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Omnichannel: So Seamless, Customers Don’t Even Know They Want It

BY CSA STAFF

By Corey Gale, Director of Marketing – Retail and E-commerce, North America, Micros

Everyone in business is talking about it, but most customers don’t even know it exists: omnichannel. And that’s the point. Omnichannel sales are an evolution of multichannel sales, not merely delivering information and messages through multiple platforms, but doing it in a seamless and continual dialogue as shoppers move between traditional online channels, mobile and brick-and-mortar stores. When it’s done well, omnichannel retailing can drive tremendous business value, and can delight customers, even though they may not recognize the efforts that went into making that interaction appear seamless.

The immediacy of the Internet and proliferation of personal mobile devices has empowered the customer to desire and demand consistent, continuous experiences with the brands they interact with, but without realizing or caring that it’s “omnichannel” they’re after. For customers omnichannel means commerce on their terms, characterized by the intuition and personalization today’s customers crave, so it’s an experience successful retailers need to find ways to create.

Most retailers have already embraced some measure of a multichannel approach, but to help illustrate how omnichannel experiences are a fundamental leap ahead from multichannel, let’s walk a hypothetical path for one customer shopping for a piece of apparel:

1. Receives direct mail piece about a sale at a brick-and-mortar clothing store.
2. Walks into store, browses merchandise, leaves.
3. Goes online, pins store website image of jeans or a sweater on Pinterest.
4. Adds store’s social app to smartphone.
5. Participates in store’s Facebook survey to gain entry into a VIP contest.

Here, the retailer is theoretically in all the right places at the right times, but it hasn’t necessarily created a seamless, cohesive moment with the customer. Omnichannel not only makes all of these touch points available, it ensures that the touch points are personalized, optimized and smart. The result is a retail omnichannel strategy that adapts to changing market conditions and promotes sticky interaction with customers.

So, how does a retailer take the customer journey across multiple channels (and sometimes back again), and elevate it to an omnichannel experience? First, consistent representation is vital. Customers need to experience the same feeling about a brand wherever the interaction is occurring. Shopping categories between brick-and-mortar and online inventory should be as identical as possible. Creative themes should repeat themselves across all channels, in appropriate ways, and quality control is key. This is because brand familiarity builds trust, so mobile, computer and in-store identities must look, feel and act related.

Also, tech-enabled data collection and business analysis is critical to fully realizing an omni-channel strategy. Powerful omnichannel software enables retailers to nurture and analyze data in every channel to create an individualized, natural-feeling customer experience. With the right tools, retailers can track purchasing paths, preferences and responses, which in turn builds intelligence that allows retailers to target customers in such a fluid way that customers don’t feel targeted at all. Retailers are increasingly turning to omnichannel solutions providers to implement integrated software and hardware suites that allow them to dynamically engage customers through point of sale, e-commerce, mobile, loyalty, customer relationship management, clienteling, loss prevention, distributed order management, inventory management and merchandise planning.

The dedication to the omnichannel approach, the commitment to detail and the investment in technology can reap huge rewards in customer loyalty. Today’s customers spend money with businesses that demonstrate a deeper understanding of what they need … whether it’s a pair of jeans, a new car or a streamlined, consistent shopping experience.


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REAL ESTATE

Winick leases up East Coast Development in Long Island City

BY Michael Fickes

NEW YORK — Winick Realty Group has completed retail leasing for TF Cornerstone’s East Coast Development, a mixed-use project on the Long Island City Waterfront. The large project consists of six buildings with approximately 3,000 apartments and the largest retail development in Long Island City.

Eight retail leases cover retail space in five of the buildings: 4545 Center Boulevard, 4540 Center Boulevard, 4610, 4615 and 4630 Center Boulevard.

At 4545 Center Boulevard, the newly signed tenants reflect the changing demographics of the area with a focus on health and wellness and family. I Love Kickboxing leased a 2,967-sq. ft. studio. Mimi & Mo, a children’s salon and clothing store, will occupy 1,239 sq. ft. RKF represented I Love Kickboxing, while Winick represented Mimi & Mo. Winick also represented European Wax Center, which took 1,252 sq. ft. at the complex. These tenants will join New York Kids Club, which will open a 5,003-sq. ft. classroom and gym space in 2014.

At 4610 Center Boulevard, an as-yet-unnamed Italian Restaurant from TD Restaurant Group signed a lease for a 7,733-sq. ft. ground floor restaurant. Signature Partners represented the restaurant, which will also occupy a 2,200-sq. ft. outdoor terrace overlooking the East River.

Winick has acted as TF Cornerstone’s exclusive broker at the development, previously helping to bring the Latin fusion restaurant, Blend, Sweetleaf Coffee and Espresso Bar and Crank Cycling Studio to the complex.

TF Cornerstone Inc is a family-owned and operated real estate company focused on the acquisition, development, construction and management of fine residential, commercial and retail properties in New York and Washington, D.C.

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REAL ESTATE

Sendik’s Food Market to co-anchor The Corners of Brookfield

BY Staff Writer

Milwaukee — The Marcus Corp. announced that Sendik’s Food Market will open a 32,000-sq.-ft. grocery store at The Corners of Brookfield, an open-air town center development in the Town of Brookfield, Wisconsin.

The Balistreri-owned and operated grocer will be located on the Bluemound Road side of the 19-acre site at the intersection of I-94, Barker Road and Bluemound Road at the main entrance to the shopping center.

“The Corners is an ideal location to serve the Waukesha County community,” said Ted Balistreri, one of the family co-owners of Sendik’s. “The site offers easy access for our guests from the Goerke’s Corners interchange, ample parking, and is sure to become a premier retail destination in southeastern Wisconsin.”

Demolition of existing buildings on The Corners site is underway and construction is slated to start this fall, according to Katie Falvey, director of real estate for The Marcus Corp. “The entire project including both anchors, Von Maur and Sendik’s, and the retail stores and restaurants, will open in fall 2016,” said Falvey.

The Corners, a mixed-use, 460,000-sq.-ft. development, includes Wisconsin’s first Von Maur department store and is one of the only ground-up, fashion-oriented open-air centers currently under development anywhere in the U.S. The project is expected to create 325 construction jobs for two years and over 1,000 permanent jobs once complete, including more than 100 full- and part-time Sendik’s associates.

Previously announced tenants include Arhaus Furniture, Chico’s, Hot Mama, Kilwins and White House Black Market. Restaurants opening in The Corners include The Lowlands Group (Café Hollander), Colectivo Coffee and Grimaldi’s Pizza. The Corners also features 150 modern, luxury apartments and lofts. Milwaukee-based Mandel Group is directing development of the residential component.

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