Yesterday I appeared on BBC Newsnight in a piece dissecting the HMV situation. The BBC wanted an opinion on what business could do to cope with the huge shift towards social media, and posed the question “what can the high-street do to battle online?”. This subject is one that we’re passionate about at NM as we work with some of the largest B2C brands in the UK.
Link to programme on iPlayer (I’m part of the first item; my bit starts after 4 minutes)
As more and more of us shop online, the role of physical presences is questionable; why bother having bricks and mortar when your customers can stay at home and buy your products on their phone? As I touched upon in the Newsnight piece, my opinion is that physical presence is still key, but the purpose needs to evolve. Shops can be places where your products and services can be experienced and discussed; give people a way to touch and feel your brand, but make it easy for them to then transact online.
Aside from the experiential angle, shops provide a great place for customers to vent frustration and feedback; while at NM we’ve been equipping brands with social customer service teams for the past few years, we also believe that physical person-to-person discussion will remain as the ultimate engagement. As trust in large entities declines, presenting a human face to the world is key.