Multi-channel: scrutinised scenarios

Omni-channel is now a core strategy among retail stakeholders. The aim is to satisfy ever-more pressurising and disloyal customers. They key is giving the consumer more freedom.

Omni-channel is now the watchword among brands as the walls between retail sales channels are falling down. This is for a reason, it means customers become loyal and gives them a unique purchasing experience. The result is a growth opportunity supported by turnover. A godsend for retailers providing that they know which end to start with for their omni-channel strategy. For Olivier Chiono, Retail Product Management Director at Cegid, “every omni-channel strategy starts by creating a single shared customer reference sheet for the different channels and real-time visibility of in-store stock.Customers expect as much of a personalised welcome in the store as online. But above all, they want to be able to choose their purchasing experience. To follow them up on this, retailers have focused on several scenarios…A closer look at these approaches.

Every omni-channel strategy starts by creating a single shared customer reference sheet for the different channels and real-time visibility of in-store stock.

Web to store or click & collect: for an optimal purchasing experience

It saves time for the customer who doesn’t really want to sweep the shops for hours: they see an item from their favourite brand on the site, reserve it online and come pick it up in-store. Or, if they wish, they can have it delivered directly to their home. With this approach, retailers have two options:

  • E-reservation: the customer reserves their item in a few clicks and comes to the store to pay and collect it.
  • Click & collect: the customer orders their item online by paying – the entire or partial amount – then collects it from their chosen point of sale.

No matter how the consumer orders, available stocks must immediately be updated and the store must be informed in real time. As soon as the seller takes an item off the shelf following a reservation, stocks are automatically updated.

Store to web and store to store: how to complete the sale in-store

More commonly known as “Save the sale” by the British, this method is made for a very specific case. The customer’s desired product isn’t in-store? Customers would be happy for the seller to ask if they should order it in and to have it delivered to their nearest store or directly to their home.

Another alternative for retailers who have created a stock network per store, the seller can let the customer know if the store has the desired product. Better again, to complete the sale, they can ask the customer if they would like the product to be reserved in another store and for it to be sent to their preferred store.

Ship from store or the mini distribution store

What if the store became a mini warehouse? Ship from store at the coast is very popular in the States. It’s easy, quick and especially cost-effective for the retailer. They bring the products ordered online by customers directly to them form their stores. The key is savings made on transport costs – thanks to how close the store is to the buyer’s home – and on delivery taxes which vary from State to State.

More and more options, stores that connect and the seller’s developing role…The retail sector is really undergoing a major change.