What’s the O in Retail?
Updated: Feb 18
Oh, omnichannel. The most elusive word in retail today. Often described as a multidisciplinary approach to reaching customers across all sales channels, it's one of the most overused buzzwords in the industry (and with good reason).
Retail leaders are constantly searching for the ‘secret sauce’ of omnichannel strategy.
Then 2020 happened. Talk about a major curveball.
This past year has shown that traditional models of analyzing and predicting consumer behavior are obsolete. With online, offline, social, mobile, and video all vying for a customer's attention, just how relevant are omnichannel strategies?
The channel keeps changing
Today, omnichannel is really every channel.
Hayley Herlitz, Senior Manager Global Retail Brand Concepts Nike Direct, shared her insights about omnichannel strategies, commenting, "Consumers straddle multiple channels at any one time, so we need to see our strategies develop as connected journeys that result in emotional connections."
When asked why these connections are so critical, Ms. Herlitz noted, "Emotional connections are more valuable than a merely transactional relationship. If we curate connected journeys, we can engage in multiple channels and let the consumer decide where they want to be served. The ultimate omnichannel strategy supports our consumer where they are most comfortable."
So it's less about ensuring a strong presence across online, in-store, mobile, and social media. It's more about creating a delightful experience wherever consumers are, and that can (and does) change often.
The big picture
We often hear chatter about gaining a “holistic view” of consumer trends. Yep, another buzzword, but the essence of this theory is a great one: looking at a situation from multiple angles, thinking about it objectively, and considering the big picture.
When the big picture changes so rapidly, a smart approach is to skip the speculations and apply strategic thinking. Ask questions:
How critical are consumer-written product reviews?
What new payment methods are shoppers excited about?
How is convenience impacting decision-making?
It's critical for retail brands and their staff to think like a consumer. A Director of Innovation should ask him/her self,
“What made me pick this brand of shampoo off the shelf?”
“Why did I buy those pricey athletic shoes instead of the cheaper pair?”
“Why didn’t I get that baseball glove while I was at the store instead of waiting and buying it online later?”
We are our own best source of real-world ideas.
You’re already sitting on loads of data
Retail operations managers, digital leaders, and sustainability officers are likely sitting on a gold mine of data without even being aware of it.
Every receipt creates a paper trail of invaluable customer insights. Smart retail leaders use this information to form a clear picture of the drivers of consumer decision-making. That’s a real multi-channel approach.
To learn more about the power of e-receipts, reach out to us.