ATM and Your Omnichannel Retail Technology
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Categories: Thought Leadership

ATM and Your Omnichannel Retail Technology

Been reading a new book, not at all associated with omnichannel retail technology. It’s called The Snowball System, by Mo Bunnell. It discusses sales. “How to sell without selling your soul”, as Bunnell puts it. Although not associated with my core interest, one very small part discusses ATM. It stands for authority, timing and motivation. This made me pause. It made me wonder whether omnichannel is only the concern of the executive? Or, is it also a concern for the store, area and district managers? For that matter, is it a concern of the long-term store associates, and other employees too? In the wake of various retail failures, this topic takes on more gravity.Snowball Book

Reflecting on Doom

Morbid, I know. But, I started thinking about the demise of certain retail chains. Sears collapsed in Canada in October 2017, closing all stores. As I write this, Sears US is filing for bankruptcy protection. Speculation abounds that it may soon shutter its stores too. Toys R Us in the US died and is in the process of resurrection, mired by controversy. These are merely two famous cases in North America. Sadly, there are many others.

Losing an iconic brand is scary, sad, and a miss for the industry. Perhaps this is ‘survival of the fittest’ and might even be good for a vibrant industry. Less academically, the tragedy strikes most painfully at what the good employees must endure. After pouring their lives and passions into their work and business, it’s gone. Families lose their livelihood. A sense of stability – gone. What of the loss of pride in one’s work and brand. How many haven’t lost their severance packages? Worse yet, are those who have lost their pensions after a 25-35 year career. Doom, indeed.

Avoiding Doom 

All is not lost. These are depressing thoughts, yes. Reminders of where stagnation and losing touch with customers, leads. Customer engagement is key. User experience is key. Whether it is a shopping trip to bricks and mortar stores, online browse, using mobile or buying on social media; it’s about the full shopping experience. The full shopping experience is retail’s holy grail. Letting customers buy, pay, get and even return merchandise anyway they want. That’s the ideal. That is the omnichannel vision. Doing it seamlessly and providing amazing customer service – that’s the saving grace. This is what will save retail both online and offline. Here lies the answer to avoid Doom.

Letting customers buy, pay, get and even return merchandise anyway they want. That is the omnichannel vision.

Connection to Omnichannel Retail Technology?

What’s this got to do with omnichannel retail technology? It concerns online retail and the web store, as well as the physical store. Avoiding doom is about adapting. It is about staying hypercompetitive. Yes, it is about giving customers the products they want. It is also about the services to support them, and method of buying and receiving that they choose. Our research about consumers using omnichannel shows that 69.0% have used in-store pickups. Most who have tried it, want to buy that way again. They want to buy through that channel combination again. RIS found the lifetime value of omni-channel customers to be 30% higher than single-channel purchasers. Yet a study of over 1000 retailers around the world uncovered that only 37.0% offer the service. Clearly, there is a gap. And, there is an opportunity.

Who Decides?

Back to Bunnell’s book, selling omnichannel retail technology is a balancing act and artform. It is about finding the people in the retail chain with the authority to choose an omnichannel strategy. Selling technology is about a solid value proposition and the right timing. And, yes back to the authority, it is about having the right motivation to push change forward. But is it just about the retail executive?

Of course, I am not trying to incite a retail revolution. Retail executives set the mission, vision and values for their companies. They choose whether to dive into omnichannel retailing or not. It is their prerogative. Yet, these choices affect the retail associate. It affects the retail store, area, and district managers. And at the ground floor level, we know we need to move faster on these choices. It affects commissions. It affects store performance. It affects people’s livelihoods.

Today’s Situation

Teamwork - Plastic cones

Today’s retail is still a mish-mash of efforts. Shoppers have changed and evolved faster than ever before. Sales channels have changed. Customers use the online store. They use mobile devices to price compare. Many retailers strive for the omni-channel vision but are stuck in a multi-channel reality.

There are some good technologies out there. Grand visions of unified commerce – with stratospheric price tags to match. The retail industry mission isn’t to rip & replace all old technology. Rather, it is about bringing disparate systems together. It is about using what already works and making it work better, together. And it is possible to make unified commerce a reality – without the crippling price tag of a grand vendor’s vision. Omnichannel retail technology should not bankrupt your chain. But it is critical to retail’s survival, and next steps.

Raising a Voice

Isn’t it shocking that 63% of retailers cannot support omnichannel services? Isn’t it tragic for those operations that will lose customers as a result? Even more tragic for the good honest workers in those organizations – who will lose their jobs? More importantly, we don’t want to be among them!

For retail executives, the important point is to make the right choices. You have to move fast. Retail works in real-time. Customers don’t wait for our decisions. Shoppers go to stores that are most convenient for them. They go to the stores that make them feel good. We already know that omnichannel is what they expect. So it becomes a choice of changing for your chain’s long-term health.

For associates and store managers – we need to raise the questions. For your own personal shopping, try out an omnichannel order. Shop online, and try an in-store pickup. Experience it for yourself. Then remember that 69% of your own customers are looking for this option. If you don’t have it while they shop online, how easy is it to switch to the competitor’s website which does offer pickup? Then, raise this as a question with your management. Your customers may not know its called omnichannel retail. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is whether they are trying it out? If they are, we already have evidence showing that they like it and will continue using it. So, if you don’t offer the services, how much longer will they be your customers?

Open Dialogue The Jey for your retail operation is to open an intelligent dialogue from CIO to entry level in-store associate

There are many reasons why retailers should adopt omnichannel retail technology. It doesn’t have to be a full rip & replace solution. In fact, your business is better off with technology that integrates disparate systems – into a unified commerce solution. Distributed order management technology (DOM) does just this and is a great option.

Ultimately, the key for your retail operation is to open an intelligent dialogue. CIO or entry-level in-store associate – we all want our retail businesses to succeed and thrive. It’s important that retail executives take omnichannel seriously, and start planning for it. You don’t want to miss the boat.

Associates, store manager, and those in the operating core – ask the questions of your management. Be professionally inquisitive about it. Omnichannel is important to your retail survival. It will make your stores more successful. You need to raise the dialogue, and let senior executive know what your customers want.

Omnichannel retail is the future of retail. Respectfully raise your voice, concerns and questions. Make sure your brand is part of the future of retail!

 

Author: 

Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamics

 Charles Dimov is VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 23 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.