Shannon Warner leads Cognizant’s multichannel business consulting practice. We are focused on partnering with retailers to understand how digital technologies, such as e-commerce, mobile and social media, are transforming customer’s shopping behaviors and how to leverage them to create cohesive, value-added experiences across all customer touch points.
In 1937 Sylvan Nathan Goldman owned Humpty Dumpty grocery stores. He noticed that his customers stopped shopping once their baskets were full or too heavy to carry. He instructed his cashiers to keep their eyes open for these situations and relieve the customers of their baskets; however, it continued to be a problem and he was convinced he could increase sales if customers weren’t hindered by having to carry their baskets. He set about inventing what he called a “folding carrier”. Once he had perfected it he had to “sell” using it to customers—at first they resisted mightily for a multitude of reasons. Once they caught on the demand spread like wild fire. By 1940 Goldman had a 7 year waiting list for new shopping carts.By the 1950s, many variations of the nest cart were in use. It’s the standard of the industry today, and demanded by shopping cart buyers. Today there are 30 to 35 million shopping carts in the U.S. and 1.25 million new ones are manufactured each yearStudies by Britt Beemer of the American Research Group shows that customers with shopping carts will buy an average of 7.2 items compared with only 6.1 items purchased by customers without shopping carts. However, this does not tell the whole story since Beemer has found that the use of shopping carts will double the sales of hard to carry bulky items.
Goldman’s folding cart invention wasn’t the first or the last to transform the shopping experience…cash registers, UPC codes, credit and debit cards, malls, gift registry, RFID, and self check out are a few that stand out in recent history. The Web is another major source of transformation for retail as a whole; however, its impact to the in-store shopping experience is just beginning.
Five years ago you rarely heard the phrases multi-channel or omni-channel…today their buzz words. Retailers are trying to figure out what the rapid adoption of consumer technology means for them and their customers. Five years ago most retailers touch points with customers were fairly straightforward and linear. Products and brands were marketed through print, TV and Radio. Customers shopped in stores and via the Internet, and sometime over the phone. Almost without exception, a single sales transaction started and ended in the same channel. If a customer went to the store to purchase a gift, she purchased it right there in the store. Online a customer may have done some research and then gone into the store to make a purchase, but never did she start the purchase transaction online expecting to complete it in the store or through another channel.
Not so today….Today shoppers have access to a variety of channels to start and finish their purchase transactions. Traditional marketing continues through print, TV and radio, but marketing via the Internet through online ads and paid search as well as through social media channels is now mainstream. Although still emerging, more and more customers are choosing to begin a purchase transaction in one channel, such as online or a mobile app and finish it in another. The shopper’s circumstances and preferences are the only predictors of how they’ll choose to engage with a retailer. Where multichannel shopping will land in its mature state is yet to be seen; however, I think we will all agree that we’re at the beginning of what promised to be an exciting transformation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau e-commerce sales as percent of total retail sales was ~.5% in 2002. In Q1, 2011 it reached 4.5%. Retail sales grew 8.6% compared to Q1, 2010 whereas e-commerce sales, at $46 Billion, grew 17.5% compared to Q1, 2010.Inspired by double-digit growth, most retailers have increased their focus on e-commerce. 62% of online retailers plan to increase technology spending in 2011. Many companies have set aggressive targets for their online growth. For example, Kohl’s publically announced in May that they’re aiming to achieve $1B in e-comm sales in 2011. Williams Sonoma has received a lot of press about their $75MM investments in e-commerce in 2011. And those are just two examples…These investments are targeted at making the online channel more productive. They need to drive more profitable sales by increasing conversion and reducing supply chain costs. And while, driving the e-commerce channel to maximize profitability is essential, you cannot lose focus of the fact that increasingly in-store sales are being influenced by digital channels. Although it’s difficult to quantify the in-store benefit, and e-comm organizations are rarely directly incented for driving in-store sales, investing in the online channel with the lens of driving in-store sales needs to be a priority.
One of the age old complaints of online shopping is that a shopper can’t touch and feel the merchandise. Rich media such as videos and ratings and reviews are two important developments that are helping reduce the gap between live virtual shopping experiences. When retailers combine better information with live chat and click to call features—which becomes the equivalent of a store associate—they will be much better suited to drive sales conversion.
