Omni-channel retailing: Even if it ain’t broke, you should still fix it

by Infor Retail October 13, 2016 Converged Commerce

Whether retailers have jumped on board with omni-channel or not, engaging with customers across every platform to enable personalized shopping experiences isn’t a new concept. But as retailers assess the multiple solutions to tackling omni-channel and struggle with the need to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, shoppers can’t tell the difference between retailers with seamless, efficient backend operations or retailers with a network of patched, disparate systems that replicate and fuse customer data.

So why make the investment in a new omni-channel solution when what you have is working just fine (from the customer’s point of view, anyway)? The answer is simple: the selfie generation and its purchasing power are growing—as are their expectations of being catered to at the touch of a button.

Today’s omni-channel solution is tomorrow’s legacy system

Current omni-channel solutions only offer “semi-personal” shopping experiences, in that they segment customers into demographic and buyer behavior “buckets.” But as the desire for even more personalized shopping grows, one-to-one relationships between retailers and shoppers will be the new normal.

As predictive analytics, advances in data science, and mobile technologies become more available to retailers of every size, current omni-channel solutions may become obsolete much faster than expected. In order to future-proof their enterprises, retailers should be focused on what’s possible with new solutions for Converged Commerce—instead of the status quo.

Converged Commerce is not about one experience. It’s about a preferred experience.

Social media has created a culture of “me”, and if retailers expect to survive digital disruption, they’ve got to meet the challenge with ultra-personalized shopping experiences that put every customer at the center of their own retail universe. After all, we all form and cultivate relationships with people in person and online—and the relationships we have with brands are no different.

For example, imagine logging onto your favorite apparel website and being presented with content that’s unique to your taste, style, and favorite method for consuming that content (reviews, price, brand name, etc.) without manually filtering results. Or being the only person you know to receive a special discount code for the jeans you’ve been eyeing. Every interaction with your favorite retail brand would be an organic, dynamic experience that puts that the content you want to interact with most front and center. It’s as if the retailer really knows you and what you like, just like a close friend would. And that’s where the shoppers of tomorrow will really be able to see the difference between retailers who have a true Converged Commerce strategy in place, and those that are flying by the seat of their pants.

By revolutionizing the back end with future-proof Converged Commerce solutions that can scale, evolve, and integrate seamlessly in the cloud to meet the needs of “me” instead of “we”, retailers will be able to make better business decisions about loyalty programs, product offerings, promotions, and demand—which in turn leads to greater customer loyalty, enterprise-wide efficiencies, and the ability to get ahead in an increasingly competitive retail landscape.

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