An omnichannel retail strategy is the new norm in today’s supply chains. The days of managing channels on an individual basis are over, and consumers are using multiple devices and e-commerce platforms for nearly all purchases. In fact, 78% of U.S. individuals over the age of 15 at some point use e-commerce platforms to make purchases, asserts Business Insider. Although this represents a stark change in shopping habits, the essence of lies in its convenience, reports TechCrunch, and convenience is key to the conversion of 18% of visitors to actual purchases. Therefore, an omnichannel retail strategy must become the new standard business model for companies wanting to remain competitive.
The Problem: Retailers Have Yet to Act on Omnichannel Needs
Omnichannel might be a buzzword in retail circles, but most retailers are still stuck in the multichannel days. As explained by James Pepper of ITProPortal, retailers that have not yet deployed connected technologies, tracking systems, and integrated e-commerce platforms, are simply unable to make the transition into an omnichannel retail strategy. In addition, although a mere 19% of retailers have implemented the technology necessary to develop an omnichannel retail business model, 90% of retailers know that omnichannel is the future of their organizations.
The Solution: Systems Enabling An Omnichannel Retail Strategy Are Easier to Implement Than Ever
The solution, for retailers struggling with omnichannel development and deployment, lies in advanced systems that utilize an open-source architecture. Such technology allows the integration of existing, legacy systems with newer platforms, including a software-as-a-service (SaaS) warehouse management system. As a result, more companies are actively investing in an omnichannel retail strategy by realigning business goals and processes with the need to provide a seamless customer experience.
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The Reward: How to Develop an Omnichannel Retail Business Model
For most purchases, consumers are no longer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. However, that does not mean that the value of brick-and-mortar stores is decreasing. Instead, this indicates a shift in buying patterns that will place greater pressure on brick-and-mortar stores to provide the customized experience of a virtual world in a brick-and-mortar setting. This is most obvious in business models allowing for ship-to-store and curbside pickup of online orders.
- Use technology to manage warehousing and transportation.
- Avoid over-customization, looking for off-the-shelf solutions that meet essential requirements and minimizing the need for modification of systems.
- Get feedback from customers through online venues, such as requesting reviews of purchased products, touching base with owners of abandoned shopping carts, and using loyalty programs to gather data on consumer experiences.
- Upgrade your e-commerce platforms, encouraging consumers to spend more time online and increasing the rate of conversions.
- Offer non-traditional shipping and pickup options, including additional convenience shipping options, like curbside pickup, critical to one in five omnichannel sales.
- Track savings versus costs, helping warehouse managers to control costs and stay competitive.
- Follow examples of major brands that have implemented best-in-class omnichannel retail strategies.
Do More Than Talk About Omnichannel Retail; Make It the Cornerstone of Your Business Model
Simply planning to implement omnichannel retail strategies “at some point” is not enough, and this mindset will result in bankruptcy, not unlike the recent demise of Toys ‘R’ Us. Make omnichannel retail the focus of all business decisions, and start implementing the technologies and practices necessary to make it an immersive, enjoyable experience for customers today.