In the last four years, Western Europe online sales have increased by nearly 50%. Customer service is no longer just about providing a smile, for a lot of retailers, this also translates into trying to providing a seamless online experience. We understand the customer journey and it is much more complex than we expected.

Searches for nearby open stores has increased over 250% in the last 2 years. Stats like this supports the claim of immediacy is more import now than loyalty (yes, that was an actual statement from Google, not a heartbroken teenager).

Globally, more than 55% of shoppers have openly used online video while they are in store. Which is why, as marketers, we need to change the way we think of video campaigns. For a long time, digital marketers have thought of video as wasted spend. However, with over 90% of people discover new brand or products on YouTube, it has become clear YouTube campaigns are a huge opportunity to get in front of potential customers with relevant, engaging content. YouTube is now used by many of our customers' strategy to drive awareness.

45% of all global online shoppers now buy online and pick up in-store while nearly half of all shoppers in the US confirming inventory before they arrive.

Google did a study, which found that from the sample surveyed, only 11% of retailers are providing an excellent in-store to online service while in Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Estonia and Finland, no retailers were doing this. Within the study, a shocking 80% of retailers are simply not meeting users expectations. The 5 main principles deemed to provide customers with a seamless instore to online experience are:

  1. Use of in-store technology to integrate the online experience (e.g. NFC, QR codes and instore beacons).
  2. They not only use click and collect, but this is also clearly signposted in-store.
  3. They use their website to promote in-store events and encourage users to go to the store.
  4. They allow for products such as gift cards to redeemed online or in-store, they’re also very likely to have a wishlist function on site.
  5. They offer next day delivery and set very clear expectations on when the customer can expect to receive this.

Think with Google have a new tool, Grow My Store Tool, which is beneficial for brands that have online shops as well as a physical stores. It provides insight into how informative the site is, how well everything is structured, as well as how personalised the site is for users.

Undeniably, the way we shop is changing. Can you imagine if someone told your grandparents that in the year 2019, mankind will be able to tell a tiny little handheld device, more powerful than the computer that sent man to the moon, exactly what there looking for and it would find it. Or based on the previous items they browsed in a shop, they would get personalised suggestions on other items they might like?! The biggest challenge for brands is how do they keep up? Here are our top tips…

Trial and Error

Are you performing tests with the goal of improving your customer journey and CVR? If not you should start… like now. If you have already got that box ticked, have you got a log of it, are you recording improvements?

Put Your Best Foot Forward

In a physical store, you would not hang out a piece of clothing that was creased, nor would smudges on glassware be acceptable. A visual merchandiser has the role of ensuring everything has a place and there is a reason why it is there. Harrods (a luxury department store) would not allow the new sales assistant free reign on positioning products. So why is it that companies are so against paying for a specialist to design ads. Your marketing agency can and will do this, but they are not the specialists. For the money invested in creative, you’ll get this back in ROI.

If you already have a design team doing the creative, ask them, “What are we currently split testing, what is the road map for this and how does that align with best practice?” We are sure that will start a few awkward conversations and ignite an army of goldfishes out of water.

Branch out

Most retailers advertise on Google; however many have forgotten about Bing. Bing is a huge untapped opportunity for many advertisers. We suggest testing channels in small manageable spend tests which can be scaled if performance is strong.

Get customers on side

Reviews matter and build trust. 88% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. It’s important not to abuse this with fake reviews as this will damage the online shopping industry with lack of trust.

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