Succeeding in the world of digital retail — Three lessons from Boden

by Vijayanta Gupta

Posted on 08-31-2018

It must be dif­fi­cult for retail­ers not to take the ostrich’s approach and block out the con­stant doom and gloom head­lines about their industry.

With each day comes a new pre­dic­tion on retail trends — from the death of the high street and the end of in-store shop­ping. In real­i­ty though, we are far from any form of retail apoc­a­lypse.

What we are see­ing is an indus­try adapt­ing and evolv­ing to chang­ing con­sumer habits, as it has always done. The big dif­fer­ence today is that cus­tomers don’t feel the same sense of urgency to buy when they vis­it a brand’s web­site or its store.

They have too many choic­es at their fin­ger­tips for that. The men­tal­i­ty for brands there­fore needs to change from “Sell! Sell! Sell!” to ensur­ing they stay front of mind for cus­tomers when they final­ly do decide to buy.

This comes down to hav­ing a deep­er under­stand­ing of cus­tomers, and the abil­i­ty to offer them engag­ing retail expe­ri­ences in-store, online, and every­where in between.

Phil Lewis, Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Expe­ri­ence at Boden, the British retail­er, spoke at Adobe Sum­mit EMEA this year about how the com­pa­ny has adapt­ed to a dig­i­tal audience.

“Our focus on expe­ri­ence isn’t lim­it­ed to the exter­nal cus­tomer,” he said, adding, “We believe the expe­ri­ence needs to be just as pos­i­tive inter­nal­ly… The right envi­ron­ment for inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty is vital if we are going to pro­vide pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences to the end consumer.”

Accord­ing to Lewis, there are three keys to deliv­er­ing what he calls “flag­ship” dig­i­tal experiences:

#1 Go back to basics and under­stand your cus­tomers inti­mate­ly

A bricks-and-mor­tar envi­ron­ment offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty for sen­so­ry explo­ration and direct con­ver­sa­tions with cus­tomers, but dig­i­tal rela­tion­ships involve mul­ti­ple degrees of sep­a­ra­tion between sell­er and buyer.

Dig­i­tal retail­ers need to put them­selves in each customer’s shoes and under­stand their jour­ney to offer them a rel­e­vant and stim­u­lat­ing experience.

#2 Enhance your mer­chan­dis­ing capabilities

The bat­tle for suc­cess occurs at the top of the sales fun­nel. Brands should focus their ener­gy here, where it will have the biggest impact, by dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing them­selves with unique experiences.

To dri­ve aware­ness, com­pa­nies need to move away from just design­ing con­tent for spe­cif­ic pages or plat­forms to design­ing con­tent for indi­vid­ual cus­tomers. This way, they shine a clear spot­light on their mer­chan­dise and why it’s rel­e­vant to their audience.

#3 Pro­mote a more agile culture

Brands need to make the shift quick­ly, but that doesn’t mean they need to get it 100% right straight away. Per­son­al­i­sa­tion is an evo­lu­tion that requires con­stant exper­i­ment­ing and refine­ment. It’s not always to embrace this way of work­ing, but the val­ue of stay­ing on top of cus­tomer expec­ta­tions can’t be overstated.

Guid­ance is key. For Boden, this meant coach­ing both its lead­er­ship team and mar­keters on the ground to work in a more agile way. The com­pa­ny also cre­at­ed cross-func­tion­al teams to spread this cul­ture through the organ­i­sa­tion, start­ing small and then build­ing momentum.

If you’re at DMEXCO this year, drop by our stand (Hall 6 / A011 – B016), to learn about the lat­est tech­nolo­gies from Adobe and how they’re fuelling dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tions for some of the world’s most respect­ed brands.

Read more about Boden’s dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion here and find out how Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ag­er helps mar­keters and IT teams take advan­tage of their data to cre­ate amaz­ing dig­i­tal experiences.

Topics: Digital Transformation, disruption retail, market disruption, new retail ecosystem, retail apocalypse, retail customer journey, retail customer service, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA