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Caroline Proctor

  02 Feb 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

Strategies for Improving Omni-Channel Planning

Once the foundation described in my last post is in place, retailers are in a position to optimize their planning across all their channels. Here are some strategies to consider:

Capture True Demand

As discussed earlier, today’s retail sales may originate online, but are often fulfilled inside a store. Besides requiring visibility into enterprise-wide inventory levels, equally important is having the proper merchandise available at the consumers’ fulfillment channel of choice. This requires retailers to distinguish between sales demand — where the order is placed — and fulfillment demand — where the order is fulfilled from.

By capturing and analyzing both sales and fulfillment demand, retailers have the opportunity to build assortments for individual sales channels based on sales demand, while optimizing inventory based on fulfillment demand. With insight into these two mission-critical streams of data, retailers gain visibility into true demand.

Optimize Cross-Channel Inventory

In the world of “order anywhere, fulfill from anywhere”, inventory visibility and accuracy is paramount. Even the slightest inaccuracies in inventory counts can lead to out-of- stocks, resulting in lost sales and more importantly, disappointed customers. To avoid these unnecessary issues, retailers need to ensure inventory accuracy and visibility across all channels and distribution options. Besides offering the opportunity to position inventory where it is most likely to be needed for fulfillment, inventory optimization also ensures desired products are available for sale wherever the demand arises. It is such a mission-critical strategy for omni-channel success that 74% of companies are revamping their inventory planning strategies to increase execution and shopper satisfaction, according to EKN.

Build a Cross-Channel Universal Assortment with Localization

Catering to customer preferences is a pre-requisite for omni-channel success. In fact, the more personalized retailers can make the experience, the stronger the customer/retailer relationship becomes. As a result, execution of localized assortments is also becoming a key differentiator in an increasingly saturated omni-channel marketplace. However, it also remains a highly complex undertaking. It requires companies to rationalize assortments based on sell-through of their selling channels, as well as to identify the appropriate breadth and depth across the channels. By developing a universal assortment that serves as a menu from which the planners can create channel-specific assortment offerings, retailers are better positioned to cater to local trends and plan for variances across the assortments and channels. Implementing a strategy that enables re-actability enables the flexibility to shift or adjust assortment strategies resulting in a healthier bottom-line.

Listen to Customers When Planning Physical and Digital Space

While omni-channel is often associated with an evolving digital backbone, the physical store is still the heartbeat of the experience, albeit that severe changes are underway. Besides featuring more digital touch points to interact with shoppers, savvy brands are also restructuring stores to help consumers complete their shopping journey in an efficient and satisfying way. This includes having merchandise and procurement options available at a moment’s notice. These evolving trends underline the need for localized and effective space planning solutions.

No longer applied to traditional floor plans, next-generation space planning models now must address new formats (including smaller footprints and even pop-up locations), expanded categories and dedicated real estate for in-store pickup. To ensure they can satisfy shoppers’ new omni-channel expectations, new store models must be based on shoppers’ navigation and purchase patterns across categories, store locations, channels and departments. This insight gives retailers an understanding of how to more effectively plan their store layouts in a method that not only addresses customer behavior, but is also developed to increase revenue.

Leverage Increased Opportunities for Customer Insights

Customer demand data clearly opens up a wealth of opportunity for retailers, especially as an omni-present business model that is by nature, consumer-centric, continues to evolve. With insights centered on understanding what shoppers buy, how they buy, when they buy, what they pay and why they buy, retailers are primed to target products at customers across all their selling channels. The power of affinity analysis on the customer and purchased product enables retailers the opportunity to upsell complimentary products to the customer when they have the highest intent to buy.

Execute Meaningful Pricing Strategies

A big challenge for many retailers is how to manage pricing in an increasingly omni-channel world. Sales channels are no longer separate entities for customers. They expect to pay the same price for a product or service regardless of where the transaction occurs and this is a struggle for many brands. Too many still present inconsistent or fragmented pricing strategies that can lead to customer frustration, confusion and distrust.

A clearly defined pricing strategy that takes into account customer exposure to multiple channels can ensure that customers are confident in an organization’s practices. Sure, pricing differences are often required based on regional differences or seasonal markdowns, but overall, it’s important to offer consistent pricing across channels. To avoid alienating loyal shoppers in the strategic pricing game, it’s best to build a base omni-channel pricing strategy and to manage exceptions, when dealing with products that are timely or seasonal, to avoid negative impacts on the bottom-line.


