Omnichannel requires support from the physical stores
In a short amount of time, Bog & idé has developed into a strong omnichannel player. In order to achieve this, organisational changes were necessary, and the physical stores had to be convinced of the new strategy.
When a customer asks for help in one of Bog & idé’s 125 store locations, the conversation usually starts with: “I saw on your webshop that…”. Omnichannel is therefore entirely essential to the bookstore chain.
“The symbiosis between our physical stores and digital platforms is a prerequisite for success in the market today,” Marianne Lyngby Pedersen, CEO of Indeks Retail, the company behind Bog & idé, says.
Bog & idé’s focus on omnichannel has also been noticed by others, and, for the past two years, the chain has been among the finalists at the E-Commerce Awards in the “Best Omnichannel Company” category. Additionally, while the industry in general is going through tough times, Bog & idé’s revenue rose in 2018. Currently, 65% of all online orders are picked up in-store.
Bog & idé’s omnichannel efforts began in collaboration with IMPACT in 2016, when the bookstore chain could sense that the customer journey was going through several changes, but they did not have a system geared towards a more customer-centric approach.
“Previously, we had a webshop because it was necessary to have one – not because we wanted to. We wanted to change that, and we wanted to focus on the customer and customer journey,” Marianne Lyngby Pedersen explains. Pedersen joined Indeks Retail in 2015 with the goal of transforming the company’s voluntary chains – Bog & idé, BOGhandleren, Legekæden and Bøger & Papir – which today are all part of the Bog & idé concept.
Bog & idé differs from most companies in that it is a voluntary chain, in which each individual store is basically competing with the other Bog & idé stores as well as the webshop. Until 2016, Indeks Retail owned a handful of the Bog & idé stores including the webshop, which was operated by the smallest of the Bog & idé-owned stores.
Instead of letting the smallest store be the basis for what the webshop could achieve – both in terms of number of employees to attend to customers and number of books on shelves – the bookstore chain first had to consider where the webshop should be placed organizationally and logistically.
A choice was made to return the webshop to the head office, making it a more central focal point for the entire chain.
THE STORES HAVE RESPONSIBILITY
Bringing the webshop back to the head office meant that Bog & idé had to change the webshop structure. The responsibility for running it became an independent task that, today, is managed by an e-commerce department, and the inventory consists of all books located in the 125 stores combined.
The webshop was simultaneously made a joint responsibility – comparable to a cooperative that everyone pays for, contributes to and gets involved in. In other words, when an online order is placed on the Bog & idé webshop as a click and collect order from the Bog & idé store in Bruuns Gallery, it is that specific store’s responsibility to handle that order. In return, they receive part of the sale of said order. Marianne Lyngby Pedersen believes that this method enables each store to feel responsible for the webshop which is crucial when creating a good omnichannel experience.
We could not do this without cooperation from the stores. The employees are watching online orders like hawks and are determined to offer the customers good service. When things are handled this way, we know that our omnichannel efforts have been a success
It has taken some time for all stores to see the webshop as a team player and not as an opponent. However, as soon as they saw the value of the webshop, their opinions were positively changed. Today, the webshop is one of the biggest drivers sending customers into the stores, and 65% of all online orders are picked up in-store.
“Our webshop must constantly be supporting the importance of our physical stores as a channel. It should attract customers to the stores, not drive them away from it,” Marianne Lyngby Pedersen explains.
GIVing STORES AND CUSTOMERS the SAME SERVICE
Another element that strengthened the stores’ incentive for accepting the webshop was to ensure that the stores were not disadvantaged.
When IMPACT became part of the bookstore chain’s omnichannel ambitions, the task was to change the system in order to boost the webshop both internally and externally. The internal aspect was the stores’ internal ordering system, while the external aspect was the webshop that the consumer encounters. Boosts to both were made simultaneously, and it was important for stores and customers to receive the same service. The webshop is built in Sitecore.
The stores and consumers have the same data. There is of course information that the stores should have that customers should not. But the stores should have the same great experience in terms of product photos, good product texts and an intuitive basket. We have really benefited from acting on this line of thought
Product content creation and gathering customer data has been simplified because it now only requires the creation of one data set. For example, when information is entered into the system, such as that a book is suitable for children aged 7-9 years, this data is made available to both consumers and stores.
At the same time, the physical stores are also able take advantage of data obtained from the webshop. With the Raptor Service tool, Bog & idé’s store staff are able to get real-time data regarding which books consumers are buying, and, using this information, they can strategically place the popular books in-store.
RESPECT FOR the respective channels
Converting the chain into an omnichannel concept has not always been an easy ride. The bookstore chain must still remember to consider the webshop as an equal priority to the physical stores. Regarding campaign work, it is especially necessary for them to change the mindset compared to before.
“One of the challenges we have had is that while a campaign may work well in-store, it may not necessarily work well online. Now, when we create campaigns, we have to think about both the webshop and physical stores at the same time,” Marianne Lyngby Pedersen states.
To address this challenge, Bog & idé has introduced a comprehensive assessment of new campaigns. The assessment consists of looking at each campaign from different perspectives to ensure it works both online and in-store.
It is important to remember that the channels are very different. They must fuse together all while maintaining respect for what each channel is capable of and can contribute with. It's the same exact customer situation, it must just be done differently online and in-store
REMEMBER to use THE HIGH BEAMS
Although Bog & idé has been in this transitional phase for several years, they are still far from finished.
“You have to have your high beams on when you embark on this type of process. It is a long journey that will never be finished. There must be a constant level of development and streamlining throughout the process. But it is worth the trouble, ” Marianne explains and continues:
“You are standing on one leg if you only consider retail and on two legs if you have an omnichannel mindset.”
Currently, Bog & idé does not have numbers regarding how much in-store sale is generated when customers pick up their online orders in-store because they use an older store system that does not interact with their webshop system. However, this is the next step on their omnichannel journey.