There has been a rapid industry shift towards a digital-first
sales model. For brick and mortar focused retailers this has
resulted in disconnected organization charts. However, studies conducted by Retail Next show that
two-thirds of customers made purchases in the last six months
that involved multiple channels. “While we’re seeing
much more mobile traffic than we ever have in previous years,
especially with the younger buyer,” said Michael Osborne, CEO of SmarterHQ,
“Our survey found that brick and mortar is alive and well with
millennials, and the need for a strong, well-executed and
cohesive omnichannel presence beyond online is key when
capturing millennial spend.”

As retailers gear up for the holiday season, here the top three
areas where online and offline teams can collaborate to achieve
a consistently-branded and worry-free holiday shopping
experience.

1. Data-Driven Selling

The first step towards holiday financial planning is
understanding the mindset and trends of the targeted consumer
and delivering a consistent experience. However, online and
offline teams need access to the same customer information to
create a unified strategy. The good news is, these days,
creating a single view of customer analytics is easier than
ever.  

  • Identifying one source of truth for customer
    data
    is a must to ensure effective marketing and
    targeted selling. Assessing which platform will be the
    primary source of customer data (CRM, ERP, POS, Platform)
    will allow internal teams to have one unified view.
    Following the assessment of which platform is the primary,
    a customer “merge and purge” is recommended to ensure no
    duplications of customer accounts

  • Ensure customer service tools are synced
    with the customer’s primary account. Legacy customer
    service notes will provide visibility into past customer
    history, and should be visible to both the offline and
    online customer service reps.

  • Using already implemented platforms to
    gather product feedback
    will allow for a more
    holistic view of the customer’s product interactions and
    will allow for accurate messaging. Consider post-purchase
    surveys, clean data capture within the RMA sections, and
    social engagement as a means to ensure product feedback is
    captured and implemented for future target marketing.

2. Relevant Product Merchandising

Authentic product education and accurate style guidance
continues to improve with advanced technology. Expectations
from digital are established by the high standards in-store
sales associates have set when properly educating a consumer on
a product usage and styling.

A study conducted by the CMO Council found
that 54 percent of consumers would consider ending their
relationship with a retailer if they are not given tailor-made,
relevant content and offers. According to the study, “A unified
view of the consumer is only the first step. One end goal for
many however will be using that real-time data to deliver more
targeted and personalized experiences across devices and
channels. Many studies of shoppers have indicated their desire
for hyper-relevant, personalized customer experiences.”

Follow these steps to deliver a consistent online and the
offline sales experience:

  • Suggest newer items that pair with previously
    purchased products
    . For example, a furniture and
    home accessory company can help customers to merge new
    table settings with older pieces for a cohesive holiday
    table setting. This is a perfect showcase of offline
    balancing out a rare online experience.

  • Use product attributes and the right content to
    ensure accurate geo-targeting.
     Silhouettes,
    fabrications, color palettes, and sleeve lengths have a big
    impact on the end destination style choice (different
    products are recommended for a Palm Springs holiday versus
    a Miami beach trip). This ensures both product and content
    are relevant and on trend with the location’s style
    reports.

  • Pay attention to feeds, filters, and navigation
    during the holidays.
     UV sun protection, same
    day delivery from a local store, stain resistant, and
    wrinkle-proof for travel are all relevant filters for a
    last-minute holiday trip. 

3. Unification of Wishlists

Following the trends of social pinning, sharing, and
compilation of “dream” boards, the expectations of wishlist
engagement have surpassed the traditional heart icon. Whereas
digital has made advances in its ability to accurately capture
and market a customer’s wishlist items, many brick and mortar
brands follow ancient practices of capturing and contacting
customers as new items arrive.

The need for harmony between the two channels is ever-apparent.
In studies conducted by Deloitte, 66 percent
of holiday shoppers in 2016 said they were planning to conduct
“Webrooming,” where items are searched for online and purchased
in store.”

To ensure a harmonious engagement of the customer, product
interactions, and wishlist functionality should be consistent
across both channels. Recommended functionality that can be
applicable to both channels includes:

  • The ability to notify the gift giver when
    prices have dropped on a wish-list items both online, via
    effective digital marketing, and via SMS technology when
    nearby a local retailer. An oldie but a goodie.

  • Offering relevant size guides when gifters
    are hesitating around sizing decisions. Additionally,
    in-store contact information can be incorporated into this
    pop-up for more one-to-one style and size guidance from a
    professional. An in-store sales associate can supply the
    customer with a promotion code to input at checkout if
    there is a need to document the sale for commission
    purposes. This can alleviate dialogue over social channels
    which may not accommodate a real-time response from the
    retailer.  

  • Syncing visual search with social insights
    when the recipient wants more “surprise and thought”
    applied to the purchaser’s gift choice can ensure an aesthetically “on-target”
    gift. Larger items can be reserved in-store for one of a
    kind item’s if the gift giver needs to view in person
    before purchasing and can be tied to a sales associate in
    the store who has a specialty in that area for one-to-one
    curation (e.g. furniture vs. carpet).

The overall goal for investment prior to holiday is to ensure
that the features and improvements being made to your site are
on brand and cater to the customers’ digital expectation.
Functionality is not universal per vertical and per target
demographic. Engage a hands-on digital strategist to support as
you gear up for these busy times, and most of all, ensure
custom functionality can be applied to future initiatives,
beyond the holiday season. Happy selling!

 About One Rockwell
One Rockwell is a full-service digital
agency with exceptional abilities in intelligent commerce,
known for building digital flagships and providing creative
business solutions and technical direction for fashion, beauty,
wellness and lifestyle brands seeking accelerated success in
the online marketplace. With clients such as  S’well
Bottle, Oscar de la Renta, Mara Hoffman, Juice Beauty, and ABC
Carpet and Home, One Rockwell is a true digital destination for
serious brands looking for strategic growth. Contact hello@onerockwell.com to
receive more information on opportunities for digital expansion
in collaboration with One Rockwell’s retail vanguards.