Omnichannel strategy is a hot subject in retail circles. But as it turns out, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to defining omnichannel as a concept.
A report from Revmetrix found that a staggering 70 percent of retailers are struggling to implement a tech-enabled shopping experience that puts customers first. Instead, many of those brands continue to operate with the belief that different sales channels, such as in-store, online and mobile, should be segmented into silos.
Those companies are misguided in thinking that this multi-channel strategy qualifies as omnichannel selling, according to the report. By keeping each channel separate and distinct from the others, retailers are failing to deliver the fluid shopping experience that defines omnichannel retail. Analytics, inventories and sales personnel are all isolated to one of these channels, and this ultimately hurts the consumer experience as well as retail sales opportunities.
“Customer-facing tools such as smartphones, tablets, and in-store kiosks have become mission critical to the shopping experience, yet most retailers still have not integrated these tools into a cohesive system that creates circular commerce,” says Andrea Weiss, founder of The O Alliance, which co-sponsored the report.
”While omni-channel was about giving shoppers a single view of a brand across all touch-points, the customer-centric model is about giving the brand a single view of the shopper, understanding who she is, what she wants, and how she behaves at all times.”
Building a True Omnichannel Brand
Revmetrix offers a series of steps retailers can take to transform their shopping experience with omnichannel strategy solutions. The first step involves making better use of consumer data, starting with tracking shopping behavior across multiple channels.
While each channel offers its own treasure chest of behavioral data, the most valuable insights come from tracking behavior as consumers move from one channel to the next. For retailers new to omnichannel strategy, the insights from this analysis can form the basis for wholesale changes to their selling approach.
Along with consumer behavior, the success of cross-channel marketing should also be examined to determine which campaigns are generating the strongest ROI. Revmetrix notes that nearly half of all retailers currently lack the ability to track these campaigns, which means those companies are flying blind on critical marketing strategy.
Other changes are organizational in nature: Eventually, retailers must restructure themselves so that the business functions and leadership of all selling channels are integrated and collaborating. There’s no longer a need to have separate heads of in-store retail versus online sales and so forth. Instead, the leadership should be consolidated and working on the same omnichannel goals, which focus on a customer-centric approach — regardless of where a customer’s journey takes them.
When these organizational changes are in place, brands can start rolling out a public-facing shopping experience that wields mobile retail technology to power an effective, engaging omnichannel experience.
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