Store 2014: Indigo’s In-store Retail Gives ‘Big Advantage’ Over Amazon

May 21, 2014 Ben Myers

Is a store a sacred space? When you put as much effort into the atmosphere of a retail space as Indigo does, making changes to a winning formula might be taboo.

Jim Reynolds of Indigo

Jim Reynolds of Indigo

Considering the growing amount of customer data and revenue coming in to retailers from online sources, it would be foolish to resist change.

Jim Reynolds, Director, eCommerce Product Management at Indigo Books & Music is among the panelists for the Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) Store 2014 conference. Despite his eCommerce-focused title, he speaks with reverence for Indigo’s retail space.

“The bricks-and-mortars experience is critical for us,” he told the Dx3 Digest. “It’s one of our big advantages over some of the pureplays, specifically Amazon. So we talk a lot about how we can make it better.”

“Just having them love the Indigo experience is where we’re really focusing our attention.”

Indigo’s quarterly revenue reports (period ending Dec. 28, 2013) released in February reveal that online sources are a small but fast-growing source of revenue for the company. Online sources contributed $41.5 million of the $332.4 million in revenue – just over 12% – but grew 19.3% compared to the same period last year. Overall revenue grew only 3%.

Priorities reflected in app

This dual focus on both in-store and online retail can be seen in Indigo’s recently refreshed iOS and Android apps, which feature a barcode scanner, store locator and check-in, online ordering with ship-to-home, and their loyalty rewards program.

“If you have our app, it’s because you love Indigo and you’re a loyal Indigo customer,” Reynolds said. “So we do see higher order values, we see more loyalty from those who have the app and have downloaded it. We [also] see an increased average order value for those who are purchasing in-store.”

Still, Reynolds thinks the app doesn’t reward customers enough for their in-store mobile interactions.

“We haven’t made it robust enough for our customers. We have to give them a really good reason to check-in.”

“It’s tough to make those voices be heard across all the different areas when you’re a large retailer with hundreds of stores, but we’ll get there.”

Making digital signage fit

Reynolds is also reserved when it comes to possible digital in-store signage that could link in-store and online offers and recommendations.

“If you stick digital signage up all over the place, you’re cluttering your store. You’re making it not the kind of place you want to come and have a coffee and read a book.”

“Just having them love the Indigo experience is where we’re really focusing our attention. I do think you can do that with digital without being tacky or intrusive or gawdy.”

Knowing when to keep online and in-store separate, when to cross-promote, and when to merge the two experiences is a delicate balance that Reynolds keeps in mind.

“It’s tough to make those voices be heard across all the different areas when you’re a large retailer with hundreds of stores, but we’ll get there.”

Store 2014 conference

Retail Council of Canada’s Store 2014 Conference is June 3-4 at Toronto Congress Centre.

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