Shining a Light on Omnichannel Proficiency

Jul 20, 2016 — Megan Howse
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Everyone is talking “omnichannel proficiency” but few are taking action so we’re getting up close and personal with the retail strategy! What does it mean? What are the challenges and where do you begin? Who is doing it successfully and what will the next trends be?

Picture omnichannel proficiency

The majority of customers today start their path to purchase online, but still ultimately want to purchase in-store. They are hungry for experiential, digital engagements with your brand that they can ideally share with their friends on social media. They know what they want, when they want it and their expectations of your store are higher than ever. Integrating your digital and physical selling channels to meet customer’s current expectations seems to be overdue. Don’t panic, you’re not alone.

Confessions of the challenges

According to a recent RetailWire survey, retailers fully realize it’s an extremely important task but there are some major hurdles that extend farther than they have before.

  • 24% of respondents expressed challenges in integrating with existing or legacy systems
  • 19% of respondents expressed limited resources and competing priorities
  • 16% of respondents expressed difficulty in showing the return on investment

Get personal

Where do you begin? It’s important to prioritize based on your customer, their path to purchase and any pain points they may have. Spend time to truly understand your buyer persona and how to excite and delight them.

  • Long lineups? Start with alleviating your point of sale and payment process.
  • Limited store space and therefore limited SKUs? Extend your virtual inventory.
  • Customers can’t visualize your product? An in-store digital shelf with strong content tells the story.
  • Large space where items are difficult to find? A great website or mobile app can help

Prioritize your solution options with those built on an agile platform so that your various systems can work together to solve your omnichannel dilemma, not complicate it.

Diary of the innovators

While it’s not the norm just yet, there are number of retailers taking omnichannel head on.

Sport Chek 

They recently opened a flagship store in Vancouver, BC showing a whole lot more than walls lined with product. The store combined with a training center includes motion-activated digital screens, 3-D holograms of products, video walls, and shop-in-shop kiosks all truly capitalizing on technology in fitness.

JCPenney

When faced with an evolve or die dilemma, they chose profit via a massive overhaul. After hiring an omnichannel team they set clear priorities and very fast-paced timelines. Major changes started with the introduction of a buy online, pickup in-store the same day service and evolved into further investments in technology including their e-commerce, mobile applications, digital presence and analytics.

Sephora

Already having a unique in-store environment and award-winning website, they needed to move forward with a mobile-first strategy that would link their digital and physical shopping experiences. The Sephora app allows for personalization including tracking previous purchases no matter where they were made, creating wish lists and viewing sampling history. It also integrates with Apple Passbook allowing for notifications when members are nearby.

Snapshot for the future

Focus on continuing to make your store a experiential destination. Build a relationship with your customers in-store and on their phones. Identify products that not only engage with the customer, but with one another to enable cross-selling and upselling. Implement technologies to truly visualize what your products may look like in the customers lives. Bridge technologies to make the path to purchase even easier. Marry in self-checkout options and mobile tap to pay.

Retail thought-leaders agree that, to achieve omnichannel proficiency, you can’t do it without great in-store experiences. Watch our webinar with RetailWire to see exclusive study results on which in-store technologies will make omnichannel a reality. Listen to the survey findings in more detail by clicking the link below:

Watch the Webinar

Topics: Customer Experience

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