Cross channel distribution is in the focus of the digital commerce – and already now sustainable strategies are carried out to bind customers to the company through all sales channels.
Buying in the internet and picking up in the store around the corner, finding online articles at store terminals and having them delivered to the doorstep, using the online shop as a showroom in order to guide customers into brick and mortars (ROPO strategy). Customers don’t care about the particular channel – for them, omni channel commerce simply means a fulfilling shopping experience. They only recognize it if it doesn’t work.
Conrad Electronic fulfills new customer expectations particularly well with its cross channel strategy. In accordance with IBM Omni Channel Matury Index, Conrad is, among all German retailers, the one who connects its sales channels the best.
Instead of parallel running of several channels, the retailer synergistically connects all the touchpoints with the customer – stationary distribution, print catalog and online shop. The result: higher customer loyality and higher sales.
But how does Conrad achieve this consistent approach to its customers? And which practices should other retailers take from Conrad’s case to arrange their own cross channel strategies as effective as possible?
1. Put the data streams into the centre of your strategy development.
For Conrad, the online channel progressively moved into the focus of its distribution structure. It is a sustainable direction which brings multiple advantages: On one hand, marketing measures – from adwords to social media campaigns – can be easily linked with the web presence and run perfectly across all channels.
On the other hand, the online channel continually provides new possibilities. In the online shop of Conrad, visitors can review customer recommendations, check products availability, reserve goods or get inspired thanks to product videos. The research is done in detail before the purchase. And in a store itself, the staff convinces customers quickly thanks to precise search and intelligent navigation with their digital “little helpers” like iPads.
2. Make purchase relevant data available through all channels.
Selling means convincing: The customer has to know enough about an article to have a positive feeling when buying it – instead of searching for further customer recommendations at Amazon. Product descriptions, availabilities and prices – Conrad manages by means of FACT-Finder to provide any product information at all customer touchpoints correctly and topically.
In the frontend of the Conrad online shop, most used filters are displayed at the top. This makes searching and browsing extremely easy. Through the application of a data driven conversion platform, Conrad increases both the satisfaction of their 6 million visitors every month and cross channel sales. Because the data are also used in the bricks and mortar.
Thanks to virtual product presentation in the stores, e.g. at internet terminals or touchpads, Conrad connects advising in its local stores with its huge online assortment – consisting of 350.000 articles. Non-available articles which are found in the store via terminals are delivered to home or sent to the nearest store.
Conrad CEO Jörn Werner mentions: „Even if the customer can see the product in the store only digitally, advising plays a crucial role.”
Decisive for the technical implementation of this cross channel scenario are both high speed indexing of the product data and a reliable performance of all involved systems. Finally, a cross channel shopping experience is above all a data driven customer experience.
3. Do Cross Channel Merchandising.
Buying impulses appear spontaneously and are unpredictable. Those who know how to catch the customer’s eye e.g. in a tv-spot or a catalog, have a huge influence on the purchasing behavior. The connection of merchandising campaigns through several channels has therefore vital importance for cross channel distribution.
With minimal effort, Conrad implements customized campaigns to promote selected items – e.g. by means of suitable banners in specific product categories or landing pages for special offers. In that way, the retailer reacts to daily updated trends, answers quickly to highlights of demands – and creates an exclusive shopping experience.
4. Install one central cross channel platform for several countries.
Conrad distributes electronic goods in several countries. Thereby, search, navigation and merchandising of the different online shops flows mainly through one central platform, in this case FACT-Finder. Campaigns in the categories or landing pages can be copied into the separate channels saving a lot of time and effort. Thanks to a language independent search, customers find the right items also abroad. Leverage factor in the international strategy comes up when many different marketing processes run centrally – and preferably when are optimized in just one system.
With regard to strategic aspects, such as quick internationalization, Conrad has a further advantage thanks to their cross channel platform: If required, the electronic retailer can implement the infrastructure for navigation, error-tolerant search and existing instore-campaigns into a new country shop within a day.
Success Story: Conrad goes FACT-Finder
Marino Casucci: The Future of (e)Commerce
Peter Tischer: IBM omni channel study (German)
Michael Koploy: 5 Strategies Retailers Should Pursue to Thrive Through 2025
ChannelPartner: Virtual product presentation (German)
ChannelPartner: Conrad focusses on Multi Channel Retailing (German)