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The need to embrace omnichannel retailing: hybris

Nurdianah Md Nur | May 26, 2014
As consumers today are purchasing items through various ways – be it mobile phones, PCs or brick-and-mortar stores – retailers need to adopt an omnichannel approach to provide a seamless shopping experience.

As you can expect, the point-of-sales (POS) market is somewhat divided. Some retailers are debating whether to extend traditional POS at brick-and mortar-stores "beyond the register" and into the world of mobile POS, utilising cloud and commerce connections. On the other hand, other retailers want to take their commerce engines and drive them into stores to take over the sales floor and checkout, enabling customer interaction and engagement at the store.

With either approach, it is clear that we can expect to see changes targeted at enhancing the in-store experience. In fact, 30 percent of retailers plan to change or revamp their POS system in 2014. We predict the commerce engine to grow the fastest and be the most agile in shaping the customer's journey at home, on the street and in store. Consumers will also increasingly demand in-store checkout via tablets, which is something retailers should prioritise. In 2014, mobile must be made a top priority for retailers across channels.

Q: What is the difference between omnichannel and multi-channel retail? Why is there a need for enterprises in Asia today to move towards omnichannel retail?
From the customers' perspective, both omnichannel and multi-channel retail reaches the same goal: to be able to have a uniform yet tailored experience of a company's services across individual touch points. From a company's perspective, especially in the e-commerce space, omnichannel refers to the delivery of branded, consistent, and interdependent experience across all individual channel activities. Multichannel retail, on the other hand, refers to the processes within each individual channel, where the focus is on the more functional aspects of interacting with the specific channels.

With 2.5 billion people using mobile devices in Asia, current mega-trends in technology-mobile, social, big data and cloud-continue to shape commerce. It is imperative for businesses to consider an omni-channel strategy to remain competitive in the fast-changing environment; businesses are at risk of losing customers if purchases through a wide range of devices and channels are not streamlined. The implications of this trend, for both online and offline activities, is for companies to be digital at their core. This is where hybris' OmniCommerce technology enables companies to reach customers through a consistent, integrated buying experience across all touch points and devices. Ultimately, hybris' OmniCommerce strategy is of the most significant value-adding component we offer to companies that come to us.

Q: What are the factors an enterprise should consider before embarking on omnichannel retail? 
First and foremost, the company must know their customers and their needs and implement structures and systems accordingly. Before developing an omnichannel strategy, companies should gather information from customers' previous engagements and feedback to gauge their preferred method of interaction with the brand and the sort of retail experience they are seeking.  Another factor worth considering would be the availability of IT resources and requirements. The level of support from a technology perspective and their capabilities will determine the interoperability with existing systems, which will ultimately affect the integration of different channels. Lastly, implementation will depend on the staff, whether or not they have enough knowledge to make best use of the omnichannel technology.


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