23 the online “new wave” marketing will ultimately replace the offline “legacy” marketing. In fact, we believe that they need to coexist to deliver the best customer experience. Here is why: in an increasingly high-tech world, high-touch interaction is becoming the new differentiation. Birchbox, an online-first beauty product retailer, opened its brick-and-mortar store to complement its existing e-commerce business. The retailer provides iPads to make personalized recommendations, mimicking its online personalization scheme.
Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, relies heavily on very personal call-center interactions as a winning formula. Buying shoes online can be a daunting task for many customers, but a touch of personal consultation from the call-center agents reduces the psychological barrier. Another example is Bank of America’s Express Financial Centers. When making transactions on ATMs in these centers, customers can video-chat with a personal teller for assistance.
The service combines ATM convenience with a personalized human touch. Even Amazon needed to create a “physical channel” with its Dash Button, which allows shoppers to automatically replenish household products such as coffee and detergent with a push of a doorbell-sized button. It is Amazon’s early “internet of things” attempt to connect otherwise offline devices such as a coffee maker and a washing machine. On the other hand, a high-tech interface can also enhance a predominantly high-touch interaction, making it more compelling.
Macy’s shopBeacon project is an example of this. With Apple’s iBeacon transmitters installed in various locations within a Macy’s store, customers will be alerted with highly targeted offerings throughout their journey in-store. When walking past a certain department, customers might be reminded of their shopping list, receive discount notifications, and get gift recommendations through an iPhone app.
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As transaction data accumulate over time, the offerings will become more personalized to each shopper profile. Another example is John Lewis’s sofa studio, which allows customers to select a sofa model from WEBC02 10/25/2016 14:29:50 Page 24 24 MARKETING 4.0 3-D-printed miniatures. By placing a miniature alongside a selection of fabric in front of a computer screen, customers can see what their sofa will look like on the screen. It gives a very playful customer experience when choosing sofa model and fabric.
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