Innovative Retail Technologies

NOV-DEC 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Spotlight On E-Commerce A ccording to Digital Divergence: The Future of Digital Commerce, the most recent e-commerce benchmark report from Retail Systems Research (RSR), retail winners have a high expectation of the omni-channel customer experience they provide. Report authors Nikki Baird and Steve Rowen write that they "expect to be able to provide a single customer journey across channels, defined through a single owner of the brand experience. And they increasingly expect that their e-commerce platform will ultimately deliver the digital parts of that brand experience." In that study, RSR reports that: • 66 percent of retail winners say identifying and enabling customer journeys is critical to digital channel success • 54 percent of retail winners say a single owner of the customer experience is critical to their brand success • Far fewer than half — just 44 percent — of retail winners say their e-commerce platforms will ultimately become their digital platform across all channels RSR's definition of winners, by the way, is merchants that achieve comparable store/ channel sales growth of 4.5 percent or better. That last stat comes as no surprise, as order management applications have quickly achieved prominence as the backbone of omni-channel among this cohort. The first two stats are exemplary of their acceptance that customers are dictating the retail model, and it's decidedly omni-channel. That's why understanding the customer journey — or better said, understanding the myriad journeys customers take to the sale — is far-and-away the most important mission of leading retailers. It's also why appointing a single customer experience leader — not channel-specific leaders — is priority number two. Given the choice between two channels, consumers will take both or any, not one or the other. Interestingly, a full 39 percent of merchants in RSR's 2016 e-commerce report cite "keeping up with evolving consumer by Matt Pillar Despite inventory visibility and customer experience management falling into place, merchants face legacy challenges to true omni-channel. THE MATURATION OF OMNI-CHANNEL E-COMMERCE I N 2 0 1 7 : Nov-Dec 2016 12 Accurate visibility of inventory in and of itself, however, isn't enough. Meeting the customer 's omni-channel expectation also requires the ability to execute on accurate visibility of enterprisewide inventory. shopping patterns: social networks, mobile, etc." as one of their top three challenges in digital challenges, second only to "maintaining growth rates" and followed by "finding differentiation in a fiercely competitive market." As it relates to a majority of larger omni- channel merchants, who run e-commerce sites in addition to their brick-and-mortar stores, all three of these challenges can be addressed by two foundational areas covered in the most recent research

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