The war between bricks&mortar and online is over
“The future of retail is cross-channel selling”, said Pixmania co-founder and Vice-President Jean-Emile Rosenblum at the Global E-Commerce Summit in Barcelona during his presentation on e-commerce trends this morning. While online retailers are opening ever more high street outlets and shops are launching websites, the particular sales channel is becoming less important than buying flexibility.
The customer is better informed and increasingly mature
This flexibility is a core demand of the savvy customer, who is increasingly connected, more mature and better informed than ever before. This is reflected in the fact that multi-channel companies have shown the fastest growth over the past three years. Rosenblum anticipates that the ratio of 15 percent online sales to 85 percent offline sales will remain constant in the cross-channel retail era, which he considers the dominant trend of the future.
Multi-channel does not equal cross- channel
However, multi-channel does not simply equal cross-channel, says Rosenblum. Real cross-channel commerce is defined by generating additional revenues, retaining and engaging customers and developing brand awareness. In its 20 international outlets, Pixmania to this end offers click&collect, click&reserve, in-store product returns and real time price changes. “The interaction between online and offline in very interesting,” says Rosenblum, then remarking: “We are the 2012 version of the British Argos”.
The customer as the driving sales force
Rosenblum also believes in the power of customer engagement. “The customer is increasingly social. He should be the driving force behind your sales.” An interesting example he cites is that of the Chinese company VANCL, which lets customers create online shops with their own photos, offering them 10% of the sales value generated via their sites. “This is how we should evolve, from listing websites towards proactively engaging the customers.”