Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

The new way to retail – what will drive the next wave of innovation?

Posted on: 08 January '14

According to RetailingToday, Integrated Retail or Omnichannel Commerce paid off for ‘Finish Line’ who attributed their strong quarter performance to their strategies in Omnichannel Commerce. In addition, NRF’s shop.org survey indicates that 37% of Black Friday shoppers preferred to shop both online and in store.

As retailers worldwide adopt the integration of online and offline, they are rewarded by customer preferences that clearly trend towards a multi-channel approach.

Of late the latest and widely adopted trends in Integrated Retail have been Omnichannel commerce integrating both store and online for pick up & purchase, flexible payment mechanisms, brand specific programs, store loyalty cards and of course mobile checkouts.

These have been great for customer experience. However, what will fuel the next wave of innovation?

Indeed, if we consider the maturity of Omnichannel commerce, consumers are looking for a more contextual experience. In fact, all the frenzy over social & mobile, combined with intense competition for consumer attention is actually making it more difficult to get through to the consumer. Techniques that worked in the past no longer do. In addition, for the consumer, research and comparison shopping are faster than before, even instantaneous through the omnipresent smartphones.

The next wave of innovation appears to be a problem that must be tackled on two fronts:

  1. Development of context:
    Integrated insights to drive personalization and support a multi-channel consumer interaction pattern is the first problem to solve. Even as big data technologies are gaining acceptance, their integration with digital and in-store consumer engagement is a problem that has not yet been mapped fully. Technology implementation is still in isolation, as is the linking of various customer touch points. Not only must data be integrated, but it must be meaningfully used to establish a dialog with the consumer, instead of having to restart the conversation every time the medium changes. Always on – that’s the mantra for retail today.
  2. Customer engagement:
    While personalization and multi-channel retailing experience will provide the necessary foundation to positively boost performance for early innovators, the advantage must be sustained by solving the problems of attention deficit and competitive comparisons, especially as they come down to price. How will retailers escape the “me-too” syndrome to reduce the incentive for consumers to comparison shop? The retailers’ dilemma extends to brand organizations as well, who must constantly spend more to build brand loyalty even as their unit margins see continuous decline. Segmentation and customization seem to be potential solutions, combined with reducing the friction in the commerce process through an Omni channel commerce approach that places emphasis on the consumer’s broader context. Both of these will improve stickiness, improve how a consumer identifies with their retailers and ultimately enable competition on factors other than price & free shipping.

Consumer preferences haven’t changed. Consumers are just adapting to the new mediums of interaction, and enjoying the flexibility that the increased competition is providing them. In a rapidly evolving industry, there will always be innovators and followers. What’s crucial is to begin thinking about the ecosystem we want to build with our customers.