Introduction:The importance of omni-channel retailing
Chapter 1 Benefits of omni-channel retailing
Improved customer perception
Better data collection
Chapter 2 Tablets
Chapter 3 Mobile
Chapter 4 Touchscreens
Conclusion The future: Omni-channel retailing
The economy continues its slow but steady growth. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, total retail sales as of February 2013 were $376.33 billion, even higher than expected. The holiday season proved to be strong as well, with retail sales for the 2012 retail season rising 2.5 percent compared to 2011, according to the Johnson Redbook Index. While this is slower growth than experienced in 2011 over 2010, it is still a positive sign.
How people shop also continues to change. According to research firm Forrester, ecommerce sales are expected to increase 13 percent, to $262 billion, in 2013. Ecommerce accounts for approximately 8 percent of total retail sales in the United States, and it is projected to be a tenth of all retail sales in the Unites States by 2017.
Not only are people shopping more from their home computers, they also are using new technology within a store. Approximately 53 percent of American adults own a smartphone, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center (a growth of 18 perecent from 2011). The popularity of tablets is growing even more dramatically, with a projected year-over-year growth of 64 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to research firm NPD Group. Shoppers not only are using their smartphones and tablets to purchase, but also to do research within a store.
The challenge for retailers, then, is to incorporate new technology with their existing sales channels, to create a seamless omni-channel experience for shoppers.
The omni-channel experience includes front-end technology, such as the ability to order online and have the product delivered to a store (known as the endless aisle), same-day order and delivery and choice of pick-up sites. It also, however, includes back-end integration, giving retailers more data collection points about their customers and enabling sales associates to access more and better knowledge about products more quickly.
"To the consumer who uses multiple engagement points, such as the Web, a call center and digital signage within a store, it's all one brand," said Ravi Bagal, vice president for Washington, D.C.-based Verizon Retail, the retail arm of global communications company Verizon. "But the dirty little secret is that, usually, those channels are all operating as different silos, not as one unified brand. It's up to the retailer to blur those lines and create a unified experience."
Omni-channel retailing is no longer a choice for retailers; instead, it is becoming a necessity to offer consumers the convenience they want, on the devices they want.
"In the last 10 years, how and why and to what degree people do things has gone through a relatively fundamental shift," said Jeff Dickey, managing director of the OmniChannel Marketing Project, a consortium of stakeholders dedicated to understanding the future of retailing. "We're about to enter a new phase, and those who embrace it will do much bette than those who don't."
This guide will discuss the benefits of omni-channel retailing and how to implement it across various engagement points. We would like to thank Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. for allowing us to provide this guide at no cost to the reader.