Since the dawn of e-commerce, successful retailers have taken for granted that digital was the future and scrambled to claim the space. Indeed, shoppers have moved online; but much like home video didn't kill movie theaters, e-commerce has interwoven itself among the retail fabric alongside brick-and-mortar and formed a symbiotic relationship. We call it omnichannel.
Now that customer expectations have evolved, brands have to seamlessly connect everything from the first marketing touchpoint through the final sale. Here are three pillars of the modern commerce experience that build loyalty and drive greater lifetime value:
The objectives of online and physical retail stores have run counter to each other for long enough. It's time to call a truce. The initial trigger for this tension was the emergence of "showrooming," behavior that retailers feared breaks the designed value of physical retail stores.
With the ubiquitous internet and the rise of pop-up shops, retailing is becoming more democratic — anytime, anywhere. Add the rise of seasonal markets, shop-in-shops and kiosks, and you have more signs of a growing thirst for innovative product, a trend driven by the lack of creativity due to consolidation at larger stores. The situation presents new opportunities for partnerships in independent retail, especially for high-traffic hotels. Any physical location can be transformed into a marketplace for other retailers and new brands.
Brick-and-mortar stores are a fundamental component to an omnichannel retail brand's success. While big-box retailers are making moves to scale back their physical footprint, I don't think that means retailers should be rushing back to e-commerce-only models. Many "online only" retailers have moved offline to not only offer an extension of their online storefront, but also create a better customer experience.
Does the senior team at your company talk about superior service and the importance of going the extra mile for customers? If so, how many actually walk the talk? To steal an immortal line from the former Texas governor Ann Richards used when describing George W. Bush, it's typically "All hat, no cattle." Or more aptly, "All PowerPoint, no action." I recently received a message from a good friend named Eileen Scully. She shared a heartwarming story from her friend Michael John Mathis. Michael had posted the following message on Facebook recounting an episode of lost glasses on a train.