In January, 2014 Accenture and Hybris, an SAP company commissioned Forrester Research to prepare a Thought Leadership Paper titled “Customer Desires VS. Retailer Capabilities: Minding the Omni-Channel Gap”. This study was based on in-depth interviews with 256 US and European retail decision makers involved with digital commerce initiatives and 1,503 multi-channel shoppers.
The Paper highlights four key findings:
- Technology investment is critical to enabling exemplary omni-channel customer experience
- Omni-channel customer experience is now a brand differentiator
- Many retailers have reached a false state of Omni-channel comfort
- New titles alone won’t cut it-retailers must abolish siloed channel strategies altogether
I sat down with Jerry Socol, veteran retail executive, founder of The Socol Group, and member of the Newmine Advisory Board to discuss the Forrester Thought Leadership Paper, with a particular focus on the organizational challenges presented within the last point.
At CommercialWare, my first company, we pioneered what was then called, multi-channel retail. With roots in catalog mail-order and with the advent of readily available internet access, we innovated and smoothed the edges of our software solutions creating, cross-channel; a more seamless integration of catalog, web and store. By today’s standards, given the rapid evolution of software and hardware options since then, those solutions seem primitive. In terms of commerce, we have evolved from the catalog, to the web via PC and browser, to the smartphone, to the tablet via the browser and apps.
As Supply chains are reeling under increasing pressure from competition, omni-channel consumer expectations and the likes of Amazon (employing disruptive technologies), companies are trying to re-align and focus on the immediate challenges. One of the prime forces that all Retailers have talked about at the 2014 NRF is the planning of the omni channel strategy and its successful execution. This Blog digs deeper into the omni channel fulfillment aspect of that strategy.
This day and age, as every part of the supply chain tries to squeeze out cost savings, with the turn of 2013 into 2014, logistics in general and parcel shipping in particular are dearer to the business while it scales and tries to maximize margins. Some of the reasons, which need companies to rethink their strategy on optimizing freight/shipping costs and look for cost savings in the long run are discussed below.