As technology is ever changing the retail market both on and offline, retailers are facing increasing challenges. Relying solely on bricks-and-mortar or online retailing is fast becoming an outmoded approach. To succeed, today’s retailer must link all channels effectively and provide their customers with a seamless service, regardless of their point of contact.
With such a rapid trajectory to ‘modern day’ retailing, offering multi-channel services to consumers is no longer enough as they now are demanding not only the option to purchase across a range of channels, but also the same level of choice and service too – omni-channel retailing.
With the marketplace at their fingertips, the consumer is the one calling the shots. The pressure is on retailers to adapt to these fast-increasing demands on their services. Those who don’t will find competing in today’s marketplace an uphill struggle.
In order to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of seamless customer service across all customer contact points, retailers must be equipped with the technology to fully support omni-channel retailing. Technology is now a competitive differentiator for today’s retailer. However it cannot just be the old architectures, bent and throttled-up to suit the latest ideas. Retailers need to adopt joined-up thinking to provide a consistent service across all outlets.
Whether it be online or in physical stores, retailers need to make sure that all channels link and communicate with each other. To achieve maximum benefit and provide the ultimate customer experience, this also needs to be done in real-time.
“Today’s retail paradigm puts increased pressure on retailers to build lasting customer loyalty by keeping up with fast-moving trends and exceeding shopper expectations,” said Michael Griffiths, global product director of retail, Microsoft Business Solutions
Once retailers adopt this approach and employ the technology that provides maximum visibility of all channels across the business, they can truly provide a service that will position them ahead of their competitors. Transparency and a convenient, competitive choice are key to longevity in today’s retail environment and this means total visibility, for both the consumer and the retailer.
Offering the customer the choice of how and when to transact demands a single, consistent, experience across all channels. Disjointed and layered systems that rely on synchronisation of data are a house of cards waiting to fall.
Ultimately customers are becoming ever more demanding and inefficient systems will cost the retailer their loyalty.