One could easily argue Sears may be too little, too late.
Retailers who aren’t paying attention will be the ones paying the price down the road.
Forbes contributor and Retail Minded founder Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle wrote Saturday (Aug. 23) about PriceWaiter, a startup that creates a “Name Your Price” button for a business’ website -- basically turning any e-commerce site into something like Priceline or eBay (see above screenshot from PriceWaiter website).
I sat down with Tara Bartlett, iQmetrix’s Director of Marketing, to discuss what lessons can be pulled from Foot Locker and applied to other retailers.
They no longer have to find a spot on the shelf for all of the inventory they carry, endless aisle quite literally offers a digital extension of shelf space so that the retailer can provide a less cluttered, more pleasant shopping space while still giving consumers more product choices.
When the opportunity to sell that product comes along the retailer doesn't miss out on that sale.
Another benefit to endless aisle is when a retailer pairs it with a virtual inventory program through suppliers. In this case, the retailer doesn’t carry the risk of carrying the inventory (it’s sitting in the cloud as part of the supplier’s virtual inventory program) however they can still provide the expanded product options to consumers. This works especially well for the unique and specialty items (like the size 13 purple Jordan’s in the Foot Locker example) that the retailer typically wouldn’t carry in stock but that when the opportunity to sell that product comes along the retailer doesn’t miss out on that sale.
Adding ship to store and ship to home options brings the eCommece experience consumers are accustomed to in-store.Consumers now get the best of both worlds, they can visit a store to touch and try products, have access to product experts while still having the expanded product availability eCommerce offers and flexible ways to get the product.
Bring the online experience in-store by offering interactive touchscreens throughout the store that provide relevant, useful product information that the consumer can use to make an educated purchase decision.
Tara: Retailers of all shapes and sizes should be looking at their omnichannel strategy. If they are trying to deliver the best possible consumer experience across more than one channel, whether or not they are even familiar with the term omnichannel, the concept remains. Consumers are using multiple channels to interact with retailers and retailers need to recognize this and come up with a strategy.
It’s not just the Macy’s, Walmarts and Best Buys of the world that need to be thinking omnichannel and it’s also not just the big guys who can afford it.
Omnichannel is simply about connecting your channels and ensuring consumers can interact with you when and how they want. The trick is to have the right solutions in place and make sure they too are connected. Whether you are working with an ERP or a simple POS, a sophisticated eCommerce platform or a free web template, you just need to ensure that there is a platform that is enabling your solutions to share information.
The smartest omnichannel retailers are integrating back-end and front end processes with centralized commerce platforms to deliver consistent information and a consistent experience.
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