Digital engagement gives businesses a fantastic way to connect with customers and build their business, as Don Peppers explains in this TV show. Digital engagement: Who do consumers trust? If a business wants a home in the future, they have to have their own collection of friends [...]
Digital engagement gives businesses a fantastic way to connect with customers and build their business, as Don Peppers explains in this TV show. Digital engagement: Who do consumers trust? If a business wants a home in the future, they have to have their own collection of friends [...]
Communication strategy should start with a blog and expand on Twitter and Facebook according to Louis Gray, who gives his business development tips in this TV show.
Communication strategy and social networking
Companies getting started in this type of environment where the economics are difficult can actually leverage this type of weakness to look bigger than they are. One of the best things about social media is that people don't know the person behind the activity all the time. And so you have the tendency, if you do things right, to look like you're big, look like you're engaged, and get the word out. Social media is very cost effective. Somebody who can actively work social media can save tremendous amount of dollars versus traditional advertising. As a startup, your product is going to sell itself through differentiation. If you get bought in people who will communicate with you.
So as companies, be they startups or established, get started in social media, the first thing they want to do is have a central location where people can find out as much as they can about the company. Typically that's a blog. A blog can enable personal one-to-one communication from the highest levels within the company. After that, it really makes sense to get onto Twitter and Facebook and these other networks to hear what's being said, both about you and the industry. But without that blog, there's nowhere to go. So you make sure you have that blog, and then build out the social media ecosystem underneath that, which may include the other networks.
Keep an eye on Connected Economy TV for more discussion on communication strategy and social media.
Businesses have access to data from more and more individuals who are entering email addresses and phone numbers in to online forms. In this TV show Gerald Lawless explains why respecting individuals information is paramount.
Access to data in hospitality
In the hotel business we really have to understand our responsibility to our guests to maintain the confidentiality of that data. And this is something that is so abused around the world. I mean we all receive these silly phone calls and you wonder how people got your mobile number, apart from me putting it on my business card, which always doesn’t help. But it is important that we treat that with great respect, with great care. And yes, use it but use it in a way that doesn’t annoy the guest, and this is important. So we write and say, “Do you want to communicate with us?” If they don’t want to, well then that’s fine and we respect very much the confidentiality of the guest data that we hold.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow discussions around access to data and data usage.
Digital engagement allows companies to work with customers
Digital engagement is a big opportunity for companies to gain customer confidence. In this TV show Stan Rapp says smart companies have moved beyond “doing to” their customers.
Digital engagement: Strategy is crucial
We now have the opportunity to do so much more activity on Facebook, on Youtube, on Flickr, and so on. How we do it, what we do with the ability to do, is critically important. Unfortunately, there's been a past heritage of doing to the consumer. What I mean by doing to is in the old days you bombarded the consumer with your brand message until it penetrates, and now you change that consumer's behavior. I'm going to take that consumer and press them, and turn them in my direction. That's a doing to thing. Also, we do things to our customers to help us make more money in the short term. A good example, of course, is the financial industry, and banks, with the fees that they've laid on-- with the airlines, with the baggage fee, and somebody said a airline in the UK is going to charge to use the toilet next. I doubt it, but who knows what they'll think of? Of course, the frustration with travel is so intense, not only for the passengers, but for the crew, as well. We saw what happened recently in the media, about a terrible explosion of that temper, but everyone understood it. I think what was most striking about the steward evacuating and denouncing the passenger was that nobody was surprised, because the airlines have been doing so much to the passengers and to their employees by pushing them and demanding more. I remember when the airline stewardess was something to look forward to on the plane, because she looked after you. Now, she's the garbage collector. They've done something to their employees and something to their passengers. That's the doing to thing. If we're going to get involved and engaged, it's what we do with and what we do for that's important, because when now can do things with our customers, because we know who they are. They come to us either at our website, or they come to us on Facebook. They come to us because they start with a certain degree of confidence in us, and sympatico with the product.
Connected Economy TV will continue to look at digital engagement and its effect on business.
Disruptive technology makes user experience seamless
Disruptive technology has changed online sales interfaces. Sean Worker of BridgeStreet Worldwide discusses the effects on the hospitality industry.
Disruptive technology in hotel booking
Our clients have become even more dependent on their own internal systems as to how they book, how they get their own internal customers to book, they're forcing them to compliance intranets.
They're utilising systems like ours to interface with those so they become external booking agents. So in our case we have a guest portal, that that client now with all of their SLAs are completely loaded on to that portal that is specific to that company.
So actually they don't have to go to the travel department. If you are relocating it will tell you what your allowances are, it will tell you who to contact, it will have internal confirmations on.
You get your confirmation back though that portal. It eliminates complete interfaces in many cases, with their own internal travel department, which has reduced obviously labour.
Efficiency and accuracy has improved, thats a big dramatic change for many companies.
If you found this TV show about disruptive technology and hotel booking systems, please browse more interviews on Connected Economy TV.
Social media usage should require a degree of care. In this TV show Jo Malone reminds us that messages are there forever.
Social media usage: Immediacy
Digital has changed everything, from communication, you can communicate the message in a second, you can go global in a second.
You can be very positive in a second.
But you also can go downhill very, very quickly.
So you have to be prepared for that. And also it’s public, so when you put something of interest on Twitter or Facebook, it’s public, it’s there forever. So make sure you really mean that.
If you found this TV show about social media usage, please browse more TV shows on Connected Economy TV where there is much more expert business insight.
In this business growth show Bruce Dickinson discusses how he has developed his aviation business around the principle that business should cater to the consumers, who are just human beings with wants.
