By Akhilesh Srivastava, email@example.com
As per recently released NRF analysis for holiday 2012 sales, the overall year-over-year sales growth for 2012 topped at 3% compared with 12% for the online channels. Only a handful of leading national retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Gap had a reasonably successful season compared with J.C. Penney, Sears and a majority of others.
These results were in perfect alignment with my own analysis and conclusion that in order to be successful retailers have to be in constant touch with the changing behavior of their customers and continue to re-invent themselves to stay relevant. In absence of this, they run the risk of being outdated and will be driven out of business in a matter of time.
In last few years, as smartphone and tablet sales have zoomed, a number of retailers seized the opportunity to establish their online presence and won fair share of their customers’ online spend. Initially, the online and store channels were operated independently, however due to fragmented customer experience; recently, a few of them have initiated the efforts to integrate their channels.
As a result of increasingly improved online shopping experience, I sense that in very near future, even for a conventional consumer like me, a typical shopping day will be inherently omni-channel, and would resemble something like this:
7 a.m.: Text message from my favorite brand Alpha that the jacket I was looking at their website last week is available at my local store. It also included a surprise 20% off coupon, link to their website and directions to my local store.
7:30 a.m.: On my iPad, I visit Alpha online site and checkout the jacket once more, specifically the sizes and colors and inventory availability in my size at my local Alpha store.
6 p.m.: Coming back from work, I walk into my Alpha store and log on to the store Wi-Fi. An associate greets me on the floor. I show him the jacket on my mobile; he looks up jacket’s shelf on his mobile device and takes me there. He leaves me alone while I try the jacket.
6:15 p.m.: I decide to buy the jacket and approach the sales associate who was arranging the items and updating the inventory on his device. Associate scanned the jacket tag with his