In this blog you have heard us maintain over and over that, despite doomsday warnings to the contrary, high street retail and brick-and-mortar stores are not dead or doomed. So it’s with great pleasure that we read new evidence in the form or two separate studies by Forrester and O2/Conlumino showing a bright future for physical stores.
But that doesn’t mean retailers can simply sit and wait for customers to come back into their physical stores. The Forrester report says that in four years 44% of in-store sales will have been influenced by the internet, and we already know that in-store sales inspired by internet research earn $5 to every $1 spent in purely online buys. The O2 report says that by 2020, in-store sales in the UK will rise from today’s £278.5bn/year to £338.5bn/year – but only after factoring in mobile-in-store sales, in-store sales inspired online, and click-and-collect-in-store sales.
In other words, retailers need to have a robust Omni-channel strategy if they want to thrive, much less survive. This strategy will center around four pillars:
Designing an Omni-Channel Strategy
Mindtree has significant experience with some of the world’s largest retailers in setting an omni-channel plan into motion, and what we’ve learned is that there are certain things to keep in mind for companies just starting out on this journey.
Value speed over perfection and get your consumer-facing omni-channel commerce experience in place as quickly as you can – as long as it truly works seamlessly. This will enable quick wins and make customers happy, and the quicker you make customers happy the faster you will grow.
Make it an easy and stable changeover for your store staff. Omni-channel implementation can require broad change management that can be a shock, so do what you can early on to increase acceptance and usage of change.
Embarking on a true Omni-channel overhaul can be a daunting challenge, but it’s a crucial one. And with the right strategy and the right partners, it can go smoothly, with invaluable rewards at the end.
European Cross-Channel Retail Sales Forecast, 2013 To 2018, Forrester, April 28, 2014
The Future of Retail, O2/Conlumino, April 17, 2014.