As part of the ZX.YCN programme, on the morning of the 24th January, we brought together a panel and curated audience in Brussels to share learnings around the differences in shopper behaviour, online and in-person. The event was the latest in a series hosted by ZX.YCN in London, Paris, Amsterdam and New York, each drawing on insights and experiences from retailers, technologists and marketers.
Over the course of the morning, we examined how consumer behaviour across different channels is informing the way retailers present products, and design experiences for ever expectant customers. Leading the discussion were speakers from the front line of commerce in a number of different sectors — from food and drink to luxury eyewear.
Joining us from AB InBev (Zx Ventures) was Julie Veryser, European Marketing Manager - Disruptive Growth, who explained that a big focus for her team is discovering the differences in consumer behaviour and shopper missions across online and offline retail platforms. By learning as much as they can about their audience, they are better able to test and deploy effective marketing initiatives that leverage AB InBev’s online beer sales. “In a similar way that Spotify & Netflix use consumer search patterns to provide the best consumer experience, we work together with our retailers to provide an optimised assortment online,” she explained.
Julie also discussed the key differences between online and offline, which she says can be summed up in three consumer benefits. Online, shoppers have limitless options over what they can browse and buy — as Julie put it, ‘in the digital world, we aren’t constrained by a digital shelf’ — as well as the convenience of quick and cheap delivery options, and far greater value for consumers and suppliers.
User data has played a crucial role in informing the design and evolution of food delivery platform Deliveroo, explained Head of Marketing Benelux, Charles van der Bogaert. Having been part of the founding team that launched Deliveroo from a kitchen table in 2013, he’s seen the company grow and evolve rapidly in the past eight years.
Since the beginning, Deliveroo has been committed to customer centricity, Charles explained, with the wealth of data and insights on its users, restaurants and riders all driving its culture of constant innovation. It’s these insights that inform and shape new initiatives such as Deliveroo Editions — it’s ‘dark kitchens’ concept — and its free delivery offering Deliveroo Plus.
Bringing together online and offline behaviours, ‘mixed reality’ has become a key area of focus at retail design agency YourStudio. Head of Communication Holly Simpson discussed how smartphone apps are increasingly being used to add a digitally informed layer to physical retail moments, carrying through data to deliver a more personalised and adaptive experience.
“Online and offline are not mutually exclusive entities,” said Holly, “at YourStudio, we now talk about ‘one journey retail’.” This involves looking at customer experience as something that transcends any one medium. Today, shoppers are likely to browse a store while cross-referencing products on their phones, creating the need for a consistent and cohesive experience across touchpoints. For clients including Virgin Holidays and Birchbox, rather than approaching store design in isolation, YourStudio are exploring how online experiences can be reflected and enriched by the physical space. As Holly put it, “replace the word customer with human: today’s successful brands are responsive to human needs and desires.”
Holly also pointed out that ecommerce brands often have too much data on their customers to know what to focus on, while physical retail generally provides very little, “so it’s about successfully combining the two.”
Tom Broughton, founder of online eyewear brand Cubitts agreed. “Digital is powerful because it affords such a vast wealth of data. The trick is knowing how to interpret it, and knowing what do with it,” he explained. Launched in 2013, Cubitts has formed and learned from its loyal following of customers, and has since opened five physical stores across London.
As they continue to expand offline, he and his team are focussing on gathering insight on how their audience is engaging with the brand in person, as well as on screen. “Bricks and mortar is notable by a paucity of data — so one of the areas we’ve invested in is creating a set of metrics that make our physical stores comparable to out digital ones,” said Tom. “For example, each store now has ambient footfall counters, external counters and internal counters, which help to measure peel off rate, dwell and conversion.”