Caroline Proctor

  26 Jan 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

Preparing the Foundation for Omni-Channel Planning Success

Retailers that are serious about long-term omni-channel success need to break down the channel planning and system silos and put the foundation in place on which they can deliver the cross-channel shopping experience that customers expect while also achieving their financial goals. Setting this foundation requires a focus on the four pillars of process, people, data and systems.

Process

The transformation to true omni-channel planning and execution starts with redefining business processes. In a siloed organization, each team has its own processes and typically systems. By breaking down these operational silos, retailers can more easily streamline their planning processes, and more importantly, integrate these processes across new and emerging channels. So before moving onto the other pillars, cross-channel business processes must be defined and a change management strategy formulated to help the organization successfully make the transition.

People

This magnitude of change doesn’t happen overnight, and more importantly, it doesn’t just evolve. Rather, it comes from a culture change — one that is championed from “the top down.” Once the culture is in place, the next step is for retailers to restructure their teams to support the roles within the new omni-channel planning processes. Change management will play a key role in helping team members to understand and adapt to their new roles and responsibilities.

Data

More digital touch points means one thing — a higher volume of incoming data. As new customer-facing solutions are adopted, so are new sources of information created. Simple structured data sets have given way to unstructured data created by the marketplace’s many digital touchpoints, including mobile and social media.

While 82% of retailers reported that big data is a pre-requisite to changing the way they interact with and relate to their customers, according to “e,” a report from Accenture, big data is growing exponentially and entering companies’ data warehouses so quickly, that many struggle with how to harness this fast-growing information. Those that can manage to centralize this information and then apply predictive business analytics will be poised to accurately determine inventory levels and better allocate merchandise assortments to specific channels based on consumers’ real-time demand.

This effort not only delivers better visibility to merchandisers, it also better positions merchandise enterprise-wide.

Systems

While technology alone cannot solve business problems, it is most definitely the enabler of success once the other three pillars are in place. For example, by implementing modern systems, retailers can share data freely across the enterprise, as well as gain a single version of the truth regarding customer information, inventory and stock levels, as well as product movement. It is the final piece of the omni-channel merchandising puzzle, and the pillar that supports the information needed to drive the company’s overall merchandising strategy.


Caroline Proctor

  19 Jan 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

21st Century Retailing Challenges

The retail industry is changing on a seemingly daily basis, and at the core of this change is the customer. Customers are increasingly comfortable with technology, which is driving their demand for more digital interaction with their favorite brands — a factor that is making the retail landscape increasingly digital. Besides giving consumers more control of their shopping experience, this omni-present retail landscape enables shoppers to “channel-hop” throughout their shopping journeys as they browse, purchase and fulfill orders using the combination of channels that best suits their needs.

A pre-requisite for 21st century retailing, omni-channel has become a mission-critical strategy for any company that is preparing for their longevity. As a result, omni-channel has become the highest technology investment priority, according to RIS News’ “The 12th Annual Store Systems Study: Retail Technology Spend Trends” report.

The evolving digital experience — and consumers’ expectations — is making the retail model more unpredictable than ever before. This shifting business model requires that brands can merchandise assortments and maximize product inventory across physical and digital channels so merchandise is available when and where shoppers are ready to make a purchase.

However, an array of challenges continue to impact the move to this next-generation retailing model. Among the top issues are:

Legacy Systems

Even as we approach the second decade of the new millennium, there are still retailers relying on technology, including planning systems, which were developed and installed in the late 1990s to address what was expected to be a catastrophic Y2K issue, as described in the “2015 Merchandise Planning Survey” from Boston Retail Partners. However, fast-forward almost two decades, and retailers are still trying to conform these antiquated legacy systems to support evolving multi-channel strategies — efforts that often fail. More specifically, 72.5% of companies say their systems are still underdeveloped, or worse, absent in the quest for connecting the end-to-end shopping experience across channels, according to “A New Era for Retail: Cloud Computing Changes the Game”, a report from Accenture.

Siloed Operations

The traditional planning process is conceptually straightforward: identify what to sell, who to sell it to, at what price to sell it and then ensure the product is where it needs to be on time. This is simple when applied to individual selling channels. However, with customers expecting a seamless experience across a retailer’s selling channels, it has become very complex to deliver customers the experience they expect while maintaining a healthy bottom-line.