Business growth show: Consumer desire
When you cut human beings down to size we are really quite simple creatures you know; food, shelter, warmth, light, heat, and you build it up form there really until you finally sort of go "Gucci shoes" or whatever your consumer desires are.
But all of those desires are ultimately about gratification.
Now where we're at with the airline thing lives upon the fact that people want to travel.
We exist because people want to travel on airliners, because they want to get from A to B quickly because they don't want to spend time they perceive as wasting time just getting there.
They want to get there and live their lives to the full because they want to enjoy it.
Our job is to facilitate that happening by providing the engineering services and also possibly the transportation service that enable that to happen.
But always bear in mind that you are just enabling human beings, That is your ultimate customer.
If you found this business growth show interesting, please browse more TV shows on Connected Economy TV where there is more business insights from leaders and experts.
Digital channels can be used to a businesses advantage. Simon Vincent discusses online communication in the hotel sector.
Embracing new digital channels
You have to embrace the technological advances.
I think as a whole the hotel sector has been relatively slow to adopt the online platforms.
But I think they're growing immeasurably and I think you have got to embrace and you've got to exploit and we are working both with third party partners and very hard on our own technological developments.
We embrace new channels, we are working very hard on things like Facebook and Twitter and all the new social media.
That is the way of life now and hotel companies have got to embrace that, that's how consumers of the future want to communicate and be communicated with.
So we're embracing it, we are investing in it and if you ignore it you ignore it at your peril.
If you found this video about embracing digital channels interesting , why not watch more TV shows on the Connected Economy Channel
Digital engagement creates information at the edge
Increased digital engagement is creating more data, which can be very useful for marketing as David Moschella discusses in this TV show.
Digital engagement is more powerful that marketing messages
Well increasingly the information at the edge, in our view the information created by customers prospects, the community at large, is the single most influential part of the buying process in a lot of firms.
And many of us won’t buy anything or stay in a hotel until we know what trip advisor or Amazon and others are saying. And that content comes from customers and their rating system.
So community content and that information that comes from the marketplace is far more powerful than say the marketing messages that your own firm can put out there in most business we work with.
If you are interested in issues around digital engagement bookmark Connected Economy TV video and keep an eye out for more videos.
Business risk as technology creates more stakeholders
The uncontrollable decisions of customers and shareholders are a business risk. Sir Nigel Knowles discusses the importance of keeping good communication with an increased number of stakeholders.
Business Risk: Technology creating more stakeholders in companies
People now need to be far more prepared to communicate and in a transparent way in terms of their actions. Also we've got the interesting fact that someone might say something in one country, but it might be picked up in another country and interpreted very differently, giving the person making the statement a trust issues.
So life isn't actually going to be the same again. 10-15 years ago people might have described a corporate's stakeholders as being only the share-holders, but now stake-holders of a company are their suppliers, their employees, their customers, NGOs, regulators, the press and the government.
And a leader of the corporate has got to stand up and say how he or she intends to move the company along and then account to all the various stakeholders six months later, 12 months later and say how they got along, what happened.
They must account for any shortcoming, so trust and confidence go hand in hand and are now real important features of our life.
I think it is also understood that an individual can gain trust, and quite often a faceless corporation can lose trust.
But trust is an essential part of commercial life and actually if people trust each other and can make quick decisions and move things along very efficiently, trust can be a source of competitive advantage.
For more discussion on the business risk arising in the connected economy keep watching Connected Economy TV
Access to data through a practice management system can help CEOs stay connected with the needs of the business and its clients. Sir Nigel Knowles gives his opinion in this TV show.
Access to data: Maintaining the flow of information
A flow of information, to me is very important, but fortunately we have a practice management system that allows me to access that information at any time, wherever I am.
So in terms of the basic financials of the firm, how many recorded hours we achieved yesterday, what our billings look like for the month/year to date.
What percentage is recovery against charging rates we've got, that's always immediately available from the point of view of marketing and business development and new work coming in or tenders and pitches that we are preparing for.
I am familiar with those and in many cases get involved in them. Because if you are doing my job I think its crucially important to remain connected with clients, you can't build and run a law firm without knowing what the client dimension is.
I think the more time I can spend with clients the better I am able to develop and push the practice.
Without clients we have nothing. Clients are everything to our firm.
Connected Economy TV will continue to follow ideas about data, access to data and connecting with customers.
An active customer interface will produce real time data and inform business decisions, as Sean Worker discusses in this TV show.
Using customer interface data
We have to start with our customers' needs, rather than sometimes the operation drives what they want to see.
So if you take the mandate of our company, we are here to provide real-time customer feedback. And we want it the moment they hit it.
Our customer service scores, since we introduced our intelligence system, has gone from about a 3.9, to a company high of 4.43 in January.
To a large extent it's coupling with our associates, asking and being proactive about asking our customers to fill it in. We send them a request for feedback, three times during their stay, as well as an advance expression of interest before the arrive.
We get that in real time and they are being vocal. We're getting about a 35% response rate, which is very high. Now some of the sample sizes on smaller properties are low. Bit if we can get somewhere north of 20, we are getting a real meaning.
But that actually turns onto a real conversation on a Monday morning at our executive committee meeting about 'This is what this sub set of customers said about this specific building, on this specific day, about a maintenance issue, an experience.
We can actually rectify a problem that week. We didn't have that a year ago.
The other component of the technology interface is that when we are doing client reporting we can actually bring that real data to them. What their own staff are saying about their experience, that helps them pick properties and determine what value statements are important.
Maybe it's a risk issue a security issue, maybe even if it's our own apartments, we give them the real data, and that's whats really changed in that interaction.
If you found this video about customer interfaces and data interesting why not watch more TV shows on Connected Economy TV?
