In the past decade we have seen a tremendous amount of growth on the e-commerce front. Amazon has set the bar very high for all retailers. Retailers now have to operate in a multichannel retail economy. Shifting from a store-focused approach to a multichannel mind-set requires retailers to change their traditional frames of reference and ways of working. Now shoppers are increasingly shopping across all channels. They are looking for “convenience” and “efficiency”. For instance, they are looking for price consistency across channels, the ability to buy online and pick up or return in store. Price transparency puts pressure on retailers to develop efficient operating models. The wealth of online information available to consumers raises the bar for in-store service and expertise. These are some of the examples the customers are expecting from retailers now. To transform retail into a digital organization requires looking into every function of the organization. One key area for retailers is to redefine the future role of the store in this digital economy. This definition should based on how to make customers experience more efficient. The retailers have to look into what customers are really looking for from the stores. Is it the convenience and proximity, efficiency, inspiration, instant gratification, discovery of a solution, information, or perhaps they want service, or maybe they want to experience brands and products first hand. Tailoring categories and formats of the store should be based on customer demographics, forward-looking analytic capabilities should be deployed to build and optimize both online and in-store portfolio and capabilities. Customer shopping experiences should be considered while devising the online capabilities. The store presence should be considered as an extension of online capabilities to deliver competitive edge and a customized shopping experience. Execution on the delivery of these new capabilities has to done systematically across all channels, each channel should provide efficient and consistent customer shopping experience.
I recently advised a Telecom client to build their multichannel strategy. The retailer has both stores and online presence. There was no synergy between the two channels. A multichannel strategy was needed for the retailer to continue to compete with competitors in both e-commerce and traditional retail space. Using a systematic approach and understanding the current business and technology landscape of the organization, we were able to successfully deliver a strategy that included a road-map to build their short and long term capabilities. We were able to position the client to compete and grow in this new ear of digital economy.