Omni-channel retailing – A brand management mindset that is critical

We have been banging on for a while about the need for retailers to move beyond seeing themselves as channel specific marketers. They need to develop an integrated mindset that moves beyond seeing online and bricks and mortar offers as being mutually exclusive. Likewise they need to stop seeing digital technology as the domain of online marketers only. The rules have been re-written, with the emphasis being on imaginatively engaging with customers in whatever format matches their needs. Technology, personal service, physical or virtual, the new game is simply wow the customer.

And as reported in The Weekend Australian (Nov19/20) it would seem that some retailers are stepping up to the challenge. As when you now look in the mirror at sportswear retailer Lorna Jane’s Chermside Park store in Brisbane and ask, “Does my bum look big in this?”, prepare for your Facebook friends to deliver an answer.

In an attempt to get online shoppers away from their laptops and into stores, Lorna Jane has installed a SocialEyes mirror, developed by Queensland company Five Faces. The digital mirror and some touch screen technology sends customised messages to Lorna Jane’s facebook page or other social media sites. At around $10,000 a pop for the most interactive of the mirrors, it is not a cheap exercise to provide customers with some social network ‘bum’ or ‘look’ endorsement.

What is interesting about the Lorna Jane innovation is that it reflects a paradigm shift for their management. Lorna Jackson, founder stating that ‘……initially I thought that it was important to keep online and bricks and mortar parts of our business separate, but the times are moving quickly and this is where they can cross over’. Yes, the times are moving quickly, and I rather like the mindset of the business manager of Five Faces when he describes leveraging digital technology as enabling the pursuit of omni-retailing. That reflects a delightfully bullish approach to retailing for the future (well certainly from the technology provider at least!).

Five Faces seems very comfortable pushing the envelope and for cosmetic companies is exploring technology that will create different make-up looks on your digital reflection. The interesting thing will be observing which retailers are willing to invest in the brave new world of digital.

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist

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