In the digital generation, consumers switch from one device to another. Clients shop on mobile devices, computers, smart TVs, stores and social media. A shopper can be online shopping through your e-commerce retail while standing at your brick and mortar store to get a colour or size you don’t have in location. Australian retailers must offer a 360° seamless experience to increase sales. Their strategy must include various touchpoints, a shared inventory and marketing that targets multiple channels.
Managing all these tactics might seem a titanic job for the medium-sized retailer but is easy to do with the correct software. Inspired by an article from Matt Pillar, editor of Integrated Solutions for Retailers, NetSuite and Klugo put their experience with +3,000 retailers to write the ten commandments for a true omni-channel retail. They focus on getting a single cloud-based platform for building a 360° experience and avoiding a lengthy, costly and volatile integration of legacy systems.
1. Thou shalt not create false likenesses of omni-channel retail.
Australian retailers with old legacy store systems and separate online stores are spending countless labour and financial resources to unsuccessfully get their databases to “talk” to each other. This disconnection stops real-time and accurate visibility. Customers often realise when channels are not communicated. An omni-channel user experience results in seamless connections between the retail store, the online shopping, social media and mobile app. To differentiate from rivals, retailers must build seamless experiences that unite data in a single platform. The effort to give visibility to all users and associates within one unique platform will pay off with great customer engagement.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of Omni-Channel Retail in vain.
Luxury fashion retailer Ann Taylor said: “If she wants it and we have it, she gets it.” All revolutionary Australian retailers strive for this vision of a simple omni-channel. You saw it, we have it, but we can’t get it to you is not an option. With real-time cloud visibility of their inventories, multi-channel retailers can offer real shopping experiences with inventory positioning and fulfilment strategies. Effective customer-centric strategies depend on having items in-stock, or available through another channel.
3. Remember thy customers of multiple channels, keep them holy.
Cross-channel CRM merged with pioneering intelligence tools allows leading Australian retailers to analyse customer behaviour and identify business trends. To achieve customer centricity, omni-channel retailers manage cloud CRM based on customer preferences at all touchpoints. These tools also ease the administrative and IT costs associated with attempting to merge CRM in different outdated environments. A centralised platform effectively tracks consumer behaviour and preferences across all channels. Cloud retailers have a single, accurate, accessible and real-time CRM everywhere.
4. Honour all thy channels.
Running each channel as a separate business becomes next to impossible. When channels operate in silos, retailers fail to recognise physical stores as digital channel enablers and vice versa. Modern consumer behaviour tells us we need to have an active presence in all channels. With omni-channel marketing promotions and fulfilment, synergies can be made across all sales ecosystems. A Cloud-Based ERP enables retailers to access one true version of their data with live instant insights of every channel’s successes and failures. Centralised platforms facilitate building differentiation marketing strategies, they can accelerate positive touch points and adjust channels with poor performance.
Which are the top organisational Inhibitors to enable omni-channel?
Figure 1. While technology infrastructure is supposed to be an omni-channel enabler, 53% of retailers say
it’s exactly what’s standing in their way:
- The existing technology infrastructure is preventing us from moving forward. 53% 53%
- We don’t have enough e-commerce resources to manage all the available opportunities. 53% 53%
- ROI is hard to quantify. 48% 48%
- Budgeting – there is little capital investment available. 38% 38%
- Stores are higher investment priority. 27% 27%
- Stores don’t understand the mobile or cross-channel opportunities. 25% 25%
- Marketing does not understand the digital strategies to support omni-channel e-commerce retail. 22% 22%
- Difficulty getting IT resources for e-commerce projects. 18% 18%
NETSUITE FOR RETAIL
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5. Thou shalt not murder inventory at the hands of a single channel.
Omni-channel never use single channel strategies. Channel purist consumers are vanishing. To efficiently track consumer’s preferences, all channels must offer the same selection of products. Merchandising the same way in all channels helps establishing a real baseline of each channel’s sales performance. Online touch points cannot be considered a last resort for dumping excess inventory. An innovative platform is the necessary root of any attempt to offer full assortment availability across channels. When inventory and product information are centralised in the cloud, pioneering retailers have strong foundations to manage their strategies. Fulfilment, returns, pickup and delivery, should be addressed in one place, in real time.