A customer profile at the Hilton has been built up by mining data from a 30 million strong loyalty programme, as Simon Vincent explains in this TV show.
Understanding the Hilton customer profile
I think our data is quite fragmented at times.
But though our loyalty programme, Hilton HHonours.
We've got over 30 million subscribers in to Hilton HHonours and we've got a very good understanding of those customers.
They are our most loyal customers, they are the customers that stay will us most frequently, and we are building a very strong picture of the Hilton customer and mining that data very actively.
I think any good company will tailor their communications according to customer preferences.
There's no point communicating with customers in a way that they're not happy to be communicated with, because that will ultimately turn them off.
So we work on being flexible, we work on trying to tailor all of our communications, be that, through whichever channel we choose to use and the feedback we get is very positive.
If you enjoyed this video about customer profiles, data mining and personalised communication, why not watch more TV shows on the Connected Economy Channel?
The digital economy means that some brands will actually need to undigitise to entice people in. Ibrahim Ibrahim give his perspective in this TV show.
The digital economy has created an opportunity for nostalgic brands
This whole idea of facial recognition, for me is really, really interesting.
There is an issue of privacy but it’s inevitable and as Mark Zuckerburg said, it will be entirely normal for everybody to know everyone’s location at any time, and that’s what will happen.
It’s how we deal with that and I think also as we live these increasingly digitised lives, people will crave, sort of, compensatory intimate physical experiences.
And there’s an opportunity there for brands to undigitise, to unconnect.
And just as an anecdote, there’s a great club called The Do Nothing Club. You go there and do nothing.
There’s a school of life and you can see this growing explosion really of markets and of charity shops. There’s much more intimate physical, nostalgic places.
I think retail will have to take part of that on. I think there’s going to be a move from what we call back of house to front of house where customers want to see behind the brand, see transparency, see things being made.
They don’t want them now, and more in the future, being made in Vietnam or in China.
They want things, yes, partly made but then finished off in the shop where people can see the craft and the kind of skills.
And there is I think, more and more of a return to crafts.
Every trend has a counter trend, and I think there’s going to be a counter trend.
There is more content about the digital economy on Connected Economy TV
In this business growth TV show Ibrahim Ibrahim discusses how big brands like Illy are creating a culture, which consumers can participate in both through digital connectivity and in person.
Business growth show - Illy's Approach
Now, Illy used to be a coffee brand, it’s no longer a coffee brand, it’s no longer about silver tins of coffee
Illy is about a brand which absolutely engages customers with, yes, the cultural coffee, yes, coffee’s placed in society, yes, art and crockery and books on art.
Illy has become a culture brand. A culture of coffee, but also a culture in the big scheme of things.
And it has connected with a whole group of customers that are part of that brand, are part of their social network and it gives those customers, through constant connectedness, through digital, lots and lots of value about art, about coffee, yes, they can go and buy coffee as well, but it’s part of a bigger, bigger picture.
And when you get to an Illy shop, it’s not a coffee shop, it’s where this art and culture and sociability and debate and the whole idea of the old coffeehouses, comes to life.
But that won’t be a coffee shop and it isn’t, you know, at the moment it’s a container that opens up, arrives and closes down.
And more and more brands will do this, Marmite are doing it, Heinz are doing it.
______________________________________________________________________Connected Economy TV is following developments in retail and the digital economy. There will be another business growth show soon.
Good communication strategy is important for success in the connected economy. In this TV show Richard Branson says why he loves connecting with people on the internet.
Communication strategy in the digital economy
I think companies that don't take, the internet, or Twitter, or Google Plus, seriously do it at their own peril.
It's also great fun.
I mean I've got I think two and a half million followers now on those various sites.
I love interrelating with them. I love the immediacy of it.
You know, I get feedback if one of our companies is messing up somewhere and we can jump on it.
And we get lots of positive feedback as well, which is very encouraging and makes one feel that everything you're doing is worthwhile.
So, you know, it's a fantastic medium.
Richard Branson is just one of the industry experts featured on Connected Economy TV, where we have more shows about communication strategy.
Nigel Palmer: "I’ve spent 30 years in retail in department stores, primarily with Debenhams, British department store group, who have got a lot of international stores as well. My role for the last 10 years on the Debenhams board was the retail director looking after all the shops in the UK and Ireland and all the people, prior to that I was design and development director and prior to that a home shopping director running the innovations business. My passion is the people and the reaction with the customer, the rest of is it a means to getting the product to that customer. I was fortunate to be able to finish that role after 27 years at Debenhams. And I’ve been investing in some smaller businesses. And I suppose I’ve had my mind opened up from big corporate life to how people are building businesses in difficult times, where they start now, where you might not have started if you’d got a legacy property, legacy systems, legacy brands as it were. So it’s very, very refreshing to see, and also young people but people with new ideas."
Nigel Palmer: "There’s a huge amount of data available. And we heard today about how we can know how many people come in and out of a 200 meter square, where they’d been two hours ago etc. And that’s really good data. And consumers at a personal level, if you can be intimate with them and give them the information about that them and the product that they want, you can attract them back into there because they know. It’s like going back to your friendly restaurant, like me going back to my bike shop, they say, “Hi Nigel, we know exactly what you want, we know exactly what we’ve got to do to sort of service it.” And I think more time should be spent on that personalisation, that service as well and time and effort put into that. I think when, for example, shopping centres like Bluewater opened a while back we saw some innovation on that. And we saw beautiful shopping centres open up in, you know, with Westfield. But I’m not quite sure how much more they’ve moved on, maybe it’s been more about the design and the physicality of the building as opposed to the services and the encouragement of how you bring the customer journey, not the online, not the store journey, together."
