Creating An Integrated Omni-Channel Retail Experience


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Creating An Integrated Omni-Channel Retail Experience
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Capaldo, Samantha
Dr. Steven Kirn
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Seamless Integration of Omni-Channel Retailing


A brief exploration of the history of omni-channel retailing, how retailers are implementing omni-channel strategies, the challegnes companies face, and the impact of their efforts. Technology, transparency, and ever-demanding customer needs have placed pressure on retailers to create a seamless "shopping experience". Through In-depth research of economic data, customer profiles, and U.S. instustry leaders' approaches to new retail demands, this analysis offers a concise sampling of various possible tactics proven to be successful. It focuses on the need for retailers to integrate shopping channels, possible places to start - easy pickup/returns, customer involvement/integration, and continuity of atmosphere - and the benefits gained by both the companies and their patrons.

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University of Florida
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Copyright Samantha Capaldo. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7 ) Creating An Integrated Omni Channel Retail Experience Samantha A. Capaldo The University of Florida July 20, 2014 Advisor: Dr. Steven Kirn


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 8 ) Creating an Integrated Omni Channel Retail Experience In today's tumultuous world characterized by an unpredictable economy and ever evolving technology, retailers' targ et markets are changing, and it i s imperative for retailers to take both notice and action. A new trend is exploding throughout the shopping e nvironment, that of omni channel retailing, or the integration of any and all shopping channels brick and mortar sites, television, catalog, internet websites, smartphone applications, tablets, radio, direct mail, and telephone orders to create a seamless, consistent experienc e for each and every customer anytime, anywhere, and anyway they want to shop. This ne w trend is being prompted by the in creasing demands of consumers to get whatever they want, exactly how they want it, whenever and wherever they choose. The desire of co nsumers to have shopping at their fingertips and on their terms is changing not only the environment of retailing, but the world as we know it. For retailers to stay competitive and maintain loyal customers, they must take notice of consumers' new dema nds for convenience, accessibility, reliability, and control. As the I nte rnet grew in popularity in the 80's and 90's, many retailers found themselves with lagging sales despite increasing foot traffic. They were losing actual sales to an emerging trend ca lled showrooming, defined by Maribel Lopez (2012) of Forbes magazine as "the act of viewing merchandise in a physical retail store without purchasing it there, and then purchasing the product online or from another retailer. The exponentially evolving Int ernet, coupled with major advancements in handheld technology (smartphones, tablets, netbooks), threw the retailing industry into a new era, one in which they started a few steps behind. Gladson Ltd, "the leading provider of services for the U.S. consume r packaged goods industry" with a database "widely acknowledged as the most complete [and] accurate" for retail consulting has found that: Over 80 percent of shoppers make their purchase decisions before leaving home. More than two thirds of U.S. consumers that are shopping for food want access to more nutritional information.


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 9 ) Over 50 percent of smartphone owners use their device while inside stores to help guide their purchasing decisi ons (, 2014) The desire for more information, easier access and the best deal possible prompted traditional brick and mor tar retailers to look for ways to counteract the sales impact of showrooming They began to open their own "online storefronts" w ith little or no idea what consumers really wanted Many retai lers offered the same products online as they did in store, like Bath and Body Works, while others (like Costco) took the opportunity to expand their product offerings, selling everything from food to diamond rings in store, and cars to coffins online ("7 Surprising Thin gs You Can Buy at Costco, 2011) However, i ntegrating the purchasing channels an d creating an online presence just wasn't enough. Although retailers began to listen and adapt their strategies to consumer preferences, they were still just scratching the surface of the many challenges and opportunities technology had in store for their industry As online shopping became even more commonplace, a nother new trend began to emerge. The ability to customize; customize the product, the platform, t he price (eBay), the whole experience. Soon consumers began demanding not only easier access to information and better deals online, but they also wanted certain products (both personalized and specialized through sites like at certa in times (instant music and video downloads via iTunes), and in certain places (delivered to their homes in two days from Amazon or in a Best Buy store the next day) Retailers quickly found that i ntegrating the purchasing channels was only the first step in their new journey for customer loyalty, and that the key to a competitive advantage in today's world of retailing is creating a "customer experience" : 90% of North American firms viewed customer experience as important or critical to 2010 plans 80% of firms would like to use customer experience as a form of differentiation


