For more than 25 years, DdD retail has been in the market delivering POS solutions for the fashion retail business – at first in Denmark since in more European countries. Today we are present in more countries all over Europe – main focus being on Germany, Sweden and Norway next to Denmark.
Over time, the development has been going from the old-fashioned cash registers with push buttons and automatically calculation of prices to being a complex IT solution giving you the possibility of controlling your business from one system. It is possible to have data from the system right down to sales statistics, stock figures, turnover on every single item number, the customer buying behavior and much more. The common description of all these data is “Big Data” and if used correctly it will have a huge impact of the success of the business.
In the digital world, not only the retailers have more sales and marketing channels. Also the customers has a lot more opportunities to learn about products and prices – that being in the physical store, on web shops, social medias, blogs, online review sites, online price comparison sites and so on. The market is much more transparent and the dialog and communication with the customer is more than ever as important as the right prices and assortment.
One of today´s big buzz words in the digital retail world is Omni channel – coming from Multichannel and Cross channel.
One definition of the 3 concepts from the Danish PEJ-gruppen (the Scandinavian trend Institute) is:
In Multichannel, items are sold through a number of channels as for example the physical store and a web shop. The business strategies, in the different sales channels, are not aligned and often every channel has its own management, stock, marketing and so on. In more examples the different channels even compete with each other.
For Cross Channel the different sales channels are coordinated. The customer is the center of the strategy and the content in every channel is set to be relevant for the customer across the channels. One message reinforce the next and it exploits the advantages of the different channels. Items are bought in one channel giving the possibility to return it in another. Internally the channels are also integrated. There is no longer competition between the different channels.
When it comes to Omni channel, the differences, between the different channels, are blurred out completely – it is the same assortment, the same communication, the same payment methods etc. in all channels. Working with an Omni channel strategy the retailer will communicate with the customer in all channels as one big unit.
According to PEJ-gruppen, only a few manage to run an Omni channel strategy. Most retailers are working towards a Multichannel strategy – while the customers want Cross Channel. In the article from PEJ-gruppen, they state that it does not take long to see a pattern in the complaints on social media. Most of the complaints are about old-fashioned customer service: “How come the item is more expensive in the store than on the Internet?” and “Why am I not able to buy theses trousers online and return them in the physical store if needed?”
So how can retailers plan and manage a strategy as a minimum as Cross Channel? In May 2015 the first PHD thesis on Omni channel was presented. In this thesis it is stated that the main things the retailer need to focus on to get started are:
It is important for the business strategy and the digital strategy to follow each other
Take one step at a time – it is not possible to implement all changes at once.
No matter whether you are a large international brand or a single shop – it is important your customers perception of the items you are selling, are alike no matter where and when the customer is exposed to your communication.
The PHD thesis is based on, the well-known Danish sports brand, Hummel´s digital transformation towards Omni channel, but it is interesting reading for both big and smaller players as well as nationally or internationally.
A summary of the thesis is available here: http://rinahansen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/A-DIGITAL-STRATEGY-TOWARD-OMNICHANNEL-RETAILING_short.pdf