One of the best ways to address the reduced sensory input from the online channel is video. Importantly it introduces sound. Additionally, it resonates with our culture who is practically glued to the TV, YouTube and video games—we’ve grown up to expect robust sensory interaction. Yet many retailers are skeptical about whether the investment in providing product videos on their site is worth it. Retailers who have product video on their site were among the top-rated sites for customer satisfaction for the holiday 2010 shopping season according to a ForeSee survey. Amazon, Netflix and QVC were ranked 1, 2 and 3 respectively, and they all rely heavily on video to sell their products—Amazon has over 225k videos on their site. Further, a recent eMarketer report showed that retailers saw higher conversion rates and fewer abandoned shopping carts when they added video to their sites. In addition to the online benefits of adding video, the asset can be used for mobile devices, in-store digital signing, and store associate education.
Another important way that online retailers are leveling the playing field with stores is by personalizing interactions with customers. There’s no question that using data to cross-sell and up-sell to customers is incredibly powerful. Retailers have reported a lift of 47% in the value of orders as a result of suggestive selling.In fact, the rich data gives online retailers an advantage over traditional bricks and mortar stores. Never is there a completely anonymous purchase transaction online, and a lot of data can be gathered even about unidentified customers who only browse the site. The data that online retailers have access to needs to be better leveraged to personalize in-store experiences. Mobile becomes an important connective tissue between the rich data available about customers online and their in-store shopping experiences.
Live Chat and Click to Call is another topic about which online retailers are split. In fact, over the last couple of years, some online retailers, such as Amazon and Target, intentionally made it more difficult for customers to call them in an effort to promote self service and reduce costs. Stores too go through cycles where they wrestle to find the right balance of store associates to help customers and keeping payroll in check. Nonetheless, Live Chat and Click to Call becomes an important tool to connect customers who are stuck to make a purchase transaction. It’s not unlike a store when a customer needs a store associate to help them find what they’re looking for or answer a question. Although it’s a balance between cost and benefit that needs to be actively managed, providing customers with help when and how they need it will inevitably lead to more sales and happier customers.
Today’s shopper wants instant gratification but they also want flexibility,ease, convenience and value. Customers who pick their orders up in stores have the added comfort of being able to use their five senses and avoid the much hated shipping fees that typically accompany online purchases. Retailers who offer a variety of ways for shoppers to place and collect their orders will be better positioned to meet customers needs and wants. Of course making customers happy means that retailers need to break down the wall between their stores and e-commerce businesses from establishing the right incentives, to managing the supply chain, inventory and store operations…not to mention the up front technology investment.
I don’t have to tell any of you that smart phone adoption is occurring at a break neck pace….and, they are changing how consumers manage their lives. I caught the tail end of a session yesterday afternoon and one of the participants said as retailers “we should think of the mobile device as the customer” and someone else further expounded that customers have “Intimate relationships with their phones”. Certainly, my teenager is inseparable from his phone.What’s alarming is that according to an April 2011 survey of IT and Marketing leaders, 66% reported not having mobile strategies in place and only 16% reported having implemented their mobile strategies. By and large retailers know they need to jump on the mobile band wagon, so to speak, buy what they haven’t figured out is how to leverage the utility of mobile devices to drive revenue.
….Likewise, your customers aren’t likely going to be able to tell you how they want to use their mobile devices related to their shopping experience. They may cite some of the things they’ve seen in the market such as store locator, product search, QR codes, etc.—and your mobile strategy should consider these basics—but you need to go beyond the basics to analyze what could be improved across every step of the shopping journey from inspiration through to returns and consider how mobile devices could improve your performance. It’s likely to be a combination of customer facing and employee facing mobile solutions crossing feature phones, smart phones and tablets. Mobile should not be thought of simply as another shopping channel, where you should replicate the features and functions on your Website; rather, mobile devices are ideal for augmenting the shopping experience. Of course, mobile commerce will be increasingly important, but it’s not the most important thing. Mobile should be thought of as a disruptive agent that introduces tremendous opportunity to improve the shopping experience, but also introduces a new and very real threat from the competition.
With that as a backdrop I want to talk about a few important facts about mobile. First, customers are using their mobile devices to look for stuff and more than half of the search done on mobile devices are done so by someone who’s looking for local information…of whom more than half proceed to visit stores and make purchases. These facts should change how you think about your search engine marketing. Are you focused on local search? Are you optimizing your search engine marketing for both stores and online?This is even more reason for stores and online channels to get connected…from their marketing and promotions to product data and inventory and everything in between.
