omni-channel-distribution-retail

A marked change in the approach to omnichannel

As retailers are examining (and reexamining) their omnichannel strategies in the wake of new technologies and industry trends, one thing is for sure, the technologies such as mobile and tablets that are supporting omnichannel initiatives are not going anywhere.

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In an interview with MediaPost Mark Larson, KPMG’s global head of retail notes that brick-and-mortar retailers are not fearing this new wave of technology, rather they are embracing it.

From the article:

Q: When it comes to tech, how are retailers changing most?

A: As more retailers recognize that omnichannel shopping presents a transformational opportunity, we think those that own physical stores are now viewing these stores as assets, not liabilities. And they are taking greater advantage of technology in the in-store environment. We’re seeing retail brands come up with more ways customers can use smartphones in the store, and also arming associates with more technology, so they can better help customers.

Q: Apple and Sears have long gotten a lot of attention for this. And this year, Macy’s practically gave smartphones a speaking role in their holiday ads, as if to say, “We’re cool! We know people like to shop by phone!” Is that a good idea?

A: I think so. First, it’s defensive. You demonstrate that you understand tech and can compete with the pure-play online retailers. But it also is very much an offensive strategy. It demonstrates to customers that they don’t have to go online to get digital convenience, that it can be integrated into the in-store experience, too.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest change, going forward?

A: An increase in omnichannel behavior, with retailers using mobile more as an enabler. We’ll see more of people buying online, and picking up in-store; and buying in-store, and having it delivered to their home.

Q: What are the risks of increasing the use of mobile in stores?

A: Obviously, information security and privacy, but those can be mitigated. I think a big risk is finding the appropriate match of tech with your brand and your style of merchandise. That needs to be carefully thought out. And then there is always the people risk—you need to make sure associates are trained and understand the technology, so that they can create a good experience for customers.