Don’t get me wrong I’m a believer in e-commerce and an avid online shopper, and I get as frustrated as the next man or woman when it comes to inefficient websites, product misinterpretation and expensive and extensive delivery times. And of course, efficiency is an absolute essential to any online retailer, and will make the difference between survival and extinction in the highly charged competitive online market place.
However there is more to being a retailer than being efficient.
However there is more to being a retailer than being efficient. There is more to being a retail brand than simply smoothing the supply chains of our customer-centric businesses.
The thing is that efficiency is really just the sum output of our operational processes and tools. And whilst we can sell efficiency to our customers as a valuable brand proposition, we can no more sell it to them as a commodity as we can wear it or eat it ourselves.
Despite the media hysteria about technology being the saviour of retail, technology is in no position to be so. Because sadly for those only immersed in the intricacies of the internet world, retail survival and success is still about the strength and the weakness of our product, so by being super-efficient, all that we may be succeeding in doing is washing our dirty laundry in public on a much greater and more noticeable scale than ever before.
In an irony of the internet age efficiency plays into the hands of our product complacency as it exposes our assortment as openly and as quickly as it is possible to do so, illustrating with absolute clarity all the shortcomings and deficiencies in our product strategies and manufacturing processes.
Everything about e-commerce excellence is the enemy of poor retailers.
Logical architectures take us to the gaps in our ranges, the slowness in our response to trends and colours, and our inabilities to compete in supplying appropriate product quality and pricing combinations. Customer reviews lay open the truth of our false product promises and our inconsistencies of sizing, design enhancements and quality control. Whilst next day deliveries and express returns transport our transgressions back into our open arms as the sands of unfulfilled order payments escape from our desperate grasp again and again.
Dramatic as it may seem, the underlying truths of retail are as relevant and as damning as ever. And to literally add insult to our injuries the online world not only brings new channel challenges but a customer who is shamelessly brutal and open in its opinion of us as it is in its willingness to change its allegiance on a day to day basis.
Successful pureplay retailers are by nature efficient, but only through developing attractive and compelling assortments and brand propositions are they commercially successful. In effect no different from traditional retail businesses.
Adopting appropriate technology tools, combined with traditional retail skills and expertise, at every stage of the product development and delivery process, is the only sustainable way to maximise efficiency in retail.
So whether a physical retail business struggling into the e-commerce world, or an online innovator assessing the need for physical stores, take head and hopefully take comfort, in the strength of your product assortment and the attraction of your brand proposition, and your growing efficiency in communicating with confidence and pride your retail value to a waiting world.
In response to this retail revolution, VM-Unleashed has developed “omnichannel unveiled” as a benchmarking process to answer the many questions and dilemnas for retailers wrestling with omnichannel customer journeys and experiences, from whichever origination they have come.
In the complex crosswinds of seemingly endless technological possibilities, what every retail business needs now is a calm focus on its omnichannel opportunities – a focus with improved performance and return on investment at the centre.
Omnichannel-unveiled aims to reveal the realities of the strengths and weaknesses of any retailer’s multi-channel touchpoints and to devise a focused plan for realistic and sustainable improvements.
omnichannel-unveiled is a benchmarking & assessment process carried out by retail experts analysing how well a retail brand delivers & communicates its market position and its commercial & emotional propositions across channels.
It involves analysis of touchpoints across physical stores, e-commerce, m-commerce & social media platforms highlighting opportunities for improved customer experience perceptions & retail sales performance
omnichannel-unveiled is not just a number scraping or data crunching exercise but a process that coordinates quantitative analysis and qualitative assessment to define the success and opportunities of any retail brand delivery within the context of its market positioning.
If you’re interested in the future, nay the present, of your omnichannel retail business…why not take a look