Delivering a seamless shopping experience
In Melbourne I was with one of the top retail marketing directors in Australia. In Sydney I was with a long standing self-made member on the BRW Rich List and on store visits in Shenzhen and Guangzhong I met with the global director of one of the world largest retailers. When people like this opine, I sit up, lean forward and listen. What they say has relevance and my role is to learn and apply those views to the businesses of hundreds of my company's clients; retailers and manufacturers alike.
As if singing from a single hymn sheet, all three talked of how they had seamlessly integrated online search, purchase and delivery of services and products into their business. Just to be clear, when they said "seamlessly", they meant for the shopper.
In order to allow the shopper to seamlessly move between shopping face to face or online with their businesses, they had had to do an awful lot of sewing together of systems, suppliers and people. The decision as to which method of interaction was the shoppers to make. Likewise, the decision to have the item or service delivered to where the shopper was now, next week or next month also lay with the shopper. In fact, if the shopper wanted their purchase delivered to somewhere they were not, that was fine too.
What made it truly amazing is that each was delivering a very different purchase to each of its shoppers and its shoppers were very different too.
The first was moving high bulk furniture online. This furniture had been "back engineered" and designed to be smaller and lighter than traditional furniture. A bit like IKEA did in the 80s, but much lighter. This allowed them to source, ship and deliver cheaper than a normal retail store.
The second was selling training services online that could be purchased via account or credit card by the human resources director in Kuala Lumpur and delivered to the PCs or smartphones of 500 of their associates across nine countries in 10 languages.
The third was shipping traditional retailing items, from $1 Dove soap bars through to $2,000 massage chairs weighing 60kgs, to anywhere in China.
With one of the three we agreed that the word "eponymous" – meaning available anywhere, just like the air we breathe – best described online shopping.
As long as a 3G or WiFi connection exists for a PC or smartphone, shoppers can shop for anything they want or need in their business or personal lives, seamlessly. All three agreed that their role as seller was to sew together all the parts necessary to make it seamless for the shopper.
In his role as CEO of CROSSMARK, Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores. In this insightful blog, Kevin covers retail news, ideas, companies and emerging opportunities in Australia, NZ, the US and Europe. His international career in sales and marketing has seen him responsible for business in over 40 countries, which has earned him grey hair and a wealth of expertise in international retailers and brands. CROSSMARK Asia Pacific is Australasia's largest provider of retail marketing services, consulting to and servicing some of Australasia's biggest retailers and manufacturers.