I understand the desire to re-use the investment made in public websites. Why not increase it’s ROI, right? However, in this case, re-purposing your public website or eCom for in-store experience is the worst idea possible. Not only will it NOT achieve an ROI, but it will erode store value.
Consider the following 5 points:
- Perception. – Using your public website to power In-Store experience sends the message: “I could have done this at home?” Not a horrible message. However, we absolutely don’t want the customer to think this when they arealready at the store. Rather, we want them to feel good about the visit and value the In-Store experience as a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else.
- Touch / Device Experience. – Most eCom websites are NOT touch optimized for large touch screen devices (and never will be) due to primary investments focused on either traditional PCs and/or smaller mobile device screens. Retailers that attempt to reuse their public website usually end up installing mice and keyboards. Of course, this causes many other problems. One of the most costly is the marketing effort required to help the customer understand that this device is for their use versus the associate. The end result is a bad environmental design.
- In-Store Technology Integration. – In-Store experience investments open the door to many promising integration points including: IoT, Machine to Machine scenarios, Augmented Reality (AR), Audience Measurement (Gartner Reinforces these for 2015), Unique Kiosk Peripherals, Beacons, Consumer Device interaction, wayfinding technology and store specific data integration. Your eCom website will likely not support this and any attempt to retrofit will be a costly one-off effort.
- New Store Workflows. – Wayfinding, In-store pickup, Returns, Registry, Store Specific promotions, Real-time opt-in Loyalty promotions… are just a few examples of things that most retailers should consider, but cannot do with their eCom website.
- R&D and Innovation. – In-Store experience innovation should move faster than the eCom website. Tapping into XOMNI version releases and powerful integration with best-of-breed retail technology partners will provide free R&D and a test bed for a potential roll-out to your eCom website.
Perhaps the most powerful reason to avoid re-purposing your website is the anecdotal evidence that it will fail. How many Kiosks have you seen turned off, dusty and in a corner? Of course, there are more than one reason for this occurrence but the stories we hear most often are related to a poor customer experience. I know many Tier-1 retailers who initially attempted to accelerate their in-store experience with their website. Today they are gone and in their place you will notice a combination of rich Endless Aisle and point/purposeful micro experiences. An expensive lesson to learn.
When it comes to the cost of a full scale In-Store experience deployment, taking the right path versus compromised path typically costs 12% – 14% of the overall investment over a 5 year period. This is a small price to pay in order to ensure ultimate UX performance, flexibility and future proofing of the investment. Of course, this number doesn’t factor in cost savings due to XOMNI accelerating and powering the UX while driving down hosting and data center costs significantly. In fact, under this scenario it’s possible for the approach to literally pay for itself.
There are many articles, analysts and anecdotal stories that can be found on the web warning retailers to avoid simply slapping their web presence on an in-store device. I hope my recent interview with OnWidnows will help others avoid this mistake and see a viable alternative: http://bit.ly/1Eho4nk