By Author admin

The future of channel management for retailers during a covid world

What does channel management look like for retailers in the future?

To survive retailers need a hybrid combination and integration of a physical channel and an online channel with a unified and seamless experience to serve customer needs more effectively. A combination of the two is more effective than any one by itself.

Retailers need to consolidate data from across channels and systems into an integrated customer profile. Retailers need to show their products wherever consumers are spending their time. When retailers own all these channels it enables cashflow 24/7 from multiple different sources and devices.

The 5 most important omnichannel strategies are:

  1. Provide “click and collect”
  2. Provide “ship from store” and “endless aisle”
  3. Sell on Marketplaces and Social
  4. Allow loyalty points, rewards and gift cards use and easy product returns from any channel
  5. Provide relevant real-time personalised experience across all channels

The consistent requirement is SYSTEM INTEGRATION.

Some other strategies include digital mirrors, augmented reality (try-on or view products in your environment), reward social sharing and reviews of in-store purchases and provide in-store mobile functionality (eg compare, wish-list, reviews, videos).

To what extent have retailers moved towards a truly omni-channel supply chain model during COVID-19?

acidgreen has been very busy since the start of the pandemic quickly improving omni-channel functionality and marketing for our clients.

99Bikes received unprecedented demand for bikes and a huge shift in customer behaviour to shopping online. Together we stepped up customer communications around in-store stock availability, brick-and-mortar stores adjusted hours to give employees more time to assemble online orders for customers, and we improved click-and-collect via multi source inventory management. In April 2020 alone they sold 1,500 bikes per day (AU$3.1 million for the month).

For our client Petbarn when covid hit they wanted to provide a fast delivery service for customers in self isolation. Within 2 weeks we added a “Same Day Delivery” service using Uber Direct as a “ship from store” solution. 

same-day-delivery

With covid restrictions some retailers have been offering carpark click and collect via pop-up stations to deal with increased demand.

Another client Camilla were suffering from store closures due to covid so we quickly (within 2 weeks) created a dedicated Online Warehouse Sale website. This allowed customers to receive warehouse discounts online.

Our client Flowerpower received a significant increase in interest for online orders during Covid so we converted their brochure website to include  online checkout with home delivery and “Click and Collect” options. We also improved the “garden lovers club” loyalty program so that online and offline purchases build multichannel loyalty points and we improved the “wish list” capability to allow a mobile shopping list with extended product information.

For Godfreys we setup and integrated instagram shopping and marketplaces so that no matter where their customers are (website, marketplace, social or in-store) they would find their products and receive consistent messaging and ease of purchase. We added a “store locator” and “click and collect” (with integrated stock levels) and a “compare” function to help both online and in-store customers select the best product for them.

For more information on how to successfully become an omnichannel success contact acidgreen today.

By Author admin

What is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel retailing?

Omni-channel VS Multi-channel retailing 

What came first the chicken or the egg? In this case we couldn’t have omnichannel without multichannel. Omnichannel is the evolution of multichannel operations.

To explain the difference in simplicity:

Multi-channel = Selling to shoppers via more than one channel (channel-centric with an individual experience dependant on channel)

Omni-channel = Providing the same experience across all channels (shopper-centric for the entire customer experience)

omnichannel multichannel

The four key channels include online stores, physical stores, marketplaces and social.

Multichannel retailing is each channel working in isolation, it starts with the company and moves outward to channels. Omnichannel retailing is delivering a consistent, personalised experience for shoppers across all channels and devices. It starts with the customer and seamlessly interacts between channels for a unified experience.

Omnichannel retailing realises that shoppers use multiple channels to engage with a brand before making a purchasing decision, so Omnichannel commerce focuses on providing a unified and integrated customer experience regardless of the channel being used.

With Multichannel if a company wants to update their customers about a promotion they might tell each channel team to manage the campaign independently (online, in-store, marketplace, social) and hope the customers will buy more from one channel.

A company following a multi-channel approach will have different messaging per channel e.g, an online store experience, an in-store experience, a social experience and a marketplace experience. Problems can obviously arise when customer’s experience is inconsistent with different messaging and lack of integration.

With Omnichannel there would be a unified, integrated, seamless and consistent message focused on the customer experience across every interaction point.

Statistics show that customers who engage with an omnichannel experience purchase more (13% more) than those who did not.

The major problems with multi-channel are style inconsistencies, miscommunication between channels, promotional mismatch, stock availability issues etc – this all results in frustrated customers.

Knowing all this why would any retailer still choose Multichannel approach?

Good question. The only reason would be because its easier and less expensive (requires less coordination, planning and integration). But at what cost considering the poor customer experience and reduced sales.

It is critical for retailers to survive in the digital connected social age to have a well implemented omnichannel strategy.

For more information on how to setup an integrated omnichannel experience for your B2C or B2B customers contact acidgreen today. acidgreen has over 20 years digital commerce experience and were pioneers of omnichannel retailing in Australia.

