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Why Web-to-store is the lethal weapon against Pure Players!

WHY WEB-TO-STORE IS THE LETHAL WEAPEN AGAINST PURE PLAYERS!

 

by Christophe Kühner, VP Field Marketing and Communication for Generix Group

 

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In order to bring together physical store and virtual store, many brands have chosen the web-to-store solution: this involves engaging the customer via Internet, upstream of the purchasing process, then leading them to finalize their purchase at a point of sale. Others, however, are reluctant to make the step. Due to lack of conviction or discouragement in light of the complexity of efforts required: upgrading existing organizations and tools with no knowledge of where to start and adopting a new customer-centric rather than product-centric paradigm. By refusing the web-to-store option, however, these brands are (unknowingly) denying themselves a powerful lever capable of prolonging their life expectancy on a market that is bearing the full brunt of technological upheavals. Why is it not over the top to speak of increasing life expectancy? For the following three reasons:

FIRSTLY, WEB-TO-STORE RESONATES WITH CONNECTED CONSUMERS

These consumers have created a hybrid purchasing path. Internet to gather information (53%), to make a choice (60%) and to issue post-transaction reviews (60%). The point of sale to make the purchase (60%). Moreover, according to a recent study conducted by Mappy and BVA, the store represents the focus of reassurance (65%) and of immediacy (65%).

By merging Internet and point of sale, the web-to-store paradigm thus adapts to this new circuit and (finally) meets four fundamental consumer needs to which each channel, when taken individually, is unable to provide satisfactory solutions. Noteworthy:

 

FINALLY, WEB-TO-STORE BOOSTS THE COMPANY’S TURNOVER.

According to Fevad, 26% of individuals who reserved an item online before collecting it from the store, made additional purchases. For what reasons?

Firstly, the customer’s arrival at the point of sale does not simply represent the moment when they come to collect their online purchase, but rather and more importantly, the moment when the vendor can make full use of their expertise and advisory role to encourage additional sales. The relevance of this expertise and advice can be further refined by identifying the consumer’s profile following their engagement on the brand’s website.  In this configuration, two types of sales strategy emerge: cross-selling and upselling.

Cross-selling is a supplemental sale to the purchased product. This supplemental sale may be to guarantee product use (e.g.: batteries for electronic products), to improve its use (e.g.: soles with shape memory to improve the comfort of a pair of shoes), or to anticipate future needs (e.g.: extended warranty).

Upselling on the other hand, consists in convincing the buyer of the need to purchase a superior product to the one initially identified. As this is an upgrade, no product escapes the upselling technique: from luxury cars to acrylic shirts, via smartphones. This technique is however particularly well-suited to web-to-store practices during which the sale is finalized in the store. I.e. by appointment or e-reservation.

Secondly, web-to-store creates a new relationship between the customer and the brand. The customer is won over by multiplying the points of contact with the brand during a single purchasing path: the website followed by the physical store. Moreover, thanks to their engagement on the brand’s website, the customer is identified upon arrival at the store and no longer upon leaving. This early identification, coupled with the knowledge of their purchase history, will allow a tailored reception to be implemented.

 

FINALLY, WEB-TO-STORE CONSTITUTES A SIZEABLE BARRIER AGAINST THE ASSAULTS OF THE PURE PLAYERS.

Taken separately, one would be mistaken to think that retail websites and physical points of sale are able to resist the Pure Players. The fate of companies such as Pixmania is sufficient evidence of this.

When combined however, these two channels are able to annihilate the inclinations of Pure Players as they exceed their limits. Currently, these Pure Players offer a virtually unlimited choice of products available at any time of day or night. They are incapable, however, of offering reassurance or immediacy. Contrary to the alliance of brand physical store and website, that are able to guarantee testing of the reserved product at the point of sale, support in the purchase of the product identified online, or urgent purchases.

Clearly, web-to-store increases the life expectancy of those brands willing to implement it. By promoting the convergence of their point of sale and website, these latter are now in a position to jump on the digital bandwagon, to boost their turnover and to withstand unscrupulous competition. Hence the need to look into this option by including this type of purchasing path in their sales strategy, in which the store would be the focal point.

 

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