Numerous omni-channel capabilities have become “table stakes” for retailers because of rising consumer expectations and competitive pressures. Hence, omni-channel has become a necessity to stay in business for any retailer with more than one sales channel. As evidence, the following provides examples of the percentage of US shoppers who consider each capability important enough that they would choose to shop elsewhere if one retailer didn’t support a particular capability but another retailer did:
- Ability to check store inventory availability (via any channel) before visiting the store (81%)
- Detailed order status via any channel (88%)
- In-store pickup of online/mobile purchases (82%)
The success of the majority of omni-channel initiatives (particularly those that impact the Post-purchase experience) ultimately rests on the shoulders of the store—and, more specifically, the store associate—to execute efficiently, effectively, and consistently. To be successful with omnichannel or Unified Commerce, you must be able to execute well at the store associate level. Retailers find this easier said than done. The typical profile of a store associate is a young, relatively inexperienced, often short-term employee for whom career building is not always top of mind and the importance of delivering a customer experience not always a top priority. Paper based processes are often cumbersome to follow and tedious to master which further hurt their chances of adoption.
The operational overhead required of stores to support omni-channel can be minimized with the use of proper technology that minimizes manual steps and guides store associates to execute those steps more efficiently and accurately while ensuring a more convenient, seamless brand experience for consumers. But, the solution must do more than just provide the tools needed by store associates to complete their omnichannel tasks. It must also be mobile, able to run on multiple devices, and logical and intuitive for store associates to learn and use. With hundreds of stores, multiple associates per store, and at least some ongoing staff turnover, the “store math” of having to train potentially thousands of store associates on this tool requires that it be intuitive to learn and easy to use. IBM Store experience and the accompanying Hybrid Mobile app in our estimate would be the best tools to empower Store associates to do more and provide superior seamless experience to today’s customers. Perfaware’s consultants and engineers help decide the appropriate mobile strategy for your Store Associate depending on where you are in the Unified Commerce journey.