Nigel Palmer: "I’m concerned that the property industry isn’t looking at the consumer sufficiently, isn’t looking at the impact of it. And we had, again, the creative input today, I thought was really good, made them think about the experience about what’s important to the consumer. Customers are still shopping, they’re not seeing all the technology is just enabling that, they take the easiest route for them, they take the best route for them, and I guess they take the best value route as well. Best value isn’t always about the price, it’s about best value for time, best value for convenience, best value for trust as it were. And I just hope that the UK property indices where, and it depends which figure or whose survey you look at, say between 11 and 15% of the UK high street is empty, is doing something about that, shopping malls, high streets of the future will have a very different mix of products on there."
Nigel Palmer: "I myself am passionate about bikes and I’ve been recently actually looking at some independent bike shops, there’s two and a half thousand in the UK. There’s the big players, everybody knows sort of the lower to medium end of Halfords, but then there’s this big online player who started in a warehouse in North Belfast, called Chain Reaction and they’re really been killing the smaller retailers. But now they, as that big online retailer realise they need presence. And I suppose if people have been looking at those online retailers and saying, “How can we encourage those people to come in” could we have got them as a retailer sort of early on? Equally, there’s a shop in New York that says now, “I can’t sell bikes, yeah, because all the online people, you know, customers come in and they say, let’s have your best price because I can get this on the internet and this is the price of it and will you match it.” And they said, “No, we won’t. Buy it on the internet, come in, we’ll make it up for you and we’ll do you a service plan.” Because actually now they’re making more money out of servicing the bikes and selling the accessories with a higher margin than they are by actually selling the bikes. And you know that whole servicing element is a place where people can go."
Nigel Palmer: "We talk about retail but maybe services are going to be more important to it. You know, we heard today an idea about click and collect and actually making that not a warehouse type experience but an enjoyable experience where you say, “Great, click and collect, we’ll go and have a sit, we’ll go and have a read of the paper or we’ll go and get the kids in the kids area.” It is the heart of it. You know do shopping malls in the future have their own delivery sort of service as well? And I still think there’s too much traditional thinking going on and not thinking about what the customer wants, what makes it easy for them. What will make it pleasurable for them, because shopping centres, big square blocks, but consumers feel happy in shopping centres, safer in shopping centres. And they need to exploit that in the best sort of possible way."
Nigel Palmer: "We’ve clearly seen more of the mix of food in shopping centres. And I think the mix of food retailers will probably increase as well as competitors as it is. But for me, the high streets have got to change. They’ve got to become less shops that people walk in and out of and then experience where people can go to their accountant, get their bike serviced, have their hair done, get their kids entertained, place their bets, get their cloths and get their food and it’s thinking about how that is. And maybe some other, governmental services come on there as well to help people out as well. It’s a community, that’s what high streets are, that’s what shopping centres are, and it’s what that community wants to do on the high street, and it isn’t about lining shops up I don’t think."
Nigel Palmer: "We heard today from Javelin who clearly have got massive knowledge because they - across the industry really broadened in terms of what they do. And we saw charts of, store only sales, online only sales, click and collect sales. And then we saw this big part which is really going to increase, store sales that are influenced by online, almost like online was doing all this for it. There is a counter one which I think is not thought about which is people going into stores and then going home and shopping or shopping while they’re in the coffee shop, because that’s an online sale. And you’re not distinguishing those, in other words it’s becoming increasingly impossible to categorise them. And I wonder why spend huge amounts of time categorising it and don’t just concentrate on what that customer journey is, the customer - is changing, for the customer in terms of the way they live their lives and trying to embrace that. And with the money and the long-term investment in property, I don’t see those sorts of things coming out of the property industry and working as much in harmony with them. Of course I fully understand wanting to protect their investment. But it is a long-term investment and some longer term thinking I think needs to be coming rather than maybe some short-term defensivism. I heard one person say today, “It’ll be fine because we’ve got the best property, so we’ll be alright” which for me isn’t a strategy, it’s a tactic."
Karolin Forsling: "The first thing I think is what we do wrong in the property sector when we are developing retail is that we do what everyone else does, we don’t focus and understand the place that we’re actually going to be and develop. That’s the first thing, because in Stockholm for example, 300 metres away it can be a totally different target group. And you have to understand that it’s all about the block away and it’s totally different. And what I think is important is the food, the restaurants, the eating, the meeting. Now, we started with that when we developed Mood, to take the restaurant there and not only a restaurant, the best restaurant, who create different kind of atmosphere in different kind of zones. And there we completed with shops around the restaurant and that makes us more interesting place to be, because it lives from the morning to the night."
Karolin Forsling: "The digital world is important, but it’s not scary, it’s more like an opportunity. I think it’s come back again to how you make a place on the internet, on the real world or in your scheme, it’s all about place making and emotion, to get the people like feeling, smelling, seeing, hearing, listening, it’s all about experience. And I think everyone on the internet, in the real world, if you can combine these two, yeah, it’s an opportunity for everyone."
How to bring massive store footprints into city centre?
Karolin Forsling: "We have a project now that we are just in the first phase, that is so central, where there’s so many people in the central part of Stockholm, that we’re actually looking at. Can we do an online and digital world in reality, for big brands that haven’t the space or can’t have the space in the kind of cities, but wants to come in, like IKEA or like a huge store that you found out on a field somewhere because they are huge big boxy store. And they want to have about 100 square metres and do it like a live shop. And you can take your food or your living room or something and you can just put it on this site, then go to work before meeting when you have lunch and you click on it and it all comes back to your home when you want it. So we are investigating together with some retailers and seeing how can we do this actually, how, and not why anymore and see about. We have to. We know we have to, and few have done it actually. And now we are like trying us together with the retailers. And I think the retailers have not come so far in this area. They talk about it, but when you actually get their hands on their heart, they aren’t there yet. They don’t know how to do it. And I think there’s an opportunity for a landlord or a developer to be a part of it, to understand it, because the rent as well will be apart from retailing, the turnover, so how can we do it."
