Recently, Norman Korn, Solutions Path Consultant in the retail vertical discussed strategies for resellers to help their customers prepare for a successful holiday retail season. In this follow up, Norman shares his insights on how resellers can help their retail customers leverage consumer usage of mobile devices while shopping in stores; in addition to the success of Amazon Prime 2018, and how resellers can learn from the retail giant.
Shoppers are increasingly using their mobile devices in stores. How can resellers help their technology providers leverage this trend to their mutual benefit?
To begin, make certain that your store’s Wi-Fi can handle a high volume of traffic. Have good bandwidth and sensors in-store. Also, know how long it takes to load pages while in the store.
Shopping today represents unified, omni-channel commerce. The supply chain integrates with marketing systems; marketing integrates inventory. Technology gives us a window into what’s happening in the store and an opportunity to engage both on and off the network. As such, you want to make sure that your customers can maximize value. Shoppers in-store present a rich opportunity for engagement. Send the shopper coupons while in store, and send a notification to the store associate that the coupon has been delivered and to engage with the shopper.
Deploy the latest mobile app technology, such iValu8, a hybrid mobile and social marketing platform that connects customers and businesses through branded campaigns that are inherently consumer-centric. Use such apps to your advantage.
Counsel your customers to arm store associates with information, so that they can have an intelligent conversation with the shopper. Store associates should know if products are or aren’t in stock – and if they aren’t, when they can quickly and efficiently obtain product and get it into the hands of the consumer. Ultimately, consumers of today expect a seamless shopping experience. Ensuring that store associates have everything they need to provide that positive experience is a must.
Multiple media outlets, such as CNBC1, show that 2018 Amazon Prime sales topped the charts What accounted for Amazon’s success? Can you pinpoint three areas where Amazon Prime succeeded, from a sales and strategy perspective?
Absolutely. In no short order, Amazon: 1. Is innovative at the core; 2. Maintains a laser focus on the customer experience; and 3. Uses analytics to best understand the customer’s needs and wants.
Let’s begin with innovation. Amazon began from a website that sold books to a one-click, one-and-done megastore. That level of growth is representative of how they have completely innovated and disrupted what it means to shop today.
Second, their laser focus on the customer experience is bar none. They experienced a web outage on Prime Shopping Day. What happened to me as a customer? I received a coupon because some of my items didn’t arrive on time. They strategized for a positive customer experience and proactively reassured me that yes, as a customer, I matter to them.
Additionally, they take cues from competitors and respond accordingly. They know that many consumers still want the in-store experience. So what are they doing? Like China’s online mega-retailer Ali Baba, Amazon is opening stores. Their dual strategy – online and brick-and-mortar – is another reflection of both their focus on the customer and on their ability to innovate.
“There’s a misguided notion out there that retail is dead. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Only bad retail is dying. If you do retail right, you will succeed.”
Finally, they use data to their advantage, and they do so with a sense of urgency. When they obtain enough data to ascertain your individual interests – which can run the gamut from tennis to gourmet cooking to hair accessories – they are quick to target users with offers that match their interests. They strategically use data to engage the consumer how and when they want to be engaged.
Are there lessons that resellers in retail can take from Amazon’s success? How does their success funnel down to the reseller community?
Remember that even Amazon is run by people. And people are fallible to mistakes. But it’s how we address those mistakes that makes all the difference. Amazon experienced website glitches on Prime Day, but they addressed them with speed and follow-up, such as the coupons I discussed earlier.
Lesson #2: Be true to your brand. Pinpoint what makes you unique and how technology can make your brand even stronger. Use technology to reinforce your brand value. Do you deliver on service? On price? On engaging with your social communities? Like Amazon, find your sweet spot and make it sweeter through technology.
Finally, remember that resellers can help their retail clients compete on their own terms to build their brand and, like Amazon, can use data accordingly. For example, a retail brand needs to ask itself: are our customers price sensitive or are they fashion forward shoppers? Do they buy on budget or on trend? Having answers to these questions helps the retailer strategize their engagement with the customer – so that the budget-conscious buyer obtains a “last call” coupon, while the fashion-forward shopper is the first to learn when the newest retail products hit the market. Technology can help to the brand build its customer base, so resellers should always look for opportunities to help their customers integrate it to their advantage.
At number 83 on the Fortune 500, Tech Data is among the largest technology distributors globally, representing all of the top technology vendors. The breadth of this representation provides us with end-to-end solutions knowledge using a broad base of vendor options and technological expertise, as well as custom configuration capabilities, inventory and distribution advantages. As the digital transformation gains momentum, Tech Data has the capabilities and resources to help resellers leverage their value as ‘trusted advisor’ by enabling their retail customers’ success through next-generation technology solutions. For more information on how Tech Data can help, contact us at SolutionsPathInfo@techdata.com.
About the Author
Norman Korn is a retail solutions specialist for Tech Data where he works with clients and business partners to assist in the identification, development, marketing and sales of 3rd Platform solutions and offerings within the Retail, Consumer Products and Hospitality industries. Prior to joining Tech Data in 2013, Norm worked 18 years at a Fortune 100 computer services firm as a data analyst, business consultant, marketing and operations manager, and partner development manager. Norm holds a BA degree in Political Science and an MBA, both from the University of Minnesota.