Our LS Retail booth was set up right next to the “Big Ideas“ Breakout session rooms. This prime location gave us a special and up-close perspective on retail trends. For three days we witnessed visitors standing in long lines to get into sessions like “Personalization is the New Omni-channel: Investing in the Customer Experience” or “Improving the Omni-channel customer experience through digital transformation”.
These breakout sessions confirmed what we’ve seen evolving over the last years. According to Forrester and Deloitte Digital reporting:
- 75% of consumers said product information found on social media influenced their shopping behavior and brand loyalty;
- 84% of consumers engaged in a digital shopping before or during their most recent visit to a shop; and
- 69% of shoppers expected store associates to be armed with a mobile device to give instant access to product information, including availability
There's really nothing new in this.
Since 2012, LS Retail has focused on personalized loyalty solutions. Customers want a meaningful relationship with their favorite suppliers of goods and services. The consumer wants and deserves to be delighted!
Here’s a lesson re-learned: LS Retail and our colleagues in the retail IT industry must empower retailers to engage their customers with the right content and products, at the right time and in the right way. The challenge is both gaining new customers and driving incremental sales by existing customers. Retailers that focus on personalization techniques are seeing substantial benefits from this focused and optimized customer experience.
The major news we bring home from New York is that the Omni-channel is being supplanted by a more holistic view of the customer. In other words, to provide the perfect Omni-channel experience for the customer, you need to get rid of the constraints of thinking by channel [Tweet This]. You must also learn and test concepts — and pay attention to what’s happening outside of the retail industry. "Everyone at this show [knows] that retail channels are blurring and converging," said Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation.
This is where it gets difficult. Just as we learned to complement the retail business in physical stores and e-commerce with social media, we are faced with another paradigm shift. Not only must we learn to work in a multi-channel business, we must work with other businesses as well [Tweet This].
For example, some US stores are using Uber for express delivery of goods ordered via a loyalty app, webstore or physical store. A survey showed that average delivery time with this service in New York City was 23 minutes. This gives the customer almost instant access to the goods they bought. (But at the same time 70% of customers said they would rather handle their returns in the store instead of online.)
Another lesson we learned from the many retailers who visited LS Retail‘s booth during the NRF is that the retail industry is still used to an omni IT solution strategy. This is when companies strive to integrate a variety of different solutions from different vendors to support their omni strategy. In most cases, they were very surprised about how much easier, simpler and faster it is to get it all in a single solution, as is offered by LS Retail. As an LS Retail customer said after seeing the LS Nav update for 2015 and LS Omni. “Now the solution has everything we want.“
Written by Carsten Wulff, Regional Director - Europe