The global retail landscape is quickly evolving in the midst of the rise of omnichannel retailing. As retailers seek to integrate and align various channels to provide shoppers with a seamless shopping experience, omnichannel retailing is at different phases in different geographic regions. The demand for omnichannel shopping is unlikely to slow down, and retailers operating in different regions of the world will need to overcome various challenges to achieve omnichannel proficiency.
Key platforms that retailers must be present on to achieve omnichannel proficiency include physical stores, web, mobile, IoT and other emerging platforms. Retailers must be aware of these platforms and continue to invest in them as they are the channels through which shoppers seek to access their brands. The ultimate aim is to provide seamless shopping experiences anytime, anywhere, through any platform, and therefore retailers will need to provide consistency through all channels.
Omnichannel is increasingly becoming the way in which retail customers want to shop. Current customer expectations are that retailers and brands are accessible through all devices at their convenience, and offering this shopping experience is therefore no longer optional for retailers to remain relevant. From retailers’ perspective, operating omnichannel yields increased sales opportunities.
Retailers must offer a consistent shopping experience across all channels, including consistency in prices and services. The price of a product should not vary significantly depending on where the shopper chooses to shop, and service types offered by a retailer should be integrated across all of its channels. Furthermore, shoppers should have access to view all of a given retailer’s available inventory across all platforms, and be able to choose from various fulfilment options such as delivery and click-and-collect.
Current challenges that retailers face in achieving omnichannel proficiency include changing the way they track sales, managing inventory, overcoming organisational barriers including legacy technology, solving the issue of last mile delivery, offering a secure method of payment and appropriately evolving the role of their brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers are attacking these challenges in different ways, and the race to omnichannel proficiency is still on.
Retailers in different geographic regions are at different phases of achieving omnichannel proficiency. Retailers in Western European and North American countries are leading the journey and are quickly adapting to the rising shopper demand for omnichannel shopping experiences. Meanwhile, retailers in Asia Pacific and Latin America are working to improve their omnichannel offerings by working around the issue of secure payments, and largely trying to convince shoppers of the benefits of shopping through multiple channels.
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