Omnichannel Retail Forum Breakfast – April 2013

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Omnichannel Retail Forum Breakfast – April 2013

Please find following a brief summary of the discussion from the breakfast on 18th April. I found myself so engrossed in the discussion my notes appear a little sketchy, so my apologies if my representation is not complete. I have not allocated names to comments so that confidentiality is maintained. Everyone has been invited to join the Omnichannel Retail Forum on LinkedIn but if you would like to make direct contact with anyone at the event please let me know.

Introduction some key facts on mobile…

Mobile is e-commerce 12 years ago and 50 of top 100 retailers have no mobile capability but mobile is the glue for all the channels. Reported Peter Fitzgerald, Google, Country Sales Director at the latest BRC Omnichannel symposium.

To add to these stats the British Retail Consortium’s research with Google released this week show:

John Milliken, Monitise, set some context around the challenges and opportunities for mobile. He gave the example of Home Depot in the States using mobile to augment the customer experience with a navigation tool to help customers find product in store.  Also that collaborations are going to be key to future development, if ego’s can be negotiated out of the way. For example Weve has been formed to solve a critical problem for every business wanting to get involved in mobile commerce. Today, any organisation trying to engage with an increasingly mobile customer base is forced to engage with a bewildering mix of operators, services, platforms, channels and technologies – thus duplicating effort, increasing costs and making it impossible to get accurate and consistent insight into customer behavior. Weve is a new focal point for a whole new set of experiences and ideas across the mobile spectrum, everywhere from mobile marketing and advertising to payments and transactions, loyalty programs and coupons.

Also mobile can enhance the customer experience in other ways other than for m-commerce eg to improve the stores staff scheduling systems.

Others identified that often the objective of mobile is not around conversion of transactions but is to enhance the overall experience of the holiday maker by providing information on the activities around the resort. Concluding that offering wi-fi is now a utility not a benefit.  This proposition was supported with the comment mobile is a great way to build a community for example for Liverpool Football club sharing ideas rather than aiming for transactions.  The challenge was posed of how to develop value add loyalty features to customers and where personalization is going to be the key differentiator. It was identified that different experiences are required by different customer segments. Which led on to the discussion about using second screening – developing  companion apps for the new connected TVs. Extra data is displayed on a portable device (ideally Tablet) which is synchronized with content being viewed on television which works with interactive games. There was also some discussion about using mobiles for tracking customers instore. This is being trialled by Walmart to allocate digital coupons to relevant customers.

On participant spoke of using mobile to lean back and search for information and laptop/PC to lean in and make the transaction. I think everyone agreed with this outcome, that each channel has its own purpose and needs to be developed with that in mind.

I mentioned that Innovation might possibly be the topic for the next Forum and this conclusion does take us naturally to that point. It has been widely reported that Walmart have established their Walmart Lab in Silicone Valley. Having been behind the curve on Omnichannel development they are now making great strides. And in their own words it is better to cause your own trouble rather be troubled with others. I am sure that loyalty and personalization will be at the core of this agenda.

Do share your thoughts on this and all of the above:


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