I think retailers are missing the point with digital and a case today clearly shows why. Let me explain using an experience I had today that I think highlights it perfectly.
After completing nearly 1000km in my favourite trainers a run this morning resulted in the biggest blister and sore pads. This isn’t the first time it’s has happened on a +10k run and made me decided to change them.
For all the technology I use with Nike – Nike+ App on iPhone and now awaiting delivery of my new Nike Fuelband I will only ever run Brooks.
Brooks for me are the best. They focus only on developing technology for lightweight and unbelievably comfortable running trainers that last ages – great value even at nearly £100 a pair. My upgrades – Ghost 5′s.
When I get something in my head I am incredibly impatient for it. Decide and Act is my way of thinking and not a bad way of going about life I feel. My trainers however are one of those purchases that like to try on and see in the flesh (so to speak). There is a great specialist running store in Leeds called Up & Running which is always at cost price but where I hoped to receive the specialist care and information about these trainers you would expect.
So I walk in and ask one of the staff “Can I have a pair of Brooks Ghost 5 in size 8 please”. At this point all that member of staff should be thinking is SALE, SALE, SALE. I have entered the store with a specific goal and a product in mind that they stock. As the Meerkat would say ‘SIMPLES’.
All you Miss Sales Person have to do is close me by providing that product.
They didn’t have my size, thats ok what else do you have.
They didn’t know what the other best in class trainer was, not great.
They still have an options. They don’t use any of them. I walk out of the store.
Even without the product they have one more card to pull at this Zero Moment of Truth.
The Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT is the new paradigm of how the web is changing (had changed) consumer in-store purchasing behaviour forever and how brands need to adapt their strategies to this new paradigm. This starts with understanding how they can start to leverage technology to close sales and move away from the download and dash culture. Download and dash is where someone enters a store, picks the brains of the specialist, pulls out their iPhone, finds the cheapest price and walks straight out of the store.
It’s happening all the time.
Brands have a way of getting around this and its simple marketing and sales!
This is how the experience should have played out…
When someone walks in and asks “Can I have a pair of Brooks Ghost 5 in size 8 please” and you have them on your website for sale DO NOT LET THEM LEAVE without closing that sale. The management and marketing team should have identified when this was happening, observed when ZMOT happened and created a strategy to tackle it. That strategy should be to empower the staff with technology. They are not there to fill the shelves, clean the floors and make the place look nice. They are there to sell, to close and without an doubt make sure that if someone walks in asking for a product your company can supply you do all you can to provide it to them in a way that is convenient. Nor is your website just another channel separate from the store – they are linked – get your head around this. The web is an enhancement, an extension of your brand experience not a bolt on.
Finally when I ask about the price of the trainers im told £100. I know I can get them for £89.99 – found this out during research. So we leave.
I then start a new journey.
ZMOT: Was in the store and has now passed.
So I headed home and fire up Google.
Step 1: Google: Brooks Ghost 5
Step 2: Brooksrunning.com (http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-Ghost-5-Mens-Running-Shoe/110119,default,pd.html) – no good the first two listing were .com so US. They need some SEO work to direct to UK right?
Step 3: Brooks Ghost 5 UK
Found them. £100 + postage from Brooks – nope can get them cheaper than that. Moving on.
Step 4: Google Again: Brooks Ghost 5 UK > Shopping Results.
Interesting enough that Up and Running don’t feature here and Chain Reaction are (see above). CR have activated their Google Shopping List Data Feed – something U&R need to do – more info on that here
Check out Chain Reaction > £89.99 and FREE delivery. Perfect.
Step 5: Check out Up & Running.
Inside I still actually want to buy from these guys.
How odd right.
I’ve given them a second chance.
£85!!!! WHAT I THOUGHT THE GIRL SAID £100!!!
Great I can get them even cheaper the research has paid off.
Wait. Whats that at the top of the screen?
FREE delivery over £100!
Heading into the basket there is a £3.99 delivery – still makes them cheaper at £88.99.
Also hate the experience its dark, clunky and uninformative.
Which did I go for?
Chain Reaction. Why? Two reasons:
1.I preferred their checkout process and overall site design experience. Design and UX matter!
2. The feeling that I got something for FREE helped. Even if I did pay £1 more. CR didn’t promise a product for £85 then drop in a hidden deliver charge. They were upfront and used FREE as the clincher. Smart. It’s a small thing but has a huge impact when making that final decision. Swayed me.
So what can Up & Running so?
If the staff in the store had checked in the back and in realising they only had a size 11 had pulled out an iPad quickly checked the company inventor, found they had an 8, told me they were £89.99 I would have bought them there and then.
I would have felt like my journey somehow ended in success and that somehow Up & Running had helped. That would have built my brand advocacy and this post would have been about how great Up & Running had leveraged digital technology to close a sale in a tough economy.
They could have also collected other information about me at that point. They have earned my trust by providing and adding value. Using some additional data such as + age + shoe size + running activity + knowing about a brand I clearly love there are endless possibilities. Data is a lubricant of society and marketing now. Identify where to get it, plan how to use it and test your ideas!
When the new range comes out in 6/12 months they could invite me to test a pair or secure and receive FREE delivery on that order.
They could simply email me about new Brooks releases – Lorelei (girlfriend) runs Brooks Defyance and would also be interested in the latest range.
Would I have given that data at purchase. Course I would just ask!
I hope somewhere in this long anecdote there is a lesson to all retailers and marketers alike. Digital doesn’t just mean having a website it means empowering your staff to solve problems for customers through it. At the ZMOT, at the checkout and at the interaction. Marketers should be less concerned with how they ‘communicate’ offers and brand messages to their customers and more concerned about how they solve real problems through technology.
Up & Running can now leverage this insight and start to empower their marketers and staff to close more sales.
Ideas based on real human interactions and feedback like this can transform a business.