As retailers have added channels, they often set up silos of planning and inventory for each channel. In fact, 49% of retailers still operate separate inventories across channels, according to Boston Retail Partners’ “2015 Merchandise Planning Survey”. Operating siloed processes and disparate systems only increases operating complexities, and can lead to out-of-stocks or overstocks, both of which negatively impact margins. Specifically, these disparate systems can contribute to up to 10% sales losses enterprise-wide, according to “The First Annual Customer Engagement Tech Trends Study: The Personalization Imperative”, a report from RIS News and Edgell Knowledge Network.

This siloed approach might have worked when most consumers shopped within specific channels. However, today’s consumer moves seamlessly between channels when shopping and also expects flexible fulfillment options, like buy on-line and pick-up in store. Retailers must plan and manage inventory across all their channels in order to satisfy customer demand while meeting their financial objectives.

Social Networking

As consumers are demanding that their shopping experiences become more digital and interactive, it is not surprising that social media is gaining traction in the retail journey. From an internal perspective, retail marketers rely on social networks to bolster their reach, using the medium to share content, deliver channel-specific promotions, and most importantly, directly interact with their loyal shoppers. According to Nielsen, 77% of shoppers say ‘social exposure’ and validation of a product is the most persuasive source of information, and does indeed drive them to make more purchases.

However, it can make or break brand image if not managed correctly. Retailers often forget that consumers use the medium to interact with their peers, and waste no time in sharing their experiences — the good, bad and ugly. Rather than respond to negative comments — many which tend to revolve around mismanaged inventory and poor customer service — that chip away at retailers’ reputations, many often try to resolve the issues by increasing inventory levels in hopes of satisfying customer expectations. While this approach may help the customer experience, it more often leads to increased operating costs, a move that negatively impacts margins.


Caroline Proctor

  12 Jan 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Justenough News

  

JustEnough Launches New Customer Insights Solution

JustEnough today announced the release of its newest module - Customer Insights - that is uniquely positioned to enable retailers to analyze customer data and turn it into actionable insights to optimize assortments, promotions and pricing.

We will be showcasing Customer Insights at National Retail Federation's (NRF) BIG Show 2016 in New York City, January 17-20. Attendees interested in learning how Customer Insights can help turn data into actionable insights are encouraged to visit Expo booth 3976 or contact us to schedule a time to discuss.

Retail's consumer-centric transformation brought into focus the need for retailers to develop capabilities to gather and analyze customer data across all channels and touchpoints and to have technology that supports customer data-driven decision making. Merchandise planning has traditionally been product-centric and largely based on merchant intuition. Now with consumers in the driver’s seat in today’s omni-channel and digital age of retail, that approach needs to change.

JustEnough Customer Insights helps retailers to make the transformation from traditional product-centric planning to truly customer-centric planning. This shift in focus is critical for retailers hoping to compete for today’s demanding customers.

With the support of JustEnough's latest solution, retailers can:

  • Analyze customer behavior to understand which customers are most important to their business
  • Segment and cluster customers to localize and personalize assortments
  • Identify which promotions mobilize their best customers and personalize and target promotions

Please visit our website to learn more about Customer Insights.


Caroline Proctor

  12 Jan 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

The Right Omni-Channel Technology Tools

This is the last article in our series based on a research report JustEnough recently sponsored with Boston Retail Partners into the current state of the industry around Merchandise Planning which uncovered strategies that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in today’s omni-channel world. 

I hope you enjoyed this series of articles. Please contact us, if you would like to learn more about how JustEnough solutions are helping leading retailers to successfully plan for their omni-channel operations.

Here is the final part:

The right technology tools

As mentioned earlier, a combination of appropriate tools and systems are necessary to fully support the omni-channel environment. Absent the right technology – with the processes and organization to support it – omni-channel strategies fail to achieve maximum efficiency and benefit for retailers. Best practices dictate the use of a full suite of planning tools working as an integrated system. This year’s survey results reveal that while retailers realize that their current systems are inadequate and that there is a need for better tools, the situation cannot be remedied overnight. Retailers realize there is still significant opportunity to enhance their planning capabilities from a technological perspective.

Fully integrated solutions have not gained vast acceptance into the systems landscape at most retail organizations. Leveraging robust tools that allow for unified management of transactions across all channels will become increasingly vital for retailers who seek to succeed in an omni-channel environment.

