The new omniretail: key strategies for driving ‘anywhere’ commerce
The acceleration of ecommerce throughout the pandemic has paved the way for retail’s next big shift. Instead of looking through the lens of online vs. in-store shopping, today’s consumer has embraced an “anytime, anywhere” mindset and expects convenience, consistency, and a seamless experience across any channel they are engaging with.
Earlier in 2021 Bold sponsored a study with Retail Systems Research (RSR) to learn about how retailers have been able to pivot in the omniretail landscape. The study surveyed decision makers at 105 large North American retailers to try and determine the challenges they are facing, opportunities in the marketplace, and how they are integrating new technologies.
As a follow up to this insightful report, Bold hosted a webinar to discuss these findings in greater detail that featured the following industry leaders:
- Trinh Tham - CMO, Harry Rosen
- Paul do Forno, Managing Director, Deloitte Digital
- Deanna Traa, CMO, Bold Commerce
- Steve Rowen, Managing Partner, RSR
- Richard Kestenbaum, Co-Founder & Partner, Triangle Capital
Access our on-demand webinar: The new omniretail: getting to ‘anywhere’ commerce; or read on for key findings, video clips, and useful takeaways from this discussion.
Key finding: 52% of retailers consider delivering a seamless experience one of their top challenges.
Why is creating a seamless experience so crucial for retailers? Tham (Harry Rosen) thinks this result speaks to the way that customers are driving the way they want to shop, and what a seamless experience means to them. It’s not enough to simply offer both a brick-and-mortar and a digital experience — there are endless channels to consider and a need to ensure they are working together to offer the seamless omniretail experience that customers have come to expect. Though it is a challenging landscape to navigate, Tham also sees it as an exciting time for retailers and believes in the profitability of this approach.
For do Forno (Deloitte Digital), the need to deliver a seamless experience comes down to removing the friction from the customer experience. He spoke about how it's frustrating for customers who have made purchases online to visit an in-store location only to find their data, purchase history, or personal information isn't already in the system. This sort of disconnect between in-store and digital channels can create friction for customers seeking a single unified brand experience. As Deloitte Digital’s Managing Director, do Forno is working to help retailers connect all their channels and systems to have a holistic view of customers data so they can offer customers the convenience they expect.
What does the future look like for omnichannel shopping? Point-of-interest commerce.
Key finding: 48% of retailers say they are focused on having a ‘unified view of inventory’
For Steve Rowen (RSR), this is the year of inventory. What he means is the pandemic created a situation where it became difficult to find products that were once readily available. Under these circumstances it became incredibly important for retailers to be able to communicate what they had in stock, where it was located, and if customers would be able to get it in a way that they felt was safe (curbside pickup etc.)
He said: “Everything that has taken place in the last 18 months has relied on a unified view of inventory. If you do not know what you have, where you have it, how many are on hand, and how you can get it to people, you can’t really do any of the interesting things that stem from every part of this conversation...it’s a prerequisite to anything that a retailer might want to do moving forward.”
But certain issues around inventory might not be so easily solved through unified visibility. According to do Forno, increased consumer demand for conveniences like two-day, or even same-day, shipping, combined with rising warehousing, supply chain, and shipping costs has created a challenging circumstance for retailers. This goes beyond a visibility or systems issue as some brands are being forced to completely reevaluate and restructure their businesses to remain profitable within an ever-shifting landscape.
Learn more about overcoming the challenges to achieve a unified view of inventory.
Key finding: 41% of retailers are focused on improving the shopping experience through increased personalization
What does personalization mean for brands like leading luxury menswear retailer Harry Rosen. For Tham it was about taking a step back to view the customer journey as a whole, mapping out the different touchpoints and segments, and trying to identify the biggest gaps and obstacles getting in the way of providing an exceptional differentiated experience.
But this required looking deeper than simply at how, when, and where customers were engaging with their brand — for Harry Rosen offering a personalized experience meant undergoing a digital transformation in order to optimize the tools and technology supporting their business backend and customer-facing touchpoints.
Tham also cites payment options as one way that Harry Rosen is able to offer a personalized experience in the luxury space. Giving customers the freedom to pay up front or in installments, access flexible financing options, and choose from a number of different payment options — unified within one consistent omniretail experience — is one of the ways Harry Rosen has addressed personalization.
Where personalization is often perceived as being product or recommendations related, do Forno believes a successful approach to personalization begins with customer experience. Reducing the number of pages customers need to click through, the amount of forms they need to fill out (or fill out again), offering auto-complete options using existing customer data, and creative payment options, these are some of the ways brands can remove friction from the shopping process to increase conversion rates and build customer loyalty.
Key Finding: 31% of retailers are investing in adding on new technologies
When asked about investing in technology in the RSR report Retailers were polarized with 40% saying they would be improving current systems, 31% looking to add on new technologies, and 29% looking to “rip and replace” and completely replatform. Regardless of which path a business takes, do Forno believes success starts with strong top-down leadership focused on the core customer. It can be a balancing act looking for new features to add on that bring immediate value to customers without ignoring the long-term roadmap for existing infrastructure that’s already in place.
Traa said a new breed of solutions in the transaction and checkout space is making it easier than ever for retailers to swap out parts of their tech stack that aren’t serving them and replace them with robust technologies they need. This composable or modular approach to tech architecture is enabling brands to make incremental investments and see the ROI before making significant changes or completely replatforming.
If you found these key findings on how retailers are responding to the digital-first shift useful, we invite you to watch the full on-demand webinar The new omniretail: getting to ‘anywhere’ commerce.
Learn more about how Bold’s industry leading Checkout Experience Suite is helping retailers optimize their omniretail experience, drive revenue, and grow customer loyalty.