John Otavka· Author
The Bizrate Insights team attended Shoptalk 2019 March 3rd through 5th. As one of the largest conferences in retail and eCommerce, we had the opportunity to meet with retailers and brands of all sizes and share our Voice of Customer solutions.
A major focus of the show this year is what companies with brick-and-mortar locations are doing to keep pace with shoppers’ rapidly changing demands and expectations in an increasingly online-first world. As digital shopping becomes ever more convenient and accessible, the role of the physical store has shifted, and continues to do so. Modern shoppers expect brick-and-mortar retail to be experiential, and to serve a wide variety of needs.
Here are our top three takeaways from Shoptalk 2019:
1. Customer experience is key to brick-and-mortar success
Customer experience was a major focus, with several keynotes, like that of Nordstrom co-president Erik Nordstrom, centered around keeping customer interaction with the brand top-of-mind when designing both websites and retail outlets. As the role of physical retail stores shifts, businesses with brick-and-mortar locations need to rethink their digital and physical elements, and how they can complement each other to create a seamless customer experience.
What’s more, customers want to feel like the shopping experience is personalized to their needs. Depending on the customer, this can mean having access to a wider selection of products, additional shipping options, or recommended items. With the industry only becoming more competitive, giving customers the ability to shop on their own terms is crucial to long-term success.
2. Businesses want more insight directly from their shoppers
No one is better positioned to tell you what your business is doing right – or wrong – like the people who shop there. Many of those we spoke with wanted to hear directly from their customers to inform their roadmap.
Nike’s Vice President of Digital Products, Michael Martin, noted that they used customer data from Nike Plus members in Los Angeles to help decide the location for their new store concept. They also looked at what their members were purchasing most often to determine which merchandise, and what quantities, they should stock.
While companies use a variety of methods in their quest for customer data, one of the most reliable ways to collect feedback is to ask them directly. The Bizrate Insights Online Buyer Survey can help you to collect that feedback – at no charge. The survey is comprised of two parts to capture the end-to-end shopping and post-delivery experiences. Include our Site Abandonment Solutions, and you’ll have an end-to-end view of the entire customer journey.
3. Fulfillment is the next big challenge for retail – and BOPIS is part of the solution
Since Amazon’s introduction of free two-day shipping with Prime disrupted the traditional retail model, cross-channel retailers have been looking at ways to compete since. Recently, BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store), sometimes called click-and-collect, has come to the forefront and was a key Shoptalk topic.
While many large companies have offered some form of BOPIS historically, it is only recently that it has become part of mainstream customer expectations. Walmart, one of the early BOPIS adopters, announced at Shoptalk that they are investing deeply in it by improving automation and making the process as frictionless and efficient as possible. Last year, they built hundreds of pickup towers in their stores, allowing customers to buy an item online and retrieve it from an automated tower, reducing pickup timing to a matter of seconds.
Other companies, like Nordstrom, have introduced a number of BOPIS options, including two hour in-store pickup, “reserve, try and buy,” and even curbside delivery.
Regardless of how you approach it, it’s clear that a viable BOPIS solution is key to staying competitive. If you’re offering BOPIS now, then the Bizrate Insights Online Buyer Solution can help to connect feedback across the experience with our BOPIS post-delivery survey. And if you’re still thinking about how BOPIS fits in your experience, then Bizrate can help you to answer those questions, too!
We had a great time at Shoptalk, and we’re already looking forward to next year. Want to understand and learn more about your customer journey? Contact us today and learn more about how we can help.