At the World Retail Congress 2016 in Dubai, Periscope has conducted a survey among the conference participants which found that most retailers (78 percent) are still not in a position to offer their customers a consistent brand experience across all channels. Why retailers are still struggling here explains Channie Mize, Retail Sector General Manager at Periscope, a McKinsey Solution, in an interview.
Ms Mize, most retailers are well aware that a good multichannel strategy is the key to more growth in the digital domain. Why are so many retailers still unable to implement such a strategy in their daily business?
Let’s start by making sure that we understand that multichannel and omnichannel are not the same thing. Of the two, multichannel was the first stage of customer interaction, with retailers offering different formats — first physical stores, then online and then social. These channels were not integrated, and customers could have different experiences in each. With omnichannel, the channels are integrated, so the retailer has a comprehensive understanding of who the shopper is and, as a result, can personalize the experience for them based on behaviors across the different channels.
There are operational, organizational and experiential issues to overcome to achieve a true omnichannel business. There is a clear step-by-step transformational process that retailers need to adopt to implement such a strategy – the inability to understand the importance of these steps and to systematically follow them can be the all-important difference between success and failure.
The first step in the journey to a true omnichannel business starts with having a clear documented understanding of your brand, merchandising, and pricing strategies across all channels. Second, you must have the right organizational structure and incentives to support an omnichannel strategy. Third, you need the right kind of analytics to understand how customers behave across these channels at the individual customer level. And lastly, with setting up the right answers in steps 1-3, you can then personalize interactions, including across promotions, with less cannibalization across channels, and secure more loyal trips from your target customers.