Omnichannel: It’s been the number one driver of strategic change in retail and retail IT for years, but that paradigm is shifting.
Retailers and analysts use the term to describe the challenges of integrating store and e-commerce inventories with internal business processes. The end goal: Create a seamless customer experience. Research shows that roughly two-thirds of all shoppers begin their path to purchasing a product online; yet, some 89 percent of all transactional revenue is generated in-store. According to Forrester, the internet influences 50 percent of all US retail revenue decisions.
The numbers support a unified experience
Shoppers are hopping back and forth across sales channels as they move down the decision funnel. When omnichannel first hit the scene, many retailers were slow to catch on, which meant brand inconsistency for basic things like return policies and product availability.
But now, this omnichannel-driven market transition — so central to today’s retail strategy — has entered a new phase. The integration of inventory and internal business processes is no longer enough. The new normal of shopping across multiple channels has re-shaped the store. What we see now is a radical transformation in the purpose, size, and location of the store.
As more common capabilities evolve, services like click and collect, endless aisle, and unified registries are becoming foundational to a retail experience. Virtual inventories, last-mile deliveries within one-hour windows, and locker services are emerging as new paths to customer fulfillment. New on the scene is the “fourth channel,” the personalized automated replenishment of everyday products ranging from milk to pasta to cleaners.
Defining a new retail landscape
This landscape we are facing is the merger of the physical and the digital into a single entity: “phygital” stores and websites that live and breathe. E-commerce will integrate not only into the store, but to social media and the surrounding environment.
One brand and one delivery of brand promise will surround the shopper’s path to purchase — defined as they want it and will use it, today and tomorrow.
This new landscape is Unified Commerce.
It’s chapter two of the driving force of change in retail, and the primary solution focus area for Intel’s Retail, Hospitality, and Consumer Goods team in 2016 and 2017.
If you’d like to learn more about Intel’s perspective on Unified Commerce and what it can do to optimize your business and fulfill customer needs, discover more about Intel retail solutions.