By Ian Auerbach, Solutions Marketing Manager, In-Store Commerce
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to meet with a number of retailers to discuss omni-channel, both in terms of what it means to their business today, as well as their future vision for growing omni-channel capabilities to further enhance the consumer shopping experience. There are a lot of interesting approaches being considered, but there is consistency in the overall message. This includes:
Omni-Channel is a top business priority
Many retailers have been stating that omni-channel initiatives are at, or are close to, the top of their priority list. Retailers are no longer talking about omni-channel – they are executing and implementing omni-channel solutions! We are seeing this with many retail clients leveraging our digital commerce platform to enhance the in-store shopping experience for consumers by providing access to online information while shopping in the store. This access enables customer-centric capabilities such as endless aisle, clienteling and suggested selling.
Focus on the consumer (of course this is not new, but more focused than ever)
Retailers have always emphasized the importance of providing a great shopping experience for their customers. What has changed, however, is the level of emphasis being placed on the consumer for most new initiatives. Consumers are leading the way for retailers, forcing them to play catch-up. Thanks to mobile technology, consumers now have access to all kinds of digital information when shopping in stores. Retailers need to make sure their stores have access to the same digital information to arm associates to provide the best consumer shopping experience in their stores. One recurring message: no matter what omni-channel initiatives you are implementing make sure the focus remains on the consumer experience. Ultimately, it’s about keeping things simple and adding value for the consumer.
Move faster, or fall behind
I have worked with retailers for more than 25 years and have seen a lot of change both from a technical and operational perspective. Recent discussions with retailers have reinforced an important point – there has really been one constant over the years and that is the need to always move faster! Every new innovation has driven retailers to adapt faster to change. Omni-channel is driven by consumer expectations, which are constantly evolving, and retailers want to make sure they put in solutions that can adapt as quickly as consumer demands change. This is a critical element when implementing new omni-channel processes – be sure any new solution provides elements that will allow you to change quickly so that you can stay ahead of your customers, and your competition!