Five keys to success in an ‘unboxed retail’ and ‘omnichoice’ world
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the blog of Dave Wendland, VP, strategic relations at Hamacher Resource Group and Forbes Council Member. The article first appeared on Forbes.com.
With today’s shoppers interacting with retailers on their phones, through social media, websites and countless other modes, “unboxed retail” has created a dilemma for many retail formats anchored on street corners across America.
How can stores untether their shoppers from legacy shopping and manage the associated logistics of inventory management, fulfillment, returns and customer service?
The pandemic certainly put a spotlight on the significance of omnichannel commerce as online retail transactions became more prevalent. Consumers are increasingly in charge of how, where and when they interact with retailers.
For brand marketers striving to remain at the forefront of an increasingly “omnichoice” market, positioning products that are available when and where consumers need them and having the infrastructure built to function in a seamless virtual world are necessities.
Here are five keys to success:
- Product assets: The consistency of your brand’s data, attributes, images and representations is essential.
- Fulfillment: While access and availability (in-stock condition) remain essential, last-mile delivery and fulfillment are now key factors among consumers. Work backward from the customer’s viewpoint by asking yourself these critical questions: What is the desired outcome of the delivery? Where will the ordered product be stocked (warehouse, in-store, third-party, etc.)? How will the product arrive? What will happen if the consumer is dissatisfied?
- Brand integrity: As shoppers become more aware and learn about the purpose of any brand, they are more likely to purchase. Give consumers the “why” behind their buy. This will create the brand’s personality and establish its identity. The key is to communicate repeatedly. As a wise mentor of mine, “Rocket Ray” Jutkins, once told me, “Repetition will build your reputation!”
- Loyalty: Lifetime customers should be the goal of any brand (unless you are selling coffins). Understanding your consumers, inviting them to establish a relationship with your brand and then truly getting to know them — as personally as they will allow — inspires one-on-one conversations and a true bond.
- Expansion: When consulting with brands, they are often taken aback when I ask them, “What’s next?” In other words, what are the long-term plans for the brand’s life cycle? Preliminary planning can be the difference between long-term success and short-term failure.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What factors have become more important in guiding retail success amid increasingly “wherever, whenever, however” shopping behavior? Which of the suggestions offered in the article is most overlooked?