Welcome to our very first vlog! For this special occassion we enlisted our CEO, Garry Lee, to talk to you about using your online presence to keep your bricks and mortar thriving. This is a must watch for retailers that see the importance of an online and offline presence.
We hope you enjoy!
Hi, my name is Garry Lee, I'm the CEO of RedEye and today's subject is going to be about; ‘is Mike Ashley the only saviour of the high street?’. And here's a hint, he's not, otherwise this would be a very short video.
So, before we get into it let's focus on what's most important. What does the consumer want, does the consumer actually want to save the high street? Because if they don't then let's not even bother with this. Well there's a couple of stats from a report from Internet Retailing last year that should hopefully answer this question. The first question was about how many consumers see it as vital. The second one was how many of them say they enjoy the experience. Well the numbers, they tell us that it is important because 81 percent of consumers say they absolutely see the store as vital and 70 percent of them see it as a great experience that they want to enjoy. An experience, that's the key word here. That's the word we want to focus on and that's what we want to see. How could digital marketing help make that experience come alive and also just make people aware of it.
So, the first and most important thing I want to emphasise in all of this, if you're going to focus on the experience let's make it fun. That's what the consumer wants, that's what is different about going in store versus online. You can enjoy that experience. So, there's a couple of very obvious things here. Number one, you've got people in store. So, once you've got the people, you can clearly have a better customer experience. So, focus on that, focus on those people and we'll talk about how we can bring those out in just a second. But also, you've got the physical product. You can touch it, you can get the feel of it. So, focus on that, again that's a unique selling point you've got in store and of course the ultimate thing that online can't do which is instant gratification. However close Amazon gets to its one-hour instant delivery it still isn't instant and that's what we all know.
So that's where we have to focus on those things. And that is where we talk about what digital marketing can do to help and honestly the first thing to focus on is just make people aware of
the stores. Because that's half the problem right now, digital marketing doesn't talk about the physical store, it doesn't make reference to them. Starting point is let people know they exist and then start utilising these key points, we've just talked about, in terms of the people, in terms of the product.
But let's also focus on the thing that's working for so many good high street retailers which is the local aspect, and the best example I can think of right now about that is HMV and Waterstones. HMV owned Waterstones until quite recently and then a couple of years ago Waterstones moved away, they were bought out. HMV, we know the sad story, it carried on going down its road going into administration for a second time. The key there is they haven't changed anything about that experience. They haven't recognised the difference. Whereas Waterstones, they've put a guy in charge who's a big advocate of local bookstores and what he's done, he's given those individual store managers the ability to start talking about their own store. The ability to start making their own events to start talking about, putting references up for books that they all enjoy as staff and that's really where we want to focus.
Let's focus our communication so that we actually know who we're talking to. Let's focus on that location, we know enough about them online so that when we send them stuff we can talk about the local store, not a generic ‘go to your local store’, tell them about their actual store. Tell them about the people who work in that store, give them their back history, talk about the events that are going to be in that store and tailor that towards the things they're interested in. We know their buying habits, we know their browsing habits. We can predict via AI what things they’re interested in. Let's use all that data we've got online to then help target people to drive them into the store, and let's have fun with it.
Let's do a virtual tour. Anybody's got an iPhone, an app, an Android phone that could take a very simple video, they can walk around the store. And that video will give them the opportunity to showcase what the client will see, the customer will see in store and build up that anticipation, but let's not forget the basics. Okay, let's talk about click and collect which is the single biggest way to get someone in store. Get those basics right, instant response, give them the communication in the form of channel they want. So, is it email? Is it SMS? Is it through a push notification? Whatever their preference is, send it to them quickly and cleanly. And by cleanly, we mean tell them where they can find it in store. Tell them when they can pick it up from, don't try and upsell, leave that for the store. That's the whole point. You're pushing them into store because believe it or not, if you get them in store they'll buy more products.
There was a report last year, an amazing stat actually last January. Consumers who go in store buy an additional 39% products. An additional 39%, if you can get people in store they will buy extra products on top of what they've already done. So, make sure you always offer them that option to collect in store. I get frustrated when I see that you can buy products and get it delivered at home but not in store. It's the same concept, get them into the store, get them buying the same stuff. Hey, don't forget, get them to bring their returns, because the returns can just be as useful in terms of getting them to look for additional products or swapping a product for another one. So, focus on the basics, get people in store and let those store managers do their job.
A couple of final points to end on. We call it the future but the reality is this is now. You can do this because the data exists. Push that data into the store, the data we talked about earlier,
get it in store. Get it into the hands of the store managers, into the sales staff, give them more information about the people that come in store. And if you're not comfortable with that - some people might consider it too creepy. Rather than just enhancing the experience, then just provide that information, maybe into the customer’s app. Recognise them as they walk into your store. Charge them there with a new idea, send them a product that you know they're interested in, point out where it is in store. Enhance again that store experience. Make it interesting, make it fun.
So ultimately, in conclusion don't be afraid of the store. If you've got stores and you've got online, merge the two things together. It's not a coincidence we've left the logo of John Lewis up here throughout. The reason for that is that if you want an example of a company that does this well just look at John Lewis. I was fortunate enough a couple of months ago at a conference to meet a lady called Sienne Veit who's working at John Lewis and is responsible for a lot of this area. But what comes across is why John Lewis did this well. They make everything about the customer, they put the customer at the heart of their marketing and as a result of that, they don't care if they're going online or in-store. They just want them to be their customer, so they combine the two, there's no competition it's about a seamless experience.