Are you an omnichannel store? A really, truly omnichannel store? If not, experts say utilizing an omnichannel solution at your store is no longer a matter of "should we?" and more a matter of "how soon can we?"
In an article for Retail Customer Experience, retail leadership expert and CEO of Integrated Marketing Solutions Chris Petersen breaks down the importance of a true omnichannel solution in today's 24-7 consumer-driven market.
Saying you are omnichannel doesn't make it so
The simple truth about omnichannel is that this phenomena is all about consumers and their behaviors. Simply put, "omni" means both "many" and "omnipresent." Today's consumers have amazing and unprecedented options and flexibility:
- Shopping anytime and everywhere 24/7/365
- Purchase anytime, and everywhere from any device
- Payment via multiple options, multiple locations and devices
- Delivery at place of choice, at speed of choice, or pickup in person
- Returns at place of choice, convenience of shipping back
Declaring you are an omnichannel retailer means nothing, unless you are able to engage consumers where they want to engage, how they want to buy, and how they want to be served … whether it be in store, online, direct or even via social media.
Why the 800 pound gorilla is at the table and eating everyone's lunch
It's difficult to escape Amazon headlines in the news every week. From droids to drones to leasing planes and boats … Amazon is always on the forefront of innovating consumer-centric service. In the past, the critique was Bezos never makes a profit. But, with recent reports and projections, Amazon's market cap now surpasses Walmart and Exxon Mobile Corp.
Make no mistake about it … EVERYONE competes with Amazon! It is not because Amazon is online, it is because they have created a very compelling value ecosystem for consumers. As a result, Amazon now commands 38 percent of the consumer share of U.S. online sales.
Do Amazon's numbers prove online is the way of the future? Not necessarily. What Amazon's success demonstrates is if a retailer can deliver the seamless experience that consumers highly value, they will be very successful. With its new stores and pickup lockers, Amazon is now delivering on all five of the omnichannel consumer dimensions listed above. In oh so many ways, Amazon is now seated at the head of the table for omnichannel.
Different paths to omnichannel – how to earn a seat at the table
What Amazon has effectively done is create a universal alternative customer tailored to omnichannel consumer expectations. Even the largest retailer in the world has found consumers vote with their wallet. And, to do nothing means Amazon and other effective omnichannel retailers will “eat your financial lunch” even if you are Walmart.
There is no universal formula. Each retailer must create their path based upon their strengths, and their ability to differentiate value to the rising expectations of omnichannel consumers.— Chris Petersen via Retail Customer Experience
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