Shoppers of these days are going across the channels to make purchases; hence, making it mandatory for retailers to be present everywhere. Once the retailers go omnichannel, creating a seamless experience is one of the biggest tasks for them. Technology has a very big role in making entire omni-channel journey seamless. Retailers across the world including Indian are striving hard to find a solution so the customers don’t differentiate difference channels. Let’s shed light on few tech innovations and challenges that few big retailers are facing these days..
Choosing the right channel..
Not all products can be placed everywhere. Speaking on Omni-channel journey Vipin Bhandari, CEO, Spencer’s, “For any particular category, whether to go pure play online, click collect or physical store, everything depends on certain variables. All that matters is customers’ requisitions which could be related to timings, distance, category to shop, frequency to visit the store. So depending on these factors we choose whether to go online or offline.”
Addressing the challenges associated with creating seamless express Vipin Said, “Oflline and online has very different KPIs. Merging these two is a very challenging task. And, we are constantly making efforts to creating uniform experience across the channels.”
He also informed that homogeneous product such as Maggi Noodle or any electronic products see the higher traction in online channel. However, when it comes to fresh and staple people tends to visit offline store to get touch and feel of the product. “Vegetables see higher penetration in online channel comparing fruits because vegetables fall in homogenous category; however, with fruits the ‘ripe’ factor is very important, informed Bhandri.
The company has not started click and collect model yet. However, the company offers free home delivery for in- store shoppers. The company tends to get higher wallet share in online channel as he informed.
Managing the orders from different channels
Recently, leading footwear chain Metro Shoes Ltd was facing challenges in managing orders coming from multiple online platforms. Hence, the company upgraded to IBM solutions to create seamless experience. Earlier the same task was handled by unreliable software, leading to lack of visibility of real-time data of sales, inventory location and returns. In addition to its inventory management challenges, Metro Shoes Ltd needed to improve online presence for some of their popular internal brands which were getting low visibility impacting overall sales.
Speaking on same, Alisha Malik, Vice President, Digital, Metro Shoes. “With IBM’s knowledge in the omni-channel commerce and retail space, we are confident that these changes will not only help accelerate the execution of our strategy, but also give us an edge over competition. At Metro Shoes, we strongly believe that the new solution will enhance the overall user experience, thereby increasing revisits, traffic and loyalty.”
Moreover, new technologies supporting the omni-channel offer retail marketers powerful solutions for developing more effective, highly targeted, and measurable promotions for improved sales. Speaking on in store innovation, Vinu Sunderresan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, vMobo Inc informed, “There is a lot of things happening is the technology side to make the entire experience seamless. Our endeavour is to replicate the digital experience in the offline store.”
The company is working on some fantastic technologies to improve in the store experience. The company is just come up with an innovative solution called ‘Interactive Display’ which is largely meant for fashion retailers. Unlike to online shopping, checking the availability of your ‘size’ in entire repository of store could a cumbersome task for any shopper, especially during peak hours when on floor sales staff could be busy in entertaining other customers. Interactive Display can be placed different areas and customers can browse entire catalogue on digital screen.
Equipping the staff
While deploying any tech innovation it is equally imperative to value employees’ perspective as most of the brands only put customers’ view paramount. The change that the brand wishes to bring forth should also go well with your employees. Speaking on same, Avni Davda, MD, Godrej Natures Basket Pvt Ltd said,” Embracing to technology is very important to stay relevant. In our case tracking the inventory and making sure it reflects the same in online and offline channel, we have a huge tech transformation going on along with people transformation as well.”
Sharing her experience she said, “Inventory management used to such pain point for us and matching that with online just add the chaos. Now we barcode the new stock using simple devices. When we made the inventory live it really took us long not because people did not adept to it, we also made efforts employees to adept it.
Clearly, as the brands go on multiple channels the role of technology becomes extremely important in making the entire omni-channel journey seamless.