It’s the 2006 Holidays, and Canadian retailers still keep their stores and website at arms length from each other. Each side is guilty of hording their data, offering promos that only work with the Line of Business (LOB), and generally pretending the other doesn’t exist. It’s time to stop this trend and have the two realms work together not against each other.
Let me give you an example of what’s wrong with today’s world of bricks and clicks. You go into your local store, and remember that you had added to your wishlist this fab item on the store’s website but can’t remember what it is. “Hey” you think to yourself, “I’ll just go to a kiosk and look it up”. Fat chance. Unless you registered for a wedding, there is no such machine. So you give up that quest. Strike One.
Perusing the store, you find a couple of items you are interested in, but it’s over your budget. So you decide to purchase two of them and put the rest back on the shelf. However, you don’t want to forget what they were. After all, you did just spend half an hour finding them. You look for that great machine, where you could scan you loyalty card, and scan the items to your online wishlist. Not to upset you, as it is so close to the holidays and all, but this machine doesn’t exist, so you and the retailer miss out. Strike Two.
So you head to the cash, give them your loyalty card, and purchase your items happily. Woot, stuff for me! Later that night, you login to the store’s website, and realize that the items you bought today aren’t in your profile. All those “fancy” recommendation engines and web 2.0 tools designed to assist you are misfiring. It’s recommending books that you just bought at the store, which is Strike Three.
It’s time for retail stores to stop thinking of their websites as other LOB’s, get serious and link the two worlds together. Consider the amount of consumer/market research that these retailers are missing out on, and the ability to strengthen their customer relationships. Pause for a second, and really think about it. It’s time to act.