Omni-Channel Retail – Let's Look at the Real Picture!

Technology | 4 minutes to read

08th Jun, 2018

The further we are moving in time, the more integrated technology is getting into our daily lives. Even without a deliberate realization, we are taking technology’s help to sustain the smooth functioning of our day-to-day life. Retail has no different landscape than this. It has undergone immense amount of change with the advent of the concept of ‘omnipresence’ and that cannot be denied.

Let’s accept, the lines between online and real has indeed become blurred by now. With the changing consumer behaviors, marketers/salespeople and customer support representatives are also changing their response accordingly.

In the hyper-competitive market that we have today, the only key to sustenance is continuous evolution. While the movement from brick and mortar to mobile was fine but what next to satiate the growing consumer demand for a more integrated experience?

Off late, the industry has been abuzz with this phrase Omni Channel Retail. Ever wondered what made it the new retail reality? Let’s take the example of Oasis – a UK-based retailer that has merged their mobile app, ecommerce site, and brick-and-mortar stores to provide their customers with an integrated and simple shopping experience.

The moment you enter their store, you will be greeted by executives armed with iPads. Right from providing you with on-the-spot, up-to-date and accurate information, to placing an order online (if something goes out of stock); these executives strive to offer you with a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints.

While there are some complexities involved in selling across multiple channels, however, forward-looking organizations have actually started realizing the value that comes from multi-channel selling. This is because of the technological intervention that has been able to address the demands of customers, as well as vendors in an omnichannel world.

In the time to come, these things will clearly drive the omnichannel retail – consumers’ growing expectations of personalization apart from their innate need of getting assistance on ‘what’ they should want and retailers ability to weave in technology in their process so seamlessly so as to deliver the most top-notch experiential service to their customers.

Moving Beyond the Established
Digital dressing rooms, interactive screen mirrors, digital catalogue etc. are just the tip of the iceberg. The race is on to grab the consumer’s attention with an engaging experience.

There could be numerous strategies required for creating an engaging and seamless experience that can set you apart from the competition. However, there is no thumb-rule for the same. Ideally, what works well for some, might not prove that beneficial for the other.

For example, a ‘ship-from-store’ strategy may be a profitable decision for one but may be a long-term expense -incurring statement for the other.

It is important to know what your consumers exactly want and what are their purchasing patterns, however, assessing your own capacity to undertake technology solutions is also something which should be kept in mind.

Things can even go wrong when you have all the resources in place, for example, just rushing for IoT integration for a better customer experience can sometime hasten you to the conclusion where you don’t see a return of your investment.

The key is patient planning and flawless implementation, things start ripening in their own time instead of immediate results.

Which Channel is Best for You?
There’s a different story with different selling channels as well, while of course, it is a connected experience you ought to deliver, it’s important to look at the individual channels as well for insights.

Depending upon your product and target audience, you can take a call on where to tighten the screws more. A look at the channels:

Social Media
The platform offers huge potential to increase your brand awareness and thus, to encourage more sales. With regular ORM, you can get engaged with the people, thereby creating strong brand connect.

Ecommerce
Shoppers first look online for a product before visiting a physical store. Other major advantages include – increasing online sales and building up SEO/search engine ranking.

Brick and Mortar
Without any offence to e-commerce, the B&M version does give a face to the brand name. The ‘right-here, right-now’ interaction which it offers with the consumers is unparalleled.

Mobile
It’s the device with maximum penetration then how can one ignore it. With this, your ultimate goal to make your consumers connect with your brand becomes easy and efficient.

Events
The channel offers a special connect platform, be it online or offline event. Regularly hosting events will help you generate repeat customers and strengthen up your sales.

Mailbox leverage
You can directly connect with your customers who are already engaged through email-marketing, so that they’re more likely to convert.  This certainly helps keeping your business on your customer’s radars.

SMS Way
With a 24/7 access, SMS marketing increasingly proves to be beneficial in communicating with customers at any point in time.

Given the current demanding retail landscape where consumers have the strong desire to interact across multiple channels, it’s critical that you select the right channels to focus upon, decide on the right omnichannel strategies, based on your niche and target audience for ensuring growth and sustenance.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

 

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