6. Thou shalt not commit channel adultery.
Omni-channel is a lifelong commitment. 360-degree customer service is a marriage to multiple touch points. Cloud-based platforms make that commitment easy by enabling a complete view of inventory and CRM through a single platform. Unified systems that seamlessly connect the physical stores, mobile devices, e-commerce retail, tablets and call-centres are crucial to sustain global customer satisfaction. Platforms like NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess are are enabling Australian retailers to lead with unprecedented visibility into their business. With these suites they manage from marketing and sales to inventory and financials.
7. Thou shalt not steal from one channel at the expense of another.
Consumers today expect merchandise to be fulfilled from wherever it lives to wherever they want it. Platforms can’t inhibit access to inventory to understand consumer behaviour across channels fully. From an inventory standpoint, siloed data results in inaccurate inventory controls, overstocking and excessive carrying costs. Centralised data systems with powerful dashboards and reports like NetSuite help retailers pioneer in understanding how customer engagement and transactions happen across channels by “putting it all out there.” This way consumers choose their path. With access to customers’ files at the physical store, sales people offer highly differentiated and enhanced customer service. Knowing their customers’ purchase history, as well as dropped carts, empowers them to boost the in-store sales.
8. Thou shalt not bear witness against your e-commerce customer.
Fairness, consistency and transparency in pricing, availability and delivery must prevail across all channels. Using a strategic price disparity across channels is not discouraged, but if a loyal multiple channel customer wants to purchase an item in the store at the low price offered online, why wouldn’t the retailer enable that sale? According to Oracle research, half of leading retailers acknowledge cross-channel customers are more profitable than single-channel customers. It is a paramount task to adjust multi-channel shoppers’ price expectations and businesses fulfilment preferences with disjointed platforms. Robust centralised data clouds allow leading retailers to make customer-centric last-minute price decisions in each touchpoint.
How are Australian retailers overcoming organisational inhibitors?
Figure 2. Technology investment in a streamlined—or better still, single—platform is recognised as the best
means of achieving channel convergence:
- Investment in a streamlined technology platform infrastructure. 57% 57%
- An executive tasked with managing and improving the overall customer experience. 51% 51%
- More coordination with marketing. 36% 36%
- More coordination with stores. 36% 36%
- Vendor ecosystems/partnerships that make point solution selection easier. 26% 26%
- More experimentation. 25% 25%
- Greater reliance on third parties (marketplaces or vendors) for technology and fulfilment infrastructure. 21% 21%
- Solutions that doesn’t burden our IT department. 21% 21%
- Case studies/success stories in my vertical. 11% 11%
9. Thy e-commerce retail team shalt not covet thy brick and mortar stores sales.
Whether a sale was consummated via clicks and credit or cash and carry, a sale is a sale. The problem comes when someone must take credit for that sale. Ideally, 93% of retail sales happen in stores, but maybe the relationship with the client started on an iPad in a coffee shop, or it began in an office PC. Most oftenm your customer will engage fully with your brand when they are physiucally in your store. But five years down the road, a lifetime customer will be with you as an online retailer, a shop store customer, in your mobile app and reading your social media and emails. It doesn’t matter where you first engaged, in the omni-channel retail reality, channel zealots can’t call the shots. Pioneering retailers with the help of Cloud-Based ERP can create strategies that reward associates both where the consumer demand generated and where it closed.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy competitor’s omni-channel strategy.
RSR research shows that 18% of retailers haven’t determined their cross-channel differentiator. In the omni-channel offering, even if the technology is the same, there are great opportunities to rise above the noise and differentiate. Centralised cloud data enables cross-channel customers visibility anytime and anywhere, allowing shopping experiences to be highly customisable. Cross-channel inventory strategies enable omni-channel marketing and offer powerful customer service tools as truly seamless experiences.
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Feel free to call an expert in Retail Enterprise Resource Planning Systems today. Find out how cloud-based technology can make your retail business a real omni-channel beast.