Synergy is defined as “the interaction or co-operation of two or more agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their parts”. You see it in great teams, where by working together they can achieve more than they would have done by each making an individual contribution. You see it in great cooking, where well-chosen ingredients complement each other to produce a delicious dish that is just not the same as having a plate of individual ingredients. It’s true in art, where a talented artist can produce a work that is more than simply the sum of the colours on the canvas.
The notion of synergy also applies in the world of retail, business, particularly to omnichannel retail and it highlights the benefits of an omnichannel solution approach. Many retailers have embraced multiple channels and there are certainly advantages to this over the traditional single channel only bricks and mortar model. But the real magic happens when retailers move from multi-channel to omnichannel retail. Omnichannel retail means not only having multiple channels, but crucially, having them interconnected and linked, with information communicated between them.
This is where the synergy happens, and the benefits of an omnichannel retail ecosystem become greater than the sum of the benefits of the stand-alone channels. Each channel in a true omnichannel retail ecosystem not only drives business in its own right, but can drive business for the other channels too, enhancing the customer experience and driving up revenue.
What does this synergy look like in practical terms?
- It is the customer who uses the online channel for a click and collect transaction, who comes into the store to collect their purchase and buys other items whilst they are there.
- It is the sales assistant with a mobile device who engages with the customer who can’t find the item he wants on the shelf, checks stock and orders it for delivery to his home the next day.
- It is the customer who loves a dress in store, but needs a different size, and uses a kiosk to see that it is available in another store and reserve it for collection later that day.
- It is the customer in the loyalty program who uses a personalised offer, or a voucher sent direct to their mobile phone, to try a new product based on the retailer’s understanding of their preferences and previous purchases.
- It is the customer who has been browsing online for a new outfit, and comes into the store, only to find that the assistant has all the details of their ‘wish list’ and can even suggest other items that will complement the look.
- It is the customer who was passing the store, not planning on shopping there, but who is enticed in with a personalised message and offer to their phone.
Without exception, every retailer that I speak to about this concept of the synergy of omnichannel retail is excited by its possibilities. Some have implemented it and are reaping the benefits, many are well down the path of connecting their channels and some are still planning their strategy. But they all understand, and want to harness, the benefits of omnichannel synergy.
Understanding the benefits is one thing. Knowing how best to go about implementation is another – so I explain that that is where iVend retail can help them – with all the components they need to not only build multiple channels, but to connect them for true omnichannel retail capability.
Components to capture key client information at the point of sale, components to deliver a single view of inventory, essential for click and collect and cross-store sales, components that allow retailers to build full-function e-commerce sites; components that engage and track loyal clients, sending personalised messages; components that can alert them when those loyal clients are in or near the store; mobile POS to empower and enable store staff to offer higher levels of customer engagement.
The beauty of a modular approach is that every module is designed to work seamlessly with the others, so that whether you start with one channel or take a big bang approach, you can be sure of achieving the 100% integration that drives the synergy of an omnichannel retail ecosystem.
And synergy is a beautiful thing.
To learn more about how iVend retail can help you build a truly synergistic omnichannel system, click here