MARKETING AFRICA MAL 18/17 mal 18:17 online - Page 14

into online sales: using online tools. The case studies presented focus on enabling ecommerce, online advertising budget spends and having a social care network where consumers can get customer service. If you take a critical look at the examples, what we term as digital growth was actually necessitated by the existing operating environments of the digital space. No transformation took place. The digital world only matured. Transformation should not focus on digital at all but rather should be focused around the customer – who lives both online and offline. The microwave generation has consistently been profiled as living in a digital bubble while the reality is that they live both online and offline. When asked about how digital affects them, they don’t even seem to know they are affected because the people asking the question are the ones truly affected. Truth is they found themselves in the digital age given the time they were born but they would still like to experience the world before the digital age. They have also grown up with information and convenience and therefore do not know how to live without it. When asked if they prefer to shop online, they said they still like to visit stores to shop. They browse online and then visit stores. Out of convenience, they shop online. Their preference however is to visit a stall where they are sure they will get what they are looking for. They have redefined convenience. While at the mall, they turn the visits into multi media events using their phones. This is the perfect description of a consumer stuck between an online and offline world. Online, they want convenience of being sure that they go where they will find the 12 MAL 18/17 ISSUE ‘‘ The existing online customer journey requires a multitude of apps – Google for price comparison, WhatsApp for a friend’s opinion, a banking app to check your bank balance, Mpesa to transact and some human intervention through Uber to track your delivery or through a rider to deliver your order. The alternative would be to compare prices, seek a friend’s opinion, check your banking app, then join a queue to transact.’’ product, but they still want the offline experience of going into a store to get it. Online vs. Offline Customer Journey The existing online customer journey requires a multitude of apps – Google for price comparison, WhatsApp for a friend’s opinion, a banking app to check your bank balance, Mpesa to transact and some human intervention through Uber to track your delivery or through a rider to deliver your order. The alternative would be to compare prices, seek a friend’s opinion, check your banking app, then join a queue to transact. Fashion retailer Superdry has tried to make the online and offline experience to its store a lot more quick and convenient. The retailer has installed a “smart mirror” at its flagship store in Berlin, allowing shoppers to virtually try on items from its collection. The mirror uses body tracking to capture the motion of the user and replicate it through their reflection, a computer animated character who is able to wear a range of apparel, all while standing in front of the mirror. When not in use, the mirror becomes a dynamic aspect of the store design that showcases the collection. This is a creative example of a fulfilling online offline experience. The customers’ needs of speed and convenience are met. They won’t need to try on all the clothes in the store for hours on end and at the same time, they get to see and feel what they are purchasing. A full online experience, in an online world however would use virtual reality or augmented reality to achieve this same retail experience. A pair of augmented reality glasses or on any device that allows this feature would allow the consumer to generate reviews, get into a virtual changing room and try on the clothes, send the image to a friend for an opinion. On check out, it will request for an account balance, allow a transaction and send a receipt via email. This process would be a matter of minutes. Transforming Digital Transforming consumer experiences therefore still boils down to solving a customer problem by giving them more information than what they can see and offering a value added ‘experience’ instead of trying to bend the consumer into a new behavior.