Ascend 2018: Happiness = Omni-Channel Services
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Categories: Retail Events

Ascend 2018: Happiness = Omni-channel Services

Good Retail = Happy Customer Experience Shawn Acher on the Ascend stage

Putting everyone into a good mood, Shawn Achor focused everyone’s attention on the importance of Happiness. Shawn is a renowned happiness researcher, and author of Big Potential as well as a veteran TED Talks speaker. At an incredibly consistent rapid fire pace, Shawn highlighted two key points. First, don’t put off happiness in your own life. The bar keeps moving. Don’t expect to be happy after the next test, finishing grade 12, graduating for University, getting married, having kids, getting that promotion to Director, …. There will always be another milestone. The importance is to appreciate your life today – right now. Be happy in the moment. In that respect, he shared a few tips like practicing happiness, by writing three NEW things for which you are appreciative in your life. Do this for the next 30 days. Happiness is like a muscle – and has to be developed and exercised.

Ascend 2018 - Speaker on stage

Second, Shawn pointed out that companies should hire for optimism. Don’t discriminate against us grumpy folk… but select for people who are optimistic, and willing to work on developing their positive outlook. See point one. This can be developed over time.

Now apply these positive thoughts to you omni-channel services in retail…. Sure there is room to improve, but focus on the positives, and take steps to make them even better.

Get Ready for GDPR

If you haven’t been thinking about GDPR – you better start thinking fast! Very fast!

Walkway at the Ascend conference

Sue Bergamo, CIO / CISO of Episerver – brought in an element of stark reality to her session. The GDPR compliance date is 28 May 2018. That is merely 2 months away (at the time of writing this post). More importantly the penalties for failure are €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover in the prior year. Even scarier is that GDPR rules apply to any and all retailers who have sold to citizens of the EU, regardless of whether that transaction was made in the European Union territories.

Aside from the scary details, and several areas of ambiguity – the implications are clear for retailers. Get your act together on GDPR. To reduce your risk, work with technology vendors who are thinking about this for you with systems that are fully GDPR compliant. Episerver has put tremendous effort to ensure their systems are compliant. In this regard, OrderDynamics DOM / OMS has also been tightened and tested to ensure it is fully GDPR compliant.

If you have customers that are EU citizens, then make sure to ask your ECP, OMS / DOM, POS and retail technology providers to ensure you are covered. Their systems need to be GDPR compliant. Period.

Episerver Campaign (for Retail Marketers) 

Episerver Photowall

Naturally, as a marketer I could not pass up this session. Episerver has put in significant efforts and development time to pull together impressive campaign capabilities for retail marketers driving omni-channel campaigns. It was specifically interesting to hear “I can’t get a marketing campaign out there because I need a developer to code it – and that can take weeks to just book them.” In other words, Episerver Campaign is Out-of-the-Box technology that is ready to go for marketers, and which does NOT require coding.

This was particularly endearing to us, given that OrderDynamics espouses this exact same point about our world-class DOM / OMS technology. It is a highly flexible and configurable, Out-of-the-Box, NO CODING required distributed order management technology.

Finally, add in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) engine that provides feedback to the marketer about how to best optimize the campaign… and it became difficult for me not to drool.

Janome Casestudy talk

Janome Case Study

If you did not recognize the name – it means you are probably just not a Sewist (someone who sews). Janome is the predominant manufacturers of sewing machine and sewing technology. Mike Seminara, Marketing Manager, took us through his journey of building a brand with User Generated Content (UGC).

Asked about his top three recommendations to other marketers going through a similar UGC journey (getting it up and running), he pointed out:

  • Work closely with your technology partner. The Episerver technology made it possible for Janome, and the SI partner made the journey that much easier.
  • Focus on A/B testing to test and try things out. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • “Go to where the people are.” Don’t try to get retail UGC working, by merely staying on your own ecommerce site. You need to go to the user groups, social channel, and places where your customers spend their time, and engage in discussions. Then engage them there, and pull them back to your website, or ecommerce site.

Ascend Exhibition Hall

On negative impacts, Mike pointed out that it is important to watch out how you talk to your customers. You need to “talk how they talk.” So, trying to use corporate speak, just won’t cut it. To be engaging, speak their language.  Sage advice.

Building Complex Ecommerce 

My final session at Ascend was a discussion between Adam Schrier, President of CreativeCo-Op, and Joe Harris, Partner Development at WhereOWare. CreativeCo-Op sells in a B2B model, to retailers. The presentation addressed the design, considerations, and running of an Episerver built ecommerce site. Being an omni-channel retail enthusiast, I was most intrigued by the various channels used by CreativeCo-Op to sell merchandise.

Speaker on the Ascend stage

In this regard Adam hit on a key point that should resonate with all retail managers and executives. When selling, the channel does not matter to the customer. In fact, CreativeCo-Op found that those customer which purchase through more than one channel (call center, ecommerce, catalog…) purchase more goods. To that end Adam highlighted that “we just want to get the order.” In effect, CreativeCo-Op works with omni-channel services, focusing all their associates on helping the customer purchase regardless of which channel they prefer.

Ascend and Episerver stage

This last point was a great place to end the conference, as a key lesson for all retailers running or just establishing their own omni-channel services. Compensate your people so that the channel and method does not matter. Stay focused on Adam Schrier’s comment. Omni-channel retail is all about keeping your associates and resources focused on creating a great omni-channel service experience, and just bringing            in the order (regardless of channel).



Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is Director of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.





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