How technology will define the next generation of shops

Posted on:

April 29th, 2021

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Insights & Thought Leadership

Our recent webinar, hosted in conjunction with innovation hub partners, Mercaux and OneStock, brought in case studies from three leading retailers. Who better to discuss the role of technology, data and the store, than those at the cutting edge of defining the next generation of shopping, and driving impressive results in the process?  

The timing for the discussion is particularly pertinent. As UK retailers reopen, after the third national lockdown, so far, the recovery looks promising.  

Department stores sales increased by 16.2% yoy in February and household goods increased by 16.1%. However, stores need to compete with the convenience of online retail, with the proportion spent online increased to 36.1% in February – the highest on record. By comparison, the figure for the previous year was 20% 

The question for our panellist was how are they working to develop the in-store experience and deliver the next generation physical retail experience? 

Guy Tambling, TFG Brands 

Transforming Phase Eight stores into customer fulfilment and contact hubs 

Our first speaker, Guy Tambling, from TFG Brands London, used the case study of Phase Eight to highlight how this women’s fashion retailer is transforming their stores into an additional fulfilment and contact hub for the customer.  

Using OneStock’s Ship-From-Store platform, Phase Eight have been able to leverage the stock held in store to fulfil customer orders. The results?  

  • 16% increase in online conversion rates 
  • £1.1M in additional sales in just 8 weeks 
  • 321 extra online orders fulfilled daily 

The impact goes beyond these impressive figures.  

  • Phase Eight has seen a reduction in terminal stock and therefore markdowns.  
  • Effectively they have created a distributed stock department, from which stores can manage all stock available in store in real-time.  
  • Stores that may have had to close, have now been able to remain financially viable.  

While the pandemic has presented huge challenges to the non-essential retail store, Phase Eight has found a way to continue to serve their customers and maintain their store presence through leveraging technology 

Jonathan HoremansMercaux & Nataly Quinn, Holland & Barrett  

A hands-free approach for the pandemic for this essential retailer, delivering a more personalised experience, while maximising customer conversion 

Pre-pandemic, Holland & Barrett were building their in-store strategy upon personalised customer interactions driven by an in-depth understanding of customers’ history and preferences. With the advent of Covid, this essential retailer had to rise to the additional challenge of continuing to serve their customers via the stores, but within a Covid-safe approach.   

Leveraging Mercaux’s suite of Connected Store solutions, they have been able to use technology to drive a more personalised and streamlined shopping experience, tailored to the customer’s individual preferences. Whether this would be for kerb-side basket building, or more efficient in-store data-driven advice, product bundling, and upselling, they are now in a position to confidently and safely bring the right products to the right customers.   

Armed with knowledge and data at their fingertips via Mercaux tablets, in-store staff have the confidence they need to deliver a better in-store experience and the results speak for themselves:  

H&B has seen a sales uplift of 6.2% during the trial period and will continue to roll out Mercaux’s in-store solutions across further H&B stores nationwide. 

Karl Haden, CEO, The Electric Bike Shop 

“Your strategy is written by your customers” 

The fact that The Electric Bike Shop has seen sales growth of over 1000% over the last year demonstrates the importance of listening to your customers! 

Our final webinar guest Karl Haden walks (cycles?) us through exactly why he is investing in physical stores as part of his electric bike sales strategy in combination with a data-driven customer experience.  

His view is that their website provides the shop window for their product, but when it comes to the point of sale, they have adopted a ‘car showroom’ model. In this way, every customer can try before they buy, interact with a human being, have their questions answered and build confidence in the brand. All of which is critical when purchasing a premium product, retailing at an average price of £2.5K.  

“Data underpins everything we do at the EBS. We need data to buy right, and that data comes from the store or from the customer. When is the product arriving? That’s important – lots of systems need to knit together to make sure this happens. Fulfilment is just the last step. Data underpins what we buy, where we put it and who our customers are.  We use data to support the sales cycle and then support the customer once they have the product. And then it all goes back into the buying cycle, so what do we need to buy now to sell in 18 months’ time?” 

Data plays a critical role in every element of The Electric Bike Shop’s operation. The stock availability drives their advertising campaigns, which in turn allows the team to accurately predict their sales pipeline and velocity. Beyond the sale, the Electric Bike Shop remains in contact with the customer, providing stellar customer service for every question and concern. 

The fact that their store expansion aims to make an Electric Bike Shop store locally available to every customer, nationwide, means that anyone who buys an electric bike from Karl’s team, can do so safe in the knowledge that they will always be able to get help and support when they need it.  

“You don’t get reviews for fulfilment; you’ve just done what you were paid to do. Where you build a reputation is how you deal with complaints. This can only be addressed with a physical presence.” 

We look forward to seeing The Electric Bike Shop continue to thrive. 

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