I had the opportunity to attend the Norwegian Trade Conference in Oslo 24th September featuring some of the most interesting retailers in Norway, and even a couple of international speakers. The focus for this years conference was BOPIS + BORIS = True, but some of the keynotes also focused on traditional retail and omnichannel.
Trade is never a dying concept but rather a constantly changing industry. This rapid change and advancement bought in two e-commerce acronyms to the market. This is none other than BOPIS which is abbreviated for buy online and pick up in-store facility and BORIS which is bought online and return in-store. So what does this give your business? How does it support customers to have a better shopping experience? These are the questions we intend to answer by the end of this article.
These new purchasing behaviors have widened the scope of shopping gives more flexibility and convenience to your business. Let’s dig in deeper and see what advantages these new Omni channels provide you with.
From apocalypse to renaissance?
Trade would never reach an apocalypse. Rather, it gives new beginnings just like the renaissance. So, it can be related to it as well. There is one question that many have in mind when it comes to engaging consumers and maintaining relationships with them further with regards to trade and business. Is trade all about customer experience or it solely based on price?
Recent statistics that mainly focused on Norwegians show that Norwegian shoppers who shopped in physical brick and mortar stores in Norway increased by 16% from 2012-2018 and those who shopped abroad in physical stores increase by 76% in the same time frame.
On the other hand, Norwegian shoppers who purchased from Norwegian online stores increased by 101% and purchasing from international stores increased by 146% from 2012-2018.
It also revealed that 50% of consumers preferred physical stores whereas 20% preferred online stores. However, 30% did not really have a particular preference.
Therefore, these facts show that customer service is not just a department or a small fraction in the trade industry. It plays a bigger role as the main purpose is to build a loyal member and focus every aspect of keeping the customer in the center. Simply said, the customer is the boss! Not to forget while the store is 50%, delivery is equally important and takes about another 50% nowadays.
From apocalypse to relevance
Peterson was the speaker of the year during “The Big Show” in New York in January and has about 30 years of experience as a retailer, strategist, and speaker. His innovative approaches to modern retail and strong expertise in cultural trends are his specialty.
It was pointed out that retail closures were more than openings in the USA and the sole reason was shoppers were looking for more facilities than just shopping. Whilst shopping, they looked for eating spots and food halls are a great technique. They also look into children’s play areas, fitness centers, green spaces to relax, farmers’ markets, places to buy household items and other facilities. For example, farmers’ markets have 3985 in 2014 to 9027 in 2019 as buying fresh fruits and vegetables has increased over the years and a consumer on average spends about $16 per visit.
Therefore, many shoppers looked for an all-in-one place to get all that they need. Therefore, incorporating this concept shows that shopping is not dead yet, but rather the way shopping is done must be changed. This is where BOPIS and BORIS become two famous traditions that are followed these days for customer convenience.
BOPIS and BORIS
Unlike earlier days, people are less patient and expect instant gratification. Thus, BOPIS is very useful for people who are stuck in workplaces or traffic and do not really have the time to choose items in shops. Through this, they get the option of choosing the goods they need online and picking it up on the store. This saves time for people with busy schedules to smoothen their shopping. On the other hand, when customers pick their goods, 75% of them also purchase additional items while in-store.
Looking at the near future, the use of technology will be more heavily incorporated into shopping. For example, having 3-D views of products and being able to visually shop their stores and getting it delivered.
This is another option where you could buy online and get it delivered. However, if you want to exchange or return to a physical store, you can do so. So the hassle of return shopping is eliminated and is a convenient service. The benefit of it is that when customers visit the store to return goods, there is a high chance that they might exchange or even buy additional goods.
But these innovations won’t mean it is the end of shopping centers because having physical stores gives delight to people which virtual stores cannot give. People like to touch, feel or smell which online stores cannot give because those sensations can induce spontaneous purchases.
The line between physical stores and online stores will get thinner and thinner day by day and a new concept will come known as a physical store which will create a fluid web-to-store system with a smooth customer experience. Therefore, many different methods will be used with different approaches to reach different audiences.
How to create total seamlessness between the web and the store?
As Hauk Landsverk, Digital Director of Elkjøp expressed, to create a seamless integration between web and physical store is through these omnichannel approaches like BOPIS and BORIS to create a link between physical stores and mobile, telephone or computer devices. Through these, customers will enjoy the benefits of technology which will simultaneously cater to their needs as well. It will be customer-centric rather than product-centric where it is based on the customer’s journey and experience which is a fundamental factor.
It speeds off the web
Siv Heleen Grødem, entrepreneur and owner of the Suser i Sivet highlights certain strategies to enhance the shopping experience such as instead of selling individual clothes, you sell a full costume. Apart from that other factors like social media promotions by stores, online presence and personal services like cash on delivery are a few aspects that also enhance the shopping experience.
Suser i Sivet also won the prestigeous award for retailer of the year: “The winner is the result of hard and planned work over many years, a willingness to invest and dare to try out new things and excellent marketing in social media. The result is a modern, forward-thinking business that masters the demanding art of combining online sales and physical store in an excellent way.”
Different industries, same customer – how to meet future customer needs
Ingjerd Blekeli Spiten, Executive Vice President of PersonMarked highlights modern payment options like mobile banking and paying online as new developments that make purchasing more easier and convenient. Most banks and online payment gateways are trustworthy and reliable where almost 90% of people trust their banks and 20% of the people trust global payment systems like PayPal. There are few others as well that rely on social media payments, IT companies or mobile companies.
