Are You Ready For Uber Omnichannel Commerce?
June 18, 2018
The traditional retail model is gone. After decades of unchallenged dominion over the hearts and minds of loyal shoppers; retailers are faced with a disruptive paradigm – the hypermobile, fully informed and a less brand loyal consumer who expects surprising experiential frictionless commerce across all sales channels.
The new paradigm is real – retail giant Abercrombie and Fitch recently announced it would close as many as 60 U.S. based stores in 2018, while sports retailer Foot Locker revealed it would be closing 110 stores to focus on their higher-performing store. Another retail icon, American Apparel closed all its U.S. stores and filed for bankruptcy last year. Traditional retailers must find a different model focused on a holistic experience away from the conventional myopic structure that creates channel conflict and siloed structures incapable of serving this “new” consumer; and time is running out.
While many retailers are capitalizing on the current e-commerce momentum; they woefully lack the technology, organizational structure, business processes, and execution experience to sustain the current growth – in fact, many retailers mistake the recent lift in e-commerce sales as a long-term sustainable pattern without the need to invest in the next wave of omnichannel innovation I call “uber” omnichannel. The crisis for retailers is an existential one, and the only choice is to blend “siloed” channels into a cohesive and ubiquitous omnichannel business focused on the consumer.
The transformation to omnichannel excellence is challenging technically and organizationally – and despite doubt, the ROI is unquestionable. Retailers must be laser-focused on integrating drop-off points and ensuring a seamless experience as the consumer continues their journey regardless of which channel they return – including the B2B channel. The uber omnichannel mindset facilitates consumers acquiring products from all channels irrespective of who receives the attribution “credit’. The paramount concern is ensuring your customer stays engaged with the brand and product they desire regardless of which channel fulfills the desire. Digital technologies to enable “smart” punchouts, advanced store-In-store experiences and the next level fulfillment capabilities are essential tactics in an uber omnichannel world.
Brands must strive for a fully-integrated, consistent, and connected shopping experience that provides customers the flexibility to browse a product in-store, add a product to their cart while in-store, and purchase it later at their convenience. Most critically, retailers most provide a customer experience that is truly integrated − from brick-and-mortar to mobile-browsing and everything in between across all channels including the B2B channel – the B2B2C experience.
1. Uber Omnichannel
a. Make every touchpoint a content-driven experiential shopping experience.
b. Each channel has a single view of the customer, product, inventory and orders (globally).
c. Complement your retail store experience with digital experiences and vice-versa using virtual reality.
d. Allow your B2B channel to fulfill the direct-to-consumer channel (with business parameters).
2. Mobile Commerce
The worldwide mobile app market is expected to grow 270% to $189 billion by 2020. Not only do mobile apps play an integral role in how consumers interact with brands globally, but the best-performing companies are using the mobile channel to perfect the customer journey and to execute effective CRM strategies to enhance their direct-to-consumer business. To create a better customer experience using mobile apps, make sure your app experience delivers on two fronts – first, ensure your application is integrated across all channels and provides customers compelling brand-specific experiences. Design your app to go beyond the selling objective to provide customers with valuable content and experiences – the key is blending contextual (personalized) content with product content that provides a meaningful experience for the consumer.
3. Multiple Marketplaces
No omnichannel strategy is complete without a prominent presence across multiple online channels. Also, when it comes to shopping channels the Amazon market is paramount. According to CNBC, roughly 55% of consumers start their online shopping journey on Amazon. Another survey suggests that more than half of users are ditching traditional search engines for Amazon. The goal of omnichannel commerce is to be integrated (product, inventory, orders, promotions etc.) everywhere and anywhere your customers exist.
Todays’ winning brand focuses on the customer experience as the competitive differentiation facilitated with digital technology across all channels; desktop, mobile, marketplaces, social shopping, loyalty systems, customer-service, business-to-business, and shopping apps. The customer expects a seamless experience across all touchpoints including the ability to capitalize on your B2B sales channel to satisfy your direct-to-consumer business; what I call “Uber” omnichannel.
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About the Author
At TA Digital, Joe Brannon, develops strategies for growth, innovation, and execute commerce and omnichannel solutions for clients using digital technology to enhance the customer experience. For more than 15 years Joe has been a digital transformational thought and implementation leader for large multi-national brands across the B2C, B2B, Retail and Customer Care Center landscape. Joe has held various digital technology leadership and consulting positions at Starbucks, Oakley, Billabong, The Irvine Company, and State Street. In academia, Joe has been teaching business and project management for almost a decade. He holds a master’s degree with an emphasis in Technology Management and a B.S. Business Systems degree from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
About TA Digital
TA Digital is an innovative digital transformation agency, specializing in delivering digital experience, commerce, and marketing solutions. For nearly two decades, we have been helping traditional businesses transform and create dynamic digital cultures through disruptive strategies and agile deployment of innovative solutions. We are known as a global leader in the digital technology industry for helping marketing leaders achieve their revenue targets, create profitable, omni-channel customer and commerce experiences. TA Digital has high-level strategic partnerships with digital technology companies Adobe, Microsoft, Sitecore, Acquia, Marketo, SAP Hybris, Elastic Path, IBM Watson Marketing, Coveo and Episerver. The company was named on 2013, 2014, 2015 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the United States.