A fully integrated omni-channel environment requires a solid technological foundation. As the survey shows, retailers are starting to appreciate the urgency behind system improvements. However, transitioning from legacy systems and spreadsheets continues to be a challenge. The inability to fully embrace integrated systems will inhibit efforts to provide a truly omni-channel retail model. Those keeping pace with technological developments will find themselves at a definite competitive advantage until the rest of the industry is able to catch up.

Unfortunately, spreadsheets are still prevalent in the planning process, especially in assortment planning where 42% of the respondents utilize a spreadsheet (Exhibit 13). It is also interesting that a number of retailers use a combination of applications for their planning requirements.

Exhibit 13: Application type

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-13

Many retailers indicate their planning applications are lacking effectiveness (Exhibit 14). It is interesting to note that the effectiveness of applications seems to follow the application type. Vendor or homegrown apps are more effective than spreadsheets. Overall, retailers are not happy with their applications, which leads to the massive planning application upgrades/replacements planned for the next two years.

Exhibit 14: Application effectiveness

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-14
 

Retailers face many issues with planning systems. As mentioned earlier, many systems were replaced in time for Y2K and may be out of date. Many systems don’t have the capabilities needed to effectively plan in this ever-evolving retail environment. Some retailers are dealing with budgetary issues as the retail industry has struggled in the last few years. Others may have good intentions to upgrade their systems to accommodate an omni-channel environment, but struggle with what to do and how to do it. This is certainly a challenging time to be a retailer, however, there is a realization in the industry that changes need to be made to update the planning process, and that is certainly the first step towards success.

Conclusion

Savvy retailers know they have a problem with their current planning systems – they are ineffective and out-of-date – and most are beginning to take action. The good news is that there are some very good tools available to address these outdated systems, but technology is only part of the solution.

To successfully meet the needs of an omni-channel world, the people and processes involved to support it are just as critical to address, and the systems must integrate analytics with operational processes and solutions. The imperative is to address these issues before disenchanting today’s ever more demanding customer.

Standing still is not an option – what are you going to do?

You can read the complete BRP 2015 Annual Merchandising Planning Report here.


Caroline Proctor

  07 Jan 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Industry News

  

Holiday Season Proving Buy Online, Pick Up in Store is More Complicated Than Expected

The Washington Past recently published an interesting article about how the holiday season is showing how many retailers aren’t prepared for new fulfilment options customer expect - especially buy online, pick up in store.

Here is what the WP found:

Retailers this holiday season have been aggressively trumpeting “click-and-collect” shopping, a relatively new hybrid of digital and old-school buying that allows time-starved customers to place an order online and pick it up within hours at a counter in a store.

But so far, many shoppers are finding it to be a big headache.

Fully 60 percent of such orders placed on Cyber Monday ran into problems, one study found. The wrong items were received, or orders were cancelled because the product was no longer in stock. Sometimes there was no notification an order was ready.

Shoppers in droves have taken to social media to complain about long waits at the service counter and other issues, an outcry that could get louder as a crush of gift-buying procrastinators begin descending on store counters in the final days before Christmas.

Read the complete article here.

JustEnough is helping leading retailers to successfully plan their omni-channel assortments, inventory and allocations in order to meet the demands of today’s consumers. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you overcome omni-channel planning challenges.


Caroline Proctor

  05 Jan 2016 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

Customers Expect a Holistic Omni-Channel Pricing Strategy

This is the sixth article in our series based on a research report JustEnough recently sponsored with Boston Retail Partners into the current state of the industry around Merchandise Planning which uncovered strategies that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in today’s omni-channel world. 

We will continue to look into the elements the survey found that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in an omni-channel world. Please contact us, if you would like to learn more about how JustEnough solutions are helping leading retailers to successfully plan for their omni-channel operations. 

Here is part six:

A holistic pricing strategy

Strategic pricing is critical to effectively meet customer demands and ensure they continue to shop your brand. Moving to an omni-channel environment makes pricing even more challenging as customers now have access to pricing from different channels.

