Retailers must realize omni-channel is here to stay

By: Teamwork Retail

The ways in which customers can research and purchase products are vast. Gone are the days when traveling to physical stores or using home computers were the only methods of buying items. Today, consumers can use all types of devices, including tablets and smartphones, to complete orders anywhere at any time.

Businesses that have not given omni-channel much thought up to this point should start doing so because some of the market’s major players have already embraced such strategies. A ThinkWithGoogle report by Julie Krueger asserted companies must update their marketing campaigns to coincide with the evolving industry.

Macy’s is one retail business that has realized keeping sales channels and marketing teams separate is no longer the best way of supporting customers.

“We used to have two separate, siloed budgets. We really have only one marketing budget. We look at the best way to spend that; whether it’s digital or offline, we focus on how they work together to deliver the most sales and the best customer experience,” explained Serena Potter, group vice president of digital media strategy at Macy’s, as quoted by Krueger.

Make sure all teams are on board
With different teams – physical, e-commerce and mobile – working toward delivering consistent shopping experiences, businesses must ensure employees are supported properly through necessary metrics. If personnel focused on online shopping are only rewarded for digital sales, they will likely not bother helping with marketing campaigns geared toward brick-and-mortar stores, Krueger explained.

Krueger indicated businesses that overlook such aspects of omni-channel retailing will negatively affect the very goals they want to achieve through these strategies.

Possess the right tools
Since omni-channel retailing occurs across all sales platforms, companies cannot rely so heavily on outdated equipment to achieve consistent experiences. Brands should either replace or augment traditional point-of-sale tools with more flexible options.

“Companies’ future success hinges on omni-channel retailing.”

Omni-channel POS solutions integrated with cloud computing deliver functionality to businesses that depends largely on real-time information to make decisions. Cloud software is accessible through Internet-connected devices, enabling employees to use PCs, tablets and smartphones to view what is happening across the entire organization immediately.

For personnel tasked with offering personalized customer service, what better way is there to see which products are selling the best and which items could benefit from timely promotions?

Consumers in the United States and U.K. are participating in omni-channel retailing. Consumers in the United States and United Kingdom are participating in omni-channel retailing.

U.S., U.K. audiences embracing omni-channel model
Retailers in the United States and United Kingdom with the right marketing strategies and POS tools can especially take advantage of omni-channel sales opportunities. A Wipro Digital report discovered 71 percent of U.K. customers purchased more than half of their 2014 holiday products online, 10 percent higher than their U.S. counterparts. Both markets improved well compared to the same time frame in 2013, with year-over-year increases of 45 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Despite not buying as high of a percentage of goods online as customers across the pond, the average U.S. shopper still spent $400 on e-commerce products this past holiday, compared to $301 for in-store orders. Wipro Digital indicated online shopping is more convenient than physical stores, as well as offers better prices.

“Consumers continue their steady march online, finding few reasons to shop in-store rather than online for their holiday shopping,” said Wipro Digital Head Avinash Rao. “But even online, omni-channel retailers are losing customers to Internet pure-plays. Bricks and mortar retailers are having difficulty delivering on the benefits of omni-channel retailing.”

Retailers that stop approaching omni-channel strategies through the lens of what the marketplace used to demand will never maximize their opportunities in this evolving and fruitful sector. Marketing strategies, unified teams and right solutions such as omni-channel POS solutions can all help brands improve their success in this industry.

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