• The Essential Guide to Digital Transformation

Chapter 3

Why is OmniChannel Retailing so Important for Brands?


Date:
29 Mar, 2020
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The Omni-Channel Retail Strategy

Online-to-offline, or O2O, is all about using online channels to drive customers to physical retail stores. According to the Financial Times reports that online sales of non-food items reached 28.1% in 2020 – which means there is still over three-quarters of sales took place in stores.
The idea that customers want to be able to shop seamlessly via the channel that’s most appropriate for them at that time is just standard now. If you’re not already serving customers in this way, then you need to start. Check out how the top brands using O2O retail initiatives.
Minimalism

Top brands using O2O retail initiatives

Omni-Channel retailing is the idea of using online channels to drive customers to offline physical retail spaces. Known for its power to revolutionise the way brands do retail, we take a look at some of the brands utilising O2O techniques.
01

Zara

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In 2019, fast-fashion retailer Zara unveiled a new store concept at Westfield in London. While the space has some great smart tech in the form of mirrors and self-checkout, the O2O side of things is equally as cool with customers able to quickly retrieve their click-and-collect orders in seconds thanks to the automated robotic arm system.

02

Starbucks

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One of the best ways brands are looking at O2O retail is in getting rid of queues. Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay concept is a great example of this and promised us that we’ll never have to wait in line again. It works by letting customers place their order and pay from their phone before popping in to collect it when they pass by.

03

Burger King

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Looking to warmer climes, Burger King used social media to bring customers in store with its InstaWhopper campaign. It created an Instagram-based burger customisation tool where consumers could create a custom Whopper through answering polls and then received a voucher to collect a free version of the real thing in-store.

04

Victoria's Secret

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Victoria’s Secret decided to explore the benefits of Instagram in the hopes of promoting its Tease perfume. The brand took to the social media channel and invited consumers to visit their local store, find the designated mirrors, take a selfie and upload the photo to Instagram with a dedicated #VSTease and #VSGift hashtag in return for a surprise gift.

05

Topshop

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If there’s one brand that knows what it’s doing when it comes to connecting the online and offline worlds, it’s Topshop! When it comes to O2O specifically the brand put its knowledge to practice in the form of a collaboration with fashion website ShangPin. Called ’The Mobile Adventure’, consumers could scan QR codes around a Beijing-based shopping mall with their phone to view virtual Topshop outfits in store.

06

Sprint

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Remember when Pokémon Go launched in 2016, and the frenzy it brought about from retailers? While many of us were out there busy trying to catch them all, it opened up a great opportunity for retailers. Sprint cashed in on this thinking by turning all of its stores into PokéStops and Gyms within the game. It also awarded every person that activated a new line of service $100 worth of in-game currency.

5 Quick Win with an Onmi-Channel Retail Strategy

1. Instant order and collection in-store

Perhaps the most well-established example of O2O in retail is click-and-collect which is most popular with resturant and take-aways. They all do it to different degrees and successes, but many retailers now let customers order online and then pick-up in-store. A classic example would be HKTV Mall. For the customer there may be a saving on the delivery cost, as well as the convenience of not having to wait in for an all-day delivery slot, but for retailers the hope is that customers may find other things to buy when in-store.

2. Make the most of location

These days we’ve all got a smartphone in our pockets. These devices are the perfect means for delivering an O2O campaign – they’re always with us, they keep us connected and they’re aware of our location in the physical world. A customer’s smartphone knows when they’re near a store, so why can’t it get them through the door?
To feel the benefits of this tech, retailers need to ensure that their local SEO is up to scratch. This can help drive customers to the store simply by telling them that it’s near where they are.
You can even go further by exploring ways to deliver location-based offers to customers nearby. Imagine if your company app could push a notification for a discount or special offer to the customer’s phone as they walk past – are they likely to come inside?

3. Get Chatting

Chatbots and messenger technologies are a great way for you to start a conversation with the customer that ends in the store. As customers become used to using these features, they become an ideal channel for pre-sales advice and recommendations.
Online research before a purchase is now commonplace, but by using chatbots retailers can guide the conversation and help to reduce the challenge of too many options. Especially as AI tech gets smarter it will be able to make better, more personal recommendations.
After all, why can’t you have a conversation with a personal shopper or chatbot, get product recommendations and then reserve a fitting room filled with those products so you can walk in-store and try them? Or talk to your hairdresser and share images and ideas before you go in for your appointment? This is what O2O was born to do.

4. Offer Convenience

One of the things that can put customers off shopping in-store is the perception that they will have to queue a long time. This is another area where the online world can smooth the way for offline sales.
Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay concept essentially promises customers that they’ll never have to wait in line again. They place their order and pay from their phone and then they get told when it will be ready to collect, so they can walk in and have it in hand immediately. Of course, if everyone is collecting coffee at the same time then it’s perhaps the same problem as just queueing to buy, but the customer perception is one of a better experience.
What if you want to go the extra mile, by allowing your customer to use your Mobile app and tap onto your product to complete the payment with NFC technology.
By giving customers the ability to streamline their in-store experience before they even get there, whether that’s ordering food, reserving a fitting room or products to try, booking a personal shopper, making a service appointment or something else, retailers can make the offline shopping experience more convenient.

