A 4-Step Approach to Drive Omni-channel Retail Excellence

A 4-Step Approach to Drive Omni-channel Retail Excellence

October 5, 2016

Providing omni-channel customer experience has become a critical factor to differentiate brands. Effective omni channel strategies are those that can accurately and effectively integrate in-store, online and mobile sales channels to deliver a hassle free buying experience. Apart from revenue growth and ROI, factors such as increased customer satisfaction, net promoter scores, customer loyalty, and brand perception are also regarded as key factors to attract new prospects and maintain a large customer base. Technology investment and setting right processes are critical to enable the complete omni-channel customer experience.

In case of omni-channel solutions, technology investments are majorly needed to provide product and inventory visibility, personalize customer experience, and to enable retail stores and local fulfillment centers with pick & carry or pack & ship capabilities. But in order to realize the complete benefits from omni-channel initiatives, retailers must consider their capabilities and the challenges to seamlessly integrate systems such as CRM, POS, order management (OMS) and ecommerce platforms into all of their channels.

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Capture

To comprehensively enable and enhance omni channel retail solution, retailers would first need to capture the complete product information. The products that are listed should relate to the information that customers are searching for. Omni-channel success requires an underlying platform to manage or facilitate such systems and changes that relate to customers preferences and purchase patterns. This is where selecting the right real-time CRM platform comes in to picture.

Unifying disparate online and offline/store systems and applications is also a continuous challenge. Organizations with multiple databases will need to implement a data governance strategy such as Master Data Management (MDM) and integrate CRM with ERP to support inquiries such as inventory availability, goods in transit, and customer transaction history. Data governance measures can also help in streamlining views of the customer by consolidating and standardizing customer data, eliminating duplicate data and by preventing invalid data from being captured at the data entry sources.

Analyze

Omin-channel strategy also incorporates how retail performance metrics are calculated. Top retail metrics that typically need to be measured include bill/transaction value, total number of transactions, average basket size, customer share, RFM (recency, frequency and monetary value) and CLV (customer lifetime value).

Ideally analytics can help retailers deliver consistent customer experiences by gauging consumers’ desire to engage with their favorite brands or products over the channel that is most convenient to them at any given point of time. Analytics and loyalty solutions can offer numerous insights including –

  • Who are the most loyal customers and how frequently do they buy?
  • Which products have the customers viewed online before they walked into a specific store location?

The appropriate use of analytics can also keep customers engaged at individual touch points and maintain customer conversations across different channels. This includes gathering data and insights to identify –

  • How retailers can encourage their high value customers to purchase more often?
  • What products should retailers personalize and offer to a specific customer to increase his/her basket size?

Retailers who best acquire and analyze omin-channel data, use analytics to interpret customer preferences and act upon this data by personalizing campaigns, will have a distinct advantage.

Assess

Once we have gathered the relevant customer data it’s important to convert this data into actionable insights to identify buyer purchase patterns, loyalty program behaviors, social media preferences, buyer personal details and more – in order to deliver relevant and personalized offers. This data rich customer profiling results in enhancing customer engagement initiatives that facilitate revenue goals such as higher campaign conversions and increased customer lifetime value (CLV). This is where gaining a single view of the customer can help marketers design relevant campaigns, analyze customer journeys and enhance the overall consumer experience.

Training store associates has also become a major concern for retailers since store associates are expected to become product owners and personalize customer experience.

In-store Clienteling – a customer-centric single view screen available on a tablet or smartphone can empower the sales associate gain complete visibility across the customer data to provide a personalized shopping experience that can drive repeat visits.

Deliver and Promote

Consumers now expect offers and promotions not just based on who they are but also on how they communicate. It’s important to deliver branding and messaging with personalized offers or promotions across the most relevant channels that is optimized towards a customer’s communication preferences.

For this reason, retailers would need certain marketing platforms integrated to the CRM or analytics software that can help convert online research to in-store purchases, permit consumers to manage their loyalty program from any device (mobile or online or in store) and that can facilitate simultaneous promotions across multiple channels — i. e. on the e-commerce site, the mobile app or through SMS or across the physical stores.

Another potential benefit of a well-defined omni-channel strategy is to drive customers to shop in physical stores. Despite the predictions of the demise of brick-and-mortar stores, many research studies continue to show that consumers still prefer the experience of purchasing merchandise within the store. Many consumers also prefer in-store pickup to avoid online shipping costs; while some customers suggest that they find it convenient to pick items from a store rather than having them shipped to their homes. This trend clearly indicates that online channels can be designed to get consumers into the stores. This is the reason why some of the online only stores are planning to set up their physical stores.

To enable technology advancements, retailers would need to shift their focus to meet the needs of consumers anywhere, anytime, and however they want. Over time with smart omni-channel retailing strategy, one channel can drive another and retailers can set channel-agnostic revenue goals.

author-imageAuthor

Abhijeet Vijayvergiya,

VP – India, Bangladesh and South-East Asia, Capillary Technologies

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