24. March 2021 | Feature, Interview, Retail Marketing, What´s new in Retail

intive creates an omnichannel app for shoe retailer Deichmann

Interview: Julia Pott (exclusively for EuroShop.mag)

You’d be hard-pressed to find large brick-and-mortar retailers without their own websites and online stores in this day and age. But the triumphant success of the smartphone also prompts retailers to ask themselves: How do I connect with consumers on their mobile device? Deichmann chose an omnichannel app.

Deichmann commissioned intive, a global digital powerhouse headquartered in Munich, Germany, with the development. Deichmann presently declined to comment on the plans for its app. So, we turned to Stefan Reisinger, Vice President at intive, and asked him about the must-have features of a successful retail app and why an omnichannel strategy is more important to retail businesses than ever before.

A man in a suit smiles at the camera

Stefan Reisinger, Vice President, Head of Business Unit Emerging & Central Europe at intive. // © intive

Mr. Reisinger, shoes are admittedly not a high-tech lifestyle gadget like a smartwatch, for example. How do you bring shoes into the 21st century and into the omnichannel realm?

Stefan Reisinger: You don’t need a cutting-edge high-tech product – you just need a relevant product. Amazon started off as an online bookstore, and Uber is a modern twist on the age-old concept of taxis, which originated in Germany in the 17th century. As you can see, people have similar needs in the 21st century, which includes shoes.

Deichmann has been pursuing an omnichannel strategy for many years – the new app is another building block to mobilize this strategy and to fully explore the latest technology capabilities. It is designed to be the favorite digital companion of Deichmann customers anytime and anywhere they need it – before, during or after their footwear purchase.

What are the features of the new Deichmann omnichannel app? What app specifications did you get to guide its development?

Deichmann wants to delight its customers with a holistic shopping experience and strengthen the company’s digital brand positioning at the same time. Besides a modern, attractive design, high-performing search capabilities and optimized usability, Deichmann also requested innovative omnichannel features to assist its customers in easily mixing digital and traditional shopping options in Deichmann stores across Germany.

A saleswoman and a customer in a shoe store

This Deichmann store at Limbecker Platz in Essen has used tablets in customer service to facilitate ship-to-home and click & collect services since 2019. The company also launched a pilot project in one of its Munich stores in 2019, featuring an online exclusive section: it displays shoe styles that are only available in the online store. Customers were able to use the cash register, a customer touch display, or the iPads of sales representatives to order the shoes. // © Deichmann

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, ‘safe and convenient shopping’ and communication with customers have also been incorporated in our considerations. Deichmann will outline its plans in greater detail in its upcoming press release.

Omnichannel‘ is a term that is lately on the top of the buzzword heap in the retail sector. Rightly so or is it being hyped too much?

It’s true, besides ‘multichannel’ and ‘crosschannel’, ‘omnichannel’ is another buzzword that is making its rounds on the retail circuit, which is why it is important to look behind the hype:

The industry has learned that customers don’t think in terms of channels and don’t care about the number of channels that are being offered, their scope and characteristics. They think in terms of convenience and choose the ways that address their needs in the easiest and most convenient manner. At the end of the day, omnichannel places the customer and his/her user needs in the center of its strategies.

This is currently one of the biggest drivers of innovation and disruption across all industry sectors. The coronavirus pandemic has served as a catalyst for this trend. Those who don’t build a people-centric approach will eventually run into problems with their business model, which is why the hype is justified.

A saleswoman and a customer in a shoe store

© Deichmann

What do today’s consumers expect from retailer apps?

Smartphones have redefined retail and have become the starting point to a shopping experience that does not end post-purchase. Modern customers expect more than just the lowest price and the biggest selection of products. They also want product recommendations, smart product search support, customer testimonials, customer feedback, and reviews. They also like to be able to compare prices, create wish lists, get post-purchase support, review, and rate all products and make secure payments. In short, they want full support during all the stages of the customer journey, and today’s successful retailer apps must meet all these expectations.

Retail apps compete with many other online services and options. What are the must-have features of a successful retail app to beat the competition?

One thing we know for sure is that mobile shopping is breaking all records as the dynamic has shifted from consumers shopping on websites to shopping with their smartphone. The mobile revolution is in full swing. When it comes to online shopping, smartphones surpassed PCs for the first time in 2019, making up 24 percent of e-commerce purchases in a PWC global sample. Europe is leading the pack: 67 percent of retail shopping happens on mobile devices. In the 2020 PWC Global Consumer Insights Survey, 45 percent of respondents said they are using their mobile phone more as a shopping channel since the COVID-19 outbreak, and 9 out of 10 survey respondents are certain they will continue to do so post-pandemic.

In short, other mobile commerce solutions are bigger rivals than traditional online shopping options. The user experience is the key to success. User-centric apps that deliver great added benefits thanks to omnichannel features, a perfect user experience, and flawless technology will lead to success.

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