Omni Channel is now real by Jason Titman - September 2014
It seems customer demands have outpaced technology over the past few years, particularly when it comes to seamless retailing across in-store, online and mobile channels. Retailers have been leaving shoppers disappointed and the book keeping and accounting teams have been chasing their tails to keep up with the myriad of different systems and information being generated by each, with limited seamless integration.
This is all starting to change and the omni-channel is beginning to mature, with retail businesses becoming the real winners. A recent survey conducted by Forrester Consulting where they interviewed more than 1,500 multi-channel shoppers and 256 decision makers from retail and manufacturing organisations across the US, UK, France and Germany has found that:
- 71% of shoppers expect to view in-store inventory online;
- 50% expect to buy online and pick up their purchase in a physical store;
- Yet, only 36% of the retail stores surveyed were able to provide customers with in-store pickup of online purchases, online visibility of cross channel inventory and store based fulfilment of online orders.
Research has also shown that omni-channel shoppers are spending 15% to 30% more than multi-channel shoppers and are displaying higher brand loyalty. With retail getting tougher, these findings are significant and all retailers need to embrace the opportunities to grow their sales and reduce their costs by moving into the omni-channel.
Essentially there are 3 dimensions to omni-channel retailing:
- Bric2Click – integration between web and store so that if a customer buys something from the web the customer is immediately recognisable when they visit a store and vice versa;
- Device2Web – This is where the customer can reach the web store through various internet connected devices such as mobiles, tables and kiosks.
- eAve2Web – This is where customers who are connecting through various internet avenues (or eAve) such as eBay or Amazon are directly served through a central database which generates a transparent Order ID or customer ID to serve the customer through the web, store, device or eAve.
The distinction between ‘bricks and mortar’ and ‘online’ are beginning to blur and the omni-channel is the new way. Pure play online retailers will continue to grow but bricks and mortar will never fully die. It will however metamorphosis into omni-channel solutions and those retailers and wholesalers who are early adopters of omni-channel solutions will be the businesses that:
- Are around in 5 to 10 years’ time;
- Are the most profitable in their vertical;
- Command the highest multiples when they go to sell their business.
Neto eCommerce Solutions has developed the first true omni-channel solution for Australian retailers and wholesalers.
As the above diagram illustrates, the Neto eCommerce suite (essentially the online shopping cart solution) is a retailers gateway to the web for online, mobile, eAve (eg eBay, Facebook, comparison shopping engines), Neto then integrates with Vend, which is an in store POS solution, with Unleashed to manage your inventory and then with Xero to manage your accounting and reporting.
Not only does this omni-channel solution provide seamless integration for the customer, it provides seamless integration for the retailers back of house operations saving them thousands of dollars in bookkeeping and accounting costs and is truly a very scalable solution.
Neto have partnered with the team at Consolid8 Real World Accounting Solutions http://www.consolid8.com.au/v/