Is Omnichannel Retail Strategy Like a Board Game?
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Is Omnichannel Retail Strategy Like a Board Game?

Our marketing team have recently started playing board games as part of our work-life balance. Since then, I realized the strategy of a game called “Ticket to Ride” is similar to an omnichannel retail strategy. Here is why:

Ticket To Ride - From Kyiv to MoskvaTo begin with, Ticket to Ride is a German-style, railway-themed board game designed by Alan R. Moon. The notion is, players are each distributed four train cards and three destination ticket cards comprising a pair of cities on the map (for example from Kyiv to Moskva). In addition, each player has to pick at least two of these destination cards and plan their routes based on the map created on the board.

The game cards contain different types of trains and colours that each player has to follow. The idea is to create a connected network of trains and complete the chosen routes by the end of the game. The routes are of varying lengths and carry points based on the number and types of connected trains. Consequently, the longer routes are worth progressively more than the shorter ones. Hence, the player who reaches their destination with the greatest number of points in total wins the game. Thus, your strategy defines your chance to victory!

Connection to Omnichannel Retail Strategy?

Ticket To Ride - light order management systemRecently, I was having a discussion with an executive from a leading global fashion brand who launched an omnichannel pilot. He wanted a system for their omnichannel that started locally and eventually moved to an international level. The retailer currently has a very light order management solution that carries immediate customer needs and fulfills ongoing order streams. In other words, they took the short route to adopt omnichannel.

What Happens Next?

In the board game, you can fulfill a short route speedily. However, the obtained points are lower – giving other players the chance to make it to the top ranking. This is similar to what was happening to the retailer in the real scenario. They were struggling with managing the increasing number of orders and returns both, online and in-store. The orders either got misplaced or mismanaged by the system which in turn left them with increasing customer complaints over the past 7 months. It is obvious that their current system cannot handle the desired seamless shopping experience their customers prefer.

OrderDynamics Team playing Ticket To Ride board gameCustomers want variety, faster delivery, and convenience in their buying journey. They should be able to choose how to buy or pay. Customers are looking to purchase in-store, store kiosks, online or on mobile sites. They also want to pick up their products in-store or have them delivered at home. Moreover, returning items should be an easy process, with options to use a carrier or drop the returned items off at their nearest store.

Acknowledging it all and yet not being able to properly process, only results in customers who are not happy. And neither is the retailer. As a result, the fashion brand executive had come to realize that a smart omnichannel retail strategy relies on a strong robust system that is reliable, even in changing market conditions. Thus, guaranteed to maintain an established brand image.

Who Wins The Game?

OrderDynamics Mug and Ticket To Ride Board GameA company can grow with numerous measures. From the e-commerce, digital, social media presence or the number of stores nationally and/or worldwide.

A flexible and scalable system that is rich in features and options, such as real-time inventory visibility, order routing, returns management, consolidating orders, store fulfillment and shipping fulfillment, can truly help with serving a large customer base and managing overall retail operations for such a growing retailer.

To sum it all up- the strategy to the longest train wins the end game!

So, does your value reflect your current strategy? What is safer – taking a short-term or a long-term run? Is your company at expansion stage or failing to protect that brand name? These are some of the questions every executive asks hoping to not learn it the hard way. Hence, every retail business requires an omnichannel retail strategy supported by an order management technology, substantial in features, very agile and adaptable that can grow with your business.



Marie Badruddin

Marie Badruddin is an Omnichannel consultant at OrderDynamics. Marie has previous experience in Sales and Marketing in the hospitality industry such as Hilton Hotel & Resorts, and smaller key players in the consulting and non-for profit sector. She has completed her Master’s in Strategic Marketing & BBA degree from the University of Wollongong, Australia.