Omni-Channel Retailing: Readiness at the Point of Sale
Apr 04, 2015
Calling omni-channel a retail trend could be the understatement of the decade. There are seminars, webinars, conferences, magazine articles and white papers all addressing the retail trend called omni-channel. Then there’s the e-commerce, fulfillment, merchandising, order management and POS systems that also comprise the elusive omni-channel puzzle, but is it really that complex? In this paper, we will explain the deployment of an easy-to-understand omni-channel strategy that will not break the bank or take 10 years to implement.
The Problem: Data Silos
The most significant deterrent to a quick and relatively inexpensive omni-channel deployment strategy is data. Retailers often have many silos of data that function independently of one another. However, consumers now require retailers to accommodate their various purchasing and product-availability needs, and this requirement can be severely impacted by the retailers’ inability to view inventory across the entire retail enterprise, fulfill orders from any channel, or communicate effectively across data silos.
The Solution: Fully Integrated POS System
For the last few years, it has been assumed that retailers would need to start the monumental task of combining all of their data sources into one massive database that could communicate to their entire retail organization and to all retail channels. Coming out of NRF 2014, we were hearing phrases like Unified Transaction Engine as a descriptor for a single source of data or a single system of record. It had been published that more than 60% of surveyed retailers would be taking steps toward a unified transaction system for stores, e-commerce and m-commerce as part of their next POS software search. There is no question that retailers must address this problem and must provide a seamless experience for their customers and associates. Yes, associates too, as they are directly in front of the customer. But do retailers really need to spend years and years and an extremely large amount of money to deploy and achieve an omni-channel strategy? Not if you invest in a contemporary solutions provider like UTC RETAIL.
You do not have to replace your entire solution set to accommodate omni-channel requirements. UTC RETAIL provides the ability to communicate with any other system, thus giving a retailer a much quicker and cost-effective path to deploying an omni-channel strategy. Quite simply, the benefit is flexibility. Flexibility to choose systems that best fit your needs. Flexibility to choose systems that best fit your budget, your implementation timeframes, your customers, and your associates. As the availability of new technology accelerates so does the need for retailers to adopt new technology earlier to sustain or increase growth. Consumers are adopting new technology faster than ever, and retailers that do not keep up with their customers will struggle. This is exactly why deploying systems that can efficiently and effectively communicate with one another can be a better solution than waiting for the omni-channel holy grail, the unified transaction model. The truth is, by the time the large retail technology providers integrate their entire solution set for availability to retailers, the trends will have changed, consumer requirements will have evolved even further. Retailers require the ability to support current requirement now while maintaining a flexible approach for future growth.