This week we discussed the E-Commerce concept during the theory class. E-Commerce is implemented by a lot of companies throughout the world. E-Commerce is often added as one of the customer interaction channels in which customers can buy the products of a brand. In most cases the brand will have several channels like the store, the web shop, the catalog and m-commerce (often called a multi channel strategy). At most brands customers have various usernames and loyalty cards to identify themselves.
Nowadays a new trend is coming in retailing. This new trend is called Omni- channel. Omni-channel uses all the same channels as a multi-channel strategy. The only difference is that users (or customers) are placed in a central position by the brand. Customers are now able to interact and make transactions across various touch points. Hereby it is important that the customer doesn’t notice any difference between shopping in a store, shopping through the web shop, or buying products through their smartphone.
When the Omni-channel strategy is implemented the brand will be found on all channels (physical, website, mobile and social media). All these channels will interact and add value for each other. In this case the customer is able to order goods through the website, and pick them up at the store. The other way around should also be possible, when an item isn’t in stock anymore in a store the customer should be able to order it at the shop (maybe using the e-commerce website) and let the goods be delivered at home. In order to create an Omni-channel shopping experience the products, prices, inventory, promotions and customer information should come from one single database for all various channels.
Within the Omni-channel concept social media is playing an important role. Customers should be able to share and collect information about goods they want to order. For example new shoes could be posted to Facebook in order to discuss the purchase with friends. This is the so called S-commerce channel.
In the YouTube movie which I added below, all aspects of an Omni-Channel strategy are mentioned. These aspects will be shown with the help of various cases, with which we as customers are confronted a lot nowadays.
Example of Omni Channel retailing
For most brands (or retailers) the Omni-channel strategy is far away. Before a brand uses the Omni-channel strategy the organizations operations needs to be adjusted. For example: the IT needs to be adjusted (all channels should interact with the single databases), the supply chain needs to be adjusted (customers orders needs to be brought to various places), the marketing department should have a look at the social media (strategy) and so on. This means that the Omni-channel concept might be very new for today, but in several years the Omni-Channel concept is quite normal in retailing business and maybe used by all retailers.
The Future of retailing
During the search for some resources for this blog post I also found two YouTube movies which I added below. In the first movie Intel gives their view on the future of shopping. They also added a real life example of ADIDAS in this video.
Some nice examples of new retailing concepts
In the second movie an example of Tesco is added. In this movie Tesco displays a new form of shopping when waiting for the metro.