Adam Simon and Chris Petersen interview Bülent Gürcan, CEO, TeknoSA
This blog is part of our continuing series examining a wide range of collaborative ecosystems that are emerging in response to consumer behaviour and expectations. While omnichannel is the new normal for customers, retailers are still evolving their transformation refining their business models to balance offline and online retail.
As strategic collaboration evolves in a new ecosystem across retail, there are as many questions as there are answers. We were excited to have an opportunity to explore these issues in a conversation with Bülent Gürcan, CEO of TeknoSA.
The retailer’s opportunities and challenges of strategic collaboration
How much of a threat is e-commerce to the traditional retail model?
Today’s retailers face a common challenge worldwide – customers are increasingly becoming omnichannel in their shopping behaviour. According to a survey conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners in 2016, consumers’ mobility between channels during shopping journey reaches as high as 64%.
Store traffic is declining. In order to combat this, we are working to enhance in-store customer experience through collaborations, so that customers can ‘touch & feel’ technology products and see which products fit their lifestyle best. Moreover, to encourage customers to spend more time in store, we have placed wireless chargers. As a consequence of this and other measures, the conversion rate has gone up.
You highlighted the importance of “click and collect” – what are the challenges and opportunities?
A prime example of merging online and offline is click and collect which now represents 30% of our online sales.
Click and collect is incredibly important for technology retailers. We are always looking to find ways to bring customers to our stores. I recently completed personal visits to retail stores in France. French retailers have invested in dedicated collection areas. Surprisingly click & collect queues were sometimes longer than normal cashier queues. In Turkey, customers will not wait more than 3 minutes to collect their items. Cultural habits play a key role in designing the customer experience.
Today, the retailer faces the challenge of increasing complexity in local store assortments, inventory costs, and consumer expectations of delivery within 24 hours. We need strategic collaboration with brands and distributors to optimize online & offline integration, and to operate efficiently.
So what are you looking for when collaborating with brands?
Stores have the power to bring products to life. While customers can find out information online, they can only get personal experience with products through stores. We need brands to invest in stores as the primary medium of experience.
As TeknoSA, we seek collaboration of our partners mainly in two areas at store. Investing in physical experience areas and displays to provide “touch & feel” of technological products and expanding brand promoters at stores to provide deeper product information. These supports are also critical in driving sales conversion.
We also seek suppliers to take an active role in managing stock returns. In fact, we share real time stock and sales data with strategic suppliers.
From your perspective, how important are distributors, and how can they better collaborate with retailers?
With all the increasing pressures, it is essential that retailers collaborate with distributors as strategic partners. As store sizes getting smaller and “click & collect” rates grow, real time stock management becomes more important. Retailers need rapid replenishment at the store level.
In some categories, we use the inventory consignment stock with distribution to enhance assortments. Some distributors are even piloting specialized promoters to further increase sales at stores.
At the same time, we are working with distributors on drop shipment capabilities for inventory replenishment, and fulfilment directly to customers.
How willing are you to share sales data with strategic vendor partners?
As well as being vendor partners, they are also competitors when they have their own e-commerce sites and/or dealers. Therefore, we are sharing only their sales data to improve inventory management and sales conversion. For other information requests, we are evaluating each on its own merits.
If you would like to hear more from Bülent, he will be a keynote speaker at the ContextWorld CES CEO Breakfast, January 11, 2018
Chris Petersen and Adam Simon are collaborating on a series of blogs that explore the rise of strategic collaboration and new customer centric ecosystems. This blog series will culminate with a worldwide panel discussion at the ContextWorld CES CEO Breakfast, where a global Brand, Distributor and Retailer will share their perspectives on strategic collaboration.