The ability to scan barcode scanning is a phone utility that has hit the mark. Marketers are introducing QR codes in print materials, stores are putting them on shelf signs, and adoption is soaring. Although I’m sure the denominator was very small, mobile bar code scanning increased 4,549% in Q1, 2011 according to Mobile Marketer, it doesn’t change the fact that consumers are finding value in being able to scan a barcode to easily access the information they’re looking for. Walgreens is a great example of a retailer who has thought outside the box about how mobile devices could improve their customer experience. They introduced the ability to scan a barcode to refill prescriptions, and have seen more than half of prescription refills that are being done via mobile use the scan feature. The number of prescription text alert subscribers has surpassed one million.
Check-ins: According to a Placecast survey, close to 90% of participants were driven to stores after receiving location-triggered alertsSMS Marketing:Carrabba’s saw a 68% redemption in offers sent through SMS to users from its mobile database. Ashley Furniture sent 6000 SMS messages as part of a Mobile Advertising campaign that yielded nearly $86,000 in revenues - $14.33 per SMS recipient Push Notifications:According to a survey by Mobclix, Customer retention is 2.7x better with push-notification; Apps are opened up to 228% more and weekly session times have increased by 103%.Facebook Connections: There are 200 million active mobile Facebook users
This week Norstrom’s announced that they’re rolling out 6,000 mobile POS devices, Home Depot rolled out Mobile checkout earlier this year and had hit 1MM mobile checkout transactions by early march. Newly revamped Disney Stores are facilitating mobile sales via Apple iPod Touch devices and portable printers. During the holiday season, in the 40 stores that implemented mobile POS, mobile sales accounted for 15-18% of total sales.In addition to mobile checkout, mobile devices will empower store associates to become “knowledge workers” equipped with the information they need to better serve the customers needs.
If how to best leverage mobile phones is a mystery to retailers, tablet devices are even more confusing. Like smart phones, consumer adoption is happening incredibly fast. They’re clearly filling a gap between PCs and phones. The question is how should retailers best leverage them. They’re clearly a better devices for browsing the internet and reading e-mail, but they’re a bit cumbersome to carry around in a store and many are not equipped with 3GToys R Us hit the mark by launching 2 versions of an Ipad app – one for kids to browse the pages and drag items they want into a virtual gift box to create a wishlist for their parents and one for parents to see their children’s picks and pricing info of these pics. Parents can edit the list and email them to their friends as holiday gift suggestions.
Social media is all about relationships. And, because it’s about relationships I think it’s fitting to use a relationship analogy here. In a couple…whoever cares the least about the longevity of the relationship is in a position of power. He or she has the ability to invest in the relationship and make it better or cut it off altogether. The person who cares the most is essentially at their mercy. Similarly, social media puts the customer in the driver seat—they have all the power. Retailers see the number of users and their level of engagement and want to leverage the channel to build their brand and ultimately drive revenue, but they are at the mercy of how their customers choose to engage with (or talk about) them. This is very disconcerting and doesn’t fit well within traditional retailer’s organizations and processesIn spite of it being scary and a little risky, and at the risk of delivering low hard benefits, retailers must have a presence. Top viewed FB pages are of celebrities, TV Shows, and games; however some retailers and products have made it into the top rankings—need to study what they do to attract consumers and to keep them coming back. On the other hand, less than 2% of online orders are the result of people coming from social media websites. Buying things from retailers in social media websites is not a priority for the average consumer. So, what how should retailers leverage social media?
Kiosks complement the store experience by providing expanded product assortments, automating the transaction process, and enabling customers to “experience” a product. They also act as a knowledge repository for store staff and customers alike.Microsoft has just announced that AT&T will be carrying their table monitor to help customers select phones in their stores. This is basically a soft roll-out which will allow Microsoft a little real-world feedback while getting consumers used to the product. In the Lego store, one can hold up a box to a store kiosk that is equipped with a webcam to see a 3-D image of what the toy will look like, once assembled – from all angles.Supermarket retailer Food Lion is adding more kiosks in its stores for members of Food Lion’s MVP program to scan their cards at the kiosk to receive coupons targeted to them based on their purchase history. These offers typically expire on the day they are issued, providing shoppers with a strong incentive to use the coupons immediately. Food Lion reports that redemption rates for the kiosk-dispensed coupons are up to five times higher than rates for coupons distributed through less targeted vehicles.
