Retail innovation: in-store and online

Most retailers don’t fully understand the role of digital and mobile and how it can facilitate enhanced personal interactions with customers in-store online publication, CMO reports principal analyst for Forrester e-business and channel strategy professionals, Adam Silverman saying at a retail industry event earlier this year.

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Silverman raises interesting points.

Don’t lose the online in the offline

There is room for attention to be turned by retailers on how they use digital to transform the customer in-store experience in particular personalization, data integration, data mining and putting into action these insights.

But the article also leaves you with the sense that perhaps there is a risk of some key part of the retail customer experience puzzle that maybe at risk of getting lost in the eagerness to digitally transform the in-store experience.

That is:

1. Ways digital innovation and emerging technologies can be used to enhance customers online shopping experience.
2. How both (online and offline) channels can be used to enhance and promote each other.

Recently Shopify  carried a blog post which made moves to throw a spotlight on this issue.

The blog post “What Talking To Video Game NPCs Can Teach You About User Experience” looked at what eCommerce creators can learn from game designers in terms of enhancing customers online experience.

Innovate online 

Customer’s don’t silo their experience’s like retailers do their operations. They don’t distinguish between interacting with a brand online or offline. Earlier this month Nathan Bush, Group Digital Manager for Super Retail Group, called for digital channels to get their due credit for the sales they generated in-store and how many retailers don’t measure at the checkout what influence the website or online experience had on the customer’s in-store purchase.

Focusing attention on just one channel (online or offline) loses sight of the role each play in driving traffic and sales to each other.

More and more people are living connected, multi-platform lives and the winning retailers are the ones who recognize and harness this. Who “join the omni-channel experience dots for their customers”, who successfully blend online and offline customer experiences using new and emerging technologies and who focus attention on continually transforming both the in-store experience and  the online experience.

What do you think of  retail innovation (online and in-store) and where it’s headed? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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