“You’ve just got to be part of your customer’s lives. It’s the easiest way to sell product” – Chris Kyvetos, Co-Founder of Sneakerboy

We are all used to hearing the statistics around the power of omni-channel retailing bandied about in these ways:

“Nearly 80% of consumers interact with brands or products through digital before arriving at the physical stores.”

“Omni-channel shoppers will spend 15% to 30% more than multi-channel consumers and exhibit stronger brand loyalty.”

However, let us stop looking an omni-channel as an isolated buzzword, and start to consider how we can take this mindset and cultivate innovation and challenge business paradigms.

This morning we hosted an exclusive CEO Breakfast with special guest, Chris Kyvetos, co-founder of homegrown omni-channel retailer Sneakerboy.

Whilst Sneakerboy organically lives and breathes omni-channel innovation, the back-to-basics approach to the importance of the physical bricks-and-mortar store still remains a pinnacle factor of their success.

In this morning’s event Chris told our audience of the retail sector’s leading CEO’s and executives: “You’ve just got to be part of your customer’s lives. It’s the easiest way to sell product”.

Ultimately isn’t this what omni-channel is all about?

Successful omni-channel retailing is about engaging with your customer on their journey to your brand, so where does that begin for you?

For Sneakerboy customers, this is in their pocket on mobile devices, in stores on their journeys to university or the office, and in locations where they socialise with friends.

Their concept is a natural fit to the digitally connected consumer of today who has several potential journeys to a brand.

With the internet as their stockroom, and social media as their promotion, Chris spoke of the “embarrassing amount of time” the team spend on social media every day.

“We live on it!” he said – but then so does the customer! Every second, on average, around 6000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter globally.

Many in-store team members have become natural influencers and brand ambassadors creating social followings not just around the product, but humanising the brand name.

These ambassadors engage on all social platforms including the likes of WeChat in China, to truly engage with Sneakerboy’s target market.

With shoppers 29% more likely to make a purchase the same day when they use social media, it is not surprising this approach seems to work incredibly well for this brand.

Social media then plays a big role in terms of creating “buzz”.

Sneakerboy host regular product launches and promotions announced and spread through word-of-mouth over social media.

The ‘buzz’ that this social following has created has resulted in the brand blocking whole laneways in Melbourne’s CBD due to the power of their following.

Then comes the power of their geographical location and formats of the physical stores.

“[Our customer] seeks a store space to experience the product and brand first-hand, but also that becomes part of their lifestyle, a place to meet with no formal structure’ said Kyvetos.

By having welcoming environments where there is no pressure to purchase immediately but simply live and breathe the brand and lifestyle, Sneakerboy has built a strong hub for their following.

With the social following and physical stores becoming active social hubs in the lifestyles of their consumers, Sneakerboy’s ability to fit a natural fit in the lives of their customers has gained them significant competitive advantage.

“One thing you cannot do online is socialise, therefore the store encourages the social aspect of shopping. We have found that our customers shopping socially in our stores has given us a significant competitive advantage over pure play web retailers” said Kyvetos.

“Further to that, I’ve noticed that the layout of the stores has provided an advantage over physical competitors. They are open places (based off public spaces) people seem to feel comfortable coming and going, meeting there, collecting purchases.”

We are excited to be hosting Chris Kyvetos, Co-Founder of Sneakerboy again this Thursday 22nd October at our exclusive CEO event in Melbourne. If you are interested in attending please email vikki@retaildoctor.com.au however limited spaces remain.

By Vikki Weston and Brian Walker

First published on Smart Company, 21st October 2015.