Retail Trends at NRF 2012: Will a Mobile App Mean No Tip?

Uploaded by BobPhibbs on 26.01.2012

bjbj O\/\ This interview features Ben Sprecher from Incentive Targeting and Bob Phibbs, the
Retail Doctor discussing how technology can be raising the bar for customer service to
unattainable heights, in particular the buy online, pickup in-store movement. Bob: A customer
who can click on their phone now to basically say, "Yes, I want my usual order in five minutes."
Have we have suddenly, because of technology, set the expectation way higher than it's ever
been; the chance to fall flat on your face is bigger than it probably ever has been.
And the one thing that I'm hearing when people do the Best Buy or the Sears order online
and pick up in-store is that they still have to get in queue with everybody else in line.
It seems to be a huge issue. What do you think? Ben: There are no isolated silver bullets
in retail. Right? It's all about getting the right collection of solutions together, and
the collection, not just of technology solutions, but collection of people solutions, process
solutions, store format solutions, all of these things together, are what you need to
do as a retailer in order to get the most out of any one of these components. So, we
were using the example of the person approaching the coffeehouse, ordering their latte. If
you, as a retailer, provide that capability where they can pay on their phone before they
get there, they can order before they get there, and they have to wait in the same damn
line, you haven't solved any problems for that person. But if you, as a retailer, say,
"We have a new way to talk to our shopper in a very targeted, very personal way, in
a very limited and quiet way, in a way that they respect and they want," you also need
to turn around and provide the supporting infrastructure within the store to make that
a great . . . Bob: That can be a huge cost Ben: But it can be a huge opportunity. Right?
If you think about the value of being able to have that express line sitting next, the
red carpet line if you will . . . so you have the long line over here, you have the red
carpet line over there. And the people in the long line notice the people in the red
carpet line keep showing up, picking up their coffee, walking out of the door. Every single
one of those people would say, "How do I sign up for that, man?" Bob: Dude, as a coffee
guy from years and years ago, I'm telling you, you would have people livid that that
happened because not all of them are going to be on their smartphone. And what happens
on the day Janie forgets her smartphone to order it? Now she's got to be in that line.
But she's telling the barista, "But you already know me. I'm always in the express line."
I guess, that's one of the things . . . Ben: And this is where there is that transition.
Right? It's a complicated transition in that world. Bob: Yeah, but nobody's adding staff
for that. And I think - to the point of the shop online and pick up at the big boxes management
is saying, "Well, look, we already have people pick stuff up in our store anyway. Why wouldn't
they just be able to use existing employees?" Which makes sense. Wouldn't you agree? I mean,
if you were in your office, that makes a lot of sense - until you're the guy waiting for
two hours to pickup your TV. Ben: Right. It makes sense in terms of the spreadsheet of
how many staff do I need for the store. What it doesn't make sense in terms of is, how
do I make sure that particular experience that consumer has is one that not only says,
oh, I'm not just in New York across the street, but in other places in the country I ll drive
a half mile out of my way, to make sure I hit the coffee shop where I can get my coffee
instantly as I show up on my way in the door, with no problems. People will change their
behavior for really great retailers who do really great targeted customer things for
them. And the people in that long line who, the first time they see that happen get a
little bit upset, the person at the front of that register can't be like, "Oh, dude,
sorry, it's, you know, your problem." They need to be saying, "Oh, this is a great new
program we have in place. Here's what you do." Bob: That's not going to happen. I'm
just looking at the operations behind that, especially a barista who's being pay is dependent
on being tipped. So now, your best customers will be going to the express line. Talk about
coming up with an unequal system in your store. It's like the haves and the have-nots. I think
that's really dangerous, because I think retail is kind of a great democratizer. So, it becomes
that . . . and let's face it, the statistics last week out of The New York Times was that
1% of the people are driving 90% of the bandwidth in mobile. So, it's a much smaller target
than anyone's saying. I mean, if this was 90% of the people had a phone and they could
do it, great, but I don't think that's not where we are right now. Ben: The reason that
bandwidth is being consumed by a very narrow group of people is because, I think, we collectively,
we the technology industry, we the retail industry, we everyone have not provided the
really great, compelling next generation of experiences on the phone that are so easy
to use that everybody can use them. Smartphones are rolling out like crazy. Everybody is getting
them. People are forced to buy the data plan. They're spending $120 a month, anyway, but
all they're doing on that thing they're occasionally checking their email. Bob: m often just looking
at a map. Ben: Looking at a map. Yesterday there was a great session that Cognizant ran
where they were talking about building the store of tomorrow today. They pointed out
that we are at the point now where mobile web browsing, minutes per day in the United
States, has passed stationary computer web browsing, in minutes per day. Bob: But what
is that mean, though? Ben: What's happening is people are shifting where they think about
interacting with information, and they're starting to do it much more on their phone.
