Retail Focus Online: An Omnichannel Approach (JGA)

“One of the hottest buzzwords in retail right now is Omnichannel. You hear it at conferences, in marketing, at meetings and in the press. So what can be gained by an omnichannel approach to selling? Omnichannel is important because your shoppers are everywhere and you need to be where they are in order to capture the sale and build a strong customer relationship. Mobile, which has expanded beyond just phones to tablets and other wireless connected devices, has grown more quickly than anyone expected and consumer adoption is unprecedented.

87 percent of US adults own a cell phone and 45 percent own a smartphone. Additionally, 31 percent of American adults own a tablet (Pew Internet Project, 2013). Consumers are using phones and tablets before, during and after their retail experiences. Additionally, the ability to use mobile at bricks and mortar retail has many benefits and can lead to clear ROI.

Since EachScape provides a platform for building and managing mobile apps, we have seen the changes firsthand, and the successes that our clients have found by incorporating mobile into their omnichannel strategies, both for consumers directly, and internally for the enterprise.

Nine West, a division of The Jones Group, is a great example. Nine West wanted to put mobile technology to work, beginning with holiday season 2012. In their company-owned stores, the goal was to increase sales, educate sales associates, and improve training. At the same time, the company hoped to go greener and become more efficient by substituting traditional paper materials with improved digital alternatives. Although there were high expectations, Nine West had less than 90 days to go from concept to deployment.

To achieve this, Nine West rolled out an in-store iPad app that allows employees to show its “Lookbook” with style suggestions to shoppers, retrieve product info, place orders and provide training materials. The application is updatable through the stores’ Wi-Fi networks enabling fresh information at the sales associates’ fingertips.
The pilot program was a success on many fronts. It was their best Black Friday ever, sales increased, and the company saved both money and the environment by shifting reams of paper documentation to the iPad. They will be rolling out more features and functionality in 2013 to increase the business benefits and return on investment.

Some things that you should think about when considering programs like this include the following:

  • How does mobile fit in with my offline and web initiatives? Can they be integrated?
  • If I’m reaching consumers on mobile directly, can I tie in my enterprise initiatives so it is all connected via loyalty programs, rewards, etc.?
  • Does a program like this delight the consumer through more selection, faster ordering or other benefits?
  • Do my retail outlets have the hardware and network to make this successful? If not, what do I need?
  • There are many considerations when implementing a mobile initiative. But, mobile provides a huge opportunity for retailers and one that delivers ROI. Retailers need to begin thinking about mobile as a seamless part of a broader shopping experience to fully harness the power of mobile. the power of mobile. ”


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