The buzz in retail these days is “omnichannel” – we see slogans such as “Engage with Today’s Omnichannel Consumers,” “Develop Your Omnichannel Business” frequently. Cisco itself uses this word often. But in all honesty, I don’t think many people fully grasp the concept and its potential. And I don’t know of any retailer that has a complete approach to it. That’s right: None.
Omnichannel retailing is about opening the store, its products, and services to shoppers in an immersive way that drives customer interaction across any point of access, at any time. “Omnichannel” is not just about connecting existing systems, it’s a transformational way to look at how you conduct business.
Becoming an omnichannel retailer is a broad undertaking, and many retailers are creating new executive positions to lead this strategy. However, I think these companies may be missing the boat. When thinking about omnichannel strategies, consider three key points:
First, a customer-centric strategy cuts across all organizations in the business – it can’t be sidelined into one business function such as IT. I often consult with retailers who experiment with different capabilities in a disconnected way; essentially, they throw technologies at the wall and wait to see what sticks. Instead, why not start by asking, “What does my customer want? How can I build a loyal relationship with them?” It’s all too easy to assume that showrooming is the enemy. But, really, why, for example, is Amazon successful? It’s not because they are available on a mobile phone. It’s because they are easy to do business with, offer good pricing, and deliver quickly. It’s about the way they address customer needs.
Next, I think stores often try to do too much at once (see wall-sticking, above). Instead, I recommend a phased approach that starts with the low-hanging fruit – projects that have the highest probability of effectiveness and can be measured against business targets as a whole. Every store has its niche, and one size does not fit all. By achieving rapid successes up front, retailers gain funding for the next piece of the strategy, building from success to success.
Finally, accept the fact that an omnichannel business will change how people work. Are you avoiding Internet access because you think associates will waste time surfing the web? Some may – but your good salespeople will be able to leverage online information to help them serve shoppers. Concerned that showrooming on the floor will drive customers away as they find lower prices online? Build your own identity, brand, and incentives into the online environment to drive sales. Worried that an online storefront or call center will undercut in-store sales? Run the numbers on losses over time as consumers find your store is the only one without convenient mobile customer support.
Omnichannel is not about the technology. Rather, it’s about finding the best outcome for you and your shoppers. To achieve success, IT and business must work together to solve customer problems for the store as a whole – there’s no other way to do it with complete success. Check out this great blog by Cara Waters, Five Lessons in Retail Trends.
I love retail trivia! Comment below if you know the answer to this question: What is the oldest US retail company?
Tags: business outcome, Cisco, customer relationship management, mobility, omnichannel, retail, Rose Depoe, wi-fi
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”
— Coco Chanel
I love that quote by fashion maven Coco Chanel. In today’s B2B marketing world, challenges can’t be addressed using outdated marketing tactics – hoping they will magically open new opportunities along with new revenue and ROI.
Growing trends in customer buying behavior and the technology used to make purchases are driving major changes for the role of marketing. As marketers, this gives us a fantastic opportunity. We can transform from what has sometimes been seen as simply “fluff” (and what many sales executives see as a cost center) into a revenue-generating center. Read More »
Tags: B2B, b2b_marketing, Cisco, marketing, revenue marketing
Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:
Off the Top
As we move into fall, things are really picking up at industry events. This week in New York, Cisco spent time at Interop helping partners transform, create new opportunities and claim their share of the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy.
We announced our latest innovations to Unified Access. Be sure to check out my blog to catch the newest enhancements. If you weren’t able to catch John Chambers’ keynote speech from Wednesday at Interop, the replay is now available as well. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, cisco partner weekly rewind, interop, Interop NY, Weekly Rewind
In a few days, I have the opportunity to discuss how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is opening up new levels of innovation, business models, and economic opportunity to CIOs and IT leaders at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013.
It’s no small task explaining the vast possibilities the Internet of Everything can offer, but here’s a sneak peek of the key points including:
- Understanding the Internet of Everything. Despite all that is connected to the Internet, more than 99% of the world is still unconnected. As IoE works to connect people, process, data, and things that were previously unconnected, networked connections will become more relevant and more valuable than ever before, especially as we connect in new ways.
- The Tremendous Value at Stake. Cisco predicts that $14.4 trillion of value will be “at stake” over the next decade. That’s the combination of increased revenues and lower costs that is created or will migrate among private-sector companies and industries over the next 10 years. IoE has the potential to grow global corporate profits by an estimated 21% by 2022.
- Examples of Real-World Innovation. IoE is changing our lives in fields such as education, healthcare, and Smart+Connected Communities. Imagine how networked connections can bring together employees, teachers, students and more to increase productivity and efficiency. We are just cracking the surface of what’s possible.
- Technology Implications and Solutions for the IoE Economy. The network is the only connection point that touches everything (people, process, data and things) and must provide an intelligent, manageable, secure infrastructure that can scale to support billions of context-aware devices.
If you are attending the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, join me on October 7 as I demo real-world scenarios and offer steps today’s IT leaders can start taking now to capture the IoE Value at Stake. I look forward to seeing you there.
Presentation Title: Networked Connections Drive Business Innovation: The Internet of Everything
Date and Time: Monday, October 7, 2013, 3:45-4:30 p.m. ET
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida
Tags: Cisco, connections, innovation, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IoE, IoT, value at stake
Cisco set up shop this week at Interop in New York.
Cisco dialed up the excitement at Interop New York this week. Partners were there to learn how to transform, create new opportunities, and claim their share of the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy. We also made announcements about products and solutions to help you expand to more places with the Cisco Unified Access Solution. For a full rundown of everything available to partners at Interop New York this week, be sure to stop by Lauren Friedman’s blog about this week’s lineup.
Latest Innovations to Cisco Unified Access
As organizations look to improve their employee’s productivity, increase competitive differentiation and deliver better experience to the communities and customers within their environment, mobility is at the center of driving change. To deliver on the vision for a connected world, organizations need to have the right infrastructure and analytics in place to understand how devices are used and to effectively deliver applications and information to those devices. Cisco Unified Access and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences enable this ability to drive business innovations. Read More »
Tags: byod, Cisco, interop, InteropNY, john chambers