The capability to strategically price goods throughout the season allows retailers to improve gross margins and profits. Currently, retailers formulate pricing strategies based mostly on seasonality, store clusters and promotional calendars. Unfortunately, this dated approach is often inflexible and forces retailers to systemically take markdowns on items that would continue to sell at a higher price in certain stores. For instance, while swimsuits may typically not sell at full price in cold weather stores in December, stores in New York may be able to sell them given their high traffic levels and number of international customers.

Traditional merchandise planning tools make it difficult, if not impossible, to execute a more nuanced pricing strategy. Also, older tools, lacking advanced analytics, might miss dynamic pricing opportunities and execute the same price at all stores in the same cluster.

Omni-channel planning tools allow retailers to take advantage of selling goods in the most profitable channel. While at first glance it may seem illogical to transfer goods from store to online fulfillment, an advanced planning tool will recognize at what price a transfer makes sense.

Finally, retailers should look to move towards dynamic pricing across channels to maximize margins. While this is still a distant dream for most retailers, a cross channel dynamic pricing model would allow retailers to recognize customers and offer them the price that they are willing to pay, and that is most profitable to the retailer. Some retailers are already utilizing such technology on the web, but this same idea could find its way into more brick and mortar retailers in the future.

Currently half of the respondents utilize the same prices across all locations and channels (Exhibit 12).

Exhibit 12: Pricing strategy

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-12

You can read the complete BRP 2015 Annual Merchandising Planning Report here.


Caroline Proctor

  29 Dec 2015 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

Advanced Analytics Support Better Omni-Channel Decision Making

This is the fifth article in our series based on a research report JustEnough recently sponsored with Boston Retail Partners into the current state of the industry around Merchandise Planning which uncovered strategies that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in today’s omni-channel world.

We will continue to look into the elements the survey found that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in an omni-channel world. Please contact us, if you would like to learn more about how JustEnough solutions are helping leading retailers to successfully plan for their omni-channel operations.

Advanced analytics

Improving analytics is the top planning priority for retailers (Exhibit 10). Retailers continue to focus on analytics, as it was a top priority from last year’s survey as well.

Exhibit 10: Top planning priorities

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-10
 

Analytics serve as an important tool in assisting retailers to find and interpret meaningful patterns in customer and inventory data to support decision-making. Insight into customer demand, price sensitivity, reaction to promotions, demographics and more are key to drive merchandise plans and actions that maximize profitability. This is especially critical in an omni-channel environment, as understanding the preferences of disparate customer groups across different channels becomes more complicated.

Analytics provide visibility into sales performance by channel, assortment, and item, making it extremely valuable for strategic decisions. As omni-channel integration and planning become the norm, the analysis required to support strategic decisions becomes more complex and data intensive. It is becoming essential for retailers to broaden their analytical capabilities to effectively address these complicated quantitative decisions. For example, at the convergence of social media and advanced analytics are emerging tools such as scrapers that collect and analyze website activity to help identify trends and missed opportunities.

Despite readily available data, retailers are still often challenged to successfully understand and utilize analytics. Among most organizations, the ability to leverage analytics to improve business performance lags intent. This gap can be attributed to various environmental factors that are currently prevalent among retail businesses.

The ability to execute upon advanced analytical capabilities is limited primarily by tools, data and internal skills. The tools utilized by many retailers lack the consistent capability to answer today’s critical, forward looking business questions efficiently with supporting data, transparency and trust in the results. Many organizations also deploy measures without a comprehensive enterprise analytics strategy, resulting in both under-utilization of capabilities and an absence of the requisite knowledge of existing tools and data to ensure their efficient use.

Implementation of a successful omni-channel approach undeniably requires organizational alignment across all business segments, and analytics are not exempt. A large number of today’s organizations have capabilities and processes that are inconsistent across functions. Without organizational alignment, it is difficult to maximize the benefits that big data can bring to omni-channel performance. Three-quarters of the respondents currently utilize advanced analytics in merchandise planning while only 20% utilize it within omni-channel planning (Exhibit 11).

Exhibit 11: Advanced analytics use

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-11

You can read the complete BRP 2015 Annual Merchandising Planning Report here.


Caroline Proctor

  22 Dec 2015 • By Caroline Proctor in Opinions

  

Leverage Omni-Channel Data to Enhance Customer Insight

This is the fourth article in our series based on a research report JustEnough recently sponsored with Boston Retail Partners into the current state of the industry around Merchandise Planning which uncovered strategies that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in today’s omni-channel world. 

