On the face of it, omni-channel is a simple concept.
A basic definition is that it relates to a type of retail which integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers, such as online, in a physical shop or by phone.
But shopping habits have changed massively over the last five years, driven by digital innovation and social media culture. Speed and convenience have met with price and availability to create a new type of demanding consumer who will want to make purchases anytime, anywhere and anyhow.
Those left behind with a disjointed or unconnected offering may well be left with a fragmented customer experience, which in turn can lead to a reduction in sales.
But as with any major industry change, there is opportunity.
It’s important for modern retailers to drive towards the retail environment of the future and create a unique and defined experience that encourages customers to return.
A recent study by Six Payment Services found that 40% of retailers have indicated that they already use omni-channel practices. More than 1 in 10 said they are focusing on developing an omni-channel experience for their customers, and 32% are planning to invest in this area in the next three years.
Additionally, 50% of respondents expected higher sales as a result of a successful omni-channel implementation programme.
So, what are the areas of opportunity?
Retailers can start by looking at their own supply chain. Consumers demand options like click & collect and same day delivery, so delivery optimisation is key. This will also allow retailers to look forward to even newer concepts like dark store, drones and even delivery robots.
Stores must deliver an experience to the consumer. This could be through the devices they can interact with in store or other technology such as VR/AR, RFID, Beacons or mobile payments.
Analytics and Insight
Finally, and most importantly, retailers must make sure the decisions they take are based on facts and insight. The latest technology enables better insights on demographics, zoning, dwelling, queuing and cross channel buying. This in turn can inform decision makers where best to invest to improve the experience of customers, no matter how they prefer to shop.
Many retailers will already have this information, but it can be difficult to interpret if its hidden in huge spreadsheets.
The rise of the ‘known unknown’ – data that you know you have, but don’t know how to turn into insight – can be a stumbling block, but the latest analytics software can help to uncover the key data that can make a difference.
If you’re struggling to find areas to improve your customers’ experience, or find it difficult to turn your data into helpful insight, get in touch with us here at Zoined and find out how you can benefit from the latest retail analytics.