Omni-channel consumers blur the lines between online and offline

February 27 2014

Think back to the last time you visited your favorite retailer’s website. Immediately upon accessing the site, a cookie is dropped into your browser. Later, as you watch television, you see a commercial for new deals available through that retailer’s mobile app. The next thing you do is reach for your mobile device, make a purchase and opt for in-store pickup, and then you’re off to the physical store. Perhaps while you are in the store, you scan a QR code in search of additional deals. Congratulations. You are an omni-channel shopper and this scenario is reality.

MIT recently published a report, “Beyond the Checkout Cart” revealing that the omni-channel consumer is the driving force influencing the future of ecommerce and physical locations. According to Macy’s annual report, they refer to themselves as an “omni-channel retail organization operating stores and websites”, and they proclaim to no longer break down sales by channel.

Successful retailers are no longer looking at one channel versus another; they are focusing on messaging and touchpoints, regardless of the channel. They are taking a holistic approach to enhancing the consumer brand experience.

An omni-channel consumer has the perception that information will be available at their fingertips and expects the brand experience to be seamless. MIT’s report revealed 80% of in-store shoppers check prices online before visiting the store, and one-third access the information on their mobile device while inside the actual store. These findings show that consumers are experiencing any given retailer from multiple channels.

The key to omni-channel success is accurate and consistent product information. Too often, retailers have data stored across multiple business systems. When this happens, product information is not concise, and each system points to a different product record. Each of these duplicated product records evolve independently, which leads to discrepancies that can cause confusion, errors, logistical problems, compliance issues and a whole host of other costly consequences.

A product information management (PIM) solution enables retailers to streamline the process of acquiring product information and digital assets from suppliers and publishing that data to their marketing channels. A PIM solution centrally cleanses and manages that data, feeding the appropriate business systems that need to consume the data. Retailers gain the advantage of publishing accurate information across all sales, marketing and support channels. This creates faster time-to-market, more consistent brand messaging, reduces manual efforts, improves competitive advantages, increases sales and greater customer loyalty.

In omni-channel retailing, consumers use more than one sales channel to shop from a retailer for any given transaction. Therefore, it is imperative to have accurate and consistent information across all channels.

Learn how Advanced Auto Parts embarked on their master data management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) initiative in an effort to achieve service leadership and superior product availability.

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