It is not a secret, the economic and business environment has always been evolving and since 20 years, its evolution has been tremendously accelerated. By evolving, this environment is becoming more complex and technically oriented. One of the most impacted industries is the Retail industry; indeed, Retailers are facing huge changes. The biggest change for the retailers is the movement of customer going from physical retail locations to online retail shops.
Moreover, retailers have to fulfill customers’ expectations that are becoming higher, in terms of quality, customer service or shipment. Customers are setting new retail standards and retailers have to adapt their offers to meet those requirement. Indeed, 62% of customers have actually switched brand in the past year due to poor customer service from a retailer and 44% of customers say they have higher expectations than they had a year ago.
The global consulting firm Accenture revealed in its Global Pulse Research, that in order for retailers to meet those requirements, they should adopt an Omni-Channel Strategy. It is defined as strategy that gives customers the option to shop and purchase items on their terms. It means that the customer can either shop online or in store, have the item shipped or pickup at the store. This strategy should support every combination.
Accenture explains some of these strategy variables:
Retailers should support every channel their customers use
It is very important for your company to be able to address the right messages at the right moment but also and more importantly, at the right place. The new standards show us that channels are growing and you need to be ready to change with your customers as buying process channels continue to develop.
More than the product, you must deliver a service that satisfied your customers’ expectations. Accenture highlights that companies, today, must be able to give their customers accurate inventory information as well as choices for alerts, backorders and reorders; Provide customers an easy, pleasant shopping experience through their mobile device, online and in the store… every time. The study also shows that 71.5% of online retailers answers emails with a personalized salutation and that 38% of the top 500 internet retailers offer live chat for customer support.
Retailers should gain tight control over inventory
Using Management Software, retailers can give their sales teams and floor clerks confidence in the accuracy of stock quantities and location. It is critical to automate reorder alert to meet the demand for fast-moving products across all locations. The idea is for example to ship from the closest location, whether a store or warehouse or vendor in order to fill in-store pickup and restock as quickly as possible.
Retailers should support responsive and flexible order management
Another variable is the ability to support flexible procurement and shipment to fulfill special orders and deliver quickly. In order to maximize the chance to fulfill all customers’ expectations, retailers should give customers a wide range of payment and shipping options, from online payments to two-day delivery. It can also be offering the full range of shipping and pick up options, whether order is placed inline or in the store.
Retailers should centralize the company data
Being able to centralize the company data, treat it and analyze it allow the company to connect separate stores with consistent customer and product information. It is a great way to ensure uniform pricing, promotions and communication across email, online, in-store and social marketing. Once again, companies should give managers easy-to-use business intelligence tools that allow them to analyze data on their terms.
With these new retail standards, retailers are driven by consumers’ need to find new technology and software solutions that meet the demands of the new retail environment.
Those tools help retailers in managing effectively every aspect of the supply chain. Implementing a fully integrated, end-to-end, retail management software solution, Retailers can enhance the efficiency of key business functions.
By increasing Mobility and real-time visibility, you can empower you business with insight into all areas of their operation, including, merchandising, inventory, point of sale terminals, e-commerce, financials, and business intelligence and others.
Finally, going Omni-channel can lead retailers to success by offering products through every channel the customer wants, while at the same time streamlining operations to reduce operational expenses, improving efficiency and profitably, and obtaining powerful insight to make more informed decisions.
Having a flexible retail strategy that meets the needs of consumers, as well as staying current in the industry is the key to expand your market. Adapt your business procedure and operations from a brick-and-mortar retail environment to bricks and clicks by following a retail strategy focused on the consumer, the Omni-channel strategy.