Matthew Walsh (Retail Membership Manager, IMRG), Kieron Smith (Digital Director, Blackwells) and Matt Haslum (Consumer Marketing Director, Faber and Faber) formed the panel discussing omnichannel selling at the Quantum conference on Monday. Here are our top 10 takeaway points from the talk.
How consumers spend
1) 27% of retail spending goes online.
2) Tracking a single customer’s path to purchase is the holy grail. E.g. being able to track when they browse on their phone or tablet and then make a purchase in store, or vice versa.
3) 32% of online sales are coming from smart phones and 19% from tablets, and sales from tablets are increasing. Beacons in stores register your smart phone, know what you’ve previously searched for, and send you a voucher based on that search when you walk into the shop. Though, this is not something booksellers are currently adopting for their customers.
4) Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses, and different customers need different experiences. Better customer service is available in store, but it’s easier to search for products and there are more options online.
5) Because of complex supply chain, the challenge for booksellers is delivery. All channels are currently too slow to meet customer demands.
6) Email is a vital channel for online retailers, accounting for 12% of the revenue. This has doubled over the last four years (from 6% in 2011), which is largely down to smartphones. But effective campaigns rely on having amassed are large number of subscribers from which you can segment and target appropriately.
7) Social media contributes less than 1% (0.3%) of a retailer’s revenue. It should be viewed as an additional marketing method, not a revenue stream. Social media is the modern day equivalent of a shop window: just because the consumer may not buy immediately, it doesn’t mean that they won’t return or buy the product elsewhere.
8) Consumers use social media to raise problems and ask questions – it’s a customer service channel and should be viewed as an extension of the bookselling service.
9)Think about your market and the channels they use. For example, students don’t tend to use email anymore and are instead on Yik Yak, Facebook and WhatsApp.
10) These channels are constantly shifting and you need to be there to reach them. Pinterest is soon to have transaction facilities and Instagram is an increasingly important tool for retailers. While direct revenue is currently minimal, social media is likely to become an effective last click tool.