Technology innovations have been fast transforming the world around us and are leaving a definitive impact on the way customers shop for products and services. Retailers are also evolving to these changing market dynamics by redefining customer experience in retail space with multitude of personalized touch points.
Digital consumers do not differentiate between these trends. For consumers, these trends are just an extension of their experience with the world around them, be it interacting with a retailer, or elsewhere. It is now an accepted fact that future success of retail lies in the convergence of physical and digital channels enabled by digital transformation. This transformation will make it possible for companies to provide an integrated, meaningful and personalized experience to customers across all relevant and critical touch points – when shoppers make their choices.
Channel Integration or convergence is one of the primary challenges for all multichannel retailers in the quest for profitable retailing. When a customer makes contact with a retailer-whether it be online, via mobile application, via catalogue, or in store- it’s important that they are treated in the same way; and that the high level of service that a customer received face to- face is replicated via other channels. To provide that service, the retailer must have an integrated platform for retail, an efficient retail management solution that ensure the right product is in the right place at the right time, which is absolutely critical.
Only an enterprise class retail application can help a retailer address the expectations of a digital consumer. An in-depth understanding of consumer behavior in-store and online with their purchasing preferences has become essential. Modern retail applications represent the key to future retail business model that reflects channel convergence. Discussed below are a few recommendations that can help forward-looking retailers’ adopt this model with ease.
Improving the in-store experience
Physical stores need to offer experiences that consumers can’t have in the digital space. The existing boundaries between digital and physical need to fade by leveraging technologies like mobile. Digital passes, Becons and geotagging are new initiatives to take mobile social consumer with tide.
Access and Discovery
Retailer’s and brands need to creatively promote all channels and applications (marketing mailers, promotions etc.) to generate traffic. At the same time, location-based applications can help retailers find customers and target them with personalized promotions and offers.
Empower your workforce
Mobile POS puts real-time customer data into the hands of your store associates, which can lead to instant in-store conversion, lesser abandoned carts, increased basket size (via cross- and up selling) and improved customer experience and satisfaction in the store.
Real time analytics for actionable insights
Retail analytics is the ultimate performance-monitoring tool, which makes it possible to promote immediate, compelling offers to customers, regardless of channel. Which item is performing, which store is performing, what sells with what etc. a retailer can run and monitor promotions and schemes in real time, enabling a consumer to get a better value for their money – whether through digital or physical channels.
Invest in the last mile
The explosion of order and delivery channels has made order management and fulfillment more important and challenging than ever. A recent study found that nearly nine out of 10 retailers say they support fulfillment through more than one selling channel. In this environment, flexibility is essential. With leading retailers making headlines for their ship-from-store programs, a new bar is being set for inventory utilization in retail, but many retailers do not yet have the infrastructure in place to meet this challenge.
The siloed approach won’t work
The consumer is in the driver’s seat and a halfhearted approach to digital media would not suffice. This convergence of shopping behavior will help make 2015 the breakout year for the digital store, unlocking new experiences and value that can only be delivered in a physical location
Some companies have captured the true business benefits of a digital transformation. Most, however, are only beginning their journey to transform. Our experience in retail points towards Digital convergence as the most sought after trend in retailing for the year 2015, imparting retail businesses an operational advantage to monetary gains for retailer’s who plan to transform themselves for future.