Omni-channel Retailing: How to align Brick-and-Mortar stores with Online Business
In the era of e-commerce, physical retailers are under great competitive pressure. The German Retail Association (HDE) expects every 12th store to shut down their business by 2020 – although there are predicted increases in sales. However, traditional retailers can score with the fact that they can provide their customers with an unforgettable shopping experience. But in order to do so, they have to push forward digitization by streamlining all physical and online channels – and knowing their customers best.
Indication of source: POS Technology, Issue 03/2019, Author Matthias Förg (Uniserv), © POS Technology / BAUVE Medien, Buchloe 2019, All rights reserved, https://www.bauve.de
Head of Sales & Marketing DQ-Solutions
The competitive landscape for stationary retailers is threatening according to the Consumption Barometer 20181 56 percent of consumers compare prices of other retailers online. If they find the same product at lower prices, their order is placed. For brick-and-mortar retailers it is therefore crucial to turn potential buyers into actual ones by inspiring and retaining them when it comes to haptics. Consumers want to see, feel and taste goods. But online giants like Amazon are catching up quickly by opening their first flagship stores and showrooms. With omni-channel solutions and a seamless integration of online and physical channels, they are heavily sawing at the chair of traditional retailers. According to HDE predictions, last year's turnover in the e-commerce business has increased by ten percent, in stationary retailing only by two percent.
Consolidate Data, Create Customer Profiles and Provide Customization
So, what should brick-and-mortar retailers do to survive? In saturated markets, an individual, emotional customer approach and shop design are the be-all and end-all. Individual product offerings are needed that are highly tailored to the needs of customers. However, this approach is only promising if retailers know their customers the best way possible.
Therefore, customer or business partner data play an utterly central role in getting to know a customer as they provide important insights into their purchasing behavior and preferences. Retailers, however, often collect customer data via various channels, such as when purchasing directly at the PoS, by clicking through the web shop, by the response behavior of the customer when receiving e-mail newsletters, or by direct telephone contact with call or service center agents. But with that customers leave a fragmented picture of themselves, why centralizing all this data is essential. Only then retailers can gain the full picture on their customers and their behavior. Still, many retailers store and manage customer data decentralized, i.e. across different systems such as ERP, CRM, call centers, loyalty and web shop solutions. This makes it impossible to have a full view on the respective customer including his entire interaction history – or to analyze his needs and behaviors based on this data. But by using a master data management system (MDM) retailers can collect data of a (potential) customer from various channels such as CRM, ERP or the shop system and merge them into an all-in-one customer profile, the so-called Golden Profile. This comprehensive and quality-assured data record is then made available to all other company systems and employees throughout the business.
By counting on this Golden Profile, retailers can subsequently conduct meaningful analyses, develop personalized offerings, design their shop accordingly and address customers via their preferred channels. Topic-, occasion- and reaction-related communication and campaigns then lead to a positive customer journey and can help retaining customers long-term.
1Consors Finanz: Consumption Barometer 2018, September 20, 2018,
About the author
Matthias Förg is Head of Sales & Marketing DQ Solutions at Uniserv and industry expert for the retail sector. He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry. For Uniserv, Mr. Förg has accompanied retail companies on their way into the digital world since 2016, with a specialized focus on the management of customer data.
Read the complete article, taken from POS Technology, issue 3/2019, Author Matthias Förg, © POS Technology / BAUVE Medien