This article was originally posted by Vandita Grover for Martech Advisor on July 24, 2018.
As the lines between offline and online are blurring, store retailers and online retailers are both redefining the way they function to engage customers and create better experiences for them. Amalgamation of online and offline marketing strategies makes purchasing more rewarding and easier for the customer. Listed below are 5 ways online and offline customer experience are coming together:
1. Online/Offline Framework
Brick and mortar stores have invested in creating better store experiences. For instance, Walmart has combined the online and offline experiences of customers. You can order a product and check if it is available at a store near you for pickup, even if it isn’t, you can still order, and have it shipped to your local Walmart, ready to be picked up, free of cost.
Similarly, online retailers are also toying with the idea of opening up physical stores at select locations for their customers who prefer to pick the products themselves. In January 2018, Amazon opened its first cashier-less grocery store, Amazon Go in Seattle. You can simply waltz into the shop with Amazon app on your phone, pick up items and walk out without worrying about checking out or paying up. You would be billed via your Amazon account. A cool idea that saves your time standing in a queue and lets you handpick your grocery items.
2. Data Harvesting to Understand the Customer Journey
Nowadays companies are gathering data from all possible sources to gain insights into their customer base. The more customer data you have, the better you can analyse and research how offline and online customer journeys are correlated. The data you can harvest comes from your web traffic (session duration, most visited pages, visitor acquisition, keyword rankings etc.), social media analytics, email surveys and analytics, retail foot-fall (store visits), online or offline queries, coupons or vouchers used, time spent on mobile app and much more.
Warby Parker – a digital-first – eyewear frames brand has opened numerous brick and mortar stores in an era where retail is struggling to stand on its feet. Warby Parker gathers information on where their customers are, where they work or travel, population density, number of eyeglass customers and pre-existing customers in an area before deciding on their store locations. Reviewing data points of customer behaviour, tracking user (anonymous) movement from cell carriers and proprietary statistical algorithms assist the brand to figure out a lot about the best place and people to target with the best strategy.