By Rick Kenney

With a few hundred fashion brands and retailers gathering in New York for a session on ecommerce, you’d expect a heavy emphasis on merchandising, right? Wrong. During a recent Grow Fashion event, sessions and discussions were primarily focused on omni-channel, specifically the demand for shopper-centric—not channel-centric—intelligence.

The event began with Josh Krepon, VP of Digital Commerce at COLE HAAN, emphasizing the need to look beyond simple data points and see not only the device that is accepting the transaction, but also WHERE that transaction is happening. With burgeoning data capabilities, retailers and brands should look to see where mobile sales are happening. Retailers could find, for example, that mobile sales are clustered around their stores. With this insight, they are empowered to redefine their omni-channel strategy in order to implement a specific tactic that supports their shoppers’ engagement.

And Matt Kritzer, VP eCommerce at Tommy John, illustrated just how important omni-channel insights are when he stated his next hire needed to be a data scientist. With someone on the team that can triage opportunities for digital commerce and online marketing, retailers gain the ability to better align their omni-channel strategy to meet both customers’ preferences and the organization’s overarching business goals.

In a ‘Store Meets eCommerce’ session, David Cost, VP eCommerce, and Rich Rivera, District Manager, both of Deb Shops, shared stories of bringing omni-channel campaigns to life, with the Director of Digital Commerce, Jennifer Fitzpatrick, outlining the impact these campaigns have on shopper engagement, both in store and on Instagram. The 2014 Prom Season Instagram promotion, for example, encouraged girls to come into the stores and try on dresses with their friends, snap a picture with the “Instant Prom Date,” a cardboard cutout of a young man in a suit, and tag #DebShops and #InstantPromDate in their uploads. Over the course of six weeks (from mid-March to mid-April 2014), Deb Shops received more than 1,000 entries and gained over 10,000 new Instagram followers.

Omni-channel may be a buzzword tossed out regularly, but the reality is that 68% of all millennial shoppers demand a seamless experience across channels. Clearly, an omni-channel strategy is not simply a luxury. It is the expectation, and, as a result, is vital for retailers to implement in order to deliver a truly integrated shopping experience.

Today’s fashionable consumers are digitally engaged, gathering vast amounts of information from various sources before making a purchase. These consumers expect engagement across multiple channels and have high expectations. So how can you deliver the experience they look for?

Check out this report to meet and understand the Digital Diva.