The role of today’s commerce is vastly different from what it was in the past, and it’s servicing the customer in entirely new and different ways. To succeed in this complicated environment businesses have to consider several factors at play, and one of those factors is technological implementation. Technology is a critical aspect of Omni channel retail today and its implementation is a necessary prerequisite to the success of retail business.
Today, the average digital consumer already has multiple profiles across various online channels. And, are adept at switching between channels and are looking for a smooth shopping experience no matter where they shop. There is what we call a tectonic change in consumer behaviour and this has made technology critical to retailers because they need to remain relevant and give a great Omni channel experience to their customers by integrating online and offline sales channels.
Why Omni‐Channel Technology Implementation is Important ?
“Customers only know what they have experienced. They cannot imagine what they don’t know about emergent technologies, new materials, and the like. What customer, for example, would have asked for the microwave oven, Velcro or Post-It Notes? At the time the transistor was being developed, radio and television manufacturers were still requesting improved vacuum tubes.” According to Harvard Business Review
The secret of customer satisfaction lies in towing the line of customers and being visible to them wherever they are and remain available wherever they want to shop, ensuring the same smooth experience always. Shoppers now want ease of navigation as well as a frictionless shopping journey from browsing till purchase and shipping. Therefore the onus lies on the retailer to take care to see that the shopping experience is smooth.
In today’s world, brands are accustomed to the steady rhythm of replenishment to their stores and must deal with shoppers who can buy anywhere, anytime, and anything. That radically changes the way retailers need to view inventory placement, fulfillment options, and the supply chain stress caused by increasing order variability. And that, of course, can have a big effect on profitability.
Furthermore, what behaviour the shopper exhibits today might not be the same tomorrow and the key to success lies in innovation. As is rightly said “…implementation of a true Omni-channel technology not only demands a transformation in terms of operational strategies, but also a huge change in the mind-set of retailers” But at this point it is imperative to think on those lines and be ready to invest in technology to offer a great Omni channel experience. However let us not forget that brands often encounter challenges because of their existing infra-structure, when they need to implement the Omni channel strategy. Some of these challenges lie in their existing Silos which are not technology enabled and therefore the level of integration is not good.
In an Omni channel system what is of prime importance is collaboration and coordination between different arms of the retail business and the necessity to integrate offline and online channels in order to smoothly manage user experience, map customer journey and logistics. An agile technological system is critical to the Omni channel retail business which is customer focussed. The technical system in place must be able to also give a real time consolidated view of inventory in order to sell across channels configurable processes and algorithms to get real time information.
Existing systems provide a minimalistic view across channels and in order to remain relevant in today’s challenging world it is important to transform old ways to suit the new systems because technology is critical to the Omni channel system. So to reap the rewards of an Omni channel system it is imperative to embrace technology with a comprehensive approach.
Understanding the enablers for Omni channel technology implementation:
- Artificial Intelligence: Retailers with a vision will always try to leverage the power of AI to make maximum utilization of the data to use it to create better experiences for the targeted audience.
- Machine Learning: The other useful thing to use is ML or Machine Learning that can for one thing aid brands in delivering great email marketing campaigns. Use of Chatbots have also become indispensable today.
- Chatbots:Integrating further technology would be in the form of voice assistants and voice search both are indispensable elements of Ecommerce today.
- AR/VR: Customer centric technology is critical to the development of a brand and this could come in the form of Augmented and Virtual Reality. This helps customers to not just see images but also visuals of what they would like to purchase.
What you will enjoy when you automate:
- A positive brand image and greater reach to overseas markets thanks to technology
- Great customer satisfaction.
- Greater visibility of inventory and accuracy
- Automatic stock replenishment and efficient turnover of inventory
- Higher sales volume as a result of optimum inventory planning
- Lowering of working capital
- Strategies for inventory management
- Greater order integration and reduced logistic cost and overall smooth functioning of business operations.
- Reduced processing time and a single window to monitor orders across channels.