In his keynote session at AAPEX 2017, speaker John Kinsella, vice president and senior consultant, FitForCommerce, provided a look at the Future of the Buyer with a presentation on “Navigating Omnichannel Successfully.” AAPEX, which represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry, opened Tuesday, Oct. 31, and ran through Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas.
Kinsella explained how omnichannel – a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience – results in more valuable customers.
“Omnichannel customers spend four percent more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10 percent more online,” said Kinsella. “They also are more loyal and likely to recommend your brand and retailer to family and friends.” He reminded the audience they are competing for customers’ minds and wallets, and the full experience of the customer – product research, purchase and fulfillment – is what matters most.
Kinsella reported that e-commerce sales continue to grow, and auto and parts is on a similar growth path. Auto and parts is the third biggest category in terms of e-commerce sales with $48.22 billion in 2017. More than $2 trillion in retail sales (56 percent) were influenced by digital devices (before and during in-store visits) in 2016. “The more robust the online experience, the more it will translate into in-store sales,” he said.
Today’s retail reality is that modern customers are going all over the place; the path is not linear. “They are super informed and know they can look outside the brand. They need shopping, plus emotional support,” said Kinsella. He encouraged retailers to identify the points of confusion and be prepared to support customers to maintain a positive emotional experience.
To stand out, Kinsella suggests paying close attention to both the transactional (frictionless commerce) and experiential (customer engagement). Within frictionless commerce are site search and navigation, ratings and reviews, store inventory integration, mobile commerce and site speed. “When a customer comes online, you’ve got all of two seconds to capture their attention,” he said. Customer engagement can include product assortment, loyalty and pricing, personalizing the shopping experience, having inspiring and relevant content, and being the destination for products, inspiration, know-how, community and support.
He concluded by emphasizing the importance of customer experience data in any marketplace strategy as it drives omnichannel personalization, and ultimately, that people are the greatest asset.
Kinsella delivered his keynote session on Nov. 1. The two additional keynote sessions at AAPEX 2017 addressed the Future of the Vehicle and the Future of the Shop.
AAPEX 2017 featured more than 2,200 exhibiting companies and 50-plus AAPEXedu sessions. Approximately 158,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from more than 140 countries were projected to be in Las Vegas during AAPEX and the SEMA Show.