HomeNEWSLetting customers shop however they choose

Letting customers shop however they choose

Retailers’ advances in digital marketing were prominently featured at the TNS Connected Life conference on Friday. The event was held at the Maritime Room in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour by TNS, a global market research company. The Warehouse Group’s Craig Jordan was the first major retail speaker.

TNS NZ’s client director Ian Wentworth says the key to getting shoppers to spend more was to make them happy. Their mindset is key to their shopping decisions, as is the occasion they’re shopping for.

“Would you buy home-brand chocolates for your beloved mother on her birthday?”

Making products easier to find also increases spend. Wentworth pointed out that analysis of ecommerce stores is still at a disadvantage against physical stores, explaining that while physical stores have hundreds of years’ worth of expertise and optimising strategy behind them, most ecommerce outlets have been open for less than a decade.

As 24/7 shoppers emerge, organisations need to be “device agnostic” and provide a shopping experience of the same quality across every channel.

Craig Jordan, chief digital officer at The Warehouse, echoed this point in his talk. His personal image of the omnichannel shopper involves somebody clad in their pyjamas, sitting on a swiss ball at 2am with a glass of wine, itching to buy something.

“There’s no way they’d be allowed in-store like that, but now they can shop with us,” Jordan says.

The lines between ecommerce and retail no longer exist, Jordan says, and what’s more, they’re not on customers’ radars at all.

“Have you ever stood around a barbecue on a Saturday and someone says, ‘I’ve just had this amazing omnichannel experience’?”

The Warehouse Group focuses on using its technology to operate more efficiently and maintain consistency across its platforms, Jordan says. Its newest initiatives, click and collect and endless aisles, now provide opportunities for ecommerce and retail to be brought together.

Jordan says the bar is set high for retailers as customers are being conditioned to expect exceptional digital experiences through the likes of Facebook and Google.

“They want these things all the time.”

He says The Warehouse Group expected its new digital initiatives to take off more slowly than they have done, but puts their popularity down to the increasing time poverty of working New Zealanders, and to demand from rural communities.

Jordan says technological advances aren’t evenly adopted by populations, and retailers need to cater to varying levels of familiarity. He used his 70-year-old mother as an example, speaking of how she is an avid user of her iPhone but won’t make purchases with it.

Pointing out that the hot technology trends of today is, in many cases, not as new as it appears, Jordan says the innovations of tomorrow will be based on technology that already exists.

His tips for adapting to digital technology include:


  1. It’s not about online versus offline anymore, as customers just see every channel as an extension of the retailer.
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  3. Physical stores aren’t going anywhere, but their role is changing.
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  5. Refinements of innovation are going to speed up. He tips personalisation and mobile as the biggest trends: “I think we haven’t seen anything yet.”
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