Joakim Gavelin published by CPM as Expert Speak

Joakim Gavelin, founding Partner of the Detail Merchandising Online solution, had the honour to be published by CPM as Expert Speak. Below you find the whole article; good reading!

Our latest CPM Expert Speak comes from Joakim Gavelin, Senior Partner and Director at Sale Nordic, and founding Partner of the Detail Merchandising Online solution, brought to the global market by CPM.

Joakim has more than 25 years’ experience of sell out and retail management, and a deep understanding in consumer behaviour. Something that today is strongly influenced by what’s happening online and in each consumer’s smartphone. In his speak below he shares his thoughts on an area that has not been really brought into the spotlight before; the importance for brand owners to embrace their online presence in the same way as they do in physical stores. Because today he says, they don’t. Not even close to what they could do.

E-commerce, customers or brands: who leads the way?

The e-commerce development has been quick and dramatic. The technical development has given both e-commerce companies and consumers new opportunities, that in turn have changed the landscape in the retail world. But the development of tools and processes for the brand owners, whose goods is the foundation for the e-commerce outlets, has been far from rapid.

I find this strange, and even a little disturbing.

All of the major software developers of e-commerce platforms have been working hard with issues like integration, personalization and analysis tools.

And we know that online marketing, content marketing and social media have revolutionized the way we attract customers to different e-commerce sites. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others have today very sophisticated tools for both targeting and analysis, to help a professional marketer to get their message out there. The marketing money follows quickly: today, 25 percent of the marketing dollars in the US went to digital activities in 2014. Compare that to the 10 percent of 2008. It’s a rapid and dramatic shift that is likely to continue.

The consumers might be even faster to jump on the digital train. The cell phone follows the consumer into the store, and I trust that most of us are familiar with the habit of checking facts and prices while looking at the the goods in the store. According to the Comscore, a US Internet analytics company, over 43 percent of the smartphone audience have used their phone in the retail store. People under the age of 25 are even more likely to do so: over 56 percent said that they have consulted their phone while in a store.

Add to this the very strong faith that today’s consumer has in the online information. Studies show that up to 80 percent of a shopper in the physical store uses his or her smartphone to compare products and prices. And they trust the information, more or less blindly. Even if we all know that these facts and data can be wrong, as soon as we look at something on our smartphone, everything mysteriously seems to be true.

It goes without saying that e-commerce has made a huge impact on the world of retail and commerce overall. The term on everybody’s agenda is “omni channel”, at least if you are into any form of commerce. This includes how online and offline interact, support each other and how an e-commerce outlet can make sure that these worlds bring the most for the retailer.

Still, the tools and techniques that we are so used to work with in the physical world and in our physical stores, to promote and present our brands have only just recently found their counterparts in the digital world.

Our understanding of the importance of how our products and brands are displayed in the physical store has been around for a long time. And we are naturally aware of that this kind of logic and psychology is just as important for the shopping that takes place online.

Until recently the task to monitor and track how your brands were displayed to the consumer was either neglected or manual and time consuming. Given what we know from the physical and more mature retail world this is bound to change. And given the fast pace of development in the rest of the digital industry and in e-commerce, this might change very rapidly.

What do we know from the traditional offline store, that we should get to know also online? Actually a lot.

Pure facts of the goods on sale might sound just too obvious, but it is by no means unimportant. Far too often errors will find their ways into the specifications, which will disturb the experience for both the e-commerce site and the customer. A tv set that is presented to have three HDMI ports, could easily be a major problem if it just has two ports.

Furthermore, your brand’s presentation compared to your competitor’s, is highly relevant to monitor. Does your brand show up before your main competitor? Does your brand have the “shelf space” that it deserves?

And naturally, you might be interested in the price that the online retailer sets on your product. Including the price of comparable products from your competitors.

If you start thinking about the opportunities and the information that you should collect, it soon transforms to an important tool for making business decisions.

The good news is that we might be closer to a solution than ever before. For some time, we have been working on a solution, that addresses this issue. The product helps a brand manager and the brand owner to get a feeling of how his or her product shows up online, and an opportunity to take the actions needed to improve marketing efforts, dialogues with the e-commerce sites and other activities.

I think that this development – and our product – not only will help the brand owners to work closer with the e-commerce sites and improve their opportunities. It will also help the retailer to build his or her business. The vast majority of the retailers depend on different brands to stay attractive. Smart tools to get the right brands in the right spot will – if done correctly – give the retailer more loyal customers and better margins.

This cooperation and collaboration between the brands, the e-commerce sites and the consumers have so many winners, if it is done correctly.

And I think that out of these three, it is the brand owners that need to step up their game. Quickly.

Retail is still detail. Online more than ever.