Achieving Retail Agility through Omni-Channel Solutions
Retailers are constantly seeking new and exciting ways to entice customers. To do so, they must take advantage of the emergence of an excess of new markets, channels, products, and customer segments. This concept is called “retail agility”. In this blog we will discuss what it takes for your company to achieve retail agility by highlighting the key enablers, capabilities needed, consumer motivators, and the obstacles you may face along the way.
We are all aware that customers will choose retailers who provide an integrated but distinctive experience across channels. High-performing organizations will be able to identify and leverage the power of omni-channels while providing a seamless experience for customers.
Retail agility requires both flexible business processes and an IT architecture that supports rapid adjustments to market demands. For those of you looking to adopt agile practices, there are a few key enablers that will help point your company in the right direction.
- Business intelligence that administers a feedback loop.
- Infrastructure that supports rapid growth and deployment of new competences.
- Techniques that allow quick implementation and continual learning.
- Systems that support multiple geographies, brands, and channels.
- An IT application portfolio consisting of flexible and diverse services, which can be integrated to one another.
You must be honest with yourself and address the factors that are hindering your ability to capitalize on the rise of new channels and markets. To be a successful retailer, you must shift your technological capabilities to fit the requirements of an agile retail environment.
If you feel you aren’t especially skilled at adopting and effectively integrating new technologies, then it’s time to improve your capabilities. Here are the capabilities that you should work on to help acquire retail agility.
- Have a singular view of the customer: Customers are now well informed and less brand loyal than ever. They are quick to abandon retailers for another that they feel maximizes personal value. Retailers must treat each customer as an individual, and interact with them on a one-on-one basis to determine their individual needs, before they go elsewhere and you lose a customer.
- Omni-channel retailing: Consistency is key. Customers want to interact with brands in a consistent manner across all channels. This interaction must be seamless but must also provide variance within each channel in a way that delivers a unique experience for the customer.
- Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Creating a relationship with the consumer has always been important, however today customers are looking to build relationships in different ways, due to the rapid advancement of consumer-driven technology. Retailers should utilize social networks to obtain feedback, support the community, generate ideas, and conduct market research.
- Continuous design: As mentioned before, a unique experience should be provided within each channel and continually updated. This is imperative in order to differentiate your brand from competitors.
Customers are getting increasingly more difficult to satisfy and keep loyal to your brand. To help offset this trend, here are key motivators to consider that will help deliver a richer customer experience.
- Encouraging customers through rich information: A customer is more likely to buy from a retailer who provides rich information across all channels such as in-store – not just online
- Unified shopping experience across channels: Customers are now more likely to shop in multiple channels for one product. This means that the omni-channel shopping experience should be seamless.
- Utilizing social media across all channels: Customers want social media platforms integrated into their shopping experience. Customers enjoy sharing information with their peers about the products they are interested in.
Even as an established retailer, you will have to overcome some structural obstacles that hinder the delivery of an integrated omni-channel shopping experience.
- Siloed applications: Many retailers have various legacy applications that were built to serve a single channel. It may be hard to extend these applications to support an omni-channel model.
- Rapid innovation cycles: Many of the newer channels are evolving so rapidly, that retailers find it difficult to keep customers engaged by continually providing a richer experience.
- Organizational structure: Often times, retailers have different business models for each channel. This can be an obstacle as customers are looking for a consistently engaging experience throughout all channels.
With all of these components in mind, are you ready to achieve retail agility? Undergoing the process is not an easy feat, but the value is worth the effort. Today, buyer behavior is different more than ever, so retailers must make changes to accommodate the needs of the customer.
To find out more about omni-channel retailing, download ArcherPoint’s free resources: Follow the Path to the Omni-Channel Grail Infographic and The Definitive Omni-Channel Guide for Mid-Market Retailers eBook.
To learn how an Omni-channel solution can help your company achieve retail agility, contact ArcherPoint today!