Tightly tie the product assortments available in-store with the assortments available through other channels and clearly communicate availability to the shopperConsider pricing strategies in light of all income sources (e.g. sales, shipping revenue, monetization, vendor income, loyalty offers, manufacturer coupons, affiliate marketing, etc) and find ways to drive down costs in the online channel (e.g. shared store/online inventory and distribution) High-value items for instance, consumer electronics, must be priced competitively to create a public perception that a retailer offers good value, and discounts on them can be recouped with higher prices on less visible products.
Personalize a shopper’s experience by recommending similar or extended products, use data to recommend products based on what others have purchased or use knowledge about “known” shoppers’ past shopping/browsing history to make recommendations
Invest in people, processes and technology to deliver a channel-agnostic experienceBuild enterprise solutions that power product information, pricing, promotions, reporting and analyticsFully integrate your supply chains to support the flexibility the shopper expectsSimultaneously take a short-term (quick speed to market) and long-term view. The long term views need to integrate with the enterprise’s infrastructure and processes to ensure extensibility and supportability
Rethink Retail: Create the Future of Shopping Today
Rethink Retail: Create the Future of Shopping TodayPutting Multi-Channel to Work to Create the Intelligent Store<br />May 18, 2011<br />Shannon Warner<br />Director, Multichannel Planning and Strategy Business Consulting<br />Shannon.Warner@Cognizant.com<br />
Today…E-CommerceA material source of revenue for retailers<br />7<br />E-commerce sales as percent of total retail sales reached 4.5% in Q1, 2011 and is continuing to grow faster than retail sales.<br />
8<br />Today…E-CommerceBreaking down the purchase barriers<br />
9<br />Today…The WebVideos are driving conversion<br />Shoeline.com added 100 videos that show how a shoe looks on a model’s foot. The videos boosted conversion rates on those products by 44%<br />Source: internetretailer.com<br />
10<br />Today…The Web Personalization is increasing basket size<br />Improvements with Suggestive Selling<br />By improving its product recommendations’ algorithm, Tommy Hilfiger’s checkout frequency increased threefold among shoppers who interacted with the recommendations engine<br />Source: Forrester<br />
11<br />Today…The Web Live Chat is increasing customer satisfaction<br />A 3-year ROI of 304% on click-to-call and click-to-chat explains why more than 20% of online retailers plan to invest in live help technology in the coming year.<br />Genesco that operates lids.com and journeys.com reported that:<br />Live Help generated more than a 4% lift in total online revenue <br />Click to Call increased conversions by 8 times the site average<br />Customer satisfaction exceeded 90%<br />Study commissioned by ATG and completed by Forrester Consulting in September 2010<br />
12<br />Today…The Web In-store pick-up encourages additional purchases<br />24.2%<br />12.1%<br />13.1%<br />15.2%<br />In-Store Pickup of Web Goods<br />Up-to-date tech in place | Started but not finished<br />Will start in next 12 months | Will start in next 12- 24 months<br />40% of orders at BestBuy.com are picked up in its stores<br />When Lowe’s customers pick-up an item ordered online, about one-third of shoppers also make additional store purchases<br />Source: 2011 Retail Tech Trends Study<br />
Today…The WebThe key questions<br />13<br />How do your customers use your website throughout the shopping journey, and how is it changing? <br />How can your website deliver an online experience that is inspiring, informative and convenient?<br />How can you achieve the strongest ROI for the enterprise? <br />Decide<br />Search<br />Purchase<br />Research<br />Compare<br />Share<br />
Today..Mobile DevicesSmart phone adoption continues <br />14<br />66% of retailers don’t have mobile strategies in place, <br />and only 16% have fully implemented their mobile strategies. (Koby, April 2011)<br />In January 2011, Apple crossed<br />10 Billion app. downloads<br />
15<br />Today..Mobile DevicesDiscovering what your customers want…<br />"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." — Henry Ford<br />
Today..Mobile DevicesSearch is leading to sales<br />53% of Mobile Searches have local intent (Microsoft)<br />Google reports:<br />Mobile users who search for local information<br />59% visit a business<br />44% purchase something<br />61% make a call<br />16<br />
