The retail landscape is swiftly shifting, and many retailers risk being swept away by the profound changes that will come to define the marketplace over the next decade. In order to compete in our increasingly globalized and digital world, retailers need to create seamless shopping experiences for their customers that permeate nearly every marketing channel. The buzzword for this new, multi-channel marketing presence is “omnichannel marketing,” and it is profoundly altering the way retailers will do business in the first half of the 21st century.
By harnessing the power of digital technology, and tapping into the free flow of information and ideas, retailers can create omnichannel shopping experiences for their customers. But what exactly is ominichannel marketing, and how can retailers, large and small, get on the bandwagon?
Omnichannel marketing falls under the digital concept of “New Retail,” which is a collection of strategies implemented by retailers to react to the challenges of operating in an increasingly digital world. Omichannel retail, simply put, is the blending of physical and digital retail spaces. It is a concept that allows retailers to take advantage of the strengths associated with both physical and digital retailing models.
Through the utilization of advanced, digital tools, online retailing is upending the old, brick-and-mortar retail model. Digital retailers such as Amazon have lower fixed costs associated with their operations, allowing them to offer consumers reduced prices, compared to their physical-store competitors. Today, only 10% of retail sales are conducted online; however, the number of online shoppers is expected to explode over the coming years. Retailers who effectively harness the benefits of both physical and digital models will be most successful.
The key to a successful omnichannel retail solution resides in advanced IT and software solutions. With the right tools, physical retailers can enhance the shopping experience of their customers by adding digital elements. Some examples of this might include “smart carts,” which can track a consumer’s behavior as they progress through a physical shopping space, or utilizing touch screens in store, so that shoppers can interact with digital information while simultaneously viewing a physical product.
By deploying a retail infrastructure that includes advanced IT solutions, cost-effective hardware, and retail software, stores can implement omnichannel retail strategies that will allow them to outcompete those who choose a one-or-the-other approach. These solutions allow consumers to simultaneously engage with retail brands in physical stores, on websites or mobile applications, through digital catalogs, as well as through social media.