We're all customers of someone else's business right?
Have you ever had a conversation that included the phrase 'I'm an Omni-Channel Shopper you know' - No, me neither.
It's no secret that the traditional retail sector has been having a tough time of it lately with story after story about how once household names are going out of business. Many of them don't give in that easy and have looked at many different ways to help you and me navigate through each of their channels to shop with them.
The article featured below takes a look at how some retailers are testing different ways of moving customers in/out of the differing channels, and I think this quote from a 'Digiday' article sums up the real mindset issue.
"For retailers, the benefit of highlighting different value propositions for both their websites and their stores — their websites have a wider selection of inventory, but their stores afford customers to try on anything they’re uncertain about before buying — is that they can better train their customers to visit both".
Now I might be wrong, and forgive me if I have taken this quote out of context I can't help but find it extremely patronising at best, and totally naive at worst. To assume that you and me are just 'customers' who need to be trained to adapt to the brands choices of where they would like us to shop is quite frankly ridiculous.
They use intrusive adverts and SEO to get us to their website, when we have navigated our way through all these 'clicks', we arrive at the website so they can tell us what how 'great' they are, and why we should also stop what were doing and go visit a physical store so you can try on what you were thinking about buying.
They pay higher rents than the smaller guy so they can have access to the busiest footfall, which is probably why we are here because we were already 'out' shopping, and when we're in the store they try there best to extract our personal details 'in order we can provide you with a much better service', and remind us they also have a website.
The article goes on; Gap and Walmart, for example, found that customers who shop both in-store or online buy more than customers who just shop one channel. For retailers who use their stores to tout a wider selection of inventory available online, it can also allow them to keep less stock lying around. No shit Sherlock, Really, I mean, REALLY!
Truth is, today the 'footfall' and traffic for the people you want to entice to 'sell stuff' to are in fact all on social media, what a way to create conversations, listen and engage people - isn't that the first principle in retail sales?
Stores aren’t dead, but what they’re being used for is changing. One trend: using signage in stores to drive customers to websites to make the most out of inventory, and get people to shop online.