Gabriël Dakdan is responsible for joining the dots between MediaMarkt’s digital and physical commerce channels in the Benelux. This helps the European retailer provide a more consistent customer experience and improve return on investment.
MediaMarkt is Europe's largest electronics retailer, with approximately 900 physical stores in 12 European countries, including 72 stores in the Benelux region. We also have a large digital presence, and know that many purchases still happen in our stores, though a big part of research and planning happens online.
It’s been a tough few years for retail, especially on the high street. For the first time ever, the number of online Dutch shops has surpassed the number of physical stores in the Netherlands. And this gives us an opportunity as retailers to think about how we boost offline sales with online tactics.
Consumers have become channel agnostic. They choose where and how they want to buy with you on a case by case basis.
Our challenge was to create a seamless experience across different points of sale as our customers' behaviours evolve — spending more time making decisions and considering more brands.
That’s why we needed to investigate how we could use the strength of our online channels to better support in-store sales, and boost the experience we’re providing our customers at the same time.
Connect online and offline for a coherent consumer ecosystem
Creating a seamless interaction between online and offline for our customers is one of our core goals. We know that consumers have become channel agnostic. They choose where and how they want to buy with you on a case by case basis. I know I do!
Our customers are always on the lookout for new and efficient features for their shopping experience, and we try to help them with that. Let’s say you order an item online but you want to pick it up in store. We can connect on- and offline inventory and within 30 minutes you will get confirmation for collection ‘near you’.
Not only is this an efficient service for our customers, it’s supporting the environment, too. Our stores are close to most people, usually within 30 minutes, so encouraging in store collection means needing less delivery trucks on the road. A real win-win.
One of my favourite features is being able to scan price cards in our stores via our MediaMarkt app to get more details. Whether you’re browsing for information on products or comparing prices, this functionality helps keep our customers in the MediaMarkt ecosystem.
But there’s always more we can do, and our next step was to take this online to offline connection further to help us reach our own marketing goals in a challenging retail environment.
Putting omnichannel to the test to drive offline growth
I sit within a digital marketing function, and traditionally this would’ve meant KPIs and targets that are digital only. Think of growing digital sales, increasing website traffic, and the like.
But what is interesting is that when you start to embrace cross-channel goals, you can start to do some really unique and innovative things. Creating more collaboration between teams and more shared goals requires a mindset shift. But one that is required when you want to tackle a challenge like ours.
We specifically wanted to test the impact of adding offline goals, like shop footfall or sales, into our online ad campaigns. To do this, we used a methodology called causal impact, which in simple terms means looking at the relationship between a test group and a comparable control group. This predicted how our sales would have performed if nothing changed.
We started by identifying two categories that had similar existing sales trends. It was important that the two categories were not related.
One category we chose was ‘koptelefoons’ (headphones). If we had chosen a second category of say, auxiliary cables, then you might expect to see similar trends because someone buying one might naturally buy the other. Therefore the second category we chose was ‘magnetrons’ (microwaves). These were our test and control groups.
As you can see, the sales trends were similar for both before we changed anything:
In May this year, we implemented the test by switching the test group (headphones) over to omnibidding. This was set up through Google Ads Smart Bidding account and uses AI to help you make accurate predictions about how different bid amounts might affect different business goals.
We hoped this would allow us to measure how much foot traffic our digital ads were actually driving, helping determine the full value of their online marketing to physical retail.
It took about three months to train the model and measure the effectiveness of the new strategy. We then compared our predictions with actual results and measured the difference between them to discover the impact:
As you can see, the results have been outstanding. Headphones saw a 9% online increase in sales and a 78% offline sales increase, compared to what we would have achieved without this new strategy.
Let the omnichannel retail revolution begin…
We all know how difficult retail has been in recent years — especially for those operating on the high street. But there are new ways for brands to reach customers online that can increase physical footfall too.
By shifting the way we look at KPIs, we have been able to use the strength of our online sales to boost store sales down to a macro-local level. By everyone being focused on shared goals, we are able to have a real impact.
Remember that with this new way of working, revenue can shift either way, on- or offline or in-app. But as long as the bottom line is positive, you’ve all succeeded together.