Magazine Article | September 1, 2001

Tap Into Multichannel And Customer-Centric Retailing

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

The retail world is forever changing, but a true integrated multichannel, customer-centric approach will help retailers stay ahead of the curve.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, September 2001

Over the last 20 years, great strides have been made in retail operating efficiencies as a direct result of technology advancements. Two decades ago, the focus of point of sale transaction processing was helping retailers eliminate pricing errors, reduce staff training requirements, and enable faster customer throughput at the front end. The arrival of viable scanning technology raised the bar on front end efficiency and data capture.

Today, retail technologies are still advancing, creating new opportunities to increase revenue and further reduce costs. The emergence of e-retailing has enabled traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to take advantage of the growth opportunities presented by multichannel retailing.

Along with the opportunities, though, comes even more competition for consumer dollars. In this environment, the big winners will be retailers that effectively leverage the new multichannel retail model by adopting technologies that enable a customer-centric marketing strategy.

One-Stop Shopping Experience
"Customer-centric," in today's Internet-driven economy, means offering consumers a one-stop shopping experience regardless of their point of interaction - a physical store, a Web site, an interactive kiosk, phone, mail, or emerging wireless technologies, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). A consistent shopping experience helps retailers dramatically increase customer retention and loyalty ... and, of course, drive higher sales and profit.

In order to establish a continuous loop of opportunity with the customer, transaction processing must be integrated with customer relationship management (CRM). My company refers to this continuous loop as our TAP model - Transact, Analyze, and Personalize. Retailers process transactions, analyze the data to determine shopping patterns, and deliver personalized offers to customers. When the TAP model is implemented and integrated across all channels, customers enjoy a consistent shopping experience at every point of interaction. That builds customer loyalty and increases revenue for the retailer.

Customer-Centric Benefits
An integrated, multichannel model yields important benefits. It all focuses on customers, who benefit from:

  • ability to browse online and purchase offline, or vice versa
  • ability to purchase online, pick-up at the store, or make returns to the store
  • information and customer service at their convenience
  • promotional offers tailored to their individual needs and interests.

The result: customers are more satisfied and more loyal.

For retailers, this customer-centric approach yields many benefits:

  • increased revenue and profit
  • growing loyal customer base
  • ability to tailor promotions for the greatest return
  • extended reach across all channels providing consistency with brands and programs.

The retail world is changing dramatically, but one thing that will help retailers stay ahead of the curve is a true integrated multichannel, customer-centric approach. Adopting this approach will foster customer loyalty, the basis of long-term business success. Undoubtedly, this will be a key point of focus for successful retailers in the next decade.

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