In my recent blog, Omnichannel is BS? I Disagree, I talked about people being frustrated with overuse of the term omnichannel. The only thing more frustrating is the lack of retailers and brands achieving an omnichannel strategy.
Samsung was one of the brands challenged with how to achieve their customer-centric experience and was facing a number of problems.
- Wide product range. Samsung has an incredibly wide range of products, and as they continue to introduce more high-end items such as the Gear line, it was becoming increasingly difficult for their retail partners to carry the entire product line.
- Reliance on retail partners. Third-party retailers simply could not adequately represent their brand story. If you went to Samsung 837 in New York to experience the brand and try the latest gadgets, and then went to a wireless reseller carrying multiple product lines and devices, it was nearly impossible for the Samsung brand to have the same representation.
- Broken customer journey. Samsung customers were also experiencing a very broken journey. If they were on Samsung’s website researching the various Gear products but then went in store, they often didn’t get the same information and certainly couldn’t try out or purchase that product from the retail partners.
On the flip side of the equation, the retail partners working with Samsung also faced many challenges.
- Limited peg space. Their retail partners don’t have a lot of square footage and have very limited shelf and peg space that needs to be split between different product lines and brands. They’re also mandated heavily by carriers on the ability to re-arrange their small footprints.
- High inventory cost. When you’re considering carrying higher-end items like the Samsung Gear line, there is also a very high inventory cost. Especially when it comes to the products that Samsung wanted to push such as the Gear VR and 360 cameras. Often these retailers don’t have that cash flow, and it can be tough to manage inventory levels.
- Rapid technology changes. Samsung technology is changing rapidly, which can create dead stock. No retailer wants to be stuck with a huge amount of inventory, and suddenly the next version of that product is coming out. While RMA’ing the product can sometimes be an option, it’s still a hassle and can result in an overall loss for the retailer.
- Complex product specifications. Samsung products have in-depth product information and a high number of specs. Retailers, especially in the wireless space, have an enormous amount of carrier knowledge, rate plans, and overall phone and accessory knowledge they need to be on top of. To expect sales reps to be educated on everything is unrealistic.
For Samsung, omnichannel is about the connection between digital and physical retail and providing their customers with a seamless connection through all touchpoints of the shopping experience. They wanted to be consistent throughout the journey and ultimately create a single transaction for customers.
“It’s a very interesting consumer journey today. It can start online. It can start in-store. It can go back and forth. We really went into this wanting to, ultimately, create a single transaction for consumers.”
– Andrea Lorenzo, Director of Omnichannel Marketing, Samsung
The solution we implemented for them was Samsung-branded endless aisle kiosks which allow them to offer their full product line to customers, whether they are in a Samsung store or third-party provider. As technology changes, they can rapidly update items through a web portal and push that information to all retailers’ Endless Aisle screens. Retailers still transact through their own POS, so their bottom line increases and sales reps can make more commission. Products are then shipped directly to the customer through integration with the fulfillment supplier.
The benefits for Samsung:
- Retail partners can represent the brand. Endless Aisle provides consumers with a compelling extension of the Samsung brand story and the ability to continue to inform and engage with high-end products.
- Extend entire product line in store. While Samsung was initially limited to very few pegs (and even those pegs were dedicated to the lower price point items such as earbuds), they are now able to offer their entire product line and focus further on their high-consideration, higher price point items.
- Consistent experience online and in-store. Whether customers start online, in-store, or go back and forth, they are getting consistent branding, messaging, product specs, and pricing information.
The benefits for their retail partners:
- Empower sales staff. Sales reps are now kept current on detailed product info, increasing their opportunities to engage customers, and ultimately, sell more. They can engage with Endless Aisle hip-to-hip with customers, review specifications, and compare products.
- Say “yes” to every customer. They can make sure their customers get any item they come in for whether it’s hanging on the shelves or not. And they avoid ever having to send their customer away to online or other competitors.
- One single transaction point. With the integration, customers are able to purchase any physical and virtual product all on one invoice.
- Increase the bottom line. Likely the most appealing to the retail partners is the ability to increase their bottom line with no additional investment required from their standpoint.
So how has it been going so far? We can’t divulge exact numbers, but so far, Samsung has seen a spike in brand awareness and brand share despite some challenges the company faced this past year. Because the Gear line was previously unavailable in stores, there has been a 100% overall increase in Samsung Gear sales. Accessory sales are up year-over-year, especially when looking at sales during Samsung Galaxy phone launch periods.