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Omni Channel Forum 2018: Effectively link channels

Today it is impossible to succeed without omni channel strategies: customers want to contact companies both online and offline and have positive shopping experiences at all levels. The participants in the Omni Channel Forum 2018 in Lucerne on October 31 learned how this may look in practise. We were there.

Combine mobile technologies and traditional sales

What does this mean for companies? They don’t need to force their customers to use one channel nor make another channel difficult to access, instead they should ensure that all channels are open continuously and also maintained. And there’s more: it shouldn’t matter to them which method is used by customers to make contact or make purchases. Instead, they can combine mobile technologies and traditional sales opportunities in an entirely new way. And they are rewarded for it: customers who deal with companies both online and in person spend on average five times more. This doubles the profitability of the customer.

Practical advice from notable speakers

In many practice-led contributions by renowned international speakers, the Omni Channel Forum looked at the issue of what this means for providers in this country and where there is the potential for marketing across all stations on the customer journey. Marcos Perim, Omnichannel Director at Via Varejo, presented the change to the “pontofrio” format in Brazil. The redesigned sales floor became a real experience. In general, over-the-counter sales outlets are changing drastically and becoming digital. Interactive screens showing life-size refrigerators and other electronic items enable them to be experienced. Thanks to virtual reality, for example, different surfaces can be visualised when planning a kitchen in order to facilitate the customer’s decision. In addition to their achieved goals relating to digitalisation, Landi Schweiz AG also focusses on “simplicity”. Their customers thus benefit from permanently low prices. By doing this, Landi protects itself from aggressive online providers with its offline and online offerings and its customers benefit from attractive prices that are no higher than the online offerings from competitors. Landi also focusses on own brands and an extensive location network. Simon Gfeller, Director of Marketing & Sales, Member of EB/Dep. CEO of Landi Schweiz AG, left the large number of forum participants with the following message: “Making the right selection from the range of all digital opportunities available is a difficult task for every company. Take the reins and develop your own strategy for handling digitalisation.” Simply put: there is no “single remedy” that brings the same positive effects for all formats.

Study: what is changing for customers and retailers

Another important element in the Omni Channel Forum 2018: the event organizers presented the results of the study, which was conducted exclusively for the Forum, highlighting the most important changes to consumers, customers, retailers and manufacturers. Here is an overview of the results:

  • Very young people (Generation Z) value over-the-counter trade more than Generation Y and are at a similar level to Generation X – who, for the most part, make nearly up to 90 percent of their purchases in store. A sign that it is worth investing in over-the-counter trade as well as having an online presence and online offerings.
  • The customer expects top product quality and a good price-performance relationship as well as friendly sales personnel and an attractive shop design. In the long-term, customers are frequently demanding an experience when they visit a store. This must be taken into account both in the design of over-the-counter offerings and in the use of new technologies.
  • The younger the shoppers, the greater their interest in new technologies and ideas. For example, they appreciate intelligent mirrors, instore navigation and even augmented reality.
  • The acceptance of self checkout and the use of interactive screens is increasing in all generations. The two topics hold positions one and two of the “new” technologies queried in the study.
  • Customers still value service. Approx. 40 percent of study participants queried are prepared to pay for collection/delivery options depending on the situation. In this regard, service areas will also become larger in addition to recreation and catering areas, whereas the actual sales area and warehouse will tend to shrink.

“We have to be clearer on what role the Shop of the future plays” – those were the closing words from Simon Russels, Director of Retail Operations at the leading British Omni Channel Retailer John Lewis. In view of the study results, this statement is more relevant than ever. Source: http://www.omnichannelforum.ch

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