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3rd June, 2016

The Ex Files: The truth was in here

70 leading retailers were drawn to the BT Tower recently in search of the truth about UFOs – those unfortunately frequent occurrences that make life difficult for retailers. A mix of non-believers, sceptics and believers were given a glimpse of the possible, as BT’s very own Mully and Sculder (Tanya Bowen and Mark Denton) lifted the lid on the Ex Files.

The research predicted that by 2020, 53% of retail sales would be online or digitally influenced.

Forrester Omnichannel research

The event kicked off by delving into the gap between truth and reality in the current retail technology sphere as Mark insisted he wanted to believe in: “a seamless personalised customer experience, with complete stock visibility, quickly accessed from integrated systems.” But He couldn’t when he had seen so many UFOs – Unexpectedly Frightened Off customers, Unable to Fulfil Orders, Under Form Operations and Unequipped Foreign Outposts!

After hearing the rumours, we looked at the evidence. Michelle Beeson of analysts Forrester shared some stats and insight from recent omnichannel research to show how competitive advantage in the age of the consumer was all about gaining a better understanding of the customer – across a myriad of touchpoints.

The research predicted that by 2020, 53% of retail sales would be online or digitally influenced. To get ready for that retailers need to be breaking down the historical divisions between digital and store and getting one view of inventory and orders.

A quantum leap? Maybe not. Following Michelle were two retailers who have already made the jump to light speed.

Josh Towb of Jigsaw described the recent commerce platform upgrade project that has seen the retailer move up to FCP6 in an attempt to become more responsive and support international expansion, while improving the customer experience.

The project has achieved all of this and the results – including a mobile conversion rate increase of 50% since the move to FCP6 – will convince even the most ardent sceptics.

In the same way, Meriel Neighbour of Hobbs revealed the results of a recent search to make better contact and gain a better understanding of the fashion retailer’s customers. In a major overhaul, Hobbs has replaced its point of sale systems, introduced tablets to all stores, brought in mobile payments in the top 25 stores and launched a single customer view (SCV) initiative.

With a new clienteling tool being used in store, associates can capture preferences for every customer and provide the level of personalised service that empowered consumers now demand. Again, the benefits have been clear – with reduced CRM running costs and a 3% increase in store revenue already recorded. And this is just the beginning for Hobbs, with plans underway for clienteling and new solus stores in the US.

At the end of the session everyone beamed up to the 34th floor of BT Tower to get a different perspective on London – and a look at some of the advanced technology currently being developed in secret BT labs in Area 51. Or West Bromwich, as it’s known locally.

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