The last couple of years have witnessed a major transition to online and retailers have had to fast-track any digital transformation projects to ensure business security and continuity.
Peter Allen, CEO of Scentre Group shared, “Customer visitation across SCG’s portfolio was up 12 percent in the first quarter on 2021 levels, or up 16 percent when excluding CBD assets.
“Comparable majors and specialty stores were up 11.2 percent in March 2022 compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels and up 7.1 percent for the quarter,” he continued.
As we move back to a new kind of normality, customers are returning to the shopping malls and stores in their droves. So, what does this new reality look like? How can the online and offline worlds work seamlessly to provide a consistent CX and BX experience?
As Mark Staton, Head of Store Design at Kmart says, “The introduction of digital made a lot of people talk about the death of stores but now that we are back to the new norm after three years of distributive headwinds, everybody (including the tech giants) is recognising the importance of stores through a true omnichannel experience – something we would have never heard five years ago.
“Hopefully, in the next year, we will stop looking at these physical in-store shopping experiences and digital as two separate entities and just embrace this concept of omnichannel. We need the two to coexist.”
Mark and the subject of omnichannel retailing will be one of the topics to be discussed at the Online Retailer event, being held on the 20th-21st July at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney. Online Retailer is the #1 meeting destination for the e-commerce industry to access the relevant strategic insights, solutions, technologies and connections to help fast track their online businesses.
Omnichannel retailers have realised that people love the in-store experience. It’s an experience for people to touch and feel the products and experience the brand in its physical environment, but with online B2C sites further advancing their brand experience and personalisation online, the physical stores need to offer something more.
Mark Staton continues, “As the path to purchase becomes omnichannel and the whole digital experience evolves, we are tasked with figuring out where the store fits within that ecosystem. The role of the store is going to change very fast in the near future.
“Just from witnessing the return of physical stores and the response from our customers, it’s become more obvious that they love to shop in person – seeing, touching and having a genuinely engaging experience with the store. Expectations are now higher, so we are constantly evolving the store to meet those expectations and deliver.”
And then the online needs to support the offline and vice versa to create the ultimate 360-degree retailing experience.
Samantha Law from Aje says, “Our boutiques give an experience to cherish for the customer and we know she shops both online and offline. It is important for our customers to experience something special when they walk through the door – whether physically or digitally. We place time, effort and thought into the CRM strategy to attract and retain authentically, and have a stellar team within Aje HQ dedicated to creating store experiences, for example, styling sessions, VIP events, complimentary gift wrapping, partner events and more – it is always planned with the customer behaviourism in mind. The offline and online experience is non-negotiable when mapping and executing this journey – creating QR codes, digital look-books or experiences that we know she loves and engages with, results in strong relationships and benefits beyond the interaction at play.”
And everything is supported online through Aje’s social channels and website.
Law continues, “We utilize an always-on strategy across paid, earned and owned channels to generate offline and online behaviour and in doing so, support our boutiques; for example, running optimised digital campaigns, flighting call-to-actions promoting physical events, moments and constantly championing reasons to explore the brand. We trade discoverability channels continuously, such as Google store listings, so that users at the start of their journey, for example searching for boutique opening times, can serve a real-time and up-to-date representation of our brand and offering.”
To learn more about Online Retailer and to purchase early bird tickets, go to: https://www.onlineretailer.com/.
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