Amidst one of the most remarkable periods of innovation in our lives, SapientNitro, part of Sapient (NASDAQ: SAPE) released Insights 2013, its second annual publication, examining the evolving nature of consumer experiences in today’s digitized, borderless world. In one part of the report, SapientNitro undertook a four-month investigation into how global retailers are transforming the offline shopping experience to accommodate the needs of today’s always-on consumers. It found that, despite massive investments in infrastructure such as interactive kiosks and in-wall displays, only 4 of 71 leading retailers evaluated earned passing grades in SapientNitro’s proprietary scorecard of effective in-store digital integration.
SapientNitro's Annual Trendwatch Report (Photo: Business Wire)
As global clients anticipate another year of technology-fueled disruption, Insights 2013 offers a framework of Connected Thinking – applying multiple lenses, disciplines, and methods to improve consumer experiences -- and viewpoints to help navigate the shifting landscape and connect the dots between their brands and the lives of consumers. Through a combination of observation, proprietary research and commentary, SapientNitro’s Idea Engineers present their global perspectives on key trends impacting today’s experience-led business transformations. The four main trends identified in this 156-page report are:
- The rise of the connected consumer demanding real-time control;
- The role of data in predicting desire;
- The blurring of lines across the online and offline worlds; and
- The effects of globalization on the marketing environment.
“One of the themes that stood out was the convergence of digital and physical worlds driven by consumers,” said Hilding Anderson, SapientNitro director of research and insights, and editor-in-chief of Insights 2013. “To succeed in this new environment, marketers must evolve beyond campaigns and embrace the entire experience space surrounding consumers – emotional, physical and digital -- as a canvas for creating non-linear, always-on ‘storyscapes’ that immerse consumers into brand stories. The leaders in this borderless world will use Connected Thinking to parlay these paradigm shifts into new pathways for brands and consumers to connect.”
To kick off Insights 2013, the SapientNitro research team conducted an in-depth review of the in-store digital experience. The team independently visited 71 retail flagship stores throughout New York City and ranked them according to SapientNitro’s proprietary Omnichannel Index. Surprisingly, only 4 of 71 retailers studied achieved “benchmark” scores for effective use of in-store digital integration -- with Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and American Eagle Outfitters scoring highest, but still far below, the maximum score of 75. Additional findings of the four-month investigation include:
- Digital in-store displays are powerful tools – but too often are poorly executed. More than 50 percent of retailers evaluated had no visible digital displays at all. For those with digital in-store presence, broken displays, bolted-on devices, and disconnected experiences were common.
- Poorly planned digital integration is worse than no digital at all. At one retailer, 87% of its price checkers were out of order. Long-term planning must include sales associate training and IT support to deliver sustained value from these investments.
- The right tools generate positive ROI. In-store sales increase 10-40 percent on average as a result of effective in-store digital functionality.
- Retailers should focus on digital in-store experiences that support user tasks. Fewer than 22 percent of brands had interactive tools in support of user tasks.
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- Storyscaping: Building Worlds, Not Ads
- Retail Goes Rogue: How Digital Convergence Will Revitalize the In-Store Experience
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