5 Creative Retailers Who Get Omnichannel Right
Shoppers have endless options in today’s retail landscape. Expectations are high, and increasingly, customers are getting used to being able to quickly and easily buy what they want, when they want it, on whatever device they happen to be using at the time anytime, on any device—quickly, conveniently, and affordable. If not, they’ll shop elsewhere. But there’s still a huge gap between retailers who are winning at omnichannel and those that are struggling, or not even trying. Let’s take a look at 5 retailers who are getting creative with omnichannel, using new technologies and customer-centric offerings to serve individual shoppers in high-impact ways.
Oakley: A Seamless 360-Degree View of the Customer
Oakley is one of the leading product design and sport performance brands in the world, chosen by world-class athletes to compete at the highest level possible. They extend this world-class experience to their customers through a seamless integration between online and in-store retail. A true omnichannel retailer, Oakley keeps a centralized dossier on each customer, with real-time updates both online and in-store, so sizing, eyeglass prescriptions, and other preferences are always on-hand to enable customer purchases. “We want a seamless experience between online and in-store. We want the customer to feel the technology in our stores no matter if it is our eyewear, apparel, or stores systems to be top of the line.” – Scott Smith, Oakley Retail BSA, in an interview at the Retail Pro Global Conference. Digital receipts enable Oakley to tie in-store purchase data to online buying behavior, providing a complete 360-degree view of each customer.
It all revolves around their Oakley MVP loyalty program, which offers added value through replacement protection and priority access to products and events. Oakley takes it beyond the basics, adding value for their customers through branded apps like Oakley Surf Report, providing weather conditions and tide information to surfers. It’s just another way this legendary brand helps their customers and stays front of mind to their customers, becoming a part of their daily lives.
R.E.I: In-Store Experiences with Immense Impact
For lovers of the outdoors, a visit to an R.E.I. Co-op store is an adventure in itself. The wide-open spaces inside the Co-ops allow displays of large products like kayaks and roof racks, allowing customers to touch and try before buying. But many of these oversize items are too big and bulky to bring home, and that’s where R.E.I. omnichannel really shines. Every R.E.I. employee is equipped with an iPad, armed with detailed product information and availability. R.E.I. team members are empowered with specs, compatibility information, and reviews to help shoppers make informed decisions, a vitally important service in the sometimes highly technical world of outdoor sports equipment. Where R.E.I. really shines is its loyalty program. Customers, called Co-op member, not only earn and redeem points across channels and at all levels of participation, but they are actually able to share in the company’s profits. Every spring, Co-op members receive an Annual Dividend, a share in the company’s profits, that they can redeem for merchandise or cash. They also gain access to exclusive travel opportunities and special members-only sale days. R.E.I. customers feel truly invested in the company’s success, and they are some of the most loyal in the world of retail.
Cartier: Luxury’s Omnichannel Pioneer
Cartier’s tagline is “more than just a service, an experience”. The discerning luxury buyer that shops at Cartier wants convenience, and Cartier delivers, both in-store and online. Cartier pioneered omnichannel within the luxury industry context. The Maison’s personalized service experience extends to online through the Purchase Concierge, offering an array of e-services to bring the exclusivity of the Cartier brand experience to the customer’s doorstep. The concept of buying online and picking up in store was fairly new when Cartier adopted it, and they allow customers to pick up their purchases not only in their exclusive boutiques but in partner jewelry and eyewear stores. Services like jewelry engraving, ring resizing, and battery replacement can be booked online, and can be completed by mailing in the Cartier piece or dropping it off in a Cartier boutique.
In 2018, Cartier improved their digital platforms and they were rewarded with the top spot in the annual Digital IQ Index report for watch and jewelry brands. The laser-focus on personalized service is seen throughout the Cartier brand, even their job listings for online marketers carry this messaging: “The unique, personal way that clients are treated in Cartier boutiques is also reflected in the online world. By joining our digital and e-Commerce team, you help to guide our progress by attracting, nurturing and delighting every individual who comes into contact with the Maison.” At each and every touchpoint, Cartier does omnichannel right.
Kohl’s: Making Shopping Easy and Rewarding
Midwest-based retailer Kohl’s was another early adopter of seamless omnichannel shopping experiences. They invite guests to “shop how you want, when you want” with inspiring in-store experiences, buy online, pick up in store, and seamless online shopping on Kohls.com. Unlike some other retailers, Kohl’s makes loyalty redemptions and coupons easy to access both online and in-store, and they track rewards seamlessly through their Yes2You Rewards.
In a fourth-quarter 2018 earnings conference call, Kohl’s Corporation CEO Michelle Gass said that Kohl’s brick-and-mortar locations are vital to the retailer’s strategy for omnichannel commerce “Our stores are a key asset and differentiator for Kohl’s, we continue to innovate to make them more relevant and compelling for our customers.” With 40% of online product available for pickup in-store, customers are able to quickly access everything they’re looking for, and in-store returns of online purchases enable both convenience and return shopping visits.
LEGO: An All-Ages Appeal
Leif Bode Nielsen, head of omnichannel EMEA at the toy brick maker LEGO, says LEGO aims to “deliver a consistently awesome LEGO experience on every shopping mission.” This goal is a bit more challenging for Lego because so many of their customers are children. Children are increasingly interacting with brands online, and the shop.lego.com website features a colorful child-friendly design, built to make the online experience as easy and fun as a visit to the LEGO store. The LEGO brand really knows its customers and seeks to accommodate the full spectrum of online journeys.
But it’s not only children who shop at LEGO. LEGO recently introduced a new product, the LEGO Mosaic Maker, whose popularity drove the retailer to quickly implement new online capabilities. The Mosaic Maker delivers the personalized experience shoppers crave by making a LEGO mosaic of their faces. Long lines, hundreds of daily phone calls, and long wait times were sucking the joy out of the experience, so LEGO implemented online booking software that now allows LEGO guests to schedule their Mosaic Maker appointments online. These personalized, scheduled in-store experiences are a powerful way to incentivize store visits and build customer loyalty.
Creating Your Best Omnichannel Strategy
Serving and understanding the customer from every angle, empowering associates with deep-diving data, extending luxury experiences, rewarding at every step and appealing to all ages. These are some of the ways that true omnichannel retailers Oakley, R.E.I. Cartier, Kohls and LEGO are using technology and creativity to serve their customers.
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