“Each time a consumer is exposed to a better digital experience, their expectations for all experiences are reset to a new higher level…”
Vicki Cantrell, formerly COO of Tory Burch and CIO of Giorgio Armani and now Retail Transformation Officer at Aptos, used her talk to really hit home to retailers about where their priorities should be in their overall business and development plans. The answer: Customers.
Vicki explains “you should not be comparing yourself to your competitors, you should be looking at impressing your customers”. Today’s consumers are omnichannel, and there’s no two ways about this, mobile is not going away anytime soon. Mobile first is key, and Vicki states that there’s going to be double digit growth year on year, 30% of all on line shopping occurs on a mobile device. This year, UK retail mcommerce sales will reach £35.31 billion, up 24% from 2016*. Not only are consuming purchasing via mobile, they are researching products too. Nearly 60% of shoppers use their phone to look up prices and product information while instore.
“Don’t think that your only opportunity to influence the customer is when they come into the store – they are influenced across all channels” – Vicki Cantrell
Further reinforcing the essential nature of having a seamless omnichannel experience for your customers. Most surprising are the seeming delusions of retailers of how much of an excellent omnichannel experience that they are providing to their consumers. Shocking only 27% of consumers feel retailers provide a consistent customer experience across channels. Whereas 51% of retailers believe they succeed in this. “What’s the difference? The difference is execution” Vicki answers. Customers shop differently all the time based on their life, no two weeks may be the same, and no two shopping experience may be the same. For a busy mum, she may click and collect groceries one week as she is passing by the store. The next, she may go into store to do all her purchases. And then the third, she may do all her shopping online and have it delivered to home. In each one of these instances, retailers need to be ensuring that the busy mum’s experience is identical across the board as this will encourage customer loyalty and brand confidence.
Vicki explained the essential relationship between providing a seamless omnichannel experience and customer loyalty, as she calls it “loyalty innovation”. 39% of US consumers feel loyal to brands that connect with them with other providers, giving them the ability to exchange loyalty points of rewards (Aptos). Interestingly, in contrast to Cybertill’s Gen Z research, which found that this generation are not really bothered about experiences being offered by retailers and would much rather have discounts in store. Vicki found that 81% of Millennials favour loyalty programmes that do more than offer rewards for purchase. What’s interesting is that these two generations are so similar in age and their consumer preferences (as found in the Cybertill report), but when it comes to experiences, here they may differ.
Cybertill’s latest research has uncovered UK specific detail about consumer habits of nu-wave shoppers: Gen Z. You can download the full report here: cybertill.com/gen-z
*All statistics taken from Vicki Cantrell’s RBTE presentation
Rachel is passionate about retail and the ever-changing retail technology environment, with a keen eye for upcoming retail trends that are set to shake up the sector.