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RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
mnichannel is out and seamless is in,
cry the pundits. To the extent there
is now a Seamless Retail Conference
and Expo for Australasia (happening
in March 2018 in Sydney, in case you’re
interested in attending).
Omnichannel, seamless, integrated –
they’re actually all really talking about the
same thing. According to Frost & Sullivan
research, the definition of omnichannel
is ‘seamless and effortless, high quality
customer experiences that occur within
and between contact channels.
Seamless retailing is not just about
multichannel transaction availability. It’s
understanding all the touchpoints a shopper
has with you, across the purchase and
repurchase cycle (need, plan, search and
compare, decide, buy, take delivery,
Shoppers move across channels and
touchpoints at each stage of the purchase
cycle, and within stages. For instance, a
shopper may research online, compare in-
store, do price comparisons online while
they are in the store, buy in-store to have
it home delivered, and then post a review
of the product online. And potentially call
a customer care centre (‘chatbot’ or real
person, online or by phone) if they have
queries about the product.
Or they may research online, buy online, and
pick it up from a store. You get the idea.
This type of shopping behaviour is the norm
rather than the exception. ‘Instant everywhere’
is the order of the day... as a shopper I want to
be able to look for, buy, and collect it whenever I
choose, wherever I am.
Channels are expanding too, with the rise
of the Internet of Things, voice commerce
and speech search devices such as Amazon
Echo and Google Home, the latter of which
has a tie-up in the USA with Walmart,
for instance. How this works is you say
something like ‘Hey Google, order my
Budweiser’ and Google Home places the
order with Walmart for home delivery.
Another example is visual commerce.
Basically, as a shopper, the world is your store.
Take a photo on your smartphone of something
you like the look of or enjoyed – someone’s
funky bag on a train, or a bottle of wine in a
restaurant, say – and an app such as Pinterest
Lens takes you to that item (or the closest
match to it) on a retailer’s website where you
can buy it immediately by tapping the ‘buy
now’ button. Clothing retailer ASOS, 70 per
cent of whose UK sales come from mobile
devices, launched its visual commerce app and
has seen an uptick in sales of styles worn by
celebrities that shoppers have taken photos of
when seen online or in a magazine.
And then there is the increase in
manufacturers selling direct.
Instant everywhere means shoppers
increasingly want flexible ways of collecting
the product or having it delivered to
them, and speed of delivery is becoming
increasingly important. BWS’ recent ‘one
hour delivery’ trial and rollout talks to this,
as does Amazon Now in London, who use
supermarket chain Morrisons for fulfilment.
In the USA, Amazon is also working with
shoppable recipe websites, and here in
Australia Coles has been trialling 30 minute
grocery deliveries via Deliveroo. You can
provide flexible delivery options without
necessarily having to do the delivery yourself
– there are numerous examples of similar
partnerships and use of third party providers.
Instacart in the USA works with such well
known retailers as Kroger, Wegmans, Publix
and even Aldi.
Then there are flexible collection points
– collect in-store (‘traditional’ click-and-
collect), or collect from another party such
as Woolworths are doing with their 500-site
parcel locker partnership with Australia Post.
ADVANCES IN PAYMENT
Seamlessness also extends to payment methods
– not just tap-and-go, or even mobile device
payments (still in their infancy in Australia,
despite Apple Pay now having been available
for more than 18 months) – but ability to pay
with palm (as in South Korea, where Lotte
Card’s Hand Pay 360 degree scanner system
is in trial at 7-Eleven) and with your face (as
in China, where technology from Face++ is
used in several popular apps and it’s possible
to transfer money through Alipay using only
your face as credentials).
So as the number of retail channels and
touchpoints broadens you are less able to
rely on traffic coming to your door. You need
to understand shoppers’ shopping process
and touchpoints, and how they prefer to do
what sort of shopping tasks, and adjust your
marketing and supply chains accordingly.
Not easy obviously, but in 2018 this is now a
necessity, not a nice to have.
AN EXPECTED NECESSITY, NOT A DIFFERENTIATOR, IN 2018
OMNICHANNEL, SEAMLESS, INTEGRATED – WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO CALL IT, SHOPPERS EXPECT IT OF YOU,
DISCUSSES NORRELLE GOLDRING FROM GFK.
“INSTANT EVERYWHERE MEANS SHOPPERS
INCREASINGLY WANT FLEXIBLE WAYS OF COLLECTING
THE PRODUCT OR HAVING IT DELIVERED TO THEM,
AND SPEED OF DELIVERY IS BECOMING
ABOUT NORRELLE GOLDRING & GFK
Norrelle Goldring is Shopper Lead APAC at global consumer and retail research house GfK. She has 20 years’ experience in shopper
and retail research and marketing across manufacturer, retailer and agency roles with companies ranging from Diageo to Coca-Cola to
Vodafone Stores. Norrelle helps improve shopping experiences by understanding how and why people buy things.
Call Norrelle on 0437 335 686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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