17<br />Today…MobileIs influencing in-store sales<br />Mobile bar code scanning has increased by 4,549 percent in the first quarter of 2011 on a year-over-year basis<br />
Today..Mobile DevicesIs a terrific marketing channel<br />18<br />Location-Based Offers<br />Customer retention is 2.7x better with push-notification;<br />Apps are opened up to 228% more (Mobclix)<br />Revenues from mobile location-based services could grow to more than $12.7 billion by 2014 (Juniper Research)<br />
19<br />Today…MobileIs changing store operations<br />Mobile devices equipped with the ability to scan credit cards and print or e-mail receipts will replace the need for traditional wrap stands.<br />
20<br />Today…TabletsShould they be treated as a phone, desktop, or what?<br />21 percent of all mobile traffic is coming from tablets – Shop.org/Forrester Survey<br />In the near future Mobile Apps won’t lure the tablet users anymore , retailers have to think of very innovative ways to retain customers.<br />By 2014, one out of every five U.S. consumers will own a tablet computer (Harris Interactive)<br />
Today…Mobile DevicesThe key questions are<br />What mobile devices are your customer segments using? <br />How can your brand best leverage the utility of mobile devices to create an integrated shopping experience making the most of all your assets (stores, web, etc.)?<br />How can you achieve the strongest ROI? <br />Feature<br />Blackberry<br />Windows<br />Android<br />Tablet<br />iPhone<br />Mobile Website<br />Geo-Locate<br />Text Messaging<br />Mobile Apps<br />Internet<br />Camera<br />Calendar<br />E-Mail<br />Audio<br />Video<br />Lists<br />Store Locator<br />Digital Product<br />Wallet<br />Order Tracking<br />Gift Registry<br />Payments<br />StoreMaps<br />Events<br />Instructions<br />Extended Inventory<br />Receipts<br />Feedback<br />Find Products<br />Inventory Look-up<br />Offers/Coupons<br />Product Information<br />Preferences<br />Customer Service<br />Social Connection<br />21<br />
22<br />Today…Social Media<br /><ul><li>662 MM users
Today…Social MediaThe key questions are<br />30<br />How do your customer segments use Social Media? <br />How can your brand engage your customers (and others who fit their profile) and keep them coming back for more?<br />How can you achieve the strongest ROI? <br />Product Marketing<br />Exclusive Promotions<br />Brand Awareness<br />Community Engagement<br />2-Way Conversations<br />Solicit Feedback<br />Product Development<br />Fun, Interactive Experiences<br />Commerce<br />Recruiting<br />Customer Service<br />
32<br />Today…In-Store Digital Devices<br />The key questions are:<br />How might your customers use in-store digital devices and for what purposes?<br />Are your existing in-store devices (e.g. Kiosks) the right format and in the right locations?<br />Why would your customers use your store’s devices versus their personal devices?<br />Ease of Access<br />Customer Engagement<br />Usability<br />Value Creation<br />
There is not a “one size fits all” solution <br />34<br />Companies must understand who are their shoppers and build their strategy accordingly<br />Tech Savvy Shopper:<br />Leading edge apps to make shopping fun and convenient<br />Stay-at-home Moms:<br />Provide easy-to-use mobile coupons and listing features<br />Increase Store/<br />Website Visits<br />Drive Conversion<br />Teenagers:<br />Engage social network in shopping decisions<br />High Income Individuals:<br />Latest trends, cross/up-sell and personalized offers<br />Capture New <br />Market Share<br />Increase Basket Size<br />Note: Examples are illustrative<br />
Focus on The Basics…With a New Lens<br />35<br />Companies must have the right product assortment, the right information about their products, available inventory, and the right prices<br />Extended Product Assortments<br />Detailed Product Information<br />Buy/Fulfill Anywhere<br />Drive Down Prices<br />Easy to Use Promotions<br />Generate New Income Sources<br />
Leverage the Shoppers’ Voice<br />36<br />Companies must interpret beyond what their customers are directly expressing and innovate to exceed customers’ expectations<br />Social Media Posts<br />Blogs<br />Product Reviews<br />Survey Results<br />Call Center<br />Store Employees<br />Etc…<br />
Be Relevant and Differentiate<br />Personalized Experiences<br />Better Utility<br />Build Partnerships with 3rd Parties<br />Build Channel Specific Strategies<br />Product Recommendations<br />Private Label Brands<br />Customer Engagement<br />37<br />
Solve for Today…And Tomorrow<br />38<br />Get to Market Quickly<br />Build Enterprise Solutions<br />Optimize Business Processes<br />Integrated Supply Chain<br />Evaluate Organizational Design<br />