A Way With WordsJanuary 22, 15
As a confirmed logophile or word lover, I really enjoy all those word-of-the-year lists that come out during the holiday season. The Oxford Dictionary word of the year for 2014, for example, was vape, which means, “to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.”
Other short-listed words in contention included bae, n. used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner; contactless, adj. relating to or involving technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc. to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, typically in order to make a payment; and normcore, n. a trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement.
From a January perspective, it’s impossible to know what this year’s word of the year will be – possibly a technology, movement or event that we have no idea is even going to happen.
When it comes to business, however, there are a lot of buzzwords thrown around, including many that should simply be thrown overboard (ping pong, anyone?), but some of these words and concepts are well worth understanding and using.
Omnichannel – “A multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether they are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in store.”
Okay, okay, you got me. This is not a new word by any means (IDEX Magazine referenced it back in 2010), but it’s a word that cropped up with increasing frequency in our industry last year and is sure to gather strength this year.
Online jewelry retailer James Allen’s decision last year to set up shop in 16 Sears locations throughout New York, Maryland and Puerto Rico last year is a perfect example of omnichanneling in action.
Showrooming – “The practice of examining merchandise or products in a store and then buying it online for a cheaper price.”
Admit it, we are all guilty of this. Although it might seem like a negative concept, especially for those paying rent and overheads on a physical location, there is a way to turn showrooming browsers into foot traffic. Many stores worldwide are snagging customers in-store by allowing them to browse and buy online, but to collect their goods in-store to avoid shipping charges – and once in-store, there’s always the possibility of customers spending even more when they see products in front of them (which is also a type of reverse omnichanneling).
Blurring the distinction between (reverse) showrooming and omnichannel shopping, Helzberg Diamonds last year expanded its online shopping tools with an In-Store Pickup feature. The feature allows customers to shop, customize, select and purchase items online and pick them up at their local store. According to Helzberg, 80 percent of customers browse diamond rings online, but purchase in-store. The items can be ordered online and picked up at any of Helzberg’s 230 store locations, with most in-stock items ready for collection in an hour.
Personalization – “Creating a shopping experience that is unique to each shopper and their needs and preferences.”
In short, this pretty much does what it says on the box – treats each customer as a unique individual rather than a member of a certain demographic. Yes, the late 20-something who just walked into the store may be a “millennial” but he or she is clearly more than just the sum of his or her birth year and should be treated as such. But how jewelry retailers can actually go about creating that unique experience is a lot trickier, and it may be easier to do so online than in-store with tools that allow consumers to create their own jewelry (cue shameless plug for IDEX Onsite’s Ring Designer tool).
Customer-Centricity – “Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.”
It seems odd that companies wouldn’t put their customers front and center, especially because, according to businessdictionary.com, a customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.
Think about it, even if you are a B2B and not dealing with the end buyer, what are you offering your clients that other stores or businesses are not; if you can’t think of anything, perhaps it’s time to change your approach.
Engagement Marketing – “A marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages consumers to participate in the evolution of a brand. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs, developing a relationship with the brand.”
Perhaps one of the companies most associated with getting their clients “on board” with their marketing is Pandora, which has so far run three Pandora-themed cruises. Last year’s week-long “Pandora’s Jewelry Unforgettable Cruise” included meet and greet opportunities for Pandora team members and fans, an exclusive sneak peek of the new season's collection, styling workshops with the company’s Canadian-based brand spokesperson, Janette Ewen, and store visits in Jamaica and Mexico.
Pandora described the trip as “another way for consumers to create those special moments with their family members and/or friends, while engaging with the brand.”
You might think that going on a company-themed cruise is crazy, but just think of the word-of-mouth marketing and total engagement that such a trip engendered in Pandora’s biggest fans. Companies quite literally cannot buy marketing like that.
Don’t be put off by the buzz surrounding the buzzwords. Not all of them will work for you and your company, but there’s no doubt you are going to be hearing these terms – and others we haven’t even though of – bandied around a lot in the coming year.
Have a great weekend.