Last week, we held our 11th annual Users Group Conference in Chicago and welcomed nearly 150 retailers, executives, financial, and industry analysts to explore the topic of “Transforming Data into Action.” Representing more than 32 states and three continents, attendees had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders and learn how to enhance the shopping experience. Below, we highlight key insights that leaders from Harley-Davidson, shopkick, comScore, and Target shared with the crowd.
Former Director of Communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Ken Schmidt, opened the conference on Thursday morning by explaining how the company transformed its business.
According to Schmidt, a customer who simply purchases a product, makes no connection with in-store salespeople and experiences no delight in making the purchase, is a customer who will not relay their experience, nor return to the store. Today, a quality product doesn’t ensure that retailers will have a successful company because competitors produce quality products, too.
Retailers need to focus on two things: creating a successful customer experience and creating a social strategy. The latter isn’t just a social media strategy; it means creating moments that can be shared with others.
Engaging the customer
Tom Gehani, director retail partnerships at shopkick, addressed ways to engage the customer. Gehani noted that mobile is the “new addiction,” for 58% of millennials say that they would rather give up their TV or car before they’d give up their smartphones. With roughly 95% of retail transactions occurring in brick-and-mortar stores, the in-store experience is as important as ever; mobile merely plays an increasing role within the path-to-purchase.
According to Gehani, shoppers are looking for a reason to buy while they are in the store—84% percent use their phones in-store to compare products and pricing. Additionally, mobile allows retailers to connect with consumers at home, drive them to the store and, ultimately, influence their in-store purchases.
Smartphones mean more in-store purchases
Gian Fulgoni, co-founder of comScore, discussed trends in the retail industry and the effect of the Internet on both brands and consumers, noting that mobile devices are accelerating the shift from online to in-store buying. In fact, of the 250 million users online each month, 229 million will visit a retailer’s website and 89 million will comparison shop online.
Stephanie Farsht, Sr. Group Manager, Innovation & Strategy, Target Corporation, spoke about her experience leveraging the latest technologies to drive new business. According to Farsht, customers are willing to walk out of your store for a competitive discount that is as little as 2.5 % elsewhere. Retailers can no longer assume that having a customer in the store is enough to keep them and get them to buy.
We want to thank all of our attendees, participants, and our sponsor, Nespresso, for a great event and hope to see you all next year!