Retail organizations are becoming more and more sophisticated, and we aren’t just talking blazers or stilettos. Under Armour reported that their first quarter net income increased 73% due in part to their global expansion (see our recent infographic on global eCommerce). As they expand globally, they are doing so in a variety of ways such as discount brick and mortar stores, branded online stores or through storefront operations like Alibaba, Rakuten and others. Retailer Express is now opening discount stores to target a younger, more budget conscious shopper.
Aisles, Channels and Stores, Oh My!
Innovation. Companies like Walgreens, Nordstrom and Walmart are already operating to this drumbeat. Walgreens has been a consistent innovator in the space; focusing their efforts on mobile, in-store pickup and customer loyalty programs. Nordstrom is focused on optimizing the customer experience through check out with any mobile POS enabled sales associate, offering options for email and/or printed receipts and of course their well-known return policy which now extends to online purchases. Walmart is innovating in a slightly different way. Similar to the growing Trader Joes community-focused efforts, Walmart is expanding its big box physical stores into smaller, more convenient “neighborhood” stores. Walmart’s continued optimization of their mobile app helps in-store shoppers find what they are looking for on their mobile device. This location-based effort also affords Walmart the opportunity to market to shoppers while they are in-store with targeted ads and promotions.
Savvy retailers aren’t just the biggest retailers though. Companies like Bluefly, Hayneedle and many more have grown their businesses primarily through online commerce. Both Baynote customers, Bluefly and Hayneedle deliver a best-in-class customer experience by using product recommendations as broadly as possible throughout their sites in support of the browse, buy and repeat shopper journey.
Why Relevancy Matters
We are all bombarded by daily emails, but when you get an email that is relevant to your interests or alerts you of a sale on an item you’ve been considering—that is what improves the experience of the shopper and makes them come back to your brand. Retailers who offer better experiences are those that are remembered, forwarded on to friends (“The couch I love is on sale at Hayneedle.com! And look at those pillows!”) and experience more brand loyalty. Relevance and a thoughtful approach to social sharing, listening and participation are all strategies that help brands like Bluefly and Hayneedle to give the big guys a run for their eCommerce money.