The Dx3 2016 Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos summarizes some of the top speakers from Dx3 who inspired attendees to take action in their digital strategies.
In today’s multi-platform digital world, retailers need to focus their energy on whether or not customers are choosing their brand. That’s what Kamy Scarlett, Senior Vice President, Retail & Chief Human Resources Officer, and Thierry Hay-Sabourin, Vice President, eCommerce, at Best Buy Canada did when they operationalized change with an award-winning, omni-channel bricks and clicks strategy.
Scarlett and Hay-Sabourin started with a simple goal: make sure customers see one brand. They created a common, cross-company language around a “Total Retail” mentality. Customers, they knew, wanted a seamless, end-to-end experience that flows in whatever way they choose to interact with retailers.
This required them to change Best Buy’s thinking and approach. When the brand launched in Canada, it did so with disparate channels — e-commerce and stores operated separately. They launched initiatives like: online community forums where customers could chat with each other, staff and the vendor community; one of Canada’s first transactional retail apps for mobile phones, which included channel synergies like offering returns in-store through PayPal; and in-store pick up and kiosk programs.
While they always saw an immediate lift in sales that exceeded expectations with those programs, they were done so in isolation and, ultimately, they weren’t as successful as they’d hoped. Why? They realized customers don’t think in terms of channels and that they needed to break down natural silos that were limiting the success of their initiatives.
It was really only after Best Buy dropped the commission-based Future Shop brand that its efforts to operationalize change really began to take off. Each brand had unique in-store experiences, but with the recession in 2008, and as consumers increasingly shifted their shopping habits online, it was decided that the two brands would be consolidated under the Best Buy banner as their differentiation began to erode. That’s when a new corporate culture started to develop.
“Our brand consolidation was a humbling experience for all of us,” said Scarlett. “It’s a big reminder for all retailers to let the customer’s voice speak louder than any other.”
The consolidation proved to be a critical milestone. Best Buy completely rebuilt business around the “Total Retail” approach — not e-commerce, not in-store, just retail. The focus became about customer convenience and choice, which led to the creation of a number of multichannel experiences interweaving online and in-store programs. Customers could buy items online and pick them up and pay in-store.
They could also add online items to in-store purchases through an integrated multichannel POS system. To maximize inventory issues across the chain, the retailer launched a “shift from store” initiative, which turns stores into a distribution center for the web. Every single piece of inventory Best Buy owns is available to any customer wherever they are, with guaranteed fast shipping. In essence, Scarlett and Hay-Sabourin combined online and in-store commerce to give customers a seamless “unite and delight” experience that allows them to interact with Best Buy in any way they choose.
“Our ability to execute as we got behind one brand with Best Buy got much stronger,” said Hay-Sabourin. “It changed the nature of the roles we have in our stores — not just the interactions we have with our customers, but how we perform activities to support orders coming through the web.”
The new integrated programs required further change to operations, with things like dedicated in-store pickup areas, dedicated employees for web orders, and dedicated pick-up parking spots. They also changed the layout of stores to accommodate resources, creating pack and ship areas. And, to promote the “Total Retail Mentality,” they educated and gave role-clarity to all employees so processes would be aligned to properly support BestBuy’s multichannel business, and create consistency across touch points. They also made sure to get buy-in from the brand’s merchant organization.
“In order for us to be successful here it’s only through the collaboration that starts at the top and exists throughout our teams,” said Scarlett.
“We no longer think in terms of bricks or clicks, we think in terms of bricks and clicks.”