This year has been one where retailers have made real progress connecting channels and adopting an omnichannel approach – it bodes well for 2018 when I expect omnichannel retail to be the status quo.
Retailers the world over don’t need further reminding about the importance of merging their stores with online and other sales and customer communication channels. Most are on the path to omnichannel operations – and 2018 will see more of them get further towards that end goal of seamless integration as they lay down the most suitable technology for serving the modern shopper.
Creating a single view of customers and stock using the right omnichannel solution is a global retail trend, but some parts of the world are progressing at a faster rate. As CEO of an international technology company, and as someone with a real global outlook when it comes to retail, I’ve highlighted some recent developments that show why omnichannel will become a reality for the industry in 2018, around the world.
Omnichannel retail for international growth
The team here at iVend Retail helped European formal wear retailer Oscar Jacobson make some real progress with its omnichannel retail strategy in 2017.
The company is on a major international growth drive and chose our omnichannel solution as its technological spine to support its ambitions.
Our retail management suite has helped bring sales, stock and other business intelligence on to one core system. It brings increased visibility and efficiencies across its estate by placing each of its stores on the same platform, but also frees up staff to provide the personalised service customers require.
And as sales growth continues to slow for many retailers across Europe, Oscar Jacobson is proving that a sophisticated omnichannel solution can provide opportunities to boost sales in new geographies.
In many territories around the world, the move to omnichannel is fast becoming a necessity rather than a choice – and Amazon has a lot to do with that.
Amazon’s marketing power, its high service levels and its growing reputation for efficiency has turned the retail market on its head in recent years, and earlier in December Australia became the latest country to ‘welcome’ a dedicated Amazon country website and distribution centre.
Established retailers in Australia will need to up their game to compete with the eCommerce company’s arrival. By developing a well-thought-out omnichannel approach, which integrates online operations with stores, businesses can be confident they are making the best decisions based on real-time sales and stock information.
Knowing such systems are in place should allow Australian retailers to focus all their efforts on providing fantastic face-to-face service in their stores, and launch the tools and features – such as click & collect, mobile point of sale and loyalty schemes – that help distinguish their offer from Amazon’s.
Of course, Amazon’s global march is not going to stop in Australia. The advice I give to those operating down under is the same advice I offer to those in Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, and Mexico – and other territories where the online giant has a dedicated presence. Implementing an omnichannel solution gives you a real fighting chance.
Choosing the right partner remains critical
Lots of technology companies will tell you they have an omnichannel solution, but iVend Retail proves time and time again that it can provide out-of-the box integrated suites that connect easily to existing systems and pave the way for future tech development.
From Young at Heart Toys in South Africa and El Duende in Latin America, to Oscar Jacobson in Europe and multiple others, iVend Retail has helped retailers successfully develop their omnichannel journeys in 2017.
Additional retailers around the world would be wise to follow suit in the 12 months ahead.