You're right, there's definitely a steep curve there. There are a lot of people doing a lot
and most people doing very little. Bob: I guess my thing would be balance, Ben. I want
to stay with the coffee house, because I think between that and the shop online and pick
up in store is a big deal, because what I'm hearing is that it really is an integrated
business but it's almost a different business if you're going to be doing the mobile with
the cool technology. You really have to set it up that if this is always going to be on,
then it's almost like your store has to always be on too, right? That that customer could
come in, and they have to be able to have that same always on experience, and then . . . Ben:
Or have to have the right expectations set from the very beginning. Right? If that always
on experience is available during rush hour in the morning and rush hour in the evening
and lunch, then when you go into the application not at that time, it needs to say, "I'm sorry,
you can't place your advanced order right now through this application." So it really
has to be sensitive to be aware of not just the who and not just the marketing side of
it, but the where and the when of each of these interactions with the shopper. Bob:
And I'll go to the next one, which is the operational issues that support it, because
that's the one I think that we're missing. Ben: And the operational issues to support
it. You can't have a disconnect. Bob: People are raving about it like, "What a horrible
experience." I'm, like, "Really? You had to wait a half hour." "But I ordered online."
Right? So . . . Ben: Right. It's mis-set their expectations. They're setting the wrong expectations
and not executing on it. Bob: And even if a brand set that expectation, though, do you
think a customer would listen to it? Because we customers are an impatient group. I'm talking
over you right now. Ben: If it set all the way to the very front of the experience. One
of the greatest experiences I had was with the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts.
Now, I don't think anybody has ever said those phrases together before. Bob: No. I don't
think so. Any of you out there? No. Ben: When I had to do my most recent driver's license
renewal, I went and checked. I could look at each one of their locations and find the
current wait time at each one of those RMVs online. I was able to change the one I was
deciding to go to. That's incredible. I knew that I was heading for a half hour wait, but
I knew that I wasn't heading for the hour and a half wait. Right? And so was I happy
with that half hour wait? Damn straight. Bob: The expectation was set. Ben: Because the
expectation was there right from the beginning. Bob: That might also be interesting if you
were doing the application, we're staying with the coffee house idea, that maybe it
would say, "And there are six people in line right now." That would be cool. Ben: A little
camera there. You could see what's going on in the coffee shop right now. Bob: All right.
So, I think we've solved the world's problems here with this. But anything else? Final thoughts
come to mind about setting the customer expectation high or low and . . . Ben: At the end of the
day, it's all about respecting the customer, about talking to the customer in a way that
values the incredible intimacy of this channel of talking to them, and that is targeted to
who they are, to what they buy, to where they are, to when they are. When you start thinking
about saying less and saying the right things instead of saying more to everybody and the
wrong things, those are the retailers that are going to win. The retailers that are going
to lose are the ones who treat this like printing in the newspaper, like broadcasting on TV.
Bob: And that's the stuff that could spook them, right? That's the stuff that could spook
customers, like, wait this isn't any different. You're just vomiting on me with your same
stuff. Ben: It does not take very long to totally ruin a relationship, right? But it
takes a very long time to build a good one. Bob: Excellent. Good place for us to stop.
Thanks for joining us here today at National Retail Federation's Big Show 2012. h-4/ [Content_Types].xml
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