5. Be Social

Social media is here to stay, so we might as well embrace it. One-way brands like Glossier are driving product hype and traffic to their stores is through treating hyper-engaged fans like influencers. The company recognises that the best brand ambassadors are the people that love their products and can’t stop talking about them. By capitalising on their enthusiasm Glossier gets others talking about its products and wanting to try them.
It also helps that its store locations look so good that visitors spam images on Instagram, which makes others want to visit. You should think about how you can encourage customers to share your store with their friends and fans online for the same benefit.
Burger King also used social media to bring customers in-store with its InstaWhopper campaign. The company created a burger customisation tool inside Instagram which let create a custom Whopper by answering polls to choose ingredients. Once they’d finished they got a coupon to collect a free real-life version of their customised burger in-store. This combination of fun and personalisation, plus free stuff, is just one example of how social media can be used to drive in-store traffic.
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We are not far off from the days where most of our shopping will be done with our TV at home
For most retailers O2O doesn’t require a massive change or huge investments. It’s about putting the channels you already have to good use and connecting them up in ways that benefit the customer. Based on the stats, the store is going to be a dominant figure in the retail ecosystem for some time still and so has huge value, not just as a place to buy, but as a service delivery location.
One of the best indicators of this is the Amazon-Whole Foods relationship. Why else would Amazon buy Whole Foods if this giant of e-commerce didn’t see value in a physical retail presence? Whether it’s using the stores to complement its online business by offering ordering and collection or recognising that there are some things customers like to buy in person, the extent of their plans remains to be seen. But it’s clearly worth having a ready-made store network, rather than building its own from scratch.
The other great thing about O2O is that it can help you expand your customer base. You can use these techniques to find new customers online and then encourage them to engage with your brand in person. After all, if the majority of shoppers buy in-store do you want to try and capture their online business only, or the in-store as well?

FMCG: Focus on the relationship with the consumer

As modern life accelerates and technology continues to advance, people expect everyday products to keep up too. That's why FMCG companies are always on the lookout for the next great innovation.
New product launches, new schemes, new brands, new brand extensions, and new marketing activity are springing up across the sector. But that doesn't automatically mean that they'll all survive. It's innovative thinking and smart working that will ensure individual companies in FMCG succeed.
Many FMCG company has embed NFC tags into merchandising displays for FMCG products. This solution will allow customers to tap their phones against the NFC touch symbols on point-of-purchase units in retail outlets to receive content from the participating brand.
The NFC tag is built into the signage of the stands and objects as part of their POS display. The content on the tags depends on what we’re doing; say we’re doing a stand for potato chips for example. You have the stand for that project and it can redirect users to a certain campaign or anything that the potato chip brand desires.
Designing and developing in-store activation units for brands and their customers has always been all about the customer experience.
As shoppers demand a more digital purchasing experience, we are at the forefront of customer engagement by providing brands with real time feedback on in-store engagement.
NFC technology represents the next wave of the in-store experience and we look forward to enabling it to millions of people through new or existing units.
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Luxuary Brand: Connect the Unconnected

NFC is a new channel where information and data can be pushed to consumers directly through their mobile phones. It's exciting because it's the convergence of commerce and advertising. In the past, one enabled the other even though marketing and transactions were separate. NFC is one channel that can serve both needs. And it's a big win for marketers - marketing and business objectives will be more tightly aligned.
The fact that Quick Response (QR) codes aren't reliable, it wasn't always obvious to consumers how they could interact with them, and they were clunky at times. NFC has the potential to replace credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, and coupons. And it could be considered another form of advertising, alongside email advertising, banner ads, social media marketing, and traditional advertising. It's a more direct, targeted way of reaching consumers.
NFC will drive demand similar to how LivingSocial, Groupon, and Facebook Deals do. But instead of driving social-buying consumers to try new products and experiences through essentially random spin-the-wheel-type deals, NFC deals will be made in context. NFC is data driven, and deals can be made based not only on a customer's location, but on their purchase history and shopping habits. This is highly targeted, personalized advertising. And with NFC campaigns, marketers will be able to prove ROI on marketing spend more directly. NFC isn't just a cool technology - it seems like the right channel for brands.
Everyday brands in particular - things like toothpaste, cookies, soda, and coffee. For instance, imagine checking in to the supermarket terminals located at the entrance to learn about the daily deals. This could drive purchase behavior; you might buy things you weren't initially planning to, because you'll want to take advantage of the deals. You might head to the toiletries aisle even though you weren't initially planning on it because Crest is on sale that day.
Another practical application for NFC is in malls. A big challenge for malls is effective wayfinding - it's difficult for a retailer who's not in a prime spot to get foot traffic. We could use NFC to push information to customers' mobiles as they walk through malls. Retailers also struggle to use the mall as an advertising channel; there's not a lot they can do in the physical space. But they could use NFC to advertise digitally - to push deals, VIP invites, and announce new product releases to attract customers to their stores. This type of NFC use could be just as effective in theme parks, at expos, and in conference halls.
RETAIL BRAND

NFC Technology for Powerful Content Marketing Campaigns

Give access to more information about your product using NFC technology to unveil useful and entertaining information. Grant access to sweepstakes, contests, instant win games.

It offers the ultimate in convenience, speed and interactions. Take advantage of this features to open up a new dimension in user experience and run successful mobile campaigns in a dynamic and playful way!

Promote your business with exclusive coupon offers and to use digital couponing to drive traffic to your stores with attractive coupons and special offers using NFC.

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The Essential Guide to Digital Transformation

The world has gone digital, and there’s no going back.

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