Two Retailers Share Cross-Channel and International Strategies

In light of the results of BigCommerce’s 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, we sat down with travel shoe company, Rollie Nation and designer children’s furniture store, Incy Interiors. The two cross-channel businesses share how they feel about BigCommerce’s findings and how they’ve found success in the modern retail market.

“I’d say a lot of BigCommerce’s findings align strongly with what we’ve experienced in the Australian retail market. Particularly around the insight that Aussies are loyal to local consumers,” says Vince Lebon, CEO and founder of Rollie Nation.

“We’ve built a really strong foundation of Australian customers who keep coming back to us – many of them own three, four or even five pairs of Rollie Nation shoes.”

Kristy Withers, the founder of Incy Interiors, also believes the findings are representative of what she’s seen in recent years, but her reasoning is slightly different to Lebon’s.

“In the last three to four years we have really noticed an increase in customers already being informed on our brand and products prior to coming into the store as they have already researched us online,” Withers says. “Another key change we have really noticed in recent years us price matching in-store with online retailers.”

With consumers now preferring to shop both online and in-store, it’s never been more important for retailers to nail their cross-channel shopping experience. This is something that both Rollie Nation and Incy Interiors have been working to perfect.

The Importance of Omnichannel

According to Lebon, having both an online and offline presence is no longer optional – it’s an essential part of the modern retail environment.

“A cross-channel approach is definitely necessary,” he says. “While we have a strong focus as an online business, we also sell through wholesale, marketplaces and pop-up stores. Having products available across these platforms give us the opportunity to connect with a larger sub-section of our target market and be present across all touch points in the customer journey.”

Working within the furniture retail category, Withers says that a cross-channel approach for her is more about providing customers with a convenient way to shop, while also giving them an opportunity to see and feel high-price products in person.

Incy Interiors talks about the benefits of cross-channel commerce.

“Many people like to touch and see a product before making a purchase, especially something as important as a cot or a bed for their child,” she says.

However, she also acknowledges that a traditional bricks-and-mortar approach comes with limitations, as an online presence allows her to interact with, and engage with consumers on a much larger scale.

“It is much easier to engage with a large volume of customers simultaneously using online platforms, particularly social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and then direct them to our website.”

But as far as Withers is concerned, simply having an omnichannel presence isn’t enough, you also need to provide a seamless customer experience across both channels.

“I think the biggest thing we try to achieve across both channels is consistency – be that in the way of messaging, visuals or customer service. We try to ensure that our customers have similar experiences regardless of whether they shop with us online or in-store.”

Addressing Payment and Data Security

In its 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, BigCommerce identified payment and data security as one of the biggest hurdles retailers have to overcome. Presently, 58 percent of Aussie shoppers say they would opt out of handing over their data while shopping online if they could.

Lebon says he is working towards ensuring consumers feel confident shopping with Rollie Nation in a safe and secure manner.

According to Rollie Nation, payment and data security is no laughing matter.

“We take the privacy and security of our customers online very seriously and work with DigiCert Inc and BigCommerce’s inbuilt DDOS bank-grade security to encrypt our data and give our customers the safest possible online experience,” Lebon says.

Withers says that Incy Interiors has a similar view of payment and data security, but have found success working with different solution providers to make the checkout process a secure one.

“We don’t take any chances… As a result, we only use PayPal and Braintree for our payment processing and we use a specialist data company (Secure ISS) to house all of our data.”

Making a Mark With Cross-Border Trade

Cross-border trade offers an abundance of revenue opportunities for Australian retailers, especially as Chinese consumers look to international markets for more luxury goods and other previously undeveloped e-commerce regions in Asia-Pacific start embracing the world of online retail.

Tackling the international market, however, can be difficult, with the Kardashian’s favourite silk pillowcase brand, Shhh Silk even struggling to break into international markets in the beginning.

Like Shhh Silk’s founder, Olivia Carr, finding the right local distributors played a key role in Incy Interior’s ability to start trading successfully overseas.

“We have finally found success selling our products cross-border and what has had the greatest impact was finding a distributor on the ground who understands the market and is in the same time zone to answer questions,” Withers says.

This is something Withers says she learned the hard way after she tried to launch Incy Interiors in the US without taking market variations into consideration.

“When launching into a new market, it is crucial to have a sound understanding of the country and the buying behaviours. When we launched into the US, we used the same strategies as we did when launching into Australia, and we didn’t get any cut-through.”

Lebon echoes this sentiment, saying Rollie Nation takes a more tailored approach to its offerings when dealing with international consumers.

“We tailor the customer experience and communication based on [consumer] location with our dedicated Australian and US sites; allowing us to market with a localised tone, inventory and appropriate seasonal marketing strategies,” he says.

He also believes that international shoppers should be presented with a different type of CX than local Australian ones, especially when it comes to product lines, returns, shipping, tracking and etc. Market-relevant press and promotions are also key for capturing the attention of shoppers in different markets.

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