Chapter 1

The Transition to Omnichannel

Today, customers expect a seamless, consistent and personalised experience, regardless of how and where they buy, and regardless of how they choose to communicate with you. This chapter discusses why the transition to omnichannel is proving so challenging for retailers.

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By Chris Tanner & Derek O'Caroll

What's Inside

The past few years have seen a huge shift in consumer buying patterns. Always-on internet, smartphones and social media now mean that the customer is 100% in control of how and when they interact with your brand.

Research happens online and offline. Purchases are made via ecommerce, brick-and-mortar stores or online marketplaces. Often, purchases made on one channel require fulfilment from another. Enquiries come in via email, telephone, web chat or social media.

Customers don’t care about sales channels or software systems. Whether they buy in-store or online, or whether they contact you by telephone or web chat, they want you to recognise them as the same person. And they expect every person in your company to provide them with the same excellent customer service.

To deliver this level of service, you need to connect up every part of your business; marketing, sales, customers, inventory and finance. You need to provide a seamless, consistent, personalised experience for the customer, regardless of how and where they buy, and regardless of how they choose to communicate with you.

This is omnichannel retail.

The Transition to Omnichannel

Our panel of retail experts discuss each chapter in detail with the authors of the Omnichannel Survival Guide

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Retail is changing rapidly. New technologies pop up all the time. A few stick around for the long run, but most live a short life, with a hyped launch before quietly disappearing from the radar.

How do you decide what to adopt in your business? You can’t afford to play the long game and wait until a new technology has become established; by definition that means your competitors have got there before you. You need to be leading the crowd. Educated. Aware. Ahead of the game.

And the game is gaining more players all the time. From a systems and operations perspective, it’s never been easier to start a retail business than it is today.

Hosted ecommerce platforms like Shopify, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, quick-to-launch payment gateways like Stripe, and logistics providers like Shipstation all combine to form a lovely mix of products that enable sellers to reach customers and fulfil orders easily.

All these new merchants are your competitors, so how do you get ahead?

Every day we are bombarded with newsletters and “retail news” touting the latest fad. Much of it is regurgitated waffle by ill-informed journalists and bloggers, but sometimes, hidden away deep in the swamp of words, is a golden nugget of information that somehow you need to extract, such as:-

A trick on a website that halves the number of fraudulent orders you receive. A flash of insight that leads you to improve conversion rate by 30%. An analytics solution that saves you £10,000 a month on inventory purchases.

But there’s a lot of noise, a lot of sales pitches and limited hours in the day! Most of us simply can’t afford the luxury of investigating all the options. In retail you have to act fast, and be ruthlessly efficient with your time.

Here at Brightpearl we have worked with thousands of retailers, wholesalers and technology partners in all kinds of industries all over the world. We have knowledge from many years of experience consulting, implementing and supporting businesses just like yours.

In this book we’ll take a deep dive into the ways you can structure your business and systems for turbocharged order processing, and seamless customer service

You’ll learn ways to discover exactly how much profit you’re making, at any time. We’ll see how to make data driven decisions by slicing and dicing by sales channel, territory, and customer group. Gone are the days when you need to wait for your accounting team to produce monthly management reports.

No more dark, dusty corners. See your business in full, glorious technicolour!

We’ll talk about future-proof techniques and technologies to help you provide everything that your customers need, however and wherever they choose to buy. Online, offline, on the commuter train home, on the sofa at grandma’s house, or in your latest retail outlet.

And of course how to deal with the modern customer as they hop from Facebook to Twitter to Amazon, from their inbox on their phone, to your website, to your store, and back again.

Our aim is to help you transition to an authentic omnichannel business, that your customers love buying from and your staff love working for. A sustainable, profitable, future-proof business that will not only survive the modern retail landscape - but thrive.

Next, we'll delve into why the transition to omnichannel is proving so challenging for retailers.

omnichannel guide

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