|Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on Loyalty360
In the past year, a plethora of retailers made assertions pertaining to a “challenging store traffic environment,” and its negative impact on sales and, ultimately, brand loyalty.
What’s more, these retailers have spoken of a challenging environment, with volatile macros globally, and an increasingly competitive landscape replete with digital technologies disrupting many aspects of their respective business models.
Ernan Roman, President of ERDM, told Loyalty360 that the challenging store traffic environment can certainly have a direct impact on loyalty marketers.
“Our firm, ERDM, recently conducted 2000-plus hours of voice of customer research interviews with millennials to understand their expectations of the retail shopping experience,” Roman explained. “The findings explain why many retailers are finding this to be a challenging time in terms of store traffic. Per the findings, millennials take for granted these factors in the shopping experience; choice, price value, service, speed, convenience, contextual relevance, and frictionless purchasing.”
A retailer’s shopping experience has to satisfy all these criteria in every element of the omnichannel mix, Roman noted.
“If the retail shopping experience does not bring additional value to the online and mobile shopping experience, why visit a store?” Roman said. “Marketers must learn from the omnichannel convenience, personalization, service, engagement and magic of the retail experience provided by leaders such as Burberry, Rebecca Minkoff, and Sephora.”
Based on the research findings, Roman recently visited a Sephora store and observed how the use of in-store technology, tutorials, and demos enhanced the customer shopping experience.
“But, the really thrilling part was how sales reps entered customers’ personal preference information on their tablets so customers would have their updated information as part of their profiles, therefore improving their future online or retail shopping experiences!” Roman said. “The Sephora reps were focused on improving the customers’ omnichannel experience and providing guidance to help them make informed decisions across all channels. The sales flowed naturally from this value-added engagement. Retailers that are not embracing this holistic, customer-focused and omnichannel vision will not win.”