In theory, omnichannel marketing is fantastic. In practice, it’s much harder, especially for independent retailers who are trying to wrap their hands around all the different ways to reach consumers. Even the large retailers are trying to figure out which platforms to use, how to make them work together, and how to help consumers have the most fluid experience possible. A recent webinar put on by Brick Meets Click featuring Lunds & Byerlys and Unata addressed this disconnected digital grocery journey.
Part 1: Grocery Retailing Realities: The Physical – Digital Connection
What we know to be true right now is ecommerce is evolving how consumers shop. David Bishop from Brick Meets Click provided the following stats:
- 38% of grocery consumers have shopped online in last year, up 4.1%
- Consumer households shop online over 2x per month
- Share of wallet is now almost 5%
Another factor Bishop brought to light is now consumers have many more ways to buy groceries, it isn’t just a competition up and down the street. The business is fragmented with different options and different value propositions for consumers. These different business models are exposing consumers to a different type of experience and pushing retailer to evolve what they are providing to consumers. Bishop noted that while in-store sales are down 3-4%, online sales are growing 25% year over year, a fact that is hard to ignore for retailers. He also noted that for the grocers who’ve ventured into the online space, they are seeing sales grow year over year. But, Bishop notes, the physical store strengthens the digital one as brick and mortar supermarkets are dominating the share of online sales in the grocery channel at almost 40%. Plus, says Bishop, the brick and mortar retailers already have competitive advantages over the ecommerce retailers due to shoppable locations and connections with current customers. Outside of ecommerce though, Bishop notes that digital is already in place and impacting the customer journey through websites, email and social media.
Part 2 : Vision, Problem, Solution
Extending the conversation into the actual digital platforms, Unata founder Chris Bryson walked through his company’s offering to retailers. Bryson started with a discussion of Omnichannel and the desire for retailers and platforms to provide an Everything, Everywhere, Anytime, Any Way experience for consumers.
- Everything: All products & capabilities
- Everywhere: Across all channels
- Anytime: Instant access & service
- Any Way: Functions across all contexts
Bryson noted that within all of these ideas, the consumer is making decision that aren’t necessarily uniform at all times. Consumers who shop online also still shop in stores, in fact they come in weekly, according to Bryson. Yet, he also illuminated three problems prevent the cohesion of retailers’ delivery of streamlined experience.
- Island Syndrome – This occurs when all facets of the digital experience are powered by different platforms. For the consumers, logins are different and different components don’t work well together.
- Continent Collision – Trying to bring too many things together makes it difficult for the consumer to understand how they all work cohesively. Frustration leads to consumer flight.
- Commerce split from Content – One component, usually ecommerce, is segmented from the rest of the components of the website.
Then, the question is how to solve these consumer problems. Bryson offered these thoughts:
- Interconnected Continent – Have a single website with all available functions for the consumer.
- Adapt & Simplify via Context – Ask the consumer what they want to do on the site and build the experience around their intent.
- Unify Content & Commerce – Enable all features on the site throughout the experience.
Part 3 of the webinar went through a demo of how Unata and Lunds & Byerlys have worked together to address the opportunity and problems a whole host of grocers are running into when thinking about omnichannel marketing.
For most retailers, the conundrum of what to do about ecommerce and digital marketing overall is driven largely by what resources are available to provide the services and how it impacts the store operations. Yet, as this webinar topic highlights, retailers also need to be thinking about streamlining and simplifying the consumer experience across digital platforms. Anything less will lead to confused and frustrated consumers who leave to find a better experience somewhere else.