De­fy­ing Death Of The Store!

VM&RD - - FRONT PAGE -

Is the phys­i­cal store go­ing to die? Will on­line stores be the way of life? What will hap­pen to the art of re­tail­ing- the win­dow dis­plays, in­no­va­tive store de­sign, art of per­sonal sell­ing!!?? All that will die one day; say statis­tics…but then, will it re­ally?? Will some­one come for­ward to defy the death of the store? Is Omni-chan­nel the an­swer? Read on to find out…

New age re­tail­ing has in­deed been rev­o­lu­tion­ized with the com­ing of the web which set off the wave of ecom­merce fol­lowed by the un­leash­ing of the mo­bile putting the store lit­er­ally in the hands of prac­ti­cally any­one and ev­ery­one who loves to shop. Re­tail­ers have had to move from multi-chan­nel re­tail strate­gies that drove dif­fer­ent chan­nels in­de­pen­dently to a strat­egy that merges the chan­nels - the Omni-chan­nel ap­proach that de­liv­ers con­sis­tent ex­pe­ri­ence in-store, on­line and on-de­vice. Sur­vey of the new age con­sumers re­veals that 50% of cus­tomers make multi-chan­nel pur­chases, 35% of smart phone users make pur­chases on them, 75% of cus­tomers make de­ci­sions on peer opin­ion. Com­pe­ti­tion is get­ting fiercer than ever in the re­tail in­dus­try as brands com­pete for cus­tomer loy­alty and share of wal­let and the ul­ti­mate dif­fer­en­tia­tor is ex­pe­ri­ence. Tech­nol­ogy is play­ing a piv­otal role in cre­at­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence by con­nect­ing in­ti­mately through per­son­al­ized en­gage­ment with cus­tomers us­ing in­no­va­tive tech­niques of data cap­ture and an­a­lyt­ics. Con­nected con­sumers are driv­ing this revo­lu­tion armed with in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies en­abling them with mul­ti­ple sources of prod­uct in­for­ma­tion when shop­ping, in­clud­ing in-store dis­plays, re­tailer web­sites, on­line re­view sites, on­line mar­ket­places and so­cial me­dia. Sur­veys in over­seas re­tail mar­kets have re­vealed that 35% of shop­pers used mul­ti­ple chan­nels dur­ing pur­chases to have the con­ve­nience of re­search, seek value and shop any­time from any­where. To stay in busi­ness and suc­ceed many re­tail­ers have taken the Omni-chan­nel re­tail­ing strat­egy se­ri­ously and in­vested in in­no­va­tion, tech­nol­ogy and re­sources across chan­nels to de­liver dif­fer­en­ti­ated brand shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences. Seems like there is hope to defy death! Let’s touch base with the rest of the world to check on sur­vival sto­ries there. Luxury multi-brand re­tailer Neiman Mar­cus, known for its su­perb per­son­al­ized ser­vice in its stores has fo­cused on its Omni-chan­nel in­te­gra­tion pro­gram by in­vest­ing in more tech­based cap­i­tal to en­hance its in-store and com­merce shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences. With cus­tomers want­ing to be able to shop in their stores from any­where in the world us­ing their on­line or call cen­tre ser­vices the brand has put in new ded­i­cated re­sources to de­velop a ‘full ser­vice mode’ or Omni-chan­nel strat­egy. To make this suc­ceed in the stores they have also in­sti­tuted a com­pen­sa­tion pro­gram that re­wards store sales as­so­ciates when they drive cus­tomers to the web to pur­chase prod­ucts from their ex­tended range which is not avail­able in the store. Re­cently they launched the NM app which en­ables search by depart­ment to lo­cate or con­tact sales as­so­ciates at any Neiman Mar­cus store via email, text, phone call or FaceTime. Be­ing the largest luxury e-com­merce com­pany in the world they have given a lot of at­ten­tion to repli­cate the su­perb per­son­al­ized cus­tomer ser­vice from in-store sales as­so­ciates in the on­line store ex­pe­ri­ence.

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