Unless you’ve made your nest living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely come across Kmart’s viral “Ship My Pants” video. In the video Kmart customers gleefully talk about how they were able to ship their pants, drawers, bed and more, conveniently while they were in the store. They all say this with a devilish grin that makes you think wait, WHAT did they do to their pants?
The play on words is funny, but the message also hits home. It’s how Kmart is letting their customers know what the industry buzzword “omni-channel retailing” really means for them. It means they can come into the store and order products that they can’t find in stock, or even in their size, and easily have it sent directly to their home. It’s easy, convenient and enjoyable shopping. Obviously, as the video ends in a group hug with a store associate.
Seriously though – consumer demands are changing. We all know this. According to a new study by Accenture, 49 percent of consumers want retailers to integrate in-store, online and mobile shopping channels while 89 percent want the choice to be able to shop for products using whatever channel is easiest for them. Retailers, like Kmart, are listening and integrating these channels to create accommodations as a result, like pant shipping. After all, if a customer takes time out of their busy day to come all the way to your brick and mortar store, why should they be punished if the item they were seeking is out-of-stock? Omni-channel retailing alleviates that aggravation and as a result, builds additional loyalty between consumers and your brand.
Ok, so you know omni-channel retailing is important. Now what? Here are the 5 Golden Rules that we’ve learned after 60 retail mobile deployments worldwide to make omni-channel retailing a success.
- Know your goals! Set definitive measurable goals so that you’re clear on what you want to accomplish with omni-channel retailing. Are you trying to improve your overall customer experience? Do you want to just sell more? Know what your goals are and how you plan to measure your results. Continue to re-evalutate and assess your progress every 6 months.
- Make it easy. Omni-channel retailing is all about making shopping more convenient for customers. Train associates on how to deliver the option effectively and think about how you’re going to deliver the experience to customers. You want to make a lasting impression that will have them coming back for more.
- Take advantage of what you already have. There’s no need to create a complete overhaul of your entire retail management system, leverage the investment you’ve already made. Omni-channel retailing basically means the integration of all of your existing retail channels (in-store, online, mobile and more). The best approach is to setup a system that connects all of these so you don’t have to manage multiple different systems to deliver a seamless experience to customers.
- Choose your partner wisely. To setup omni-channel retailing successfully and take advantage of systems you already have in place, you need to select your solution provider carefully. This includes understanding your goals and the systems you want to incorporate first (see rules 1 & 3).You want to build a solution not just for your needs today but for what will support your store growth and technology needs tomorrow. Think of the big picture.
- Inform your customers. A lot of retailers have omni-channel retailing available but very few really let their customers know that it exists and what it means for them. They just assume they’ll figure it out. Don’t assume. Consumers are savvy, yes and their expectations are growing. However if you don’t let them know what’s available they will go to competitors that make it obvious. Marketing always has it’s place, you have to remind customers of why you’re different and why shopping is easy and convenient with you. Take a cue from Kmart and invite them to start shipping.
There you have it. GlobalBay solutions have enabled this model to successfully deploy mobility and omni-channel capabilities for high-profile retail brands all over the world. So, are you ready to ship some pants?