A profitable future for retailers driven by in-store experts

For a long time, online and offline consumers have been treated differently. However, interlinking these customer experiences is key for moving forward in retail.


Most retailers admit a lack of synchronicity between on and offline teams, but some are now taking a top-down approach in an attempt to harmonise customer experience. “On and offline continue to merge, and our core belief is that omnichannel means to offer consumers all services on all channels seamlessly” says Martin Wild, Chief Innovation Officer of MediaMarktSaturn.

It’s October 2018 and I’m in the world’s largest consumer electronics store for launch day of Wild’s latest project.

Wild is tasked with driving innovation at Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer. Famously taking a ‘fail-forward’ approach, his influence has seen the retail giant lead the bolder steps forward in retail.

I’m watching Thomas, one of Saturn Hamburg’s tech experts, put through an order for a customer. Despite the analysis of pundits, the store is humming with customers – perhaps a testament to its enchanting size.

No sooner than Thomas waves goodbye to his customer, a mobile rings and he pulls a handset from his belt:

“Hi – Thomas here at Saturn – I’d love to help you find the perfect TV. How can I help?”

Thomas is one of retail’s latest evolutions; splitting his time between traditional store duties and advising online customers through a live video service on Saturn’s website.

He goes on to use his mobile to stream a comparison of the top 4K TVs, showing off the latest features and deals available at Saturn.

Breaking down silos

Progressive retailers no longer care where customers make the purchase, but they’ll undoubtedly have a grasp on the numbers: multichannel retailers see conversion rates 10x higher in store than online. In an ever-digitalising industry, retailers still value store experts – like Thomas – as one of their greatest sales assets.

Customer experience consistency

While efforts are being made to drive retail footfall, this initiative marks an appetite to bring retail experiences to online customers.

What’s more, migration to digital means retailers can no longer rely on stores alone to define their customer experience.

Mamas & Papas are the latest innovators to catapult store experts into the digital channel. Digital Director, Jo Molineux, tells me: “Our in-store teams provide an amazing service, covering what really matters to parents to be. We are very excited about being able to offer their expertise directly to our online customers – increasing reach well beyond our store footprint.”

 

 By  Andre Hordagoda, Co Founder Go Instore

11th September 2019