Create the right formula to unlock stores that performs, say retail leaders in One Connected Community's (OCC) latest whitepaper on modern shopper expectations

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John Lewis, Sainsbury's, Dixons Carphone and House of Fraser executives agree that it’s not the death of the high street, but the role of the store has changed, in One Connected Community's (OCC) whitepaper, "How to Leverage the Store for Improved Customer Experience."

OCC speaks to 21 senior executives throughout retail to identify key pain points and winning innovation around meeting modern customer expectations for consistent experiences across shopping channels - with some surprise findings.

Whether it's honing in on what your customer wants, or creating an unforgettable in-store experience, one thing is clear - the customer will rule in 2017.

As David Blakeney, Director of Store Development, House of Fraser, says: “The object is to identify what customers really want.”

No doubt the retail business is changing fast. Changing customer behaviour, driven by host of new devices and technology, is transforming the way we shop, into something almost unrecognizable from the traditional high street experience that many of us grew-up with.

If you look at the high street now, it’s much more about experiences. The best retailers are increasingly thinking about how to make it more relevant, personalised and interactive to be in their shop – essentially to engage store visitors on their digital terms.

But there is no magic formula, says David Botines, Senior Manager, Future Planning, Store Development, John Lewis.

“We know there is a role for the physical estate. I don’t believe there will be a world without a high street. There is something in the leisure activity of shopping that is ingrained in all of us (it’s part of our DNA). But the trick is in how we make the most of our physical estate as retailers. We have to keep moving forward, giving customers more reasons to come in store and help customers enjoy the brand and activities around that."

Kash Ghedia, Head of Technology, Dixons Carphone agrees.

“It’s about rationalising your store estate. You’ve got the challenge of online shopping growing year on year. So, we’ve got to do three things: (1) Create the store as a place to get additional information (that you can’t get online), i.e. the touch and feel; (2) Make the store a ‘destination’ you want to visit, rather than just an outlet to serve customers; and then, (3) Join-up the in-store and online experience."

OCC's newly published whitepaper; "How to Leverage the Store for Improved Customer Experience" is available to download in full here:

https://www.oneconnectedcommunity.co.uk/occ-leverage-the-store

The OCC whitepaper delves deeper into the customer journey and how best to connect online and offline experiences.

Retailers must connect with customers across different channels simultaneously and seamlessly – a huge theme throughout OCC’s on-going research. For example, shoppers should be able to explore products online, check the availability and cost on mobile, then seek further advice and buy in-store.

“No one yet has the secret sauce to join-up online and the store experience, but where we are seeing success is with ‘Reserve and Collect’ as most customers start the journey online. Most customers do their research online then come into store to get additional information and look at the product. So, we have invested to best support this behaviour," adds Ghedia.

The whitepaper highlights that every retailer faces the challenge of serving a customer that’s more informed, connected, and empowered than ever before; now is the time to identify changing customer trends and position your business for long term benefits. In other words, it’s about delivering whatever, whenever, wherever the customer wants, while building-in the flexibility and the agility to be responsive to future changing customer expectations.

It’s clear, to drive purchases and loyalty, you must give shoppers the experiences they want and keep those experiences consistent across all touch points (delivering excellence in every single interaction).

OCC's newly published whitepaper includes a range of retailers, providing invaluable lessons to help all brands successfully leverage the store for improved customer experiences.

Read the full OCC whitepaper here to get unique and timely insights now:

https://www.oneconnectedcommunity.co.uk/occ-leverage-the-store

George Kiley at One Connected Community says: "In today’s highly competitive marketplace, retailers must re-consider the rationale of the store. This whitepaper provides original, authentic and fresh insight on delivering better in-store customer experiences."

About OCC

Specialist consultancy, workshops and research on the role of people, processes and technology in customer experience, transformation and outcome driven innovation.

Our partners research and share inspirational stories that highlight how technology and engaging customer experiences make a real difference to the bottom line.

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George Kiley
OCC
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