I’m not going to sit here and tell you that all traditional retailing (branding and logistics) is dead. However, the internet - particularly the social media and mobile boom - is changing all the rules. To quote Outside In, the new book by Forrester's Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning, “Whether we know it or not, we are all in the Customer Experience business!”
Now, you may be asking, "Ken, what exactly is customer experience?" Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company. And, I guess, what I’m really trying to say here is that ”I was able to get it done” is no longer good enough. In order to truly deliver high-quality user experiences we need to make everything as easy as possible and, ultimately, make our customers excited about their interactions with us.
Look at the state of e-commerce (Slide 5, below), for example; it's on fire! Not only is it becoming a larger share of overall commerce, but year-over-year growth for Q2 - and this data is pretty consistent from Comscore or US Dept of Commerce - is up 15%. And online is growing at 4x the rate of offline. Many of us here will probably have significantly better online business results this holiday season compared to last.
Tablets and smartphones now account for 9% of e-commerce dollars. But there’s more to it than that… And why is there more to it? Because our world is now truly a multi-screen world. A couple weeks back I read this Advertising Age piece called Is your brand ready for Generation-SCREEN. The post explained that young children, say 5-years-old and younger, will never know a world without screens. It made me laugh for 2 reasons: First, it’s not Gen-Screen, but Gen-SCREENS. And, secondly, it’s not just the kids.
If you saw my house on any given evening you'd see for yourself what a multi-screen world it is; the TV is on in the background while the Mrs. is reading email and texting on her iPhone while playing Words with Friends on her laptop, and my oldest teen daughter is on the couch doing homework on her laptop while texting and Facebooking on her iPhone.
A few days after I read the Ad Age piece, I came across this fantastic research from Google on The New Multi-Screen World. But my point here is that, as retailers, we have to learn to interact, with continuity, in this new multi-screen world in a way that both delights and excites our customers.