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) : ) 71% of business leaders believe that customer experience is the next corporate battleground 85% of business leaders agree that traditional differentiators alone are no longer a susta inable business strategy (Temkin, 2010) Just as brick and mortar stores like Trader Joe's take customers on a journey through their stores, retailing in today's age of technology is about bringing consumers along for the ride of retailing, allowing them to feel that they are in control, their opinion s count and th ey matter to the organization. Adaptable companies, ones that managed to weather the storm and are still going strong have embraced this new era with omni channel retailing creating a unified customer experience thr oughout their entire enterprise brick and mortar locations, online storefronts, traditional advertisements, social media, customer relations, product assortm ent, mobile applications, etc. a ll in the efforts t o make the shopping experience as convenient, simple, unified, and meaningful as possible, in the hopes of converting potential patrons into customers and customers into loyal clients. Consumer expenditures either through acquisitions of products or use of services are what keep the economy (and world) afloat. Retailing is a $4.5 trillion business in the United States, with less than 6% of those sales attributed to e commerce (U.S. Census, May 2014) making online shopping an aspect of our economy with phenomenal potential, and something all retailer's should take notice of This data, coupled with innovative technology and c onsumers' growing desires makes it obvious that creating a consistent, effective, and user friendly customer experience across al l platforms not only helps retailers create a competitive advantage and strong, loyal customer base, but it is also impe rative to grow and sustain brands in today's highly volatile market. It presents a challenge, that for the most efficient and adaptable companies can easily become a new, fantastic business opportunity. In today's age of instant access to almost anything, consumers not only know more, but they expect more too. This movement of the empowered and demanding customer requires retailers to reth ink (and reshape) the way they do business. A


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) ; ) change of this magnitude calls for (among many other things) renewed strategy, design, inventory, marketing, pricing, and service. Suggestions For Integrating All Channels and What They Entail Th roughout the years, merchants have tried a myriad of methods to integrate customer experiences. The major retailers in the United States have been trying different types of channel integration and each is carefully monitoring the results. From offering same day pickup to customized product offerings, companies are constantly experimenting with ways to leverage technology for the advancement of not just their shopping experience, but their entire brand They are finding ways to create an omni channel experience that not only meets customer needs, but anticipates and exceeds thei r wants as well. The 2013 Omnichannel Readiness rep ort shows that retailers not utilizing omni channel strategies "say they're missing out on 6.5% of revenue which translates to $65 billion being l eft on the table ( Binns, 2013). The stakes are high for retailers who aren't finding way s to get their people and processes in place to provide excellent customer experiences in any and every way that customers interact with their business As creating an omni channel experience is a complex, exhaustive enterprise renovation, each company approaches the challenge differently, typically highlighting their already known (and well leveraged) brand strengths. Here a few strategies some of the to p U.S. retailers used to transition from ju st brick and mortar stores to omni channel empires: 1. Easy in store and online returns. This requires eliminating all platform silos to facilitate easy communication between all departments of the company. Retaile rs have found that using their brick and mor tar locations for the return of online purchases is a winning approach It improves customer service with the ea se of returns, and also boosts customer satisfaction with the ability to help disgruntled customers and resolve their concerns. The opportunity to fix a customer complaint


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) < ) is of paramount concern to companies, as the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that a "dissatisfied customer will tell between 9 15 people about their experience [and] happ y customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4 6 people about their experience" (Digby, 2010). C ompanies have also found it improves the ir bottom line. Research supports that customers will spend additional money when they return merchandis e to a b rick and mortar location. The ability to return an item to a physical location both allows the customer to shop for replacement items, and entices them to shop for either new or complimentary merchandise (Dart & Sambar, 2013) Kohl's is a great example of a company offering easy online returns at their brick and mortar locations. They ha ve a no questions asked hassle free" return policy on all products. Whether purchase d in store or online, customers can return anything at any Kohl's custom er service desk This easy return policy makes their online marketplace valuable to both suburban customers who don't have access to Kohl's stores, but also to urban consumers who have a choice where and how they shop. The requirements are minimal: brin g the product, packing slip, and payment form, and Kohl's will do the rest (, 2014) The goodwill earned from the ease of in store returns is compounded by the convenience of shopping further. One department store found that when they "offered in store returns customers spent an extra 18% on top of their original order when they were in the store returning the [initial purchase] (Dart & Sambar, 2013) 2. Free same day in store pickup. This requires an efficient supply chain and store configuration Redesigni ng operations to enable same day pickup involves seamless logistics and smooth migration of products to stores,


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) = ) bet ween stores, and with suppliers/warehouses A strong supply chain partnership can help facilitate this. By partnering with other enterprises involved in the creation, marketing, and delivery of their products, retailers can have an easier, more direct line of communication with both their supply ch ains and customers. The ability to work closely with its partners eliminates redundancy in the creation process and closes gaps in communication, both of which can help shorten production times, provide more efficient delivery, and allow multidirectional t ransportation throughout all parts of the company and its supply chain. Another opportunity in store pickup offers retailers, is that of increased customer satisfaction and therefor sales. By picking up their merchandise in a physical store, customers have the ability to see the item, touch it, try it on, make sure it works as needed, etc., all of which reduce the "risk" of purchasing an item the customer has never actually seen in p erson. Reducing these unnecessary "hassle risks" can translate to more sati sfied customers and less returns to process (therefor less cost to the retailer for repackaging, reshipping, and fulfilling a new order) both of which help raise profits in the long run. Lower "buying risks" can also help increase retailer conversion rate s of browsing shoppers into actual buying consumers, which is potentially invaluable for future sales, loyalty, and branding. At the beginning of the smartphone revolution, Best Buy initially suffered greatly from showrooming. Instead of falling to the cha llenge, however, executives saw it as an opportunity In 2011, Best Buy estimated that "40% of customers visit[ed] its outlets with no intention of buying anyth ing at all (Fraser, 2012). They realized that thei r customers researched products either o nline or in store and then looked for the most affordable, convenient way to purchase them. David E. Cook, Best Buy's director of IT systems strategy, notes that 78 perc ent of every in store sale was


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) > ) conducted online. Essentially, their customers were creating their own omni channel transactions, and it was up to Best Buy to convert that into the experience they wanted the customer to have. In order t o grasp the customers who desired both the lowest price and immediate satisfaction, Best Buy made it their mission to embrace the customer experience across all mediums, instead of focusing on how/where the customer was purchasing from them. They accomplished this by having better integration within thei r own company advocating more seamless communication between departments and with supply chain partners. Through their online store, customers can purchase anything they want, and often pick it up t he same day in the store of their choice Best Buy's m eticulous inventory tracking and control systems also allow customers to check store product availability throughout the country, enabling them to see if, when, and where their desired item is in stock. While they recognize building and maintaining an infr astructure this detailed is a complex under taking," they have done a great job of integrating their online, warehouse, and in store inventory systems to provide both free and/or same day in store pickup (O Heir, 2012) They are saving their customers tim e money and unnecessary trips (if their nearest store is out of stock). Consumers have a plethora of options, including the ability to have an item shipped to their home, to the store, directly from a warehouse, from another store, or even to store in ano ther state where friends/family can pick it up for them Some stores even have reserved parking for Store Pickup making the shopping experience even more enjoyable and convenient (, 2014 ) An efficient, seamless in store pickup option eliminates the uncertainty of inventory shortages, provides the comfort of a large retailer's support (as opposed to buying from an online retailer that never allows for face time if something goes wrong), and allows for


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) ? ) increased cross sales per customer as they could shop more while picking up their online purchases. 3. Continuity of atmosphere, product, pricing, and sales. Customers love sales, but only if they are easy to understand and the benefits are readily available. Consumers also exp ect consistent customer service. W ith the advanced tracking techniques of technology, customers assume that no matter how, when, or where they shop, the company should know all about them, what they bought, and where they bought it. Aspect Software conducted a research study and found that "91% of consumers expect that when they contact customer service for the same issue, the agent [should] pick up where they last left off", however less than 40% have been able to, and that "80% of Americans think brands need to make a big change in how they provide customer service" ("Consistency Essential To Omni Channel CRM", 2014). Foster ing and maintaining a dependable image and relationship with customers requires companies to have strong customer service people, systems, and plan s in place. Consistency among all channels makes the shopping experience more straightforward and enjoyable, allowing for easy access to retailers' products at home (on a computer, TV, etc.) on the go (smartphone, tablet, etc.), or even while in store shop ping (Dart & Sambar, 2013). The more stable a customer feels about a company's products, pricing, and policies, the more likely they are to not only trust them in the future, but to seek them out as their go to retailer(s). Apple is an outstanding exampl e of a company heavily invested in a consistent, reliable customer experience The opening of the Apple 's retail s tores ( the first two locations ope ned May 19, 2001 in McLean, VA and Glendale, CA ) brought a whole new dimension of


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7@ ) delivery and service to a co mpany al ready considered one of the leaders in its industry (Apple, 2001) No matter what store you walk into or what toll fr ee number you call, you get consistent products, prices, and customer service each and every time With (all identical) stores ope n and thriving, Apple's ACSI (American Customer Service Index) jumped from 73 in 2001 to 87 in 2013 (a nd continues to grow), putting them well above their competitors in the personal computing category, with an average of ACSI of just 80 (ACSI Index, 2013) With no variation in the product selection (limitless, often menial options), pricing, or outlets, there is little room for misunderstanding/error and no guesswork involved in shopping with and/or at Apple's stores. Apple has done so well with it s brandi ng that customers often pay double for their products, proving that not every consumer is worried solely about price, and some things like peace of mind can be priceless (Ogg, 2010) 4. Seamless customer profile integration and rewards program. With cont inual advents in technology, c ustomer databases are becoming more sophisticated but the expectations of customers are increasing as well. By giving their personal information to retailers, consumers expect companies to know both who they are and what they like or dislike. Increased use of credit cards an d Internet cookies (bits of text websites store on users' hard drives to track their activities) allow companies to keep track of our browsing and spending habits (Brain, 2011) Kn owing the c apabilities of retailers, and for allowing them to exploit this data, consumers expect companies to have a complete profile of their customers. It can be as simple as knowing their preferred colors, sizes, most purchase d items, method of payment etc., but to consumers, a specialized, integrated profile is the small price retailers should pay for the wealth of information they gain from their customers. Easy


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 77 ) to use, uniform smartphone and tablet applications, incentivized loyalty programs, and ad vanced analytical algorithms all help companies track, learn, and tailor sales efforts to certain customers. Personalized advertising can also have a huge effect on the bottom line. Delivering tailored ads and discounts to patrons can increase shopping tri ps and build brand loyalty, both of which boost sales. Crate & Barrel is dedicated to their customers and have increased their sales channels to include brick and mortar, a direct mail catalog, and an online e commerce website, but they aren't stopping th ere. In 2004, they took their database management in house and began using software to "integrate its customer data across all channels, including direct mail promotions, stores, catalogs and website Crate and Barrel also plans to use the solution for eve nt triggered communications to provide customer s with the most relevant offers ("Crate & Barrel Selects Unica! 2004). The company is dedicated to understanding their customers' shopping experiences and expenditure patterns to insure they are investing t he ir marketing dollars to "maximize their budget and drive greater revenue." They are investing in software that "determines how much fractional credit should be given to each marketing touch point that contributes to a conversion, regardless of where the ultimate conversion occurs ("Crate & Barrel Selects Visual IQ! 2014). Starbucks has s een wild success with its omni channel loyalty program, which offers (among other things) mo bile payment technology integrated into its rewards program. By utilizing a smartphone app along with creating a "Starbucks Currency" the company is recognizing increased sales and continues to enhance h ow customers can use their loyalty programs beyond the norm. From mobile ordering to digital tipping to being ab le to gift a Twitter friend with coffee, Starbucks is spearheading the way for fast food


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 78 ) retailers to integrate their distribution channels, loyalty program s and payment forms to enhance the entire customer experience (Joseph, 2013) The coffee giant now generates over three million mobile transactions each week in the U.S. [alone] accounting for approximately 10% of total [domestic] sales ("5 Ways to Crack the Code for Omni channel Loyalty 2013). 5. Custo mer Involvement Customer Reviews and Social Me dia Social media and online reviews have opened up a completely new aspect of marketing and retailing. With easy access and seemingly immediate contact, customers feel even closer to companies, and therefor their voice should not only be heard, but count Allowing customers to feel involved in the design of their shopping experience and selection of products can build brand loyalty and also give retailers a brand new, advantageous per spective on their company one that never existed before the Internet a nd social media ; the unfiltered view of the consumer. While many companies still try to figure out how to use Social Media to their benefit, Taco Bell has embraced it via Twitter T hey are "hitting the mar k with Millennials and saw an 8% increase in same store U.S. sales from 2011 to 2012. To make followers feel special, Taco Bell uses social media to "give followers a sneak peek at products like Doritos Locos Tacos before they're available (Morrison, 2013). They don't just target customers for prom otions though; Taco Bell also regularly fol lows their most loyal customers and sees "every day [as] a new opportunity to engage with fans." Whether by sending vouchers for free menu items or by asking their superfans to put a ring on it" with custom made Taco Bell rings (Horovitz, 2013), their strategy of building customer relationships through social media is already paying off, and many others could stand to take notes.


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 79 ) Benefits Of Embracing Omni Channel Retailing Like it or not, the future of all ret ailing is embedded in the omni channel customer experience In the past, one channel (typically either brick and mortar stores or catalog sales) was sufficient to appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers. That is far from the case now the emergence and continual growth of new technology has driven us away from the traditional storefront and catalogs, to online retailing and smartphone purchasing applications, and now to combinations of all of these shopping media, with system s integration and consistent promotions as necessities Although most retailers are noticing the new trend of empowered and involved consumers, the majority of companies are still catching up to the game with 55% of retailers citing "that their investments have been driven by custom ers already expecting mature omni channel capabilities" ( "Consumer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities! ", 2014) Simply w aiting to learn from the triumphs and failures of others only puts retailers at a bigger disadvantage. A 2009 IDC Retail Insights report found that omni channel shoppers will spend "between 30 to 60 percent more with [a] brand if [the company] is willing to embrace his/her shopping habits" and that "omni channel shoppers are more likely to not only exhibit strong loyalty, but also to influence others via their social networks and online activity" (Winter, 2012). There is an awful lot to lose in this game, and the only way for organizations to have a fighti ng chance is to start embracing omni channel retailing now, finding ways integrate the customer (and their experience) into every aspect of the organization, from hiring practices to supply chain relationships. For many companies, the investment in infrast ructure will be large but increased customer awareness and visibility are forcing companies to make changes Everything is about the entire customer experience now, and that can have huge impacts on not just the retailing industry, but also the world as a whole Here are just a few of the infinite possible benefits of embracing omni channel retailing: Customer Benefits


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7: ) With Moore's Law the law that "overall processing speeds will double every two years" (, 2014) in full effect, technology is advancing tenfold, causing t he way consumers sh op to change faster than ever. "Customer expectations have skyrocketed when it comes to the digital experience" (Yu, 2014) Here are some recent statistics about technology use in today's omni channel shopping age : 35 percent of Android/iPhone users check their mobile phones before even getting out of bed (Sheppard, 2014) 62 percent of disgruntled consumers look for support via social media (Sheppard, 2014) 27 percent of consumers will no longe r buy products/services if they don't get a reply to a complaint (Sheppard, 2014) 42% of customers plan to make the majority of their future purchases online (Solmssen, 2012) prime candidates to convert from shoppers to buyers. 90 percent of consumers ar e using more than one device before completing any task including purchasing (Yu, 2014) 4 out of 5 consumers of online retailers are using smartphones to shop (Yu, 2014) One department store found that customers who shoppe d exclusively on its website browsed an average of just three times a year, while customers who shopped exclusively in store shopped an average of 7.5 times a year. But customers who shopped both channels shopped an average of 1.7 times a year online and 7.3 times a ye ar in the store, to get a total of nine times a year. (Dart and Sambar, 2013) Customer satisfaction and loyalty is becoming even mo re important as shoppers have limitless choices and an abundance of information availab le whenever and however they need/wan t them A Nielsen survey showed 84 percent of respondents are "more likely to visit retailers with marketing programs that reward members with purchase incentiv es" (Estopace, 2013). Understanding whi ch reward programs work


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7; ) best for each industry w ill help companies form incentives that will garner more business and create brand devotion. After all loyalty is influenced by marketing strategies and measured by relationship quality ( Farazmand, Green, Grodz ki, & Li, 2012). Consumers want easy, consistent acce ss across all channels in store, online, mobile apps, social media, catalog, phone, TV and radio by providing this, listening to their customers, and applying what they learn, retailers can not only offer their patrons more, but they can also gain ins ight into how to best structure their organization for their target market(s). "There is a strong link between the way consumers describe their loyalty habits and the way they subsequently buy so even comparatively small shifts in what consumers say can manifest in big changes in what they do (Estopace, 2013) Despite the obvious need for retailers to integrate into a seamless omni channel customer experience, a recent Zendesk study found that 87 percent of consumer s think brands need to work harder t o create a seamless experience (Yu, 2014) This leaves a huge gap for organizations to fill. By embracing consumer habits/guidance and unifying all aspects of their organizations to enhance the "customer experience" whether through offering a multitude of shopping channels sending out targeted messages and promotions or addressing customers directly via social media omni c hannel retailers have the potential to not only win the game, but also to create new strategies and competit ive advantages for themselves and their industries Organizations As mentioned briefly earlier, the ability to improve the customer experience (and therefor e sales, satisfaction, and loyalty) can have a huge impact on an organization's conversion rate s and bottom line. The five suggestions discussed earlier for creating an integrated omni channel customer platform are just the tip of the iceberg of what is required to create and maintain a seamless customer experience. Although the task is daunting, th e rewards a company can reap from creating a favorable omni channel experience are huge Major retailers who have successfully embraced this new trend are seeing sig nificant pay offs. For example:


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7< ) Starbucks widely regarded and respected as an omni channel master never earned an ACSI below 76 (ACSI, 2006 2014) and has: o O ver 11,000 Pinteres t followers (Solmssen, 2012) o A branded Y ouTube channel (Solmssen, 2012) o 70 million Facebook fans with 50 million in the U.S. alone garnering over 31 million "Likes" ( Banerjee & Chua, 2013 ) o O ver 2 million f ollowers on Twitter ( Banerjee & Chua, 2013) A study of five leading international retailers showed 87 percent "feel their multi channel strategy will lead to an increase in revenue" (Estopace, 2014) In 2009, McKinsey & Company noted, "consumers who shop across a number of channels annually spend about four times more than those who shop just in one channel" (Popat, Stine, and Westenberg, 2012). That is an incredible amount of potential revenue lef t on the table by single channel retailers. A 2014 Accenture study found "Ninety three percent of retailers cited that enabling ship from store had resulted in a positive or significantly positive uplift in online revenue, 77% cited it had reduced or signi ficantly reduced their fulfillment costs, and 88% cited it had improved or significantly improved their customer satisfaction metrics" ("Customer Desire Vs. Retailer Capability! ", 2014) As illustrated above, there are plenty of advantages to companies wh o embrace the omni channel retailing environment. Whether through social media, increased buying platform options, or exception al customer service and interaction, integrating their business practices can, and if done successfully, will impro ve organizatio ns' bottom lines n ot just through heightened sales and increased conversions but through deflated costs as well.


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7= ) Technology is greatly changing the retail landscape in every way possible. It has reduced the ability for geography and consumer ignorance to s hield retailers fro m competitors, the market, and the economy. Omni channel retailing extends the marketing reach of a brand and can introduce consumers to products and companies they may never have known about otherw ise (personalized products via E tsy a friend's favorite b akery in another state through F acebook, or even rare collectibles thought to be extinct on eBay) Consumers have access to more retailers, information, and services, all of which translate into more options than ever (Brynholfsson, Hu & Rahman, 2013) The challenge for retailers now is how to stand out, reach out, and make the customer choose their brand preferably every time By focusing on their core strengths hassle free returns like Kohl's, a stable, superior product and serv ice like Apple, or logistics like Best Buy and evolving them to fit today's age of information and technology, companies can not only make it through this game changer, but they ca n even learn and grow from the new opportunities and possibilities facing retailing today. Charles Darwin once said "it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change", so with innovation, perseverance input from customers, and strong, versatile business plans and processes, retailers can get ahead of the game, before they risk being kicked out of it entirely. Although integrating to a seamless omni channel customer experience might seem like a daunting adversary, the benefits are real and measurable. From higher sales and dec reased costs to stronger brand loyalty and a competitive advantage, there is just as much to win in this game as there to lose. After all, "the risk of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change" (Clinton, 1993).


!"#$%&'()$')*'%#("$%#+),-'& !/$''#0)1#%$&0)234#"&#'5#)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!$4$0+6) ) 7> ) Works Cited 5 Ways to Crack the Code for Omni channel Loyalty. (2013, September 3). RIS News: Business/Technology Insights for Retail, Supermarket Executives Retrieved June 20, 2014, from news/5 Ways to Crack the Code for Omnichannel Loyalty88104 7 Surprising Things You Can Buy at Costco. (2011, April 17). Retrieved June 20, 2014, from surprising things buy costco 000000583.html About Gladson. (n.d.). About Gladson Retrieved June 20, 2014, from Glads on Apple Retail Stores Welcome Over 7700 People in First Two Days. (2001, May 21). Apple Retrieved June 20, 2014, from http://ww Retail Stores Welcome Over 7700 People in First Two Days.html Banerjee, S., & Chua, A. (2013, January 1). Customer Knowledge Management Via Social Media: The Case of Starbucks. Journal of Knowledge Management Retrie ved June 20, 2014, from Binns, J. (2013, October 15). Top 5 Best in Class Omnichannel Retailers. RIS News: Business/Technology Insights for Retail, Supermarket Executives Retrieved June 20, 2014, from news/top 5 best in class omnichannel retailers88936 Brahman, M., Brynjolfsson, E., & Yu, J. (2013, May 21). Competing in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing. MIT Sloan Management Review RSS Retrieved June


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