What’s Your Omnichannel Secret Weapon? A Future Stores Recap

Future Stores 2016 wrapped up last week with roughly 250 top retail minds getting together to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the industry as everyone rushes to achieve what can feel like an elusive omnichannel dream.

The three-day event was jammed packed with impressive speakers from Elo, Kate Spade, DSW, Starbucks, Williams-Sonoma, the NBA Store, and many, many more. Although each had a unique story to tell, there was one clear theme from the whole event: It’s all about relationships.

Relationships connect your brand. As we forge into uncharted waters with new in-store technology, it’s vital to remember that the key differentiator between your store and your website is your people. Relationships are powered by your sales associates -- aka brand ambassadors.

Tech is part of the solution, but it’s not THE solution.”- Jenica Myskowski, VP of Stores, Kate Spade

As Jenica Myskowski, VP of Stores at Kate Spade, put it, tech is part of the solution but, it’s not THE solution. People are authentic connectors that bring a brand to life, they are your story tellers. Jenica went so far as to say people are the most important part of your omnichannel strategy.

Rob Bogan, VP of International Systems & Store Systems at Williams-Sonoma, echoed those feelings and discussed how his company was incentivizing endless aisle and other in-store tech for associates to help marry human touch with technology while creating a culture that focuses on helping customers across all of Williams-Sonoma’s channels.

Walgreens highlighted their own cultural change of shifting from having employees focused on tasks to having them focus on customers and the type of experience the associate is able to create for them. And just in case you needed one more example, Home Depot proudly tells their associates that taking care of the customer is #1 – sales is second.

Sounds kind of simple, right? It’s easy to get distracted by the latest shiny technology but it’s important to always ground that new in-store experience back to the fundamentals – which is the human relationship.

To learn more about how technology can enhance, rather than replace your associates, check out our whitepaper: Empowering Sales Associates to Become Brand Ambassadors.