Which brands are doing omnichannel well without owning their own brick-and-mortar stores? This question was one of several put to L2 managing director Stephen Bradley after his talk at last week’s Digital Leadership Academy.
For the answer, Bradley pointed to Consumer Electronics. While only 10% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Consumer Electronics operate their own stores, many have adopted sophisticated omnichannel capabilities more aggressively than Big Box, Specialty Retail and Department Stores.
Index brand sites send 5% of their total traffic to Amazon, and 24% also provide purchase offers linking directly to other key CE retailers. Five brands (Samsung, Apple, Sony, Microsoft and Intel) operate a store-within-a-store at Best Buy locations, allowing them to provide an omnichannel experience without owning their own brick-and-mortar. Sony is closing most of its retail stores in favor of this model, which lets the brand leverage the retailer’s e-commerce strengths.
Microsoft carries this same store-within-a-store concept online with Amazon. The Microsoft Surface store on Amazon makes use of rich content and merchandising techniques reminiscent of a full brand site, according to L2’s Many Paths to Purchase report. At the same time, it keeps the consumer within the Amazon ecosystem.
Electronics retailers also rely on brand sites as important digital touchpoints in the increasingly complex purchase path.
“CE brands need their retail partners, whether they sell physically or digitally,” Bradley said. “Consumers are following diverse and complex purchase paths today. It’s in the brand’s interest to keep driving the customer toward conversion – wherever that happens.”