Round Table – How to become a service-oriented omnichannel retailer?

In today´s challenging world, Batenborch International organizes virtual round tables to connect professionals from multiple sectors and environments to learn with and from each other. In this format, we discuss actual topics and themes in either dealing with the Covid-19 impact or in preparing for a post-corona future.

Friday, December 4th, we kicked off with a small committee of Marketing and Ecommerce directors from different retail environments around the question: How do you become a service-oriented, omni-channel retailer? We have found that many retailers are “forced” to focus on additional (digital) services and new streams of customer value due to the enormous pressure on prices and promotion combined with the growing power of large e-tailers such as Amazon. In addition, there are many traditionally discount formulas that successfully broaden their market and grow rapidly.

Marcel Aalders, Marketing & Ecommerce Director Europe at CarpetRight, introduced the theme by sharing experiences of his journey so far. Marcel took us along in the (r)evolution of the CarpetRight brand and the strong growth ambitions across the omnichannel axis. We talked about the challenges of changing a product-oriented culture in a customer-centric one, while rolling out a digital transformation program.

"I found it very useful to share our challenge in the development of a service retailer and to hear how colleagues are working on similar issues. Even though we work at different retail companies, each with their own business models and (im)possibilities, you can see that there are also many common challenges."

Marcel Aalders - Marketing & Ecommerce Director Europe at CarpetRight

How retail brands transform.

Within the emotional vs rational and self-service vs full-service quadrant, Carpetright is shifting more towards the emotional, full-service side. This shift is a movement we see in the entire retail landscape. Brands become more emotional driven to really connect with their audience and broader service propositions pop up to better serve the consumer. The level of movement depends on the status quo brand positioning and brand equity. Marcel consciously spoke about a step by step approach, in which an organization should be changed quickly but feasibly. For both the internal and external organization, the house of cards must stay.

Driving a brand more emotionally is based on content, campaigns, CX and ultimately the necessary inspiration. Through the correct use of data and technology, valuable personalization opportunities arise to seize relevance and value for a consumer. However, the positive added value may or may not be confirmed or invalidated in touch points such as the customer service or the shop floor. We emphasized how customer satisfaction, customer centricity or the NPS should be(come) part of the KPI framework of employees throughout the entire organization.

 

The rise of additional (digital) services. 

Developing broader service propositions is a challenge from a desirability, feasibility and viability point of view. An interesting discussion arose across the different categories. We discussed how valuable digital services like configurators, online assistants and virtual support justify their investment for some categories, such as for a luxury mattress, but are unrealistic to develop for products like towels or rompers. Does this mean that products with a lower price and margin cannot be sold in a more customer-oriented, value-adding way? That certainly turned out not to be the case, but the added value lies more dominantly in operational excellence, CRM marketing and an online experience that comes close to the reality. Photography, video and other forms of content were mentioned to get as close to reality as possible.

Of course we continued with the so called omnichannel threat for retail, and we discussed how ecommerce does not cannibalizes the formula but actually complements it. Not all Customer Journeys can be digitized, but they do can be improved in almost all cases. For example, assortments and stocks can be of greater accessibility value to the consumer in an omnichannel approach.

 

The thoughts on loyalty and retention. 

We tilted the discussion, after reflecting for some time on growing customer value through a more emotionally driven brand and strong service propositions that support the consumer in the orientation phase. But how do we deal with the customer after a purchase? How do we guarantee loyalty, retention and ambassadorship? Certainly for the non-fast movers, long-term retention of a consumer and building a long-term relationship is challenging. We spoke about exploring partnerships and collaborations, and their potential in cross- and up-sell opportunities. For fast-moving retail, loyalty must be earned and flat discount vouchers are no longer sufficient. Consumer expectations and needs are higher. Only if those are met, consumers dissolve from the weekly pile of promotional flyers and price stunters on the doorstep.

 

We had a great, inspiring session thanks to the attendees sharing their insights and ideas, and bringing in some vibrant energy! Read their comments below. 

 

Raph Schröder – Director Ecommerce at Hema
“The challenges of omnichannel retail appear to be very different per industry. During this round table session, we discovered that there is a great overlap between the challenges and that everyone can learn from each other. That made the session valuable for everyone present.”

 

Jolanda Lamboo – Manager Ecommerce at Nestlé
“Great to talk with Marketing & Ecommerce peers about mutual challenges, the setting allowed us to deepdive into specific topics and  exchange more detailed experiences.”

 

Marielle Hoeks – Marketing Manager a.i. at Keesing Media Group B.V.
“I enjoyed to look at the omnichannel customer journey from various categories to see what’s in them to learn from before, during and after the purchase. It was a very interesting session. I collected some great insights and tips for myself, which I can apply in my role as marketing manager at Denksport.”

 

Alex Bloemendal – Manager Ecommerce a.i. at Zeeman
“I had a usefull, fun experience joining the knowledge session conducted by Batenborch. They brought together an interesting group of peers on a relevant subject. Valuable, corona proof alternative to the pre-corona networking / round table sessions! Clear that Batenborch stands with both feet in the market and ecommerce field.

 

Bart van Bommel – Head of E-commerce, Digital & Customer Service at Auping
“I really enjoyed exchanging experiences and ideas with colleagues across the retail landscape. To compare our different perspectives on the specific CarpetRight case inspired me. The group was relatively small, which made the discussion more effectively. These type of sessions give inspiration or a different view on things. Definately worth repeating!”

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