Across the globe, consumers freely mingle in-store visits, online product research and other information sources before making purchases, large and small. Digital technology really has changed how we communicate, view the world and carry out routine tasks. Shopping is clearly one of those tasks. A survey shows, almost one in three shoppers worldwide are blending online and in-store shopping on a regular basis nowadays. The trend is upward, given the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the World Wide Web. In fact, the future of shopping is already in full swing.
With 70%, consumer electronics is the category that ranks first in the world in terms of consumers’ shopping activities, both online and in bricks and mortar stores. People go to stores to check out and get a feel for Smartphones, tablets and MP3 players. But instead of buying in-store, they look for a better deal online – and often purchase another brand in the end. Too many consumer electronics brands still fail in keeping both existing and potential customers within their brand universe across channels.
Samsung, for example, had to accelerate growth by going beyond excellent engineering to create an emotional connection with consumers. Their products were outstanding. But the marketing challenge was to move beyond technical features to emotional benefits. They were forced to adjust their brand experience – for each channel. After conducting some market research, they brought the best elements of the Samsung flagship brand stores to their retail customers in Europe, the US and soon in Pakistan.
Samsung has since taken omnichannel presence to the next level. It made a major commitment to social media. This sent shoppers flocking to its Facebook and Twitter pages and reinforced its messages all around. Based on a sensational explosion in click rates and significantly increased sales, Samsung ultimately decided to expand this emotionally enriched omnichannel sales concept to more retailers and more countries as quickly as possible. Just take a look around to experience Samsung’s refreshed brand universe.
At the conclusion of the day, shoppers rarely make conscious decisions for or against any retail format. In most cases, practical considerations dictate the place and time of purchase. Shopping across different channels is just a first step.
Whether you are marketing basic FMCG, high-tech, healthcare, durable s or luxury products, tomorrow’s omnichannel world is forcing retailers and manufacturers to think differently about the entire shopper marketing mix. The key to winning with this change is to infer that there’s no longer a linear path to purchase. Consumers shop flexibly and quickly, and blend experience points in store, online and everywhere in-between.
It’s therefore crucial to convey a unified and coherent brand image across various touch points, while creating new shopping experiences specifically tailored to the different sales channels’ assets. This is what true retail innovation is about.