Karolin Forsling: "Retail is a wider thing than just retail, because I think it’s more about making places. We have done that in Stockholm, for example, Mood, and it’s not about retail and shops anymore, it’s about what these people come to do in this place and they are eating and then dining and all the things that they do at work. They work outside their offices, and where do they meet and so things. So retail is all about everything and not only shops anymore, I would say."
Karolin Forsling: "They are demanding. They have more knowledge sometimes than the people in the store. They know that they are in the command, that they have the power. And they travel a lot, because Stockholm or in Sweden for example, Mood or Gallery and all the schemes we have, they don’t compete to each other, they compete with the whole world because the internet gives them access to everywhere, to every feeling, to every store, to every brand. So you have to be more, everything more. You can’t just satisfy to do your shop and your restaurants and your scheme, you have to think about what’s the experience. And I think it’s all about emotion actually. Emotion is about what we feel and how I can feel and get people in the right mood."
Consumer experience driven by need to eat & be social
Karolin Forsling: "What we did for example, it’s just an example, is that we divided the scheme into three different zones. And different zones has a different character. And the one of the restaurants, they have like a DJ playing in the afternoon or they have changed the idea from the morning, where the business people come there for breakfast meetings. But in the afternoon they are more tapas and go more quickly. And I think that eating has become a very social part of peoples’ living and working. And it’s a daily experience and that’s why I say, you can’t take a restaurant to put in, and I think the developer take the food like, oh shit, we’ve forgotten the food, we have to put some food in the scheme, instead of thinking in what kind of experience, and kind of food and what should people experience in the morning, in the evening, in the day because the restaurants has easily way to change their offer and the feelings. We have worked a lot with that. We heard about the sound and the smell and everything, and it’s all about emotion. And that’s also why I think the online shopping is not a threat, it’s opportunity, because you can’t tell all the senses in an online shop. Sorry, but you can’t."
Getting inside the customers mindset with Portland
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "We are international retail and brand design consultants. We work from the macro to the micro. So we work on inner city regeneration, shopping centres, airports, shops and brands in shops right across the board from islands to isles, from cities to shelves. The common denominator between them is that the consumer, the customer, the shopper and everything we do is driven from an insight into how shoppers shop, how they behave, what motivates them, but more importantly or just as importantly how they will shop in the future and what are the drivers of change."
Digital brings retail opportunity growth not change
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "Change will be fundamentally driven by the massive explosion and growth in shopping in a different way. I’m not going to say online shopping because I don’t think it actually distinguishes or separates like that. It’s shopping in a very different way, the notion of the shop will change, the function, the idea, the pure, pure idea of a shop will, I think, will change. And I say these things, not as an absolute because there will be exceptions, there will be very functional shopping, that you’ll still have supermarkets to a certain extent. But much of shopping will change and that will be driven by the fact that people will shop for stuff, for things with their mobile devices, inside or our outside shops. And what they will get from shops will be the collection of those things. And when they collect the experience of collecting, the collect experience will be at the heart of the shop. And that collect experience will be yes, to collect your goods, but also will be at the heart of it maybe food and beverage, will be event driven experiences, will be where brands take space, will be demonstrations, will be other experiential consumer behaviour, consumer offers. So the collect experience will be key. So when I say the notion of a shop, the notion of a shop means that it’s not where we’ll buy stuff, we won’t buy merchandise, we will buy mementos."
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "This whole idea of facial recognition, for me is really, really interesting. There is an issue of privacy but it’s inevitable and as Mark Zuckerburg said, it will be entirely normal for everybody to know everyone’s location at any time, and that’s what will happen. It’s how we deal with that and I think also as we live these increasingly digitised lives, people will crave sort of compensatory intimate physical experiences. And there’s an opportunity there for brands to undigitise, to unconnect. And just as an anecdote, there’s a great club called the Do Nothing Club that you can’t, you go there and do nothing. And there’s a school of life and you can see this growing explosion really of markets, of charity shops, there’s much more intimate physical, nostalgic places. And I think retail will have to take part of that on. I think there’s going to be a move from what we call back of house to front of house where customers want to see behind the brand, see transparency, see things being made. They don’t want them now and more in the future being made in Vietnam or in China. They want things, yes, partly made but then finished off in the shop where people can see the craft and the kind of skills. And there is, I think, and will be more and more a return to crafts. So there will be every trend has a counter trend. And I think there’s going to be a counter trend to this mass digitisation."
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "The developing economies are going through the cycle of consumerism that we went through two decades ago. I think this idea of buying stuff and buying logos and just accumulating status symbols is prevalent. But I think, like in the developing economies, there’s a shift from status symbols to status skills, no longer. And at the heart of consumerism is status, but no longer is the status, in owning this bottle of whiskey, it may have cost me 80 quid but, two decades ago the status was in owning it. Now the status is in knowing whether it’s east coast, west coast, is it peat, is it honey, where is it from, is it made on the Isle of Skye, is it by the sea, because it’s got beautiful flavours of peat or you know, it’s the stories. So if we’re talking and go full circle back to the notion of the store, stores are no longer about shops, they’re about stories. And I think that is really important, the idea of shifting shopping from stores to stories is really key. So how do you equip customers with those stories, and that are engaging and relevant, that they can then gain status, because that’s ultimately what we all want. So it’s the dematerialising of shopping."
