Despite growing ecommerce sales, the vast majority of customers prefer to buy in brick-and-mortar shops. However, digital — and especially mobile — has fundamentally changed the shopping process for those that buy in-store too. Omnichannel retailers are increasingly looking at closing the gap between digital channels and the physical store.
In a TM Forum Catalyst project, Comarch, Comptel, Huawei, Salesforce, Teavaro and Vlocity are working together to demonstrate an end-to-end solution for this challenge. The project is sponsored by the Orange Group, Ncell and ArtOfArc.
Telco customers, for example, typically visit multiple channels (e.g. social, web, retail, contact center, etc.) before completing their purchases. While most customers start their shopping journey online, 69 percent of customers turn to retail stores to complete their purchase.
We use the Experience Lifecycle Model from TM Forum´s guidebook on a 360-degree view of the customer, focusing on the engagement phase. Retailers and brands need to meet the customers at the moments that matter most:
- Be aware: In this phase the consumer recognizes a need and learns how to satisfy that need. Companies can support the consumer in providing ideas.
- Interact: Once the need is realized and ideas are gathered consumers approach brands and request more information or concrete offers. The consumer wants to be sure he is getting the best offer.
- Choose: In this final phase of the buying process the consumer selects concrete products or services, orders and receives them. Once the consumer has decided to buy in principle it is important to provide a frictionless shopping experience, as 95 percent of customers said they have not bought in-store and 85 percent say they have abandoned a shopping cart online despite their buying intent.
We will showcase two use cases. The first one is about engaging with prospects (see the graphics below) and the second one is about engagement with existing customers.
For brands to be successful in the buying process, it is of high importance to be present in early phases as the data from a recent McKinsey study reveals, “These brands in the initial consideration set were more than two times as likely to be purchased as were brands considered only later in the decision journey… Overall, 69 percent of the brands purchased by consumers who switched brands were part of their initial consideration set when they started shopping.”
Companies know that their customers are researching online prior to purchasing in-store, but often are not sure exactly where those customers were conducting their research and which channels were contributing to in-store traffic and sales. And store teams are often not convinced that digital is playing a major role. Take fashion retailer Petit Bateau, for example. It found that 44 percent of its shop visitors went onto its website prior to purchase. And those who had been on its mobile website had not only 11 percent higher conversions in-store but also 8 percent higher average basket sizes.
As online and physical sales are further intertwined it is important to not only take friction away from customers but also from the internal organization caused by channel conflicts. As a result, retailers increasingly credit online sales to in-store employees.
To bridge the gap between digital and physical stores, companies need to answer some tough questions:
- How can they reach consumers digitally in the early “Be aware” phases?
- How can they identify users across devices, channels and domains and distinguish between prospects and customers?
- How can they make the digital customer journey data available in store and capture?
- How can they detect in which phase a customer is and provide the next best engagement for that stage using contextual and user information?
If you are interested to find out more join us at the TM Forum Live!, May 15-18 in Nice where we will showcase our solution.