We will continue to look into the elements the survey found that retailers can focus on to enable effective planning in an omni-channel world. Please contact us, if you would like to learn more about how JustEnough solutions are helping leading retailers to successfully plan for their omni-channel operations.

Here is part four:

Enhanced customer insight

The quantity of data available to retailers has never been greater. Retailers have access to more customer, enterprise and public data than ever before. Customers are increasingly interacting with retailers in a highly digital manner via online shopping and social media. These interactions produce valuable sets of data that can be instrumental when predicting demand and informing buying and planning decisions. Knowing the customer better than the competition empowers retailers to create personalized promotions and marketing campaigns to drive sales and enhance customer loyalty.

Social media provides retailers with unprecedented visibility into their customer base. It provides a venue in which retailers can directly communicate with their customers and it is an extremely powerful tool for collecting and using customer insights to improve planning decisions. Retailers can understand who the customer is, what she wants, when and where she wants it, and even why she wants it based on social media postings and feedback.

Social media analytics refers to the assessment, examination and interpretation of the interactions and associations of people, topics and ideas among social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Observing and analyzing social media discussions and trends across many individuals and communities is often referred to as “crowdsourcing.” Social media crowdsourcing is a powerful tool that can be used to discern customer sentiment about a retailer’s products and services and offers retailers the ability to identify customer shopping trends. Retailers are beginning to access this plethora of customer insight available for merchandise planning purposes.

The challenge with social media analytics is that it is still relatively new. Therefore, there are very few “tried and true” tools and best practices for retailers to use as a guide. But with the benefits of customer insight to help align demand, sell-through merchandise, localize assortments and target pricing and promotions, the value of social media analytics can be significant.

Currently 71% of retailers indicate that they capture customer feedback via social media. However, retailers are still just scratching the surface when it comes to leveraging social media content for planning purposes.

Product development remains the biggest area for social media data utilization with 23% currently utilizing it and 29% planning to use within two years (Exhibit 8). It is interesting that many retailers don’t see the value in utilizing social media data for allocation assistance (only 31% have any plans for utilizing social media data in assisting with allocation), as understanding customer insight would seem to be important for re-allocating merchandise.

Exhibit 8: Social media to facilitate planning

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-8

More than half of the retailers surveyed utilize social media data for competitive shopping while only 41% utilize social media data for pre-season planning (Exhibit 9).

Exhibit 9: Social media data usage

bl-brp-2015-survey-exhibit-9

Social media represents a huge opportunity for retailers to be more customer-focused in their planning. Driving merchandise decisions based on customer desires and needs should improve the chances that retailers will buy and stock the merchandise that customers want to buy.

You can read the complete BRP 2015 Annual Merchandising Planning Report here.


Caroline Proctor

  15 Dec 2015 • By Caroline Proctor in Industry News

  

The Customer is the Driver of the Omni-Channel World

The Robin Report recently published an interesting article about the face of today’s omni-channel customer. Some of the interesting observations include: 

  • Experience and Possession. She is interested in the experience of shopping and possession. While hardly oblivious to price, price is only one ingredient in what adds up to a satisfying retail experience. Quality, brand, value—and a pleasing and even entertaining path to purchase are what are important to her.

  • Shrinking Store Visits. For the omni-shopper, the path to purchase leads more and more to the stores on Main Street and in the mall—the venues that continue to provide her with the experience she wants. The thing is, that list of stores is dwindling. The more she shops online, the more the omni-shopper narrows her choice of stores to visit.

  • Loyalty versus Commitment. Two years ago, the great fear stalking the corridors of retail was showrooming: the prospect of frictionless shopping on the Internet driving prices down as far as they could go, with stores serving simply as test-drive facilities. Something like the opposite has happened. Ecommerce is not a race to the bottom. While some goods and services (the latter, in some cases, of necessity: think of digital music) are taking share online, both by category and in bulk, the store continues to attract consumers for service, for socializing and, perhaps most surprising, for inventory. 

  • She Wants it Now. Retailers can thrive only by concentrating on the omni-shopper herself and the way she uses channels, devices, technology and indeed her own savvy as means to an end— in short, the path to purchase ending in a satisfying experience, as much as the purchase itself in a box with a receipt. This also is the way to obtain her commitment—a commitment based on trust to deliver merchandise swiftly, safely and in a digital and physical environment that the consumer finds welcoming. 

You can read the complete article here.  

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