At times it feels as if every other week the retail industry is coining a new term that covers the convergence of brick and mortar stores and digital commerce. Last week, we discussed one example of this, the “Endless Aisle” concept, focusing on a very successful implementation by Home Depot stores. This week, the keyword is “Omnichannel.” Omnichannel retail can mean a variety of things, but in general, it’s used to describe user interactions across multiple channels at once i.e. a customer using their mobile phone in-store to find coupons or an interactive kiosk to ship a special order item to their home. It’s also a way of looking at the interaction of different marketing channels in order to enhance the customer experience and ensure brand messaging consistency.
How has omnichannel retail changed the industry? There was a time when many retailers draw hard lines between their different channels of distribution — store vs. website vs catalog, for instance. But utilizing an omnichannel perspective led companies over the last decade to understand that a allowing for a holistic view of their overall business (omnichannel) can be helpful in working to overcome the invisible barriers keeping different areas of the company from working collaboratively. It turns out that encouraging business units to openly share information fosters an environment of innovation and continuous improvement — something retailers, almost more than any other industry, need to promote in order to stay ahead of heavy competition at market.
Interactive kiosks have been playing a major part in omnichannel retail for years. Staples began adding kiosks to prototype stores almost three years ago that allowed customers to have the Staples.com online shopping experience while inside brick and mortar locations half the size of their normal footprint. Target designed a way to let couples add items to online bridal registries for their guests to print out at kiosks and purchase from in-store more than a decade ago. And Kohl’s allows customers to shop at in-store kiosks and ship their purchases home for free — including items that may be out of stock at their location. It is estimated that 75% of businesses will be digital in the next 5 years; based on market trends, creating a customer-facing in-store digital experience as these retailers have done may be one of the most important investments a business can make.
Already convinced that omnichannel integration via in-store tech is right for your business? RedyRef’s experienced professionals are here to help. With a wide range of fully-integrated manufacturing solutions available, we offer a one-stop solution for interactive kiosks and digital signage from design to deployment, making it easy for companies of all sizes to take advantage of the latest and best technology. Give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.