Last week, we attended the Drapers Digital Festival 2019, at which speakers both from retail and supplier backgrounds came together to speak about the challenges being faced and how the digital world can help everyone to navigate the increasingly stormy seas that those who work within the retail sector are currently facing.
Digital: the Key to Survival
John Allen, Chief Executive Officer at Nobody’s Child (a sustainable women’s fashion brand), explained his attitude towards management. He said that, for him, the best way is to admit: “You know nothing”. Start from there and then build up to develop a hypothesis to be proved right or wrong. He explained that this was crucial for facing a digital world, where one can never assume to know something, but that it’s vital for retailers to question what they’re doing and to look at ways to improve their systems.
From here, he stated: “Everybody’s having a tough time. But global stress is not going to go away. Digital is going to help you survive that. Digital business is all about surviving… The real global growth is in Asia, South America and Africa, and the global reason for being digital is survival. It needs to get to the point where it is everything you do.”
Providing a Coherent Customer Experience
However the customer interacts with the brand, the experience must be the same. Such was the message from Roger Graelle Sole, E-Commerce Director and Executive Committee Member at Mango. Mango operate with the mantra: ‘One client, one stock, one brand’. Following this gives a clear path as everything they do must be aligned to this vision.
For them, the customer experience must be similar amongst all channels. Whether that is through mobile and desktop integrations, or buying online and picking up in-store, at Mango, stock is available to all customers, all over the world.
With their ‘one brand’ concept, they want to build an emotional connection with the customer, through fashion talks in the store and with the customisation of product. However, Roger explained that they want technology to add value to the customer and warned that retailers must keep trying to see what works for their own customers.
So, how to find that out? Using data to create unique customer experiences, collecting and connecting data across all points of contact and utilising chatbot innovation to help develop sales and increase conversion rates. These methods have all had an impact at Mango.
As Roger stated, digital is “not a switch of channels, it’s a new customer journey”.
With so many different ways of communicating with customers, how do retailers stand out from the crowd with authentic brand messages that reflect values across each and every touchpoint?
Stephanie Bamsey, Head of Global Marketing for Dorothy Perkins and Burton, and Daniel Lawrence, Head of Localisation Solutions, Translate Media joined together for a panel discussion to explain their views.
Stephanie explained that for both Dorothy Perkins and Burton, her team had written statements that clearly defined who their customers are, how they want to interact and how their customers should feel.
Stephanie said: “We want them (our customers) all to look and feel amazing. Why would you dress someone just to look average? We don’t profess to be anything other than mid-market, but we want them to feel empowered. A lot of our customers are mothers, so we need that shopping journey to be super easy and the belonging to a brand gives you that longevity and brand value.”
She continued that, along with a clear definition, this must help to lead the communications. She said: “The brand must be consistent, not just from a branding perspective, but for messaging. Because our customer is shopping everywhere, the messaging must be consistent; for example, if there’s a campaign running, make sure that the hashtag is across every single touch point, so that it’s on every POS, window decal, across social channels, etc.”
She added that this consistency could be seen across website imagery, imagery used across social channels, the type of messaging used in videos, the tone of the writing.
Daniel concluded: “Your brand is not how you see yourself, it’s how others see you.”