Omnichannel Initiatives Top Retailer Priorities Through 2020
Many retailers are realizing that their old methods of handling inventory and fulfilling orders are no longer enough to stay competitive in today’s retail climate.
In 2018, Amazon added $35 billion in retail sales across America – the equivalent of roughly 7,700 stores. So, many brick-and-mortar retailers found themselves also becoming e-tailers, usually by “bolting on” an e-commerce storefront to their existing back-end systems and processes, which were of course designed primarily for in-store retailing.
Omnichannel shoppers are also more demanding than traditional shoppers. They expect convenience, meaning the ability to buy, pay, receive and return using the method or channel they prefer. They expect speed, whether it is the ordering process on the website or while waiting in line to pay at the point of sale. And they expect personalized treatment. The explosion of mobile commerce also added a new digital commerce channel to support.
Why retailers really need omnichannel technology
Customers have more options for interaction, but the proliferation of systems designed to support these different types of interaction can result in a disjointed shopping experience as well as increasing complexity, inefficiencies and additional costs if they are not well integrated. Gartner points out that the top technology obstacles facing retailers today are optimizing digital commerce as growth channels and consolidating channel silos.
The goal for omnichannel retailers, then, is to unify those customer experiences across physical and digital channels and use technology to integrate the once disjointed processes and systems and to ultimately provide the customer with a more convenient and personalized experience.
The “leap of faith” has been tested
Implementing an omnichannel strategy requires a full digital transformation and integration, which takes time and money, and that probably explains why there is a certain amount of skepticism around omnichannel today.
But according to the Gartner Group, retailers see expanding omnichannel initiatives as one of their top priorities for the next 18 months. In fact, fifty-eight percent of retail sales in the US will be digitally impacted by 2023, meaning those sales either will occur online or may occur in-store but be influenced by digital technologies.
A modern omnichannel retail solution overcomes the drawback of siloed systems, starting with the ability to position and locate your inventory wherever it is in your network of stores and warehouses with 100% accuracy.
Retailers must leverage omnichannel technology to increase agility, introduce new omnichannel scenarios, and speed up operations if they want to improve the shopping experience and integrate the digital and physical worlds successfully – which is what omnichannel means, after all.
Want to know more about how an omnichannel retail solution can help you fully leverage the growth opportunity of digital and in-store channels? Register to watch our free webinar, The Omnichannel Approach: Is It Already Outdated?