A new retail bible, The omnichannel survival guide: for the new retail reality, publishing in the spring, is offering retailers eight top tips to be the ultimate omnichannel retailer.
Co-authored by Chris Tanner, founder of Brightpearl, and Derek O’Carroll CEO, the Guide provides expert advice to help retailers and wholesalers traverse the omnichannel retail landscape and not only survive – but thrive.
Today, customers don’t care about sales channels or software systems. Whether they buy in-store or online, or whether they contact you by telephone or web chat. They do expect a seamless, consistent and personalised experience, regardless of how and where they buy, and regardless of how they choose to communicate with you. This is the crux of omnichannel, and this is where retailers are struggling, the Guide argues.
Against the backdrop of compressed margins and relentless competition from the large retailer players like Amazon, the majority of retailers are struggling with the transition to omnichannel, with more than 45,000 retailers reporting that they are in financial distress, it’s no exaggeration that the retail landscape is now a battle for survival with omnichannel at the epicentre.
In this exclusive extract from the Guide, here’s a summary of what it means to be an omnichannel business.
- Operational processes are consistent throughout your business. This includes workflows like `click-and-collect`, or ‘deliver to home’ when buying in-store. Your fraud detection is consistent across channels, and your refund processing is centralised.
- Your staff can access customers’ previous purchases and preferences regardless of where they work in your company. Staff in-store, on the phone and in the warehouse need to be able to see the most up-to-date information in a single, integrated system.
- You provide a seamless customer experience across sales channels, whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or offline in a bricks and mortar store. Pricing, branding, inventory, shipping services …
- You provide a seamless customer experience across communication channels. Email, web chat, in-store, telephone, SMS, social media and helpdesk conversations all need to be consistent and integrated; working from the same sales and customer database.
- The relationship between you and your customer is consistent, wherever they place the order. Whether they place an order on eBay or your eCommerce store, they still benefit from same shipping services, and after-sale customer service.
- Promotions are consistent and can be marketed everywhere (such as social media) safe in the knowledge that they can be redeemed by the customer anywhere; telephone, eCommerce or in-store.
- You aggregate orders and customers from all channels into a single back-end system, allowing you to get insight into your business quickly. You can see which products areselling well and which are profitable, regardless of sales channel. You know which items are being returned, why, and how returns are impacting your business.
- Your financial systems are integrated with your operational systems, so that you can get immediate and accurate data on channels, marketing campaigns, inventory lines and fulfilment processes.