Q&A: Batteries Plus digital head focuses on personalization, inventory – Chain Store Age

Batteries Plus is undergoing transformation as a veteran digital executive joins the company.
Chain Store Age recently spoke with Aaron Bundschuh, the new chief digital officer of Batteries Plus. Bundschuh will focus on reshaping the digital and e-commerce experience for the company’s retail and commercial customers. He has over 20 years of experience in the digital space, leading e-commerce and digital marketing efforts for organizations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, where he led the company’s e-commerce launch.
[Read more: Batteries Plus names new digital head, plans e-commerce revamp]
What is your vision for the Batteries Plus omnichannel experience in the next 12 months?
I want to change the buying experiences for categories such as batteries and device repair. It’s just incredibly transactional. We want to be the retailer that is really figuring out what’s important to the customer in this purchase process.

Batteries Plus is providing omnichannel customers with information like, ‘This is what to expect when you go in the store for your installation. This is about how long it’s going to take. This is what you’re going to be doing during the installation. Here’s the product that fits.’
In the store, we are building new experiences in store, such as digital displays, or kiosks or Pads, that brings interactive web content which really gets shoppers ingrained into the experience. into the store as well. We’re working with our merchandising teams to bridge the online and in-store experience gap and make sure that there is very cohesive omnichannel consumer experience.
[Read more: Batteries Plus rebrands name, stores, e-commerce site]
How is Batteries Plus approaching customer personalization?
The second thing I’d like to see us to do is leverage data to provide hyper-personalized online experiences. Using car batteries as an example, Batteries Plus wants to know what vehicles the customer drives as soon as they enter the store. Whether you come in the store, or log in on your device, we want to surface up the right message for you based on what we know about you.

What was your prior purchase history and shopping behavior, in-store and online. What have you bought from us. Are you more of a premium customer or a value-based customer. This requires building a data infrastructure internally, to where we now have our best guess of who you are and what’s important to you.
This means, for example, Batteries Plus might detect from your IP address when you visit our site that you’re in the Midwest, we know it’s December, you visited a car page. We know it’s freezing cold there. You probably need a diagnosis of your battery. Or maybe you already know that you’re in need of a battery. Let’s bring that two to three clicks forward.
In the store, if a customer announces themselves, the associate should know what products to steer them toward. You don’t want to make consumers hunt for content or a shopping experience.
I also think personalized device repair represents a huge opportunity for Batteries Plus. I look at the competitive landscape and retailers typically ask what kind of phone or tablet you have and what problem is it having. The experience is transactional, but people have a very emotional tie to their phone. They’re tethered to it. They want to know more than just if they have the right piece of glass that they need to repair their cracked screen or if they have the right battery.
Customers want to know what you will do to their phone. What if it’s something you can’t fix? What’s the warranty around it? There are various pieces of information that we might need to provide to a device repair consumer to make them want to interact with us, and there’s not a lot of experiences out there today that are providing it.
How has supply chain disruption affected Batteries Plus?
There were a lot of missed opportunities when we didn’t have inventory in our warehouses or in the store. We’re doing a lot of work to make sure that if we get into another situation like this, we will be in a much better stance.

For example, if a store doesn’t have the product that a customer is interested in buying at that moment, we will surface a list of similar products that the store has available today. But we will also check inventory in nearby stores that might be carrying that exact product.
Batteries Plus has also made some upgrades on this cross-referencing technology within our proprietary product information management System, as well as some new logic and experiences on the e-commerce site. We’re getting ready to launch both of those features soon.  


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