“A brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.” Amir Kassaei, chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide.
Today, I stand in one of your shops, see that you are out of stock of a certain product and simply use my smartphone to search for the product in one of your other shops. My options have suddenly expanded.
I see that I can buy it online or even purchase it directly from your warehouse.
This experience raises some interesting questions for retailers. Is this an online sale or a physical shop sale? Does that sale add to your overall business customer transaction numbers or have we “double dipped”? Does this sale make the quaint wait at the cash register for the sales assistant to phone another shop a thing of the past? What does this transaction do to the traditional retail metrics of sales per square metre, or margin per square metre, etc?
Now let’s reverse that transaction slightly. If I order the product from your website and collect and pay in store; is that an online sale or a physical shop sale?
And here’s the point. Does it really matter?
Fit retailers have moved on from the old paradigm of selling products to consumers supported by tactical marketing promotions – instead, they truly understand the concept of building an omnichannel brand experience.
An omnichannel brand has many different ways of connecting with its ‘right’ consumers anywhere in the world at any time and each of their brand touch points will have a commercial capability such as the physical brand experience (you might know them as retail shops); multiple online brand information destination points (you might know them as websites); integration with smart digital branded touch points; relevant social media brand channels and even the traditional brand mediums through your home all-in-one computers, once known as a TVs.
Advertisers, digital strategists, consumer behaviour architects, social and e-social experts, brand strategists, graphic designers – all must understand that it is the sum of all brand experiences which will turn the business of retail around by being where the customers are and using the right channel with context-sensitive tactics to drive retail dollars by building trust and advocacy.
The days of simply charting our point of difference, building a tactical navigation and then describing this as strategy are now past. Instead, having a true understanding of how to integrate brand, consumer knowledge, technology, experience and retailing skills will herald this new age of retailing.
Happy Fit Retailing!
Brian Walker is Managing Director of Australasia’s leading retail consultancy, Retail Doctor Group.