Shopper Marketing - June 2017 - 26
products - but experiences," Stephens said.
Companies spend millions redesigning their
looks with a new logo and website, giving their
stores a facelift, adding a great ad campaign
and passing out iPads to all their employees,
yet they always feel disappointed because
these are all superficial changes. "Bad customer experience is like a fruitcake," Stephens said.
"You can put all kinds of [stuff] on top of a fruitcake, but when you get below the surface, it's
still a fruitcake."
Marketers have to look at designing more
fundamental changes into the experience.
Stephens pointed out examples including
Globetrotter Outdoor (where shoppers can
climb, canoe, sail, scuba dive and test out cold
weather gear in an arctic chamber) or Pirch
stores (where shoppers can make a cup of coffee, cook beside a chef or even take a shower).
Instead of seeing a store as a place that
houses inventory, successful players will perceive the space as a place to provide an experience and bring a brand story to life. "The
purpose of a store is not going to be about
four-wall conversion anymore, we're not going to obsess over how many people came in
and bought something," Stephens said. "The
purpose of a store is going to be to create converts for the brand, to leave an impression on
people that is so deep and so lasting that they
feel comfortable and confident buying from
you anywhere, as long as it's you."
The new retail metrics must look a lot more
like web metrics. "We need to rig our stores to
understand them the way we do our website,"
Stephens said, pointing to data such as who
came in, if they were here before, what they
touched, who they talked to, where they didn't
y SHOPPER MARKETING JUNE 2017
go and what they did downstream. "Then we
can start to attribute value back to the store
that became the catalyst for the future purchase."
The experience shoppers have when buying
something is more important to them than the
actual product and it's the greatest predicator of
their loyalty. Rather than product, how marketers sell what they sell is going to be the remaining differentiator.
In every moment of truth along the path to
purchase, marketers need to ask: What is the
combination of people, process, place, design
and technology to make that moment absolutely mind-boggling? "Until we understand
that, no tech will help us, no store facelift will
make a difference," Stephens said. "We have to
be prepared to say, 'How do we make money
and could we make money different ways?
Who really is our customer and what is the relationship we have with our vendors? Could we
have a different economic model?'"
Marketers must challenge the industry paradigms and face difficult questions head on,
embracing scary ideas, testing them and finding ways to build them first. Above all, Stephens advised investing resources at the bottom of the traditional purchase funnel with
every single customer that walks into a store.
"You have to invest those resources in blowing each of those customer's minds because ultimately the customer will become your most
powerful media agent," Stephens said. "The
brands that ignite are not doing it because
they bought Super Bowl time, they're doing it
because we heard about it from somebody, an
influence in the marketplace. That is the new
model for marketing."