the changing consumer but the requirements above sound the same as when we were analysing customer research in the mid-1990s. What has changed is the technology and capability that raises the expectations of customers about the level of satisfaction that is possible.
As customers slowly return to shopping it is likely that initially stores will experience higher than normal conversion. This is because there will be demands that people have been unable to satisfy whilst being lockdowned and they will get the chance to purchase the things that they ‘need’.
After that, getting people back spending again and again will be about providing the experience, the choice, the availability and the convenience and doing it in an environment that is safe with people who know their business, know their products and services and know their customers.
Those retailers that know their customers well will know that although customer wants and needs haven’t changed, the way they go about it has changed. Whereas physical stores used to be the start and finish of most consumers shopping they have now become just a part of the decision-making process in buying.
Customers will research online, watch videos of trusted youtubers, read online reviews and listen to people talking about the merits and pitfalls of various products and services. Augmented reality is allowing customers to view products in their own homes and gardens to imagine how well they will sit. Affordable haptic technology will undoubtedly develop to help simulate some of the touch sensation but there are limits to what can be achieved.
The physical bricks and mortar store usually provides the most meaningful human interactions of the process and also fulfills our need for socialisation. It provides for the chance to physically interact with product and allow touch, smell and taste options that currently lag in the online arena. And it is these physical interactions that help to build up the trust necessary for someone to comfortably purchase online from that brand.
Discover how 360-degree video in-store can offer efficiency in operations –
Download our White Paper now.
It is estimated that £30bn a year is lost in online sales as baskets are abandoned at checkout. Those customers have clearly not got what they wanted from the transaction which a real store with real people could have addressed. It is still a major frustration that, with online-only businesses, it can be very difficult to actually talk to a ‘real someone’ when there is a problem. And it is unsurprising that many of the most successful online businesses also have a physical bricks and mortar presence. Even the mighty Amazon have begun to open physical stores as a response to making things work for their customers.
For the retailer this changing process for customers means that the old fashion ways of measuring store performance, such as sales per square foot and sales per employee, do not give you enough information to understand whether your physical stores are working or not.
Now is the time to think about developing a set of performance indicators that better inform about the impact your store and your staff are making. It’s about having the capability to try new strategies and tactics and understand what works and what might need a subtle tweak in order to work. Too often great ideas fall as a result of not having enough information to measure why they’re not working.
At ONVU Retail our mix of 360-degree surveillance cameras, distinctive analytics and over 100 years of high quality retail experience are focused on understanding all instore activity. This leads to discovering insights that create cost savings, identify opportunities for growing sales and recognise the elements of your business that strengthen loyalty with customers.
Our partnerships have allowed us to utilise elements of our service like transaction searching where it is possible to track the entire instore journey of any purchase and discover what helps and what inhibited along the way.
Smart search technology allows us to hone in on areas of interest and disinterest in the store that can then be investigated to create a fuller story of customer experiences. And the 360-degree cameras we use allow us to view the activity from a variety of angles to help identify what is really happening.
We have spent the last few years studying the impact of store layout and product promotion. We have analysed till behaviour, efficiency and effectiveness. We have identified positive changes in click and collect services and a myriad of other projects with the aim of looking to increase sales or lower costs.
Every retailer is likely to have a set of performance indicators that are unique to the running of their business. Talk to us and see what insights we could bring to you whilst you strive to measure your performance in a way that makes the route to your goals easier to achieve.
After all, we believe that bricks and mortars is an essential part of keeping the wolf from your door.