"Start with the customer and work your way back from there"
This has always been my mantra throughout my time in multi-channel retailing.
Change in consumer behaviour is a constant thing, sure some of it is driven by economics and tech developments but the basics are always in play.
As a business transformation consultant the first place I start when asked to review a company and its opportunities is to get the leadership team to answer the following 2 questions;
- Why do you think people previously shopped with you?
- Why do you think less people are shopping with you now?
What seem like innocuous questions regularly create division and confusion amongst leadership teams.
"We invested in a website and people"
"We invested in SEO & Advertising"
"We invested in a ERP system"
"We invested in an EPOS system"
I tend to follow up the first 2 questions with 'what was your last investment in the customer and why'?
'Browsing commerce' is not new, it was what we all used to do for decades and long before eCommerce arrived.
Browsing commerce is simply the new name for describing user behaviour when we go shopping.
Previously we would go to the high street, or shopping mall with our 'social' head firmly on.
What I mean by this is that of course there was intent to purchase something, but there was also the intent to 'enjoy', meet with friends and family, and be 'entertained' in the process.
The rapid take up of social platforms was/is a key driver in influencing consumer behaviour over the last 15 years.
As more of us (60% of the worlds population now) signed up to each social media platform we started to 'experience' one of the key things that was, and still is missing from multi-channel retailing today.
Today the 'funnel' mentality has leaned so far to the transaction we seem to have forgotten that shopping in itself is more than a utility exercise.
As more of us have been forced to 'shop online' due to this pandemic brands that today choose to invest in better understanding 'browsing commerce' and add the social and entertainment parts into the mix will be seen as the innovators and winners of tomorrows Gen Z consumers.
Are you seeing any innovation around retailers using social and entertainment in their consumer focused strategies?
Hugely successful retail businesses that were born in the 20th Century and led by innovative leaders and entrepreneurs from the same Century are now paying the price for incremental change and falling into the trap that simply investing in more tech to reduce cost will save the future.