Burberry’s decision to open a store without tills is a brave one and is likely to spearhead a seismic shift in the way retailers interact with the consumer. Introducing new technologies that help streamline the customer’s in-store journey bring obvious benefits for the brand by offering consumers a convenient experience that underlines the company’s ambition to position itself as a technologically-advanced retailer.
However, Burberry and any brands with similar plans, need to be aware of the effect it has on the customer’s emotional connection with the brand, especially with generations that have become accustomed to a more traditional retail experience. There is a balance to be had between convenience and the human side of the business. Only through an integrated marketing strategy can a brand truly improve the consumer’s retail experience.
The most important thing is to meet customer expectations of shopping experience, and this can vary between individuals. Some might want a ‘real life’ experience, others the convenience of an entirely digital journey. Every element has to work in context with the user’s experience.
Being brave enough to take this step should be applauded – but only by establishing the correct strategy and ensuring that it fits with the overall message of the company can a brand truly use technology to enhance the retail journey.
Jason Cromack, CEO, Lateral Group
Give customer rewards the inspirational edge
In today’s competitive retail environment, quick-fix promotional activity such as money-off vouchers and coupons is no longer viable.
Offering discounted vouchers and rewards schemes that don’t resonate with customers will not generate long-term and meaningful brand association.
Simply, loyalty schemes that work must be relevant and rewarding. At Avios, the travel rewards programme, we have invested in data insights that allow us to get to know our customers to ensure the rewards programmes we offer are meaningful.
This means creating schemes that not only apply to consumers’ practical buying decisions but which offer aspirational and inspiring rewards, and trigger emotional brand attachment.
Whilst money-off vouchers may catch consumers’ short-term interest, it is only by tapping into emotional buying that brands can ensure long-term loyalty.
Adrian Hado, head of insight and analytics, Avios
Mobile is an asset to the high street
I strongly contest comments from former Focus and Wickes boss Bill Grimsey around how the high street is ‘as good as dead’ and how online shopping is a ‘terminal disease’ for local retailers.
Both Bill Grimsey and Mary Portas have publicly declared that online and mobile represent a nightmare scenario for retailers. Our recent research shows the opposite is true, as long as retailers are prepared to harness the potential of mobile in particular, and are not afraid of closing a sale through a different channel.
We work with clients to ensure that the use of mobiles is a tremendous catalyst for driving customers into stores on the high street. Our most recent study found that 38 per cent of people who research a product on their mobile phone will then go into a shop to buy it. Also that many shoppers would welcome offers and incentives to encourage them in-store, but currently only 16 per cent of them are receiving such deals.
Making the most of mobile and online could be exactly what the high street needs to survive.
Dan Cohen, market unit leader – Tradedoubler