ARTICLE: Raconteur – Hybrid retail experience of the future

Building an effective omnichannel retail strategy, which unites user experiences from high street stores to mobile-browsing and everything in-between, continues to present a challenge for brands and retailers

Research shows consumers still value different ways of shopping and brands that do not engage with customers at every opportunity risk losing sales.

A report from retail property specialists Revo, with research by consultancies CACI and GlobalData, found that while sales are growing faster online, 86 per cent of total sales involve a physical store either directly or indirectly, compared with just 14 per cent purely online.

However, most retailers still operate online and offline in completely separate silos, or focus primarily on one or the other. But with a plethora of choice at a customer’s fingertips, brands can no longer rely on inertia for sales, and must have an offering on each channel that is unified, exciting and, above all, relevant to customers.

“If you’re not relevant, consumers can quickly go elsewhere and some of the big brands are struggling because no one feels passionate about them,” says John Zealley, senior managing director and global lead of the customer insight and growth practice at consultancy Accenture.

According to Mr Zealley, brands need to embody both purpose and personality to draw in consumers. “The first step is to create a business that fundamentally means something to people and they buy fully into its values,” he says.

This is a concept that arguably started with The Body Shop, he notes, but brands such as Nike, which has reinvented itself for consumers serious about sport, now embody well.

Along with a robust value proposition, which offers more than simply many things for sale in one place, retailers need to incorporate responsive innovation and intelligent interaction both on and offline.