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Challenges facing retailers in the omnichannel world

My colleagues Jon Stine and Lisa Fretwell with Cisco IBSG recently published research about consumers that are constantly channel hopping in their shopping journey.  We all have personal experiences shopping on the web, in the store and on mobile devices. 

I recently in the middle of a conversation during lunch, made a reservation on Open Table app, purchased a case for my phone on amazon app and bought a music album on iTunes  (Doctor Who Series 6), and pulled up directions to the local home improvement store, all in 10 minutes.  Obviously the consumer trend is shopping across multiple channels, and some retailers are succeeding in this new world, and some are not.

I sat down with Brian Kilcourse, managing partner of Retail Systems Research and this was one of the topics we talked about.

Some of the areas we discussed are:

  • Retailers are going through the biggest change since the introduction of barcodes with the Internet and smart mobile devices are being adopted by mass consumers
  • Path of purchase used to start at the door, now path to purchase starts anywhere and purchase can be anywhere
  • Stores are not dis-mediated, it is a convergence of digital and physical space. 
  • Retailers are facing changes in how to approach the supply chain, business intelligence, and instant access of information about customers & products they buy.
  • Value to consumer is now measured in two dimensions: Physical values -- products and availablity and price.  Digital value -- Information to be delivered accurate in a timely manner
  • Winners understand value of information and invest
  • Laggards are trying to figure out how to use legacy technology to achieve their goals and minimize costs

What do you think?  Who are the winning and lagging retailers going forward?

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