With the number of e-retail startups entering the landscape, soon retail brands would find it difficult to differentiate the value proposition. Though ecommerce would be driving incremental revenue, for complete business transformation, retail would be focussing on multichannel optimization in the coming years.
According to Neoworks – the ecommerce people:
The focus of retail multichannel improvement will be on people and services, rather than technology and processes. Retailers are asking “how are customers engaging with my brand?” and “how can we design services that will meet the needs of our customers?”. The answers to these questions come through research and data analysis.
Below are some of the Multichannel Retail Trends for 2016 that have dominated various conferences in the last 1 year:
Data storytelling through Business Intelligence
How can we narrate our brand story through data? In short, how can my current data help me take better decisions for my brand? In 2016 we should expect more investment in business intelligence tools and data mining.
Every brand is trying to make some sense of their business data which is piling up at the speed of light. A decision on which data is relevant and which data is just noise is the first step that companies need to take if they want to make sense of all the data that they are capturing.
Need for understanding customer journey during different buying stages
Research evidence has always helped business leaders to make better decisions. In 2016 more retailers will be investing in research to incorporate the voice of the customer in product development and service improvement.
Questions like ‘How should the brand behave in terms of range of products, price, supply chain and services?’ are common areas for voice of the customer analysis.
From a business perspective, the focus on understanding the customers by listening to them and then using the information to market differently, sell differently and support differently as well as redesign processes is becoming a key differentiator for retailers.
Change happens through people, not through technology or processes
Einstein once said:
I fear the day when technology will surpass human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiots.
And he was spot on right. Technology needs to address the pain only till the point it is not pain in itself.
More than technology, for an organization to drive change, they need vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan. If one of those elements is missing transformation is not possible.
Successful organisational change is an adaptive process that requires the coordinated efforts of a wide range of people at all levels of an organization that are collectively seeking the same positive outcome.
Integration of the high street with the online e-commerce businesses
Most retailers have a multichannel strategy but only a few are going above and beyond the basic services such as wifi, contactless payment and click and collect.
While Line busting which is a wonderful way to manage your POS (Point of sale) is yet to take off in a big way, clienteling and endless aisle are becoming increasingly visible on the high street around the globe.
Multichannel service design
Service design is an interdisciplinary approach that combines many different tools and disciplines. In 2016 more retailers will be developing humanised services designing customer journeys that are alive and interactive.
Companies that understand the opportunity will support customer needs more effectively. Offering a differentiated and consistent customer experience can strengthen loyalty and generate sustainable value.
Multichannel Reality for Small Business Retail
Traditional stores will certainly exist ten years from now, but they will not look the same as today. Many traditional retailers will disappear as competition remains fierce and input costs continue to rise. Others will fail because of an inability to adapt or to change their business model to a multichannel reality in which boundaries between the online and physical worlds disappear.
The future winners among today’s bricks-and-mortar retailers will be those that take the future seriously and are good at managing change.