Innovation and digital solutions in Retail 4 months ago

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It is becoming more difficult to satisfy the needs of tech-savvy clients as they expect seamless and exciting customer experience across channels.

We believe the future is about connectivity and data. Speakers at the OMR Festival in Hamburg gave real life examples how they are addressing the changes with digital solutions in providing the finest customer-experience both online and offline.

So, what will the future of retail look like?

Traditional retailers are shifting their focus on innovative solutions. For example, Douglas, WAH Nails and Lekkerman are perfect examples how out of the box thinking has led to transforming traditional businesses. There are also companies that shake the market with being different from the start on. Zalando has shown great success as a pure e-tailer.

Today, most retailers understand the benefits of engaging with your customers and how digital marketing plays a huge role in it. About You and Douglas have joined forces with some of the most-known influencers in Germany to spice up their brand communication. Contorion has made their mission to provide the best customer experience with digital and data driven solutions in order to disrupt the B2B sales.

Keep reading further to find out how industry leaders are shifting gears.

From traditional retail to digital

Beauty as a service

Tina Müller, CEO Douglas – Europe’s leading retailer of selective beauty and care products, advises companies to think outside the box to find new output for brick and mortar stores besides sales and trying out products. Their decision to start providing beauty services has proven to be very successful and in high demand.

Tina Müller believes the next step further is providing digital services. She revealed at the OMR Festival their plan to introduce videobots – offering clients one-on-one tutorials with a professional make-up artist via video. “We already have all the technologies today. Why not use it to provide new convenient services for your customers,” says Müller.

Instore experience with VR

Sharmadean Reid, the founder of WAH Nails, has definitely transformed a traditional beauty service. Her idea to mix beauty, art and technology ended up being as a one of a kind beauty space – manicure service combined with virtual-reality.

The whole experience is truly innovative and highly automated already starting from booking your appointment via AI chatbot. At the salon, customers can test out different manicure designs and products with the help of VR. The system is built up using comprehensive data to offer customers a huge variety in terms of choosing the exact combination of services they desire.

Future Gas station

Lekkerland, a German wholesaler, is investing heavily in digitalisation in order to provide a convenient service. They are constantly developing new tailor-made shop and logistic solutions with the aim to provide the best customer experience for the people on-the-go.

Patrick Steppe, CEO of Lekkerland, described at the OMR Festival their goal to make a stop in the gas station as convenient as possible. For example, Shell is currently testing app payments in their stations. People get annoyed being stuck waiting in line just to pay for gas. It should not be that the customer has to come to the store, but that he /she has the chance to do it. He also encouraged businesses to come up with new innovative ideas how to engage with your customers. “How about providing a pre-order service in your gas stations?” said Steppe.

Becoming Spotify of fashion

The founders of Zalando decided already from the start on to skip the traditional retail model and focus solely on creating an online platform. Today, they are the biggest and most successful online fashion retailer in Europe.

Zalando is definitely a pioneer in the online fashion field. Shopping fashion is above all an emotional event – finding your next favorite outfit. And this is exactly where the focus is when providing a detailed and filterable product descriptions paired with excellent customer service.

But Zalando doesn’t want to stop just there. According to Robert Gentz, Founder of Zalando, their goal is to become “Spotify” of Fashion. Creating a platform that is so easy and convenient to use and providing customers exactly what they came looking for.

Disrupting traditional retail with Digital Marketing

Today, we are witnessing retailers using digital means to engage with their customers. About You and Douglas have been focusing their marketing activities on omnichannel and influencer campaigns.

According to Julian Jansen, Director Content About You, 60% all of their content is related to influencers. When most companies use influencers short term, meaning they do 1-2 posts on social media and call it an end, About You is focusing on building full branding campaigns, both online and offline. The idea is to create a strong connection between the influencer and the brand followers.

Julian Jansen points out that it is equally important that the influencer also is excited and willing to think along. He believes this is the main reason they have succeeded with Lena Gercke, a German fashion model and television host.

Douglas has also invested their efforts into influencer marketing. They proposed three Germany’s most successful influencers to design and launch a unique and limited make-up line edition called KISS KITS. The influencers were involved from the start on. A huge part of the campaign was to encourage young women to stand out from the crowd and embrace being different. The campaign resulted 82 million impressions on their social media channels. Tina Müller, CEO Douglas, believes influencer campaigns are an effective means to engage with your followers, especially with millennials.

Data centred solutions

Contorion, a German company developing digital solutions for industrial tools and supplies, has been focusing on data centred solutions and digital marketing. Frederick Roehder, Co-Founder of Contorion, feels that the B2B market they are operating on is still in early ages in terms of digitalisation and having unclear price policies. They are on a mission to change this.

We absolutely agree with Frederick Roehder – making data-based decisions is the key. Contorion has been acquiring and retaining their customers by deploying automated crosschannel CRM. For example, if a person shows an interest for a product in their newsletter, but does not add it to the cart in their website, an automated activity will follow in order to keep the customers interest still up. Without quality data, they would not succeed. We know that every company has their own unique data challenges. Find out how Onedot can help your business.

Frederick Roehder encourages businesses to invest in the three most important steps:

  • Quality data with one single source of truth.
  • Investing in CRM – personalised and automated activities.
  • Making things measurable.

Digitalisation and quality data are the key

Customers today can easily get anything from anywhere at any time. Retailers need to focus on finding new ways to differentiate themselves and provide excellent customer-experience online or in the store. We and many commerce leaders believe that digitalisation and quality data are the key components in achieving this goal. Forward-looking businesses never stop finding innovative digital solutions that will better position them whatever might come next.

What are your thoughts on future of retail?

 

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