Christine, Tammy and I went to dx3 this morning to check out the trade show. I went last year and came back with some great ideas, none of which we've executed really successfully I'm afraid. Hopefully this year we can turn that around!
dx3 is a digital marketing and sales event, which predominantly features marketing and retail service providers in the trade show, alongside a bunch of great sounding sessions from the marketing and retail worlds. It's a great place to get inspiration, though I particularly doubt many other Christian retailers are in attendance, judging from the "Christian bookstore?!" stares I receive when I tell people what I do.
Here's a few thoughts that we're coming home with:
- As we've seen, it's not about digital vs physical in terms of store issues, it's about combining the two worlds. Creating a phygitical experience. I've written about this briefly here before, regarding our customers expectation to find YouTube available in the store to listen to music.
- Your ecommerce store isn't meant to rival or replace you brick and mortar store. Each one should compliment and enhance the other.
- Low sales on your ecommerce store doesn't mean it's not important to have one. Huge numbers of shoppers today are browsing product and inventory availability online before making an in-store purchase. (A large Christian bookstore in SK told me recently there was simply no ROI in a webstore so they don't have one. I scratched my head in disbelief...)
- I've long been frustrated by the lack of lead generation we're doing in store. We have all these people in the building, and do practically nothing to generate relationship and conversation with them. In discussion with Ravi at Thirdshelf, he reports this is the core problem that SMBs are facing, but most don't realise the opportunities that they're missing.
- A loyalty program is not an ends to itself. We've fallen into this trap with LoyalBlocks, it's giving a few people loyalty pricing, which is good, but it's not really a part of our overall strategy, and it needs to be.
I was impressed once again with what Thirdshelf are offering, now showing a proof of concept solution with Vend and SweetIQ to enhance the entire customer experience from online search, to instore purchase and beyond. It wasn't as well executed as their display last year, but was still good food for thought.
At the present time our biggest problem is simply a lack of customer awareness. But I've been hesitant to launch any major marketing and outreach attempts until I know we'll be successfully converting and retaining every customer as optimally as possible. That's what we'll be pushing into in the next 3 months here at Attwell Books.