By Author admin

What is omni-channel retail? 15 of the best solutions for omnichannel success

With omni-channel retail (or omnichannel commerce) brands utilise multiple marketing channels to create a single user experience and sell their products both offline and online.

Access to internet-connected mobile devices has transformed shopping into a 24/7 activity across multiple channels. Omni-channel is a “multichannel” approach to sales that focuses on providing seamless customer experience across all channels.

There are 4 key channels:

  1. Online store
  2. Marketplaces (amazon, ebay, etc)
  3. Social (facebook, instagram, youtube, snapchat, etc)
  4. Physical store (or pop-up stores)

To be successful in retail you need to show your product wherever consumers are spending their time. When retailers own all these channels it enables cashflow 24/7 from multiple different sources and devices.

You need to keep customers moving around within your ecosystem, with each channel working in harmony to nurture more sales and engagement. Omni-channel marketing is about providing a cohesive, seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels.

An example with Jane:

Jane is 22 years old and travelling home on the bus from university. She is browsing Instagram when she sees an influencer wearing a beautiful dress she likes. She clicks on the image and there is a link to view the item on an online store. On the store she watches a video of a model doing a catwalk in the dress and loves it even more. She can see reviews from happy customers that they love the dress so she adds to cart. She has an event tomorrow night so she selects same day delivery. She arrives home and 1 hour later her new dress arrives. She tries it on but unfortunately the size isn’t perfect. She jumps online and looks for a local store with the right size in stock. The next day she jumps in her car and heads into the store and is pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to in-store exchange the online item to the correct size. While there she sees some amazing shoes that match the dress. She tries them on but unfortunately they don’t have her size in-store. The store assistant uses her iPad to find another store that has her size in-stock and she places a ship-from-store order from another state and the shoes will be delivered to Jane’s home tomorrow. Jane couldn’t be happier! The following night after her shoes arrive she gets dressed in her new outfit and posts an image on facebook tagging the store and thanking them for their service. Jane didn’t realise at the time though the store rewards anyone who tags them on social so she automatically earned a loyalty point which she was notified by on email. She clicked the link to review how the rewards work and could see she now has 10% discount on her next purchase, so she will go back in-store tomorrow for that bag she liked … to be continued. 

As you can see from Jane’s journey there was a SOCIAL > WEB > STORE > SOCIAL > WEB > STORE omni-channel experience.

The journey of an omni-channel shopper is spread across bricks and mortar stores, social media, apps, desktops and mobile devices.

digital-mirrorPhoto: Ralph Lauren’s New York City flagship store scans items the shopper wants to try on, which are then displayed on the interactive mirror in their dressing room.

Rethink your offline and online experience

You need to rethink what your physical store experience will be in the future. Build relationships with customers by offering workshops, complimentary makeovers, touchscreens for efficient product testing, etc.

Your online experience should allow shoppers to watch tutorials, find stock availability and their closest store, track rewards, virtually try-on products, create wish lists, read reviews etc.

Shoppers want a seamless engagement, consistent messaging, and the ability to control the purchase process based on their own needs, availability, and preferences.

15 omni-channel solutions:

  1. Provide “click and collect” (customers order online and pick-up in store). Display integrated in-store stock visibility.
  2. Provide “ship from store” (retailers use stock from physical stores to fulfil online orders)
  3. Provide “endless aisle” (enable customers in your physical stores to virtually browse/order products that will be shipped to their home)
  4. Reward social sharing and reviews of in-store purchases
  5. Provide digital mirrors (scanned items displayed on interactive mirror with social share option)
  6. Give in-store staff iPads for digital experiences in-store
  7. Develop suburban distribution centre spaces for speed of delivery (Same-day or next-day). Focus on simplicity and efficiency of delivery.
  8. Provide an easy returns process (including in-store from online)
  9. Provide multi-channel loyalty and gift card usage
  10. Consolidate data from across channels and systems into an integrated customer profile
  11. Use Analytics to provide real-time insights so you can provide the most relevant experiences across all channels
  12. Integrate channels (eg allow shop online from social media)
  13. Provide useful mobile functionality for a better in-store experience (eg compare, wish-list, reviews, videos, etc)
  14. Use profile data to orchestrate digital and offline experiences that are consistent and targeted to the right audience.
  15. Remember returning customers from any channel and provide a personalised experience, allow repeat purchase, quick checkout, etc.

A cohesive omnichannel strategy enables you to deliver the experiences customers want, leading to stronger brand loyalty, higher retention rates and lower churn rates.

To achieve omni-channel success you need to partner with an experienced digital agency to help you setup and integrate your systems (eg Order Management System (OMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Information Management (PIM) etc, with your commerce platform (eg Magento, Shopify etc) and the best suite of marketing and analytics tools to provide automated personalised experiences across every channel.

acidgreen have been specialising in digital commerce for over 20 years and were pioneers and innovators of omni-channel commerce in Australia. If you would like to learn how acidgreen can get your business omni-channel enabled simply contact us.