A new type of Generation Y customer needs a new approach. This approach may be the combination of several distribution channels within the same store. But in order to integrate Internet technologies into the physical environment for the benefit of sales, you need to understand what forms of cross-channel sales customers will perceive best. This is the subject of a study by experts from the global technology company Cisco.
Cisco Systems is a global developer and supplier of networking equipment for large companies and small businesses.
This article is based on the study “How to attract and retain customers. A New Store Concept for Cross-Channel Marketing ”conducted by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBCG) in 2012.
In their research, Cisco experts introduce the term mashop, which can be translated into Russian approximately as "smeshmag". This term refers to a store model in which internet technology is harmoniously mixed with the physical elements of sales. Cisco researchers have studied the potential of the smmag model for several years and have concluded that buyers are interested in this model if it helps them make a purchasing decision. In addition, Cisco has discovered a number of interesting details that will help retailers most effectively implement the cross-channel sales model in retail.
The first conclusion of experts is as follows: retailers need to accept as an axiom the fact that emotions have the most powerful influence on consumer behavior. It is they who ultimately push the decision to purchase, so the whole concept of the store should be aimed at awakening positive feelings from the buyer. Secondly, the modern buyer is ruled by several rational factors. These factors have conditional names and represent the following list:
Find: the right product was in the right place, at the right time and with the correct information about it
· Benefit: "This opportunity must not be missed!"
Discovery: the buyer suddenly finds out that he has another need that needs to be satisfied
· Inspiration: shopping is joyful and enjoyable.
If the store owner wants to achieve outstanding results, these four factors must be implemented in the mixmag model along with emotional impact. In addition to the above and quite obvious things, Cisco analysts came to a number of other, more valuable conclusions in their research.
Buyers Prefer to Make Decisions Based on Online Informationrather than advice from real people. In a survey conducted by Cisco two years ago, 41% of respondents named their friends and family as the most important sources of information for making a purchase decision, and 13% named store employees. Most of the respondents, namely 46%, take into account only reviews on the Internet. What conclusion can the retailer draw from this? It is worth introducing into the sales process the ability to look at the online reviews of the products presented in the store. This makes all the more sense since the customer is already ready for this opportunity: one in two respondents in the United States today uses or would like to use in-store terminals for self-service or for accessing web content. About 42% of respondents are interested in video screens and video wall panels as helpers in their choice, 40% of respondents would like to receive digital content using mobile phones, and 35% would like to use tablets.
Digital content and virtual capabilities often encourage consumers to buy goods. This is due to the fact that these technologies affect the rational factors of "find", "benefit" and "discovery", and sometimes even the factor of "inspiration". Here, retailers may be concerned: if a customer in a store using the Internet receives information that the same product is being sold cheaper in a competitor's store, will this prevent the sale? Worry is justified, and Cisco researchers note that the seller is really highly dependent on the price level if his communications involve the factors of "find" and "benefit." Analysts recommend using digital content that uses both “discovery” and “inspiration” to increase check size and profits. In other words, the seller must offer structured recommendations on digital equipment - decision guides and purchase advice, as well as inspiring videos and programs.
Not all advanced buyers first learn information on the Internet. A quarter of respondents using the network to search for product information behave differently. 57% of respondents first study the product in the store, and then buy it via the Internet; 53% of buyers first study the information on the terminal in the trading floor and here they buy goods; 46% of consumers first study the information on the terminal in the trading floor, then make a purchase and later pick up the goods at their own expense; and 43% of buyers first study the information on the terminal in the trading floor, then make a purchase and order delivery to the desired address. What does this mean for the seller? And the fact that with a well-built communication in the mix, you can significantly affect those who get their first impressions in the store, and not on the Internet, making this customer theirs and increasing their purchase check.
In their research, experts have come to the conclusion that a successful smeshmag has a special "recipe", the ingredients of which are ways of presenting information. According to the Cisco classification, there are five of them: an immersive environment that creates the effect of full presence, a system for viewing goods in the form of a visual panel, a digital assistant on the shelf, a personal "mobile shopper" - in other words, an application for mobile devices - and, finally, systems that store favorite goods of the buyer. You can learn more about these formats and their capabilities from the table "Customer demand for various concepts of multichannel sales".
Each retailer chooses for himself the "ingredients" that he will use. The decision will depend on the type of customer and the industry segment. For example, in the segment of clothing and footwear, the most effective are immersive shopping environments and systems that remember the customers' favorite products. As for the type of consumer, studying this parameter, Cisco researchers were surprised to find that women (including those of mature and old age) were much more interested in using digital technologies when buying than men. This is great news for shoemakers, as women are the main audience for shoe retailers.
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