Faaez Samadi
Mar 15, 2018

Omnichannel is old hat, and more takeaways from eTail Asia 2018

Omnichannel is old hat, digital transformation is crucial, and it's really important to keep focused on experience, according to speakers at this year's event in Singapore.

Omnichannel is old hat, and more takeaways from eTail Asia 2018

The eTail Asia conference took place last week in Singapore. Here are three key takeaways.

Omnichannel is just the norm now

An overarching theme at eTail Asia 2018 was the desire to end talk of ‘omnichannel’ as though it were a new concept in retail. It is more or less a hygiene factor these days, particularly in the mobile-driven Asian markets everyone hears so much about.

Koen Bestemann, head of ecommerce at Ikea Southeast Asia, said that although ecommerce is around 6% of the brand’s global revenue, consumers are shopping O2O all the time.

“For us, 80% of people who shop in store looked online first, and 40% who buy online went to shop to try it first. So omnichannel is vital, and it’s all one customer.”

Koen Bestemann, Ikea

Anne Jivananta, head of SEA commerce at Adidas, said even using the term ‘omnichannel’ could be a distraction.

“Don’t push the idea of channels, take that word out,” she said. “Focus on your business goal instead. If you take the channel out, all the strategy will be geared towards the business goal. The touchpoints aren’t as important, it’s all about the customer journey now, so look at the customer.”

Experience, experience, experience

Whether it’s an online or offline retail channel, nothing is more important to conversion than a positive consumer experience. By 2020, consumers will average 10 devices per person, according to Juancho Jerusalem, regional vice president, marketing cloud, at Salesforce.

“AI is the next electricity,” he said. “Marketing needs to be personalised, substantiated and attract the imagination of consumers.” All of this feeds into a consumer’s experience, Jerusalem added, and the justification for investment isn’t difficult: 79% of consumers switch after a bad experience, he said. 

Moreover, Zachary King, VP commercial at MediaMath, said 44% of consumers are willing to pay a 5% premium if they have a superior experience, while 55% will stay with a brand for 10 years or more if they have a superior experience.

“The customer in this age is in control of the sales process. There’s no such thing as a linear sales process anymore, if there ever was,” he said. “Planning for a media channel, with media KPIs, is not going to help in the age of the customer. We have to move away from campaign-centric marketing to customer-centric marketing.”

Get organised internally

Given the importance of the consumer journey, brands must get organised internally to ensure the best experience with their products. Steve Carlile, gobal head of digital centre of excellence at Nu Skin, said his company learned the hard way after a lengthy internal review.

Steve Carlile, Nu Skin

“Nobody was responsible for the end-to-end experience,” he said. “Sales managed one bit, marketing another, digital was all over the place, so it was a disconnected digital experience for our customers.  We had to align our company to our buyer’s journey.”

Bestemann at Ikea explained that the company had a “big challenge” in reorganising itself for the digital economy. “Going online is not an easy journey. We had legacy systems, built in the 80s around our stores. So we needed good change management, and we hired a hacker to challenge our website platform.

“We used to have an inside-out approach, now it’s outside-in. We optimise based on what the customer tells us, not the other way around.”

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