Omnichannel retailing can sometimes be seen as a “buzz” word: something that was in fashion to talk about or seen as a passing trend. But the reality that COVID-19 has brought to retail has truly underlined how important having an omnichannel offering really is, especially during this challenging trading period where retailers need to adapt now, more than ever.
So why is having an omnichannel presence so imperative and how can you achieve this within your retail brand?
Connect the Dots
For many years now, e and m-commerce have seen a rise in consumers making online purchases, and this has never been more true than in life during lockdown. The Office for National Statistics’ latest figures show that online retail sales in May 2020 were “at 33.4%, which compares with the 30.8% reported in April 2020”. Whilst retail sales are still lower than in pre-COVID times, the importance of using online offerings to easily reach customers is increasing, even with the gradual re-opening of high street stores. Theo Paphitis, owner of retail brands such as Robert Dyas, Boux Avenue and Rymans, explained that the “shift to online buying has been accelerated by five years”, suggesting that the gradual year-on-year growth that digital sales has seen over the last 5 years has been expedited. Retailers must adapt to this, making digital growth a priority and not just a latter part of their longer term strategy.
But having a digital presence doesn’t make retailers omnichannel; it’s not enough to have your products online if all other types of sale are unlinked. To make a digital presence truly omnichannel, a brand must embrace all touch points within a customer journey, utilising email campaigns, social media, different digital selling channels and bricks and mortar, to name just a few. A customer must be able to easily dip in and out of each silo with ease, making their experience seamless, however they shop. Modern consumers expect to easily find the items they want – it’s all about making it as easy as possible for them to shop.
How to Achieve Omnichannel Retailing
So, if that’s the dream, how can you make this a reality? Here are our top tips.
1. Unite your stock
Imagine a certain product has always sold really well in Shop A. However, although Shop A has re-opened, its footfall has decreased dramatically, and local consumer confidence is yet to return to that area. However, you’ve seen a spike in sales of that particular product online, after a key influencer has posted a photo on Instagram wearing your product. Shop A still has high volumes of stock on this product, but the product has gone out of stock on the website. It just doesn’t make sense to keep these as two separate stock pools, especially during a trading period where sales are so important, whilst also being able to fulfil customer expectations. Merret Pro is our omnichannel supply chain solution; giving a single view of stock, it allows your customers to shop your brand and not just a particular channel.
2. Doors, floors and more
So, you’ve already got an excellent omnichannel offering, you’re really proud of the seamless experience it gives to customers and it’s a well-oiled machine. There’s just one problem – you’re not entirely confident on how to open your stores again to fully complete your omnichannel system. OMIO Motion is a flow management solution that ensures your staff and customers can freely move in, around and out of the retail space (including multiple floors and entrances/exits). Using an easy to follow traffic light system, it also saves a job for retail staff or security teams to be policing queues. And the best bit? It’s low cost, easy to implement and you can see a ROI in a matter of weeks.
3. Universal Data
Wherever your customers want to shop, it’s crucial that they all have access to the same levels of detailed information. Whilst a PIM (product information management) solution supports an omnichannel presence, it also helps retailers to manage the information across all parts of their estate, whilst empowering retail teams to have top quality information for whatever marketing collateral they produce. With OMIO PIM, there’s one point of data entry, meaning that new products can either be created in as little as 45 seconds, or product data can be uploaded. From this point, teams can seamlessly collaborate on product data, giving rounded access to the product – so no more linear workflows, waiting on the person before you in the process to finish up on what they’re doing. Whilst this provides a great benefit to your head office staff, it brings huge benefits to the customer, meaning that the product information they’re reading is detailed, helpful and persuasive.
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