Henrik Salicath

Inadequate integration of sales channels undermines omnichannel investments

Even though Danish retailers have invested heavily in new customer-centric sales channels over the last years, most still don’t see their large omnichannel investments result in more and increasingly loyal customers and a larger basket.

Despite that the technology to fuse all sales channels within a personalized customer universe is already available, it’s only a few retailers who today fx can deliver customer specific pricing, that take current campaigns, personalized discounts, loyality points etc. into account when the store staff are in front of the customers – or the customer clicks in the webshop via a google campaign.

Beneath the sparkling surface of “we build omnichannel” the challenge is often that the sales channels aren’t tied together and rooted in a common price and process structure. The costs are high in administrative resources, wrong prices and maybe even worse. Customer loyalty will be at stake because customers won’t get the personalized experience they have been promised and expects.

And as if this isn’t bad enough, the lack of channel integration stands in the way of riding along the wave of artificial intelligence and real time pricing, that conquer the retail business now and, in the years, to come.

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How to fuse your platforms

Matas is one of those retailers in Denmark who are closed to what we define as real omnichannel – a seamless fusion of all customer channels focusing on each individual customers’ buying profile and preferences. Matas exploit the latest technology to offer customers that customer club benefits, vouchers, in-store credits and gift cards can be bought and used across all channels – in store as well as digital. In this way the blue and white striped retail chain shows how other retailers can take control of their omnichannel investment.

Cut to the bone, as retailer you need to control three things: the price of the item, the availability of the item and what discount, there is on the item. The first step is to make sure that the dream of omnichannel is rooted within a common strategy for how new digital channels must work together – including the traditional physical store.

Simplified, it requires afterwards to collect all data in one location, to ensure that for example the webshop and physical store refer to the same price on the same item. The last step in the strategy is to add the right business logic to the systems to take all kinds of discounts and advantage programs into account that you as a retailer works with.

A good advice is to think carefully when you consider investing in a new app or customer club. It’s relatively easy to add new digital channels but it requires a clear strategy and the right technological foundation for you and your customers to enjoy the omnichannel investment in practice.

But when you have control of your data and your different sales channels interact, you have created the foundation to near future where artificial intelligence move in and to give customers a personal offers and pricing. And all of this are in fact something we’ll see within Danish retail already in 2019.

Want to learn more about consumers' expectations to complete cohesion between sales channels, read this article: Consumers expect absolute cohesion but get stopgaps.

 

Checklist: 5 areas you can’t compromise

Start today by taking the temperature of your current foundation and consider your further direction. We have made a checklist where we’re going through five areas you can’t compromise if you want to ensure efficient operation and great customer experiences across all sales channels.

The checklist gives you a quick overview of what you particularly must be aware of when you’re assessing the technological foundation beneath your retail chain. If you’re taking these five parameters into account, you’ll stand stronger, create cohesion and be able to meet the development in a changing market.

Download checklist now