Omnichannel Retailing – the Survivors’ Choice

22 minute read

How to map the customer’s route?

The best result is achieved by acknowledging how differently clients think and act. For instance, it turns out that mobile company clients gladly go online to change the billing address or for other such things, but in case of technical problems they want the technician to come over or at least call them.

Describing different types of customers – or personas – helps in better understanding what kind of service they want. Therefore it is best to begin with creating the personas.

1 Create the personas

Describing the customer’s shopping route sounds scary, but it usually boils down to several basic variations, that help in describing the persona aka type of customer. Once the various types of customers and their behavior is known, the rest of the systematization is done by the POS software, which helps describe the customer better than using demographic indicators. 3-4 personas might fully suffice.

Erply suggests a persona classification that is based on the seven dwarfs, a Disney staple, created by the Brothers Grimm.

They believe that things that have always been successful will also be successful in the future. It matters to them how things are done and how they work. That doesn’t mean that Grumpy is always opposed to innovation, but it takes them some time to get used to it. And they have to believe in it. They follow the rules, customs and norms; they like to pore over problem solutions, and approach each subject from several angles.

When you sell to Grumpy, be sure to offer them a safety guarantee. They want every detail to be in place, and get the maximum. They take their time deciding, but they should not be rushed – they need to come to the decision of purchasing the item once they have completed a thorough analysis in their head. If you pressure them too much, you will lose them as a client.

Sleepy doesn’t care about the rules, customs or how things usually are. Their slogan is, “What brought us here, won’t take us any further”. They think unconventionally, outside the box, creating their own strategies and solving problems creatively.

When selling to Sleepy, you need to be thought-provoking, and make them do things differently. They can also be uncontrollable and unmanageable, so when striking up a conversation, you need to prepare for a long discussion. They seem to convince themselves in the necessity of your product or service. And this is the shortcut to selling something to Sleepy.

Here we have a professional who actively uses the mobile phone for both business and pleasure. They read e-mails from customers and colleagues, chats on Skype and Facebook, keeps a calendar, plans a trip and books the flight. In their private life they pay bills, shop, and perhaps use Tinder. Their busy schedule leaves them very little time for shopping, which is why they browse the internet about quality and prices of the product. They prefer shopping online and picking the items up from the store, instead of waiting for the delivery.

Selling to Happy is pure joy and a feat of labor, because they usually come to the store with a particular wish and a plan to spend money. When making recommendations or introducing special offers, you need to hit the mark – there is no point in spitballing ideas, because they don’t tolerate waste of time and small talk.

They love to have control over things, and solve problems in a decisive and adamant manner. They are results and success-oriented. When dealing with Doc, they can be pushy, exuberant and oftentimes blunt. They are demanding and want things done on their own terms.

When selling to Doc, you need to be decisive and venturesome yourself. Don’t worry too much about it when Doc raises their voice or gets impatient – it just means that they are on a roll. And actually they lead themselves to the purchase decision by listening to themselves.

They are cooperative and mindful of others in their own quiet way. Sneezy is diplomatic, helpful, and capable of adapting to anything. They respect everyone around them.

When selling to Sneezy, it is important to come to an agreement. Once they have mulled over all the aspects and gotten down to the brass tacks, they are ready to make the purchase. It might take time for Sneezy to decide, because they want to hear other people’s opinions and consider their wishes. When they are stuck with the deciding, all they need is a gentle push.

They prefer shopping online because they are too shy to make eye contact with a sales assistant at a physical shop; want to go unnoticed, and hang on to others’ opinion. Equipped with critical thinking and skepticism, Bashful is reserved, and doesn’t like exaggerating or pushy sales tactics. Bashful needs a moment to get used to things, so give them time to adjust.

When selling to Bashful, you have to consider the fact that they prefer written communication to a phone call or talking face to face. You shouldn’t be annoyed when they don’t show emotions and seem indifferent – that’s just how they are. Don’t be overly familiar with them; instead, let them think things over calmly. In fact, any interaction with them leaves a big question mark – they won’t actually know, and you definitely won’t, if you managed to sell them something.

Dopey is a social activist. Young and rarely use their phone for work stuff, but they surely use it to actively communicate with friends and play games. Dopey is a team player. They are on a shoestring budget, and do a thorough research online before shopping. They monitor social networks closely to get the best selection. If the purchase is a success, they will gladly announce it online – and vice versa.

When selling to Dopey, avoid technical details. You have to listen to their thoughts and arouse their enthusiasm. Dopey will prattle about anything related to themselves – no matter if it is about work or personal life. Their jabbering about their latest holiday, or the talk show they saw the night before, might be just the thing that results in a sale for you. Keep them in their element and you will succeed.

2 Map the customer’s route

The second goal is to map the persona’s needs and their shopping route, both online and in a brick-and-mortar shop, using the POS software. Try to find the shortcomings. For example, according to one of McKinsey’s analyses, 80% of the customers who entered the bank via an online channel left the application form unfinished. The “work-and-play” type probably gave up because they didn’t have time for this nonsense. They were irritated by the excess amount of blanks to be filled on the digital form, and the bank asking for information they already had (date of birth, address, etc.).

3 Start up the strategy

Customers are often faced with an enormous amount of choices, complicated pricing schematics and rules. Therefore, you need to keep in mind that going from one channel to another should go without a hitch for the customer.
The fastest changes can be implemented on digital channels.

The changes must involve everything, from how data about shopping history is collected and processed, to the earned bonus points. Those changes need to be dealt with constantly, so that omnichannel mentality would take root in culture as well. Implementing omnichannel logic is too huge for it to be done once, using a consultant, and then forgotten. It is best if the changes are carried out by interconnected teams. This helps avoid the worst part – creating ivory towers between various divisions and distribution channels.

Omnichannel strategy expects everyone to have new skills: those in the forefront have to be better at anticipating the customer’s wishes, and map the route; managers who don’t make omnichannel strategy their priority simply cannot work in this company anymore.

Maintain alertness during personalization
Personalization is important – who wouldn’t like going to a store and having everything picked out for them, according to their preferences, shopping history and lifestyle.

Shopping statistics is an invaluable asset. However, in some cases it may cause a delicate situation; like that one time, when a company congratulated a single woman on her approaching wedding, whereas she had no plan of getting married.
Sure enough, Target caused the biggest media circus, becoming part of a scandal, due to an exceedingly accurate analysis of purchase statistics.

The company’s brilliant statistician came up with a method for predicting women’s pregnancies, and even the due date, solely based on changes in their shopping behavior. For instances, it is an indicator if a woman, who has always bought ordinary soap, starts buying odorless soap all of a sudden. 25 products were selected that predicted pregnancy rather accurately. However, thanks to a flyer about baby clothes in their mailbox, one schoolgirl’s father found out she was expecting. So it might end up backfiring.

In conclusion: Every retailer should realize that digital channels don’t signify the end of traditional commerce, on the contrary – they create new possibilities!

Have a happy new omnichannel life!