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "The further you go with technology begins to encroach on societal changes. I think it’s transcends retail. I think I wear two hats, I wear my hat as a retail consultant. And I’m an advocate of consumers, an advocate of brands and then my clients and I understand the importance for them, of the commercialisation, of anything and everywhere, to increase connectedness, increase engagement and increase footfall and increase sales. But also we do a lot of inner city regeneration and we did Elephant and Castle, we did a lot of strategy around the regeneration of Elephant and Castle. And we’ve got this mantra in our business which says citizen first, you have a duty of care for people as citizens, not as customers. And I think too many brands take people for granted as customers, as though whenever they’re walking down the street they’re only looking to buy stuff. And I think retailers and brands have got to first of all grasp the idea that their customers are not necessarily wanting to buy things. They’re citizens actually, they’re not their customers, they don’t own them. And the problem is that when you’re in a shopping centre you’re in a private environment, that’s purporting to be public.
And this idea of how much does commercialisation make public space private is for me a really, really quite provocative and I’ve forgot the word but it provokes a lot of contradictions from me as working for retailers and me having this. I’m talking at a personal level, this passion for keeping public space public and not commercialising every last minute of our day. The sanctity of public space and I reference Highline Park in New York which is a disused railway that’s turned into a public park, that isn’t commercial at all and it’s the second most visited attraction in New York, and it has not one piece of commerciality, at least when I was there it didn’t. It might have had more recently, but maybe just a coffee shop but nothing, it’s just a beautiful place to be. And that’s what I was talking about, we talked about the experienced economy where citizens now want places to be, to do, to appropriate to do what they want to do and not it be run, overrun by commercialisation."
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "There will be hybrid spaces, they won’t be a particular category, I think they’ll be where categories come together. There’ll be lots of brand partnerships. They may be anchored by food and beverage, so it’s sociable. It certainly will be places that are geo located and gamified, so it’ll be places that are centred around a brand that has a tribe of customers that link to that brand digitally through social networking and something happens as a reward in this space after some gaming application. So there’ll be lots of things going on, this connectedness digitally with their customers. And the culmination or part of that digital physical journey will be in this space."
Ibrahim Ibrahim: "So imagine, well illy are doing a lot of this. Now, illy used to be a coffee brand, it’s no longer a coffee brand, it’s no longer about silver tins of coffee. illy is about a brand which absolutely engages customers with, yes, the cultural coffee, yes, coffee’s placed in society, yes, art and crockery and books on art, so illy has become a culture brand, yeah, culture of coffee, but culture in the big scheme of things. And it has connected with a whole group of customers that are part of that brand, are part of their social network and it gives those customers, through constant connectedness, through digital, lots and lots of value about art, about coffee, yes, they can go and buy coffee as well, but it’s part of a bigger, bigger picture. And when you get to an illy shop, it’s not a coffee shop, it’s where this art and culture and sociability and debate and the whole idea of the old coffeehouses comes to life. But that won’t be a coffee shop and it isn’t, you know, at the moment it’s a container that opens up, arrives and closes down. And more and more brands will do this, Marmite are doing it, Heinz are doing it."
Carmel Allen: "In the next three to five years it’ll be very interesting to see how the millennial mature and develop. We know that the under 30s, they buy a quarter of all their goods online. And as they move up and get older and more mature they’ll be followed by the younger millennials. And I think it’s interesting there, you know, they’re already buying a quarter of all they buy online which is a lot higher than someone my age which is I think, the average is about nine percent. And that rapid growth on their part in different life stages will be very interesting to monitor. I think there’s going to be a lot more looking at how customers behave rather than looking at, what’s the next new thing."
Carmel Allen: "In three years from now you could be walking down the street with your mobile phone, you walk past your coffee shop, it will automatically stamp your loyalty card which will be a virtual loyalty card in your phone, whether or not you cross the threshold or not, you might get two stamps if you actually go in and buy a coffee. You will then, and it’ll keep that receipt for you, it’ll log it. You then might walk a little bit further down and it might alert you that there’s a sale going on in another shop nearby where they know you’ve purchased before because your receipt history will be on your phone. You might then walk into another store and see a shirt that you particularly like, you’ll take a picture of it, send it to your wife, see whether she likes it. She might send back and say, “Oh, that’s great, but I’ve got a discount for it if I buy it online from Amazon.” And you say, “Oh no, but the assistant here is very nice, I’m going to try it on, we’ll see.” And there might be this play out between the showroom, the shop as a showroom and also the actual service. And hopefully in three years time the service will out win and the actual face-to-face service that you’re getting in the shop will mean that you will buy there and you won’t just use it as a showroom. And again I think that is finding this balance in retail between technology and service and the virtual world and the digital world’s terribly exciting but it can never replace that face-to-face one-to-one attention and thrill that you get with a really good real life shopping experience."
Carmel Allen: "In the next two to five years, it depends very much on what category you’re working in, whether it’s interiors, fashion, supermarket goods. I think the challenge will be to move as fast, not necessarily move as fast as the technology. That’s going to be impossible, but to look at your customers and their behaviour and to pick and choose the technology that will make their customer journey easier, more rewarding and will lock them in for loyalty and to keep them going. So you can feel confident that you’re taking your customers with you and you’re with them."
