With the convergence of online and offline retail on the tips of the tongues of industry professionals, it is exciting to be able to dig behind the buzzword and establish how the development of an omnichannel retail industry can be made possible. It was a pleasure to recently catch up with Harvey Norman’s Head of Digital Gordon Nugent to discuss his views on the role and future of technology in retail, and the business models that are changing the game:
What is at the heart of delivering a great customer experience for today’s retail consumer?
The key is understanding how customer wish to engage with your brand and then trying to exceed these expectation. Removing friction for the customer and ensuring a consistent experience cross channels. Taking the great things from store and bringing them online and the great things from online and putting them in store.
What are the major challenges in the way of operating as a true omnichannel (post-channel) business?
The challenges are change management, legacy systems and ensuring we remove friction and ensure a consistent experience across all channels. The customer doesn’t talk channels, they just see it as retail.
With pure play e-commerce merchants starting to open physical stores, and retailers investing more in great online experiences, do you think we’ll see relationships between traditionally online and offline merchants fundamentally change from the dynamic today?
We have seen stores become more relevant. We offer ship from store to local customers, which streamlines the delivery timeframes. We also offer click and collect, reserve online pay in store. Customers want to shop how and when they want to, wether that’s physical or digital. By offering stores and online you offer the customer more choice.
Do you think physical stores should strive to implement as much in-store technology as possible in order to mimic online experiences?
Yes, it’s about bringing the things customer love about online and implementing them in store. Arming our salespeople with devices to educate, inspire and delight customers in store. It’s humans when you need them and tech when you don’t.
What individual technology do you see as having the greatest potential impact on the retail industry in 2016 and why?
Personalisation and data. We have talked about big data for a long time, now we are seeing how retailers and marketers can actually use it to engage with their customers and provide a unique experience. It’s segmentation of 1.
Gordon will be joining us to speak at the upcoming Retail Technology Show Asia. Have you booked your ticket yet to join him? If not then register your ticket today!