fusion point research Marketing Research Reports

Marketing to Omni-Channel Management in Retail

Understanding Their Role

Online shopping has had a profound impact on the traditional retail business model. Store-based retailers are developing new approaches to the market combining both digital and store-based capabilities, while previously online-only retailers are opening physical locations where consumers can shop or pick-up merchandise. These changes not only effect how consumers shop, buy and get products, but also how retailers manage back-end operations like inventory and shipping.1 As retailers expand into multi-channel organizations, they must work to ensure the consumer experience is seamless across all touchpoints. “Omni-channel,” or, using technology to integrate online and offline shopping experiences is a major challenge for retailers.2 Important omni-channel goals include:

 

  • ensuring consistent customer experiences across all channels
  • allowing consumers to research, ask question and provide feedback digitally
  • offering both home-delivery and in-store pickup options3
  • using stores to act as billboards for the brand4, allowing shoppers to touch, sample, pick up and physically interact with products5

 

Multi-channel projects are moving away from defensive tactics to protect against threats like Amazon.com, or from manufacturers selling directly to consumers, towards strong growth initiatives to develop brands, attract new consumers and drive incremental revenue.6 Developing seamless, omni-channel experiences requires significant investment in technology and changes to operational processes.7

 

“The lines have completely blurred between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce…. The great challenge for retailers today is how to make the experience seamless.” – Jim Gold, President of Neiman Marcus Group.8

1 Lang, Gerald, and Grégory Bressolles. “Economic Performance and Customer Expectation in E-Fulfillment Systems: A Multi-Channel Retailer Perspective.” Supply Chain Forum: International Journal 14, no. 1 (2013): 16 – 26. EBSCOhost(91597249).

2 Liebmann, Wendy. “Chains Must Grasp Omnichannel Opportunity Fast, or Lose.” Chain Drug Review 35, no. 13 (2013): 30. EBSCOhost(89907574).

3 “Omnichannel Commerce - How It Really Works, Where It’s Going.” Chain Store Age 90, no. 4 (2014): 32 – 33. EBSCOhost(97055932).

4 Avery, Jill, Thomas J Steenburgh, John Deighton, and Mary Caravella. “Adding Bricks to Clicks: Predicting the Patterns of Cross-Channel Elasticities Over Time.” Journal of Marketing 76, no. 3 (2012): 96 – 111. EBSCOhost(74749677).

5 Berman, Barry, and Joel R. Evans. Retail Management: A Strategic Approach 12th Ed. Edited by Pearson Education, Inc., Prentice Hall., 2013. Part 2.

6 “Ubiquitous Presence a Source of Strength.” Chain Drug Review 35, no. 7 (2013): 86. EBSCOhost(87360908).

7 “Neiman Marcus To Invest $100M In Omnichannel.” WWD: Women’s Wear Daily 206, no. 75 (2013): 1. EBSCOhost(91276903).

8 Ibid.

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Copyright © 2016 Fusion Point Research, Inc.

Retailers are building a mix of online and store-based channels to meet evolving consumer requirements. Integrating the shopping experience across all of these channels is a big challenge.