John Halpin: "Most organisations will do a lot of DM, predominantly a letter to a customer, an offer to a customer or a prospect. And they will get potentially a good response rate for them, between one and two percent. That will wash its face and make money for the organisation. From a customer perspective looking at, that’s pretty poor. And so one out of 100 people respond, so 99 people throw that away, don’t respond, they don’t like that offer, but a one response, that’s relatively okay, which is the way the DM industry’s been working for many years. When you start to understand data you can move that triangle pyramid slightly up to get better response rates. The next sort of logical step on standard campaigns, there’ll be more sort of round about optimisation, a bit of modelling, a bit of behaviour analysis, create a model on the data, propensity to buy this product. So what you’re actually doing is lessening, you’re shortening the number of people you go and get, your 100,000 might be 70,000, but conversely your response rate might go from two percent to four percent. So response goes up, cost of the actual marketing goes down. Moving up again, you go into things round about trigger activity and events, events and triggers is what I call it.
That’s based on information you might have or may not have on the customer, for example you might not have their renewal date, therefore they’re only in that market for a specific time of the year. You only may have three days out of 365 to actually market to them. So use that, don’t waste your time on the other 362 in that instance, or it could be a trigger in terms of they’ve deposited a large sum of money in their current account, well they should be having a savings account then, this kind of thing. If you start to understand that, your volume goes down, because it’s very targeted, your response rate might go up to, up to eight percent/ten percent. And the top of the pyramid is what I call CVI – Customer Volunteered Information. So the customer is actually giving you information as opposed to you looking for it and finding it. And that could be the customer goes into a branch, it doesn’t have to be a bank, it could be anything, in my example, doing financial services, I could actually say to a rep, “I’m going to be in the market for a mortgage in three months time” because that’s when we’re looking to buy our first house. If that’s captured, so they’ve actually told you that, you know, what a great piece of information. So the spike of the pyramid goes up. And CVI, I’ve seen response rates of ten percent plus. Compared to the one or two percent at the bottom of the triangle, it’s 10 times better, very powerful."
John Halpin: "In terms of, myself at the bank, we’ve got a lot of products and we launch products, products what people know, like mortgages for example, and we’re going to be launching that. And we’ve got general insurance products and savings products and credit cards. People know about that. But in terms of maybe the next product or enhancement of the product, it’s quite interesting. You can use some of the data in terms of, what do people think? So that moves what I do into more of a research, so with the colleagues that I deal with in terms of, well let’s speak to these people. Let’s create a piece of research based on their cross product holding or what they have now. If someone’s recently bought travel insurance, for example, from the organisation and I might want to tweak that product. I might want to offer it slightly different. I will speak to the person, find out what was his customer journey like, what would he think if he bought that again, maybe at a higher price but different features? So you can use this kind of information that’s held within a marketing database to drive that. And that will help in sort of the product insight. So it’s linking some of that with some of the other research that you can get widely available from the research agencies in the UK. But talking to your customers and again, back to channels and the power of what we do
I mean traditionally you could commission a piece of research. You can go outside into a shopping centre and ask people. You can phone people up. But nowadays email, internet, social media again, these channels can potentially be used. And that helps back more to another point you recently made about how quick you can do that. So if you know someone bought a product as of yesterday, how impressive would it be if that company got back to you and actually said to you, “Well how was your customer journey? How do you think? You bought this product. They actually tell you what product that they bought. And then do that within a week back to your buyer, that’s quite impressive. You know, and it sounds relatively straightforward, and companies should be doing that. But again, because of technology and systems and integration and that kind of thing, not a lot of companies can do that."
John Halpin: "If your budget’s been slashed because of the economic downturn. And you’re being told to, make the pound work harder for you. To me, that’s round about the retention. But what drives retention is understanding some of the customers and looking at some of the triggers of what drives retention. If I can build a model on a customer marketing database, that I can measure the propensity of someone to lapse or not to be on that database or the propensity of someone not to become a customer or to move on, if I can start to know that before it actually happens, that’s a very powerful piece of information I can give to any marketing colleague to say, “We need to talk to these people, because I think they’re going to move on in the next month, the next six months” whatever timeframe I give. That’s very powerful. Retaining that customer, as I said, a factor of maybe one to ten in terms of cost compared to acquiring, so you need 10 new people to acquire for that one person going, becomes very, very powerful. And that can be driven very easily from a marketing database."
David Walker: "Technologies are not siloed anymore, so you hear all of our brands talking about eco systems. So, you’re an Apple man, you’re an Android man, you’re a Sony man. You know, they want to create a relationship with you as a customer across devices and technologies now, rather than, on a one-to-one specialist device. So, you’re beginning, you’re finding yourselves getting caught in a world, I’d buy, start buying these Apple products and then I’m stuck with Apple, and that’s a funny thing for consumers. In a way they like it, in a way they don’t like it."
Nick Cole: “By and large, people have got less money to spend, so the reality is there is less, less people shopping regularly and they've got less money to spend, so the decisions that they have to make in store are harder for the consumer to make.
They need to have, for them, the right products in store and the right offering, but really when working with us it's being able to influence that consumer behaviour. One of the phrases we use at SP is 'being able to help our customers and our clients turn browsers into buyers.'
The reality is obviously the product and the offer needs to be right, but the way in which it's communicated needs to be very, very clear and concise. I think it needs to represent, particularly in retail and particularly in the large grocers, real value to the end user, so they need to be able to visualise the value to them, be it in it's either the cheapest or it's a better brand at an appropriate price."
Nick Cole: “For us it's very much about personalisation and more targeted POS, so, for example, we're working with one of our large customers at the moment on geographical POS, so there'd be different dynamics in different parts of the country and there'll be different POS for different parts of the country that we targeted at the consumers that live and work in those parts of the country. So the reality is we're using data, we're using more considered thinking, we're printing in a much more personalised and bespoke manner, but still managing the campaign as a whole."
David Walker: “There’s no one point of sale now, I think. When, when we look at research - purchase journeys, technology is where I work, purchase journey and technology. There isn’t the store, it's not doing the traditional store role now. The store is part of a journey. There’s a journey that starts maybe with your friends and family, that starts then with an Internet search, that starts then with a You Tube review, and starting to whittle back down. The store, the actual physical point of sale, may be the very end point in a journey and actually all it is is confirmation of a decision that I’ve already made, weeks ago.
I think there’s still a role for the sales person and the point of sale material to do that, but it’s got to convince me, it’s got to be quite a convincing argument. You’ve got to change my mind, rather than guide me. I’ve made an idea. This is the kind of thing I’m looking for, I’ve got two or three options on the table. You know, to really divert me, you’ve probably got to catch me earlier on in the journey."
David Walker: “It’s changing the way brands communicate with consumers now and I think, because the Internet gives you access to all of this information, the FMCG brands have been more open. I don’t think there’s anything like an impulse purchase anymore. Is there really an impulse purchase? You may feel it’s an impulse but you’ve actually probably done quite a bit of work in understanding a brand, the product, the make-up of that product, the ethical nature of that product, the ingredients behind it. So, people are going deeper into things that might have just been very simple purchases before."
John Halpin: “The real paradox for me are the interesting elements of that, how you link that into a business. And I don’t think no-one’s quite worked that one out in terms of social media conversations, it’s basically people speaking to each other about anything, you know. So where does the big blue business come into that? Where does some brand advocacy come into that? What you might see people twittering, oh, I like Tesco Bank because this product’s great, it’s quite interesting. But linking that into, does that mean they’re an advocate, they’re loyal, can we sell them something else? How can we use that piece of information? I don’t quite know. And you don’t see a lot of advertising at all within the social media space because it’s peoples’ downtime. They’re not really in work, it’s that kind of thing. So I think a lot of organisations, they understand that it’s interesting, big data again, having this information, the linking it, using it. You can see some trends in there. You have to be on the ball as well because they can spiral, in terms of a viral, completely snowball, if someone doesn’t like you and they tell a lot of other people they don’t like you. There’s going to be a lot of text coming in to say there’s thousands of people that have read that message. But how do you use that in terms of sort of selling stuff or in terms of trade? And I think it’s quite difficult. It just might be sort of a monitoring exercise and try your best to interact with those customers."
John Halpin: “You can spend a lot of time structuring the data. A lot of people aren’t really interested in that in organisations. It’s very technical. It’s very IT focused. You know lots of phrases and acronyms or words people don’t understand. But where you can bring people with you in terms of my roles I have to do that, bring people with you, is you turn that into insight. Now, insight could just be a pen portrait, a visualisation of the customer. And it could be as straightforward as, do you know who your customers are, Mr Guy who looks after savings products? And they might say, “Yeah, are people aged 50, they’ve got about 10 grand in their savings account”. They may be C1s, the majority live in the south of England. Great, and you could say, “Well factually, that’s not really right. The average is 35, they’ve only got £5,000 in them. You’ve got a higher propensity in Scotland than England, you know, you’ve got this little hotspot in South Wales” that kind of thing. They seem to be more loyal in Birmingham than Aberdeen. And you could drive things. And what I tend to find with specialist and commercial areas and product areas, they will know a lot of this stuff . But there’s always an element they don’t know. So you bring that data to life. A pen portrait is just a phrase, it could be a one page piece of information of what your customer actually physically looks like. You bring it to life. And once you get that engagement with colleagues in the organisation, that’s the first step for me. That’s one of potentially 20 things you could roll out and do and move that down, so you bring that to life. And when you start, again, what I say, you start dealing in fact. It’s not theory. It’s not based on theory. I think people are aged 50 in my database, well actually here’s what they are. So you start dealing in fact and that’s very powerful."
GRAEME CODRINGTON: "Retail stores of the future are only going to need one item of each of the products they sell because people still want to go and feel and smell and touch and maybe even try on various objects. But you don’t need to have a whole warehouse and a whole storage facility because people will do that, make the purchase and then obviously have it home delivered. This happening all the time, I see it with the younger generation where they go into a store, they’re browsing but while they’re browsing they’ve got their smartphone and they’re double-checking comparative prices. They might even be ordering from Amazon while they’re standing in your store. They are certainly checking quality and they are bypassing your entire sales mechanism as a retail store because they just take a photograph of the barcode and download all the information from the International Barcode Registry. And so they don’t need to speak to your salesperson. In addition, they’re looking at online reviews and looking at 100 other peoples’ opinions on the product in their store. And that’s while they’re standing in your store. So even if you can get people into your retail environment you have no guarantee that they’ll buy from you or in any way be loyal to you. And just those two thoughts, online we’ve known for a long time is going to threaten the retail store itself. But what people actually do while they’re physically in your store is dramatically changing with smartphones now. And retailers are going to have to get their heads around it. They’re going to have to give people a new reason for coming to the store, that reason is not about buying your products, it has to be something else. You have to be giving them an experience and engagement and interaction, something more than just a purchasing opportunity."
AMANDA LING: "Once we've recruited the right customer it's critical that we keep those customers. The costs of acquiring a new customer are much higher than those of marketing to an existing customer. So we help our clients to implement retention strategies that analyse customer behaviour and implement campaigns that send relevant and timely communications to keep that customer engaged.
We help our clients to grow their customers, so we will analyse the customer engagement data and help them to identify the best products to sell to those consumers at the right time or the right product or sequence of products. Customers have an expectation when they share their data with brands that they trust that those brands will use that data to market to them appropriately, so with the right products, things they're interested about and at the right time. And we help our clients to do that and to optimise the customer engagement process."