Keeping up with the consumers – how Zalando aims to become the starting point for fashion
David Hejgaard, Regional Lead Nordics of Zalando reflects on Moore’s law stating evolution is much faster than ever where customers tend to shop anywhere at any time of the day. Most physical stores have partnered with virtual stores where people can choose the color and size of what they need. If this is available in the virtual warehouse, they can purchase it.
How to prepare for a different future?
Truls Fjeldstad, Director of marketing and business intelligence at NorgesGruppen is a charismatic guy who mainly focuses on sustainability. He believes that classical stores where you pick and pay will continue to exist and never halt. Thus, to prepare for this, new features and services must be introduced to support the traditional brick and mortar stores. These include personal assistants, IoT, automation, and delivery as well.
How to leverage customer data and not just collect it?
Anton Nytorp, Head of CoopX at Coop Norway is a firm believer in heat mapping. This is a great technique to understand customer’s purchasing behaviors in the store. These analytics show actions and what your customers usually like. It is a good way to record data in a way that can be interpreted rather than just merely collecting it.
Furthermore, placing similar products of different vendors is another great technique so consumers have many options to choose from if they don’t like a particular product type or brand. This also shows and helps identify which products are more likely to be bought. Having an unmanned- store in Norway is also on the bucket list as it will show what customers actually want and not forced or induced to buy sales representatives.
Symbolic consumption and self-concept
Siv Skard, Associate Professor at Kristiania University College researches consumer behavior. She highlights that people are always concerned about how others look at them and judge them. This is a great point that can be taken advantage of from a business perspective. People are self-centered and if they notice that they are being watched, you can promote concepts like ‘go green’ or ‘go healthy’ which people tend to buy.
How to create results online from the first click?
Rune Kjeldsen, General Manager at “Hekta på Tur” began his first business at the age of 22 which was sold to a Dutch company. He then began an online store called Hekta Pa Tur which has steady and stable growth. Today it is a leading profitable store.
Thus the moral of the story is when the wind of change blows, you must build a windmill if you’re a winner because losers will build wind-shields instead.
The customer experience is what will differentiate you from the competitors in the future.
Always keep in mind that customer experience is far more important than having a good customer service system. Thus, to ensure smooth and efficient customer experience, it is necessary to indulge in profitable and sustainable business models inclusive of Omni channels like BOPIS and BORIS. These strategies are what gives customers a better overall experience.
Sveinung Jørgensen, Associate Professor at INN and Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen, Associate Professor at NHH research on sustainable and profitable business models working closely with Norwegian and international companies. They have published a book together called ‘RESTART 7 Roads for Sustainable Business Models’. You can read more about them at www.JorgensenPedersen.no.
There are a few ways to enhance the customer experience. You can Redesign the business model and approach focusing on a customer-centric fashion model as it is important to see through the customer’s eyes.
Controlled experiments is another process of understanding customers and to see their issues beforehand. You can see the usability of the products, how well people can use and their overall experience and impression of the particular product or service.
Another method is Circular processes which are usually adapted by product-oriented companies who have sought ways to give in a service and benefit from it. For example, you purchase a washing machine and pay in a cycle whereas the manufacturer will ensure that it works properly and service it when needed. Service logic is quite similar to a circular process and is relatively new which focuses on exchanging services than just goods.
Alliances are equally important to engage with your customers and communicate with them throughout their shopping journey. You can get information such as feedback, their experiences. Knowing these you can adapt means to ensure customer’s expectations are met. Another important aspect is Results that are obtained by different analysis will help you identify loopholes and fix any issues to enhance the overall customer experience.
The three dimensions of customer experience are segregated into three elements. The first is a success where the customer is able to get what he/she requires and also see if the interaction was successful or not. An effort is analyzed to see how much effort the customer had to personally put to get a successful interaction. Lastly, emotion is whether the overall interaction left the customer delighted or disappointed.
The changeover process in the green shift
Anita Sørlundsengen, Retail Director and Øyvind Andreassen, Senior Region Manager at ST1 Norway highlights the importance of the green shift in the modern century. Gas stations have now transformed into energy stations with new concepts constantly developing. See how ST1 / Shell at retail director Anita Sørlundsengen and retailer Thommas Landsem have created the energy station of the future with special emphasis on good customer experiences.
From market leader to challenger
Lars Kristian Lindberg, CEO / Managing Director at Gresvig emphasized that Gresvig was in need of a change or an advancement from a strong national brand to a more profitable international brand. Ole Sauar, Founder and CEO of Jollyroom stated that social media and influencers are a great method to grow your business in an international platform. Also having playing zones is another key idea.
Also keep in mind that nordic countries who balance between socialism and capitalism have better economic efficiency and growth and thus, investors must carefully consider this aspect as well.
The key is to hit the emotional muscle
Sondre Gravir, CEO of the SATS group which is a leading fitness center chain in the Nordic region highlights that rather than focussing on getting in participants to the gym, the focus must be on getting the customer to the gym.
New business models
Emilie Stordalen, daughter of Peter Stordalen and part owner at Strawberry Group is a charismatic and down-to-earth personality. She currently works to develop and operate digital platforms. The specialty about her is that she focuses on individual people such as Amanda, who is young and modern to Anders, who is a bit aged and classical which gives a more personalized experience to customers.
Another strategy used is that they tend to use low-quality locations such as basement rooms and give high-quality experiences like LED walls where you feel like you have woken up in a rainforest. These minute details are very important to create a positive image about your services or goods to the customers.
If you are interested in hearing more about the future of retail and IoT, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