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Comment: Investment in seamless multichannel essential

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Technology is changing the way retailers sell and consumers buy. This brings with it a host of new challenges. Relying solely on bricks-and-mortar or online retailing is fast becoming an outmoded approach. To succeed, today’s retailer must link all channels effectively and provide their customers with a seamless service, regardless of their point of contact.

Multi-channel retailing is evolving at a rapid pace. However, this is no longer enough for today’s consumers who are demanding not only the option to purchase across a range of channels but also the same level of choice and service too – omni-channel retailing.

With the marketplace at their fingertips, the consumer is the one calling the shots. The pressure is on retailers to adapt to these fast-increasing demands on their services. Those who don’t will find competing in today’s marketplace an uphill struggle.

In order to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of seamless customer service across all customer contact points, retailers must be equipped with the technology to fully support omni-channel retailing.

Technology is now a competitive differentiator for today’s retailer. However it cannot just be the old architectures, bent and throttled-up to suit the latest ideas. Retailers need to adopt joined-up thinking to provide a consistent service across all outlets.

Whether it is online or bricks-and-mortar, all channels need to link up and talk to each other. To achieve maximum benefit and provide the ultimate customer experience, this also needs to be done in real-time.

Once retailers adopt this approach and employ the technology that provides maximum visibility of all channels across the business, they can truly provide a service that will position them ahead of their competitors.

Transparency and a convenient, competitive choice are key to longevity in today’s retail environment and this means total visibility, for both the consumer and the retailer.

Offering the customer the choice of how and when to transact demands a single, consistent, experience across all channels. Disjointed and layered systems that rely on synchronisation of data are a house of cards waiting to fall. Ultimately customers are becoming ever more demanding and inefficient systems will cost the retailer their loyalty.

When it comes to supplying customers with the seamless service they demand, retailers must make certain demands of the technology propelling their business:

• A solution designed with the modern omni-channel integrated retail enterprise in mind

• Providing a seamless customer experience, which can only be ensured through a single centralised database operating in true real-time

• Adoption of reliable, affordable IT solutions which are scalable with the business will ensure efficiency and agility

By choosing the right omni-channel technology, which operates in real-time, retailers can cost-effectively improve their business in one manageable move. By providing the ability to see exactly what is happening, as it happens, the business can react immediately to market fluctuations and ever-changing customer demands.

Just like their customers, retailers have the right to demand the best. And when it comes to achieving seamless omni-channel service, the technology exists to give the retailer a crucial competitive advantage.

Darragh Fanning is CEO of Celtech

Published on Thursday 03 May by Editorial Assistant

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