Retail is experiencing a big, essential transformation. Growing use of digital channels is not supposed to make brick & mortar store disappear but to change its role. Future transformations in retail are not about digital versus physical channels but about integration of them both. “Omnichannel” is the current buzzword. “Omnichannel” (versus “multichannel”) is a new approach to retailing that is transforming the way that retailers do business.
For consumers, omnichannel means being able to shop anywhere and receive goods in the most convenient way possible. Whether the purchase experience starts online or via a catalogue, the customer has a plethora of options as to how they may want to move through the buyer’s journey with the brand. Omnichannel strategies make the days of buying and receiving products through different channels (online, brick and mortar or even mobile) a thing of the past. Now that retailers are finally integrating these channels, consumers can buy what they need and choose how they get it.
Omnichannel is transformational. It changes everything that it touches in the retail business model. It makes it much more complex too. The process is seamless to the consumer, but behind the scenes, it’s a massive shift in how retailers operate. A true and successful omnichannel strategy means the need for more experience (talents & skills), assets and resources… that most of the time are difficult to get for any retailer by themselves.
And this is why omnichannel strategies are a fertile ground for collaboration and partnerships…
Instead of creating their own network, big e-commerce platforms sign deals with brick & mortar retail (and others) for having a delivery site in the physical world…..
This kind of deals can even be about payment. PayNearMe allows any e-commerce (big or small) to offer their customers paying offline an online purchase if they prefer to do. Thanks to two important partnerships they can do it by using as their checkout counter any of the 17.000 convenience store of 7-eleven or Familly Dollar.
Omnichannel can even mean a new more collaborative use of Human Resources, as when Best Buy encouraged their employees to help customers and prospects not just at the stores but also in Twitter
What’s more, some partnerships can even facilitate to transform stores into showrooms where to try products. Even when that means to sleep at the shop…..