The retail trade is undergoing constant change, with e-commerce making up an ever-increasing share of overall volume.

The retail trade seamlessly combines brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce

Foreign e-commerce companies are here to stay. Players able to seamlessly and effectively combine brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce have the best competitive advantage.

The key to retail success lies in understanding customers and boosting operational efficiency

Consumers’ purchase paths are no longer bound to a time or place. Sunday is the biggest day of the week for online purchases. Consumers have learnt to use the Internet to search for products, compare product features and prices, purchase the products and then collect them from a store or pick-up point. The consumer moves smoothly between the Internet and physical store.

Consumers are increasingly inspired and encouraged towards impulse purchases by various digital sources, such as social media, through various identifiers and smart dynamic communication. Customers leave behind a digital footprint that can be followed and used for marketing and optimisation. The most important part of purchase path optimisation is to understand the consumer and provide various impulse stimuli as necessary.

Combinations of e-commerce and sales outlets work best when: 

  • Omnichannel purchase path functions well from a consumer perspective
  • Returns management is centralised
  • Attention is paid to store’s role in purchase path
  • Collection point solutions are versatile
  • Customer purchasing behaviour is understood
  • Online purchases are collected in an intelligent way

Omnichannel sales require purchase path optimisation and comprehensive management

Unfortunately, it is often the case that development focuses only on a single part of the purchase path, such as store operations, online store landing page or email communication. A functional whole is achieved through harnessing solutions to act as a single, dynamically controlled system combining the needs of both customers and business.

Returns are a service

Retailers must provide consumers an easy solution to return online purchases. It is difficult to return purchases via the postal service, and proves expensive for the store. It is important for the company to cost-effectively manage the entire order-delivery chain. Customers can return products to any store if the online store’s product range is part of the overall store range. At its best, returning goods is a positive service experience wherein it is possible for the store to sell a replacement product or ask why the customer is returning the product.

It is only possible to provide personal service if the customer can be identified. The management of loyal customer data is an important part of the ERP system, and the data must be available when the customer brings returns to the store.

Collection points are the solution to a range of challenges

Consumers consider collection to be just as good an alternative as home delivery. Collection can either be self-service collection by the consumer or service collection.

1) Self-service collection points must function efficiently without queues.

2) Service collection points are typically located within stores. The customer expects in-store sales personnel to know why the customer has come to the store. The customer has a good service experience if s/he receives added value when collecting goods. In a domestic appliance store, for example, a salesperson can offer to provide assistance with installation or use, or offer additional appliances. Customers who have come to collect clothes can be given suggestions on matching products to make up an entire outfit.

All this information can be provided to the customer if the store uses product range and stock information, various mix & match rules, customer purchase history, etc. The information is available for the sales personnel if store management takes place in a centralised, dynamic system. In the system, the online store is just one store amongst others; therefore, the online store data is available for use by all.

One good method for specialty stores is click and collect, whereby the customer browses a product range online, becomes informed about product features, compares prices, then makes a purchasing decision. After clicking, the customer follows the order fulfilment process and collects his or her purchase from a store, parcel point or other collection point.

A comprehensive omnichannel solution helps the fashion and sports retail trades to boom

The fashion and sports retail trade must be able to stand out in the markets and make a profit. The information system supports the omnichannel symbiosis between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. 

A large share of specialty store sales has moved online. In practice, all specialty companies engage in global competition. It is essential for the company to find a way to stand out in the markets and carry out a profitable business.

An online competitive edge for fashion and sports

Many traditional brick-and-mortar stores believe the Internet has left them behind: consumers use the store as a fitting room then purchase products online. This problem can be solved by turning the online store and brick-and-mortar store into a single and mutually supportive entity. An efficient ERP system can support the symbiosis between an online and physical store.

Great service helps with international competition – fast deliveries and an appropriate method of delivery are a must. In many countries, consumers do not yet expect same-day deliveries, and collection points are considered a viable alternative to home delivery.

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