Ditte Lunde Hardahl is the Head of Omnichannel at Plantorama, a family-owned gardening business. Beginning as a single store, Plantorama has become Denmark’s largest retail chain for gardening.
Shortly after joining Plantorama in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the business. As Head of Omnichannel, Ditte and her team were responsible for transforming the ecommerce business, as well as setting up home delivery and click-and-collect options for shoppers adapting to the lockdown.
In this interview, Ditte explains gaining an in-depth understanding of their shoppers has been a key priority for her team, and it will continue to be crucial for successful omnichannel marketing going forward. She discusses the importance of providing an inspirational online shopping experience as essential to convert browsing shoppers into buyers.
Ditte says one of the biggest challenges in Plantorama regarding omnichannel is they know far too little about cross channel shoppers.
“We don’t know when a customer on plantorma.dk is a pre-visit going to a physical store or the other way around,” she says.
We know from the market that an omnichannel customer might be worth double up on frequency and spend. But in Plantorama this is only a hypothesis, and we need to bring some light on this.”
Plantorama does have some KPIs regarding understanding and offline online customers, such as Google store visits rate, as well as QR codes placed around in their physical stores, where shoppers can read more about products online. They also have performed shopper research, but don’t have ongoing data.
“A loyalty scheme would give us ongoing data and insights into where to focus, where to develop, where to work smarter with our shoppers. Also to learn what shoppers expect when they visit us both offline and online.”
Another one of Plantorama’s biggest omnichannel challenges is how to recreate the unique in-store shopping experience on their online store.
Ditte is honest in her response as to how they can solve this challenge. “It's an excellent question because I don't really have the answer for it,” she says.
Since day one, Plantorama has strived to make an interesting experience for shoppers visiting one of our stores."
"There are many small surprises placed strategically around in our stores that inspire shoppers with gardening and home decoration.”
“Plantorama.dk is still quite a new channel. We have to look into what we can do online that would surprise shoppers. We also have to ask them what they would actually expect? And we need to innovate to recreate the unique Plantorama brand experience that we do so successfully offline.”
The consumer research done by Plantorama shows there are many shoppers who know a lot about gardening. But there are also many shoppers who know very little about how to get the most out of their plants. Ditte explains to cater to everyone, their website and online store needs to help both types of shoppers.
We have to do a lot more than just explaining product details. We have to be able to inspire, show more options, show more colors and show related products that will help the shopper succeed when they get home.”
Ditte explains more than 60% of visitors to Plantorama’s website enter through their guide universe. The Plantorama guide universe is an inspirational channel designed to advise shoppers and explain how to succeed with gardening and an outdoor lifestyle.
“For years, we’ve been looking into how to digitize the gardening expertise our team has. We know our shoppers are searching for knowledge about how to improve their garden. There wasn’t a lot of information online, so we just filled it in. This resulted in being able to drive a lot of organic traffic to our online store.”
“For shoppers who are browsing and do not have the intention of buying, we attempt to nudge them in different ways."
Recently, Plantorama has improved how they present products within their guide universe, both relevant products about information shoppers are searching for in the guide universe, or just popular products from the offline stores. Ditte says it’s a big focus area to combine their guide universe with their product catalog because it makes sense for the shoppers’ journey.
By adding products into our guide universe and working constantly with the performance of the products, we have seen excellent results."
"Shoppers are actually further down in the funnel than we expected them to be. They are open to being exposed to products, and they are also in the end more willing to actually purchase on the site.”
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Plantorama has continued to evolve the options shoppers have for omnichannel check out. Whether click-and-collect, home delivery or just encouraging online shoppers to visit the store.
Ditte wants to connect online and offline shoppers and create a seamless shopper experience across all channels.
“Personally, I believe more than 30% of the traffic we see online can be linked to physical store visits either before or after. It's a gut feeling because we don't have that information for shoppers crossing channels. But we have some indicators from Google Store visits that indicate this number.”
Plantorama does nationwide home delivery with their own trucks and drivers. A tactic which worked well during the COVID-19 lockdowns, which shoppers continue to use for heavier purchases.
Omnichannel for Plantorama is of course to make a seamless experience for shoppers. They should shop wherever they like, how they would like to, and we have just started that journey.”
A big thanks to Ditte for participating in this interview. Stay tuned to https://www.ipaper.io/insights for more insights from retailers going forwards.