Having technology that integrates seamlessly with other technology software you may use (e.g. ERP systems, loyalty, analytics, emerging technologies) is fundamental to your businesses technological success.
Retail Pro Prism® integrate seamlessly with other retail software to provide a 360-degree customer view, which supports your Company's business goals.
This in turn allows you to provide excellent service, selection and competitive pricing to your customers at one of your stores or online. Customer purchase journeys are now more commonly mixed, with purchases being made online, returns & exchanges being made in store. In order to ensure the a seamless service, retailers are now looking at omnichannel methodologies.
Retailers that can provide a seamless experience by integrating different types of technology can reap the rewards of improved customer loyalty (especially if a customers identifies that a retailer is responsive to their needs).
At a crossroads between being everywhere at once and still maintaining a quality shopping experience, retailers can’t afford for their omnichannel efforts to be seen as omni-failures.
Here are 3 questions to ask when evaluating and implementing your strategy. These are the drivers for simplifying omnichannel.
The savvy retailer understands that what shoppers want is nuanced. While they all may share an affinity for a particular store, they are not (obviously) all shopping for the same product.
Learning what your shoppers are seeking and providing more of it (as well as complementary items) is key. That type of personalization is crucial to incorporate into the omnichannel plan. Think of how Amazon uses customization to suggest additional complementary purchases.
The sad reality among some in retail is that technology solutions are often added on top of, rather that replacing or being integrated into, existing systems.
Having fewer, more tightly integrated systems will simplify how processes are managed. Many retailers struggle with getting disparate systems to work together. Success with an omnichannel strategy often requires restructuring technology so there are fewer pieces, fewer points of failure.
Today, the POS handles many parts of the sales transaction, not just the payment. A POS can track inventory and sales trends as well as place orders to suppliers automatically. VIP customers can be identified at checkout and special offers can be applied. To achieve those functions, all systems must be deeply connected so retailers can form an understanding of how shoppers react to products, what encourages them to purchase, and what turns them off completely. All the systems must be in sync in order for reliable, accurate data analysis to occur in a timely manner. That ability is a competitive must, and it must be simple to use and simple for results to be collated and interpreted.
Integrated supply chain
The supply chain — the vendors and manufacturers that provide products — has to be a part of the simplification process as well.
By connecting the supply chain to all parts of the retail business, products can be ordered, allocated and merchandized properly. During the discovery phase of the simplification process, retailers need to inventory their current systems, and then identify the type of system they want to have. That will inform the decision regarding the types of network, software and hardware that will form the backbone of the system.
Finally, all the data collected will provide a streamlined outline of the omnichannel choices retailers should make. Such information should be analysed with an eye toward answering specific questions that will determine the need for omnichannel offerings such as:
- Ship from store
- Buy online pickup in store (BOPIS)
- Satellite pickup locations
Once a retailer learns customers’ fulfilment preferences, decisions about the type of technology systems to install are much easier to make. In addition to being able to offer customers multiple channels to make purchases, having a complete, accurate accounting of inventory and status (e.g., age of product, markdowns, etc.) will determine which channel should fulfil which orders.
Remember, though, that any strategy depending on technology ultimately depends on a solid workforce to implement it.
Engaged employees are key to omnichannel success. Workers benefit from using new technology, because it gives them more information to do their job well and boosts their efficiency.
Study after study finds that customers want to feel welcome, have their questions answered, be respected, and be shown they matter.
Training those right employees
After upgrading technology within the retail location, associates must be trained on how to use it in every retail scenario. A store that now offers live inventory look up and BOPIS must have associates who know how to handle the customer who now wants to return that item before even driving home with it. A smile, a great overall attitude, and knowledge of alternatives for the returned items, combined with knowledge of how to process the return will not only result in a happy customer, but also in a proud employee who shares the retailer’s vision of success.
After upgrading technology within the retail location, associates must be trained on how to use it in every retail scenario.
Omnichannel at its best lets consumers buy products in the manner they choose. They are no longer beholden to the hours of business a brick and mortar elects to be open. A simplified system helps customers and it provides a foundation upon which a retailer can build its authentic self: One that understands and caters to its customers, while making associates’ business lives easier. And that’s a simplification everyone can be happy with.