A marketing blog about improving the consumer experience, even in flooring. To get there, it is critical to understand who that consumer is, what matters to him/her in a retail experience, and where to look for inspiration. And, by the way, more often than not, this consumer is a woman!
I first learned about Bibliotheek Almere in the August 2010 issue of DDI Magazine. Finally, I thought, a public space that not only recreates the Barnes & Noble vibe, but goes beyond it to create a shoppable public environment where I could see myself spending considerable time!
The DDI article, titled "A shoppable library. A retail approach puts the customer at the forefront of this Dutch public library", highlights the following:
Books are presented to customers with covers displayed rather than the traditional book spine in bookshelves format.
The library space is designed for lingering in and offers a "meandering landscape" where seating, lighting, information terminals and workspaces have been integrated into bookshelves.
Imagine five levels ranging from bookshelves, Internet areas, a read cafe, study areas and a multimedia area that is so dynamic that monitors project games as they happen and animate the building's exterior facade.
Books are arranged not by Dewey Decimal System, but rather by topics relevant to 'customers' and more similar to shops than to traditional libraries.
A curvilinear layout means an engaging adventure of discovery that draws visitors in.
Time spent with Paco Underhill is grounding. He reminds you of what matters in the retail experience and does so based on extensive observation. This most recent meeting took place in NYC in March 2010 as he discussed with Rich Relevance "Respect the Shopper. Harmonizing the Cross-Channel Experience." [White paper available for download via this link.]
In this meeting, Paco noted three levels of consumer convergence:
1. Mobile phones and the online world create a multi-channel world for consumers.
2.The economic crisis has acted as an accelerant for customers who are scrabbling to use technology tools to get more out of the money they have available, especially since the fixed costs in our lives - housing and healthcare - are out of our control and continue to increase.
3. Customers see one brand regardless of whether they seek us online or offline. This means that we must be consistent and unified regarless of the medium.
Paco Underhill brought up additional retail experience issues.
We live in a world designed by men, but intended for women.
We face intense time poverty and look for efficiencies online.
What is global vs. local? What drives customers globally to a brand? Is it online or is it brick-and-mortar?
Given that customers see one brand regardless of the medium through which they interact with retail, it's really important to consistently spend time walking in their shoes offline and online. At the same time, it helps to actively listen to customers - offline and in-store - to understand their world and how they use mobile and digital tools to interact with us.
Ideally, as we do this, we are keeping track of the information in some manner that tracks the range of options that customers have for interacting with us... and integrates - or harmonizes - all of those conversations. Check out Time to Harmonize Your Cross-Channel Customer Experience for added perspective.
What's your take on this matter? How do you address these customer retail experience issues in your business? How do you track these conversations across different media?
It's a fascinating glimpse into how eleven retailers - more specifically, Best Buy, Amazon, Zappos, Dell, Nordstrom, Threadless, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Burberry, Walmart and Loblaw - have not only "embraced ratings and reviews as a proven (online) moneymaker, but ... have taken social applications and outreach further" per Empowered's Josh Bernoff.
I wasn't surprised to see most of the retailers listed. I was curious, though, to see how each promoted its social media activity on its website.
Several retailer websites share a similar format - with social media presence listed via a link in a footer reference section sometimes above the fold - see Nordstrom, Best Buy, Dell - but also below the fold - see Zappos, Walmart and Threadless.
Starbucks prominently features its social media presence, including its last 3 blogposts, on its home page, as you can see from the screen shot above - the only one from this list to do so.
Nordstrom "Connect With Us"
Threadless displays its Facebook icon at the top of the page [it now uses Facebook for customer service] as well as in a footer below the fold with Twitter and RSS feeds. A link to its blog is listed under "Info".
Burberry offers no sign of its very engaging flash-based Art of the Trench on its website [Note that music plays on both sites.] You'll enjoy spending time there exploring, learning all about the trench and sharing it all with your Facebook friends.
I was surprised to discover that Nordstrom has so many Twitter and Facebook accounts and delighted to notice YouTube videos. To reach this page, you need to click on a cryptic 'connect with us' on the home page. I found no mention of the "popular blog 'threads' referred to in the Trendspotting post, although I did come across a broken RSS feed. Perhaps the missing blog? See Nordstrom: Connect With Us.
Walmart's social media icons all connect to a page "Values, Tips & Tidbits" listing several Twitter, Facebook and RSS options focused on saving. I was surprised, though, not to see the elevenmoms.com site featured anywhere on the Walmart site despite being an official Walmart Moms' site.
Amazon and Loblaw are included in the list because of their ratings and reviews.
I applaud what these 11 retailers are doing right with social media.
At the same time, I'd love to understand why all retailers - especially those doing social media right - don't visibly flaunt their social media presence. Don't you like what Starbucks does?
Welcome back from the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.
Here follows the November 2010 update from Simple Marketing Now with posts categorized into Social Media Marketing Resources andSimple Marketing News.
[If you are new to Flooring The Consumer, I also write theSimple Marketing Blogwhere I discuss marketing strategy and creative, practical, simple marketing approaches and share best practices - many of which may be relevant to you and your business as you consider what's possible. The blog also acts as newsroom forSimple Marketing Now.]