As the buzz about omni-channel ecommerce solutions elevates around the globe many have not been able to go transition beyond the discovery phase. This is despite 71% of retail and consumer goods CEOs say omni-channel fulfillment is a top or high priority, according to research from PwC. Forrester says, 71% of consumers expect to view in-store inventory on a company’s website, and 50% want the ability to buy online and pick up that item at a brick-and-mortar location. Providing convenience and superior customer experience across channels experience is the mantra.
On a Tuesday morning over sumptuous breakfast, we got some 30-40 fast growing retailers, online merchants/e-tailers, ecommerce startups and evangelist to the ecommerce ecosystem in India together in a closed group to discuss some of the challenges faced by global retailers and share lessons learnt in implementing omni-channel strategies and technology.
Thanks to TiE Mumbai and Vijay Talreja, co-founder of Adapty and a Charter Member of TiE Mumbai, for organising the business builder breakfast session. It was a truly a pleasure to meet some the emerging e-retailers of India and understand their perspective. It was also a privilege to have Anoop Kulshrestha, VP of Barneys New York, to be a co-speaker with me during the event.
While there were a lot interesting tips, I would like to share some of the key take aways from the discussion for the benefit of a larger audience –
a) Get your strategy right :
While the term omnichannel is widely associated with success in retail and ecommerce the real success comes from getting your omnichannel strategy right than just getting the solution and execution. The key to getting the strategy right is to start with the basis that your consumers want to buy from anywhere and fulfil anywhere.
b) Multi-channel is NOT Omni-channel :
Multi-channel is about providing multiple channels for buying while omni-channel is stitching these channels with your fulfilment systems to provide a seamless experience to your customers. Omnichannel retailers are nimble enough to respond to customer’s increasingly dynamic, accessible and continuous decision making.
c) From nice-to-have to must-have :
Like it or not, consumers are already omnichannel. So the retailers can’t be far. So its not about whether you implement it or not but its about how you get it right. The sellers that will win in this market are those that can use technology to overcome the boundaries of customer data and fulfilment.
d) Invest for future :
Once you have drawn your omnichannel strategy align your technology investment to deliver it successfully. One of the most important aspects to it is to invest in a scalable architecture. Invest in aligning your internal processes and get your infrastructure ready to support. Create common technology driven business goals across the organisation and then see the magic!
e) Now is the right time :
In the online retail world there has never been the best time to invest and ride on the ecommerce wave. It has already been proven multiple times and across geographies that an online business can not just upstart a business but completely reverse the revenue pie for a retailer. Its a boon for consumers and retailers alike – Go OmniChannel!