Retailers want to embrace the omnichannel methodology but they realize they can’t be all things to all customers. While it is true that today’s shoppers, and in particular Millennials, want to purchase goods and services through different channels, many retailers are still struggling to adapt to the latest iteration of retail reality in which shopping takes place 24/7, and may start in one channel and finish in another. Retailers that can provide a seamless experience by integrating different types of technology can reap the rewards of improved customer loyalty. Because those stores have overcome the hurdles involved in perfecting an omnichannel strategy, shoppers perceive them to be ahead of the pack and responsive to their needs. And who wouldn’t want to shop there? What often plagues those efforts is a retailer’s unrealistic self-expectation that it can be everyone’s favorite company. Ironically, trying to please everyone leaves customers feeling ignored. A more effective strategy is to learn who your target is and then increase that base. Those results will be more satisfying to everyone that matters. At a crossroads between being everywhere at once and still maintaining a quality shopping experience, retailers can’t afford for their omnichannel efforts to be seen as omni-failures. According to Aberdeen Group via OneReach.com, companies with solid omnichannel customer engagement strategies manage to keep an average of 89% of their customers. Those with weak omnichannel efforts? They retain a meager 33% of their customers. Therefore, it’s critical to create and maintain a consistent customer experience across all sales channels. The trick is to do it in a streamlined and efficient manner.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is drastically changing long-standing retail industry practices and processes. Having enjoyed a rich history of direct contact with suppliers and customers, retailers will only continue to grow and strengthen those relationships with the implementation of new connected technology. Consumers, too, are embracing the innovative ways in which IoT can enrich their customer experiences, and suppliers understand they are at the heart of interactions between retailers and customers. Retailers and suppliers alike recognize the role IoT can play in driving customer loyalty and increasing sales activity. By moving from paper-based to electronic exchanges of business documents, companies enjoyed benefits of reduced cost and errors, increased processing speed, and improved relationships with business partners. Today, partners are once again gaining those benefits – in magnified proportions, thanks to processes powered by IoT technology like beacons, RFID, geo-location, etc. Whether implemented in B2B, B2C, C2B, or C2C markets, the Internet of Things can positively influence the full lifecycle of any product sale.
Today, retailers are mining droves of information to better understand shoppers, in order to provide tailored user experiences — which consumers are increasingly demanding. Customers want to have more personalized shopping experiences and will reward those retailers that hit the mark with their loyalty. And loyalty drives revenue: Research agency TNS Global has found that 69% of shoppers buy a brand repeatedly. So, providing the right brand at the right time and place consistently is a winning formula. However, the formula is sometimes tough to create. Walmart is an excellent example of the importance of data collection and business analytics. The retail giant collects 2.5 petabytes of unstructured data from 1 million customers every hour. Walmart began its journey to understand its customers more thoroughly back in 2012, when it moved from a 10-node Hadoop cluster to a 250-node Hadoop cluster. Through analytics, seemingly disparate pieces of information are brought together to draw conclusions that might otherwise go unnoticed.