Omnichannel retailing seems to be the next big thing in e-commerce after multi-channel retailing with businesses worldwide witnessing a tremendous increase in profits as they attract more and more on-the-go shoppers. By streamlining the customer experience all shopping channels; brick-and-mortar, online and mobile, Shopistan aims to redefine retail with its state-of-the-art technology that it calls the ‘Omnichannel Engine’.
The engine will act as a cloud server that will allow retailers to manage their product inventories from a centralized location. If a retailer has several stores, the inventory will be exported from each of these stores’ ERP and deposited in a central feed. This feed will now be accessible to all the channels, offline and online.
And with mobile fast replacing desktop as the main source of revenue for the online retail industry, having an omnichannel strategy is necessary for a business to successfully scale the market. Furthermore, customers will be able to order online and pick up their orders from their nearby stores while on the go. Same-day shipping will become more and more practical. And if a customer doesn’t like what he just bought, he can simply return it to his nearest outlet.
Previously, the offline and online mediums were treated as two separate entities, with separate inventory allocations and a separate customer base. But via email omnichannel retailing, these two mediums will be synced to provide a holistic experience to the customer.
With many leading international stores like Macy’s and Office Depot going omnichannel recently, it will be interesting to see the maturing e-commerce market getting a facelift. Today, more and more customers want to shop wherever and whenever they want. Any business that is able to secure a positive experience on all the retail touchpoints, will win.
The fact that over 90% of conversions via online ads still happen offline demands the need to measure in-store visits via these online ads. And with omnichannel retailing, retailers can not only increase such in-store traffic but also measure it more accurately.
Retailers will also benefit by increasing the footfall to their stores when a customer is researching online but wants to buy offline. Omnichannel is one channel for the customer that follows him everywhere.
The concept is best described by Jeniffer Kasper, the VP of Digital Media at Macy’s:“The bottom line is, we’re indifferent to whether she converts in the store or online. We just want her to shop with Macy’s.”
With Rocket Internet planning to pump more than $200 million into its ecommerce ventures in Pakistan, it is unlikely that smaller ecommerce startups will be able to compete successfully with them without the use of omnichannel engines.