1. Technology & Innovation

Technologies That Are Essential to a Successful Omnichannel Retail Organization

Technological advancement continues to disrupt retail strategies, altering customers’ behavior and, consequently, retail businesses. New technologies influence customers as they switch between channels for research and shopping. Companies must focus on managing the numerous customer touchpoints available simultaneously. Omnichannel has become an appealing medium for retailers to interact with customers and sell their products and services across multiple channels.

Adopting technology ensures omnichannel retailers stay competitive in a rapidly changing retail landscape by enabling them to adapt to new trends and customer demands quickly. Businesses should use tech-driven tools and solutions if they want to enter the digital realm or enhance their retail strategies.

Omnichannel customers can follow any pattern. They might follow an end-to-end buying process online or research a product first online but then buy it in-store, or vice versa. Omnichannel retailing aims to offer a seamless shopping and customer experience by combining the benefits of digital and physical retailing. The experience should be fluid, integrated and continuous across all touchpoints. Businesses must think outside the box and build solutions to efficiently integrate physical and online stores and engage customers in multiple ways.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Omnichannel retailing can use AI technologies for a variety of purposes, such as data management, customer experience, and supply chain efficiency. A few areas where AI has an impact include understanding and anticipating shopper behavior, product recommendation, sales/CRM management, in-store experience management, customer service and payment management, and media optimization. Delivery, logistics and inventory optimization are a few examples of how AI is impacting the supply side of retail.

Analytics Tools

Nowadays, customers’ loyalties are challenging to retain due to a large number of choices, as customers can easily change their mind in multiple channels. Even if you have the data, connecting the dots of the omnichannel customer journey can be challenging. Businesses need solutions that help them better understand their brands, product sensibility and customer requirements.

Implementing an effective omnichannel strategy relies on an integrated analytics system to extract all useful information from the data. It automatically unifies online, in-store, Internet of Things, supply chain, and mobile application customer data. Data analytics facilitates the ability to make well-informed business decisions, maximize marketing budgets, and focus efforts on strengthening campaigns, thus helping businesses gain a competitive edge against business counterparts.

Flexible Payment Platform

Payment processing is an integral aspect of the sales process. Retailers must rethink their sales process and payment support infrastructure to sustain the business. While most payment processes are relatively simple, things can get more complicated when businesses serve customers on multiple platforms (website, app, etc.). Customers nowadays anticipate more straightforward checkout procedures, whether online, in-store or over the phone. Shoppers are increasingly drawn to brands that facilitate easy checkout processes and offer a variety of payment methods.

An omnichannel payment platform unifies the company’s payment procedures, providing a single view of all consumer interactions and revenue-generating options for the whole payment ecosystem. It can deliver personalized and consistent consumer journeys across any shopping channel.

Mobile-First Strategy

As omnichannel retail evolves, mobile has emerged as the major channel for integrating online and offline consumer interactions. There are more than 5 billion mobile phone users today that’s two-thirds of the global population!

Today a majority of front-of-house businesses run on mobile devices and apps. Therefore, a mobile-first approach to digital transformation delivers more authentic mobile experiences, thus building new revenue streams. A mobile-first approach refers to designing a business with mobile consumers as the primary focus. The mobile-first retailer sees the shop app, not the website, as the hub of the customer journey, influencing purchases, fostering connections, and providing a seamless experience.

Headless Content Management

Opting for headless content management system (CMS) is instrumental to the success of an omnichannel digital strategy. Its primary goal is to provide a seamless user experience across channels. A headless CMS allows greater flexibility, scalability and integration with a broader range of technologies and platforms. Therefore, it offers limitless possibilities, such as future-proofing, personalization of content, and customer experience.

The physical and digital worlds are increasingly merging. At the same time, technology lies at the heart of the omnichannel revolution and the avenues are out wide and open for retail businesses. Businesses that act on the advancing trends and deliver top-notch omnichannel experiences will get a head start that competitors will need help to close.

Ashwin Parmar is executive vice president, retail at Cybage, a global leader in developing and implementing warehouse management solutions across industries

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