Winning the Omnichannel Retail Arms Race: 5 Keys to Success in 2013 and Beyond
The drive by savvy retailers to differentiate themselves in 2013 and beyond will compel them to engage in an omnichannel "retail arms race" to deliver the most advanced, customized experience across all touchpoints with customers. Forward-looking IT departments will confront the challenges of integrating new capabilities by future-proofing their commerce architectures.
The smartest merchants are getting a head start in the arms race by embracing next-generation cloud solutions, purpose-built to deliver five key capabilities for omnichannel commerce:
1. 360-degree view of all customer interactions: With the right approach, retailers can view all interactions on demand to better serve customers. For instance, a sales associate can view an in-person customer's purchase history on her iPhone, addressing issues, guiding cross-sell opportunities and enriching the customer experience.
2. Real-time global inventory availability: Showing web shoppers what's available in-store and online is fast becoming a mandate, but in-store employees need access too. A tablet-wielding associate can "save the sale" on the store floor by quickly determining that a product out of stock in her store is available 10 miles away.
3. Multi-everything support: A flexible architecture is needed to support all devices and channels, as well as multisite and global commerce. As the world continues to shrink, retailers have a golden opportunity to expand business beyond borders with commerce solutions that localize content and automate multicurrency transactions and international tax compliance, running country-specific sites from a single commerce instance. At the same time, the architecture must allow all these touchpoints, applications, data sets and business processes to roll up to provide a holistic view of everything the brand touches.