Inoculating companies against inaction, irrelevance, inflexibility and instability.

ANTIGEN: Broken Multichannel Touchpoint Strategy

Just read this from Forrester and it brought me to the inability to meet consumer’s multi-channel needs ANTIGEN.

Seventy percent of US online consumers research products online and purchase them offline. Based on this behavior, Forrester has identified two consumer categories: multichannel buyers and online window shoppers. Multichannel buyers use the Web for both research and purchases, while online window shoppers use the Web exclusively for researching their offline purchases. Multichannel buyers are almost six times more numerous. They are also more affluent and savvier online users than online window shoppers. The demographic and psychographic differences between these two consumer segments, and examples of how top US retailers are evolving their multichannel strategies in response, offer insights into how eBusiness professionals can enable multichannel consumer behavior.”

So, do you have what it will take to close the loop on your consumer’s online-to-offline needs?

Here is a snapshot of many different touch-point channel opportunities. You should be able to quickly determine if you have a closed-loop strategy to meet more of the complex needs of today’s consumers–or not.

In short, are you thinking about all the ways your business can and should meet the expectations of tomorrow’s customers?

  1. Social Networking
  2. Widgets/Tools
  3. Vodcasts
  4. Natural Search Engines (eg. Google)
  5. RSS Feeds
  6. Print Advertising
  7. Portal Widgets/Tools
  8. Desktop Widgets/Tools
  9. Affiliates (non-dealer)
  10. All Brand Web sites
  11. Events
  12. Broadcast
  13. Video interview (eg. YouTube)
  14. Blogs
  15. Catalog
  16. Customer Service
  17. Direct one-to-one Emails
  18. Distributor/Dealer Events
  19. Marketing emails
  20. Forums
  21. Email to a Friend
  22. Dealer Websites
  23. Dealer Stores
  24. Mobile
  25. Podcasts
  26. POP
  27. PR
  28. Product Returns
  29. Product Exchanges
  30. Product or Service Warranties
  31. Online Personal Data
  32. Payment
  33. Balance Checking
  34. Order Tracking
  35. Account Management
  36. Wishlist Management
  37. Opt-in/Opt-out Management
  38. Password Recovery
  39. Gift Card Purchase/Redemption/Balance Checking
  40. Holiday/Gifting Logistics Related Capabilities
  41. Holiday Hold
  42. Delayed Shipping
  43. Ask a Question
  44. Take Customer Satisfaction Survey
  45. General Feedback
  46. Rush Shipping
  47. Gift Services
  48. Purchase an Item
  49. Purchase Item Using Catalog Number
  50. Edit a Wishlist
  51. Create a Wish List
  52. Delete an Account
  53. Edit an Account
  54. Create an Account
  55. Order Re-tracking
  56. Delete a Wishlist
  57. Send a Wishlist
  58. Purchase an Item from a Wishlist
  59. Opt-in for Emails
  60. Recover Password Again
  61. Opt-out for Catalog
  62. Opt-in for Catalog
  63. Product Reviews
  64. Complain about Service

*attribution to Twiss Interactive for this exhaustive list of touch points.

Filed under: Brands, Consumer, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Retail Application of ANTIGENcy:: Anthropologie



My girlfriend takes me into every Anthropologie store wherever we go. She wont buy a dress without me. I have the eye, I guess. Because I am more interested in the psychology of brands and their incredible business model, I never refuse to go. Not to mention, the most gorgeous people seem to be pulled in to those stores. Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters (same ownership) for that matter, are a different kind of store. They are, as Marty Neumier in Zag, called a house of brands, where there are typically 50 or 60 brands on the shelves and tables. This is different than Gap or most other clothing store alternatives schlepping their brand exclusively.

Inside any Anthropologie women find clothes and other curiosities or wonders that transport them into another world. The buyers for Anthropology and Urban Outfitters are a different breed and are damn good at what they do. They buy things that make you want to own. Their dresses are exquisite and the books for sale there are all items that make you believe you are capable of writing something wonderful. “I could have written that!” The soaps and decor all make you long for that semester you spent outside of Paris during high school.

Anthropologie has, in effect, created a house of brands and a transport platform that can make frugal frumps loose and lovely. They do this through experience design and brand diversity. Really smart.

The folks running Anthroplogie decided to inject their sales channel with other brand’s wares in an environment that kills boredom. It is the only women’s store where I have lost an hour in wonderment. In fact it is where I found the coolest book I have ever owned. Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.

Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities

Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities

Back to experience. So, here’s a store that serves up really great women’s fashions that make women feel unique and their husbands feel occupied and sated on several levels. This is an experience that is attached to a business model that can adapt quickly to what’s hot and curious right now. Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie do not have to forecast, design, manufacture and warehouse an abundance of their branded stuff and market like hell to get it sold (the branded house model). Alternatively, they have to forecast and buy smaller quantities of other brands that they know will make their target(s) salivate.

This experience design is smart. And you can be sure that a lot of people are watching their every step.

Here is where ANTIGENcy comes in. What if you are a notable chain saddled with oceans of heavy inventory and delivering the same patent experience as a majority of all the other stores competing for the same $45 in Jane’s wallet. You have to wonder how sustainable that is. And yes, while many of them have been in business a long time, the competitive landscape hasn’t invoked the experience design card like Anthropologie has.

Your ANTIGENs are; lack of customer experience delivery, lack of curiosity, boredom, resting on the laurels of past sales success, lack of sating those who accompany your target consumer and importantly lack of brand diversity in your inventory (cement boots).

The antibodies you want to build will fight these ANTIGENs swiftly.

So, imagine this Gap. You need to think about your business sustainability on a few different levels. You need to think about the damage a much more nimble house of brands capable of shifting on a dime and serving up great design, eco-friendly wares and artful atmospheres can do to your establishment. You have to wonder why your (ticker: GPS) total return (3-yr.) is 24.4% while that of the Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters (ticker:URBN) is 82.8%.

At ANTIGENcy, we think about these things and quite simply, design experiences that help you with the new business of business.

(Partial credit for this analysis goes to the Rotman School of Business who originally pointed at Anthropologie and talked about the house of brands vs. branded house approaches. Thank again Rotman.)

Filed under: Brands, , , , , , , , , ,