The term “omnichannel” emerged and was promptly adopted by individuals across the retail landscape – organization leaders, influencers, reporters, and beyond. At this point, however, the word has no place in the industry. Why? Because shopping is a singular experience with various touchpoints. Your customers, in all honesty, don’t care about the concept of omnichannel – they merely want seamlessness.
Further, approaching retail from an omnichannel perspective can often silo activities. Instead, retailers should approach the shopping journey as a whole and leverage technology to streamline operations and effectively meet customer expectations. This is especially important now that the path to purchase is no longer a linear sequence of events.
Easier said than done
Today, the multichannel approach necessary to succeed in retail can cause retailers to emphasize certain operational aspects more heavily than others. In particular, a number of retailers have fallen victim to relationship building with shoppers (e.g., developing robust communications efforts across social media and email); and yet, they’ve lost focus on other key – though seemingly less glamourous – activities, including pricing strategies, inventory effectiveness and staffing optimization. For example, retailers are keen on delivering regular email communications to shoppers in order to drive in-store visits; however, when a shopper visits the store only to find their desired item at a different price – or it’s out of stock – the email was useless.
Leveraging technology to merge the gap
As retailers navigate the complex environment – balancing online and in-store commerce – it’s imperative to remember that the physical store remains the preferred destination for shoppers, and its sales value far exceeds online. When analyzing and allocating budget to various operations, retail leaders should determine how technology can elevate efforts across the spectrum; this includes both capex and opex expenditures. From there, technological solutions can be implemented in a thoughtful manner that directly impacts a retailer’s bottom line. For example, retailers who want to better understand shopping patterns should implement a traffic counting solution. This enables them to not only see when shoppers are visiting the store, but also to address staff levels as well as inventory levels and promotions.
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