Preparing for omni-channel

Spare a thought for the teams who need to use the data, says Concrete

So welcome to the eye of the meteor storm. Retail is facing a bombardment of data sources from iBeacon, financial, loyalty or customer relationship management, mobile, campaigns, online sales, internal data, not to mention whatever number of e-mails and attachments we receive on a daily basis.

Match that with too few people, ever-limited resources and disruptive technology that requires learning on the job – and, from these, retailers struggle to create profitable experiences across every channel, personalised to surprise and delight each individual customer.

Are you ready for this? From our experience, few companies are. Having worked with three of the top-five retail brands for omni-channel – American Eagle, Gap, Express – for the past few years, here are our distilled insights on managing it:

1. CONNECT UP TEAMS AND LET DATA FLOW ACROSS THEM

The new wave of “enterprise collaboration” platforms are linking teams together so they not only learn from, but also act on, the same pool of data.

For omni-channel, this means gathering mobile, desktop and in-store data sources in one place so decision-makers can compare performance in each, and see how visual merchandising, in-store marketing or web campaigns have impacted sales to be able to set best practice across teams around what works.

Being able to respond to the data in your hands in a timely way, across all the channels your customers expect, will only be possible when teams across the enterprise can work together seamlessly

This then underpins the planning and execution of your operational investments.

Today, many business processes still occur in isolation on individuals’ desktops using Microsoft Office. To match the seamless customer omni-channel world, companies will have to move from this jungle of siloed information and process to a united way of working. Enterprise collaboration tools allow this across the extended enterprise, pulling together teams, files, data, tasks, projects and plans, making individuals more efficient and the work more measurable.

2. ORGANISE AGILE TASK FORCES TO ACT ON IT

Once the data is flowing through your company, you have more chance of responding to it in real-time.

Setting up agile, multi-functional project teams will help you react to customer trends as they arrive, whether that is hourly, via Twitter or Pinterest promotions, or over months, via targeted new product launches.

Being able to respond to the data in your hands in a timely way, across all the channels your customers expect, will only be possible when teams across the enterprise can work together seamlessly.

In April, we helped M&S rollout their enterprise collaboration platform to more teams, giving them a streamlined connection between headquarters and their international stores. This was a major operational shift from desktop working to working collaboratively as a company. Now the benefit is clear – their executive team can map operational performance directly to sales and footfall results, helping them allocate and measure investments with greater clarity.

3. DELIVER CONSISTENT, DELIGHTFUL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

The last step is the most obvious. High customer expectations and tough competition can only be met by aligning teams and preparing your company to act with agility and creativity.

The winners in retail will be those who can spot trends around their customer segments, and rally the resources in their company to deliver on them quickly and effectively.

Many inspiring sources of data and tools can bring richness to your customer profiles and experience. Concrete can unite them all to be consistent within your own company so that, not only are you getting a window on your customers’ lives, but those lives are understood by everyone working to improve them.

For more information, come and see us in EC1 or find out more at concrete.cc

Concrete

Global enterprise collaboration platform:

9 Northburgh